Top 5 Gun Dog Breeds

Choosing your canine partner can be a crucial part of your hunting strategy. Personality, temperament, natural abilities and which type of hunting you prefer are all things to consider. Though there are many types of hunting dogs (i.e. hounds and flushers), in this article, we focus on breeds that have natural abilities for pointing. Here are the reported top 5 breeds of dogs for hunting activities:

5- Cocker Spaniel:

There are many kinds of Spaniard breeds but Cocker Spaniels seem to be the most popular. They have great gun dog instinct dating back to their English origins. They have very good temperaments for family life but have the capability for being great gun dogs. They are last on my short list because of their natural ability, but are more often used to be house or show dogs.


4- Irish Setter:

Obviously of Irish decent, this breed is many times overlooked as gun dogs. These are beautiful dogs that can find you woodcock and go win a dog show the next weekend. A bit bigger than their Spaniel cousins, they have the same lush coats  and fantastic water retrieving capabilities.


3- Labrador Retriever:

A great, well-rounded, gun dog. Their origins are a bit hazy but the consensus is that their from Eastern Canada, mainly Labrador on the Atlantic tip of Canada. Known for their water capabilities, Labradors are build to fetch downed birds in cold water. Over the years they have been groomed to hunt on land and point. You can’t ignore their popularity as a family dog either making it high on our gun dog list.



2- Weimaraner:

The Weimaraner is HIGLY overlooked as a top 5 Gun Dog. Originating from Germany, this breed was mixed with many other breeds to be able to hunt waterfowl and larger game. They are high energy with a strong and tall build, with a killer hunting instinct. You need to absolutely train these dogs, and keep them social with your family. If left in solitude they will be wild, family life is an absolute must. An amazing hunting dog, if you can get your hands on one as breeder are very rare.



1 – German Short Haired Pointer

My first choice, and I must say I have a bias…I bought one! My top pick for this short list. The GSP has a strong hunting, stalking and retrieving instinct. My GSP “Pepper” will stalk and point at anything from squirrels, birds and even the occasional fly around the house (she is known to eat them too…good girl!). They are high energy and need lots of exercise. This breed has been bread to hit the water with webbed paws and a short haired water resistant coat (not water-proof). I am personally training Pepper to hunt small game, retrieve downed pray in the water and also find sheds in the winter for my whitetail passion. GSP’s also need to be socialized with the family, you can’t leave them out in the yard. My dog will point out the most reclusive of partridge, but also cuddle up with you in the evening to keep the family company and safe. She is also what drove me to write this blog.


In sum, it is important to choose a breed that matches your hunting and family’s lifestyle as they will not only be your hunting partners, but your partner’s in life for potentially the next 10-15 years.

1 comment

  • “Their origins are a bit hazy but the consensus is that their from Western Canada, mainly Labrador on the Atlantic tip of Canada.”

    Eastern Canada, not Western.


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