Dogs have been bred for the purpose of
hunting with humans (both for food and for sport) for
centuries. For the record, I absolutely oppose hunting
solely for sport, whether or not dogs are used. But
hunting for food utilized AS a sport is okay so far as I'm
concerned, providing cruelty to the hunted animal is avoided.
A hunting dog can be trained to locate prey, or to retrieve
downed animals (such as pheasant, duck, and other types of
birds which are generally shot by the human hunter).
Training a dog to hunt and terrify the animal (which generally
occurs when a pack of dogs is used (such as in fox hunting) is
OUT as far as I'm concerned. Fox hunting anyway comes
into the category of hunting solely for the sport of it, since
so far as I am aware, the fox is never eaten after the kill.
Several breeds of dog have been used to help
flush the hunted animals out into the open, to retrieve downed
birds, and to sniff out and track animals for the hunter.
It is with these potential duties in mind that a hunting dog
should be selected.
When selecting a dog for hunting purposes
you may want to evaluate your needs and base the choice on
what you want the dog to do, how easily the hunting dog can be
trained, whether it is likely to be “spooked” by the
report of a weapon being fired, and how good its nose is.
Various breeds of dog have a natural
aptitude for assisting in aspects of hunting. For
instance, hounds make excellent trackers, particularly
bloodhounds. Hounds have a very acute sense of smell, as
compared to other dog breeds, and seem to be adept at
following several scents at once. Retrievers are, not
surprisingly, great at retrieving. And they also make
Hunting breeds fall into four general
groups. These are the general hunting dogs, gun dogs,
retrievers, and bird dogs. Some dog breeds may fit into
more than one category.
Hounds and Trackers
Bloodhounds and other hound dog breeds that
have a heightened senses of smell are used to track all manner
of animals. Whether in their traditional role in the
British fox hunt or in tracking down deer, bears, and other
such game for hunters in the US, they serve their purpose
Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers
are experts at finding and fetching fallen prey. They
are especially useful on duck hunts because their oily coats
help them move effortlessly through water to find and retrieve
the fallen waterfowl.
Pointers and Setters
These dogs are useful in hunting because
they let the hunter know when prey is nearby. They are
most often used in bird hunts and are trained to freeze and
point their bodies in the direction of the hunted bird
(pointers) or hunker down low to the ground when they locate a
bird (setters). Spaniels also make good pointers.
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