Hunting has been a favorite pastime of humans for centuries. Before hunting was a pastime, it was necessary for our survival as a species. Early humans used not only tools and teamwork to bring home dinner, they also used dogs. The once wild wolves of our prehistoric past were selectively bred to become the house pets and working dogs we love today. As we selectively bred for desirable traits in early dogs, many different breeds of dogs were introduced, each with unique characteristics and abilities. In this article, we will discuss the different types of hunting dogs: pointers, retrievers, and hounds.

1. Pointers

Pointers, also known as bird dogs, are excellent at finding and pointing game birds. These dogs have a keen sense of smell and can easily pick up the scent of birds. Once they locate the birds, they freeze, pointing in the direction of the birds, allowing the hunter to get a clear shot. Pointers are known for their high energy levels and excellent stamina, making them suitable for long hunts.

Popular Pointer Breeds: 

  • German Shorthaired Pointer
    German Shorthaired Pointers are a versatile breed that can hunt both upland game and waterfowl.
  • German Wirehaired Pointer
    German Wirehaired Pointers are smart, talented, versatile, and athletic; excelling in a wide range of canine sports and activities.
  • English Pointer
    English Pointers are known for their elegance and gracefulness.
  • Weimaraner 
    Weimaraners are intelligent and independent, making them perfect for hunters who prefer to hunt alone.

2. Retrievers

Retrievers, as their name suggests, are excellent at retrieving game. These dogs are commonly used for waterfowl hunting as they can retrieve game from water without damaging it. Retrievers have a soft mouth, which allows them to carry game gently without causing any harm. These dogs are also used for upland hunting, where they retrieve game birds, like quail, on land.

Popular Retriever Breeds

  • Labrador Retriever
    Labrador Retrievers are known for their loyalty and intelligence, making them easy to train.
  • Golden Retriever
    Golden Retrievers are gentle and friendly, making them great family pets in addition to hunting dogs.
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
    Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are known for their exceptional water skills and are perfect for waterfowl hunting.

3. Hounds

Hounds are a group of dogs that are used for hunting different types of game. They are known for their exceptional sense of smell, which allows them to track game over long distances. Hounds hunt by scent and are typically used for hunting big game, such as deer, bear, and coyote.

Popular Hound Breeds

  • Beagles
    Beagles are a small breed of hounds that are commonly used for rabbit hunting.
  • Bloodhounds
    Bloodhounds are known for their exceptional sense of smell and are used for tracking humans, making them a popular choice for law enforcement.
  • Coonhounds
    Coonhounds are a group of hounds that are used for hunting raccoons and other small game.

Hunting dogs are an essential part of a successful hunt. Whether you prefer upland hunting or waterfowl hunting, there is a breed of hunting dog that will suit your needs and bring more enjoyment to time outdoors. Pointers are perfect for finding and pointing game birds, retrievers are great at retrieving game both on land and water, and hounds are excellent at tracking game over long distances. No matter what type of hunting you enjoy, having a well-trained hunting dog by your side can make all the difference.

Do you want to see some of these breeds in action? Search & view all available hunts on There you’ll find pointers flushing pheasants, hounds chasing hogs, and everything in between.