17 Best AKC Hunting Dog Breeds With Flawless Ethics


It’s time we talk about hunting dog breeds! We bring you the list of seventeen most popular, AKC-recognized dog hunters that, at the same time, make excellent human companions.

They are impeccable, smart, loyal, eager to please, and perfect for sporting individuals and active families! All they ask in return is to keep them moving, hooman!

Hunting Dog Breeds

What makes these hunting dog breeds so special besides their AKC recognition is the fact that a plethora of them make for some of the most intelligent dogs in the world. 

These pooches are perfect for owners who prefer having an active lifestyle or for those who enjoy hunting. Each of these dogs has its own unique specialties that separate them from the rest. 

Your job is to sit nicely, pour yourself a warm cup of coffee, and enjoy the list!

1. German Shorthaired Pointer

german shorthaired pointer running on a meadow

While GSDs are not exactly hunting dogs by default, their close cousins, GSPs, are everything hunting enthusiasts look for in a dog. In fact, these short-coated, skinny canines are labeled as great companions, too!

Weighing up to 70 pounds at most, GSPs are quite healthy dogs used for hunting mostly at lakes. They are durable, good swimmers, and extremely athletic dogs that spend most of their time accompanying their owner in high-intensity tasks.

2. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

shesapeake bay retriever with wounded birth in his mouth

CBR breeders describe these Maryland dogs as loyal, intelligent, and great companions. Known for their impressive intelligence, CBR puppies just love spending time with their owner, and perfecting their skills in the woods or at lakes.

Weighing between 65 and 80 pounds on average, these pooches live most of their life without any major problems. 

In fact, healthy CBRs can reach up to 13 years throughout their lifespan, which is quite respectable, taking into consideration the average lifespan of large breeds.

Aside from their hunting skills, these puppies make quite decent watch dogs, too!

3. Beagle

beagle dog on a meadow

If you’re wondering if Beagles are hunting dogs, the truth is – absolutely! Known for hare and rabbit hunting, these small pooches are also great with kids and other dogs.

Their hunting character derives from the fact that these dogs are quite trainable, and they love pleasing their owner. Despite their non-aggressive temperament – they still excel in hunting small game.

On the other hand, the downside of having this breed in your home is their extremely loud barking. They are everything but silent, calm, and laid-back dogs!

4. American Foxhound

american foxhound in nature

They may not be the most popular American dog breed, but these pooches are probably one of the oldest AKC members, which adds to their reputation of impeccable human companions.

Still, these single-minded pooches need proper leadership and early socialization as they tend to be stubborn and mischievous

Their high prey drive is both their quality and their worst flaw as puppies that didn’t go through proper obedience training may be easily distracted by prey.

Even though they are small, with a cute, innocent appearance, these pooches are excellent for hunting small game!

5. Weimaraner

weimaraner dog standing in high grass

Many inexperienced dog enthusiasts mistake Vizslas and Weimaraner puppies as they both share a lot of common physical traits. However, things that we can say with certainty about these German dogs is that they make excellent deer and boar hunters.

Still, these large pooches are not for every soul as they seek active families exclusively. Known for their tireless temperament and outstanding physical capabilities, these dogs are not only good hunting dogs, but also great watchdogs, guard dogs, and sporting dogs.

The advantage of having this dog breed in your home is the fact that Weimaraners do exceptionally well with young children and other pets.

6. Russell Terrier

jack russell terrier hunting in forest at winter

Are you looking for a miniature dog breed that also happens to be an exceptional sportdog? Well, you found one because RTs make one of the best small hunting dog breeds in the world.

Known for their affection and openness towards strangers, these pooches easily adapt to all kinds of circumstances. 

These English gentlemen were initially used in the 19th century for hunting foxes. Hence, their high prey drive. 

Nowadays, most RTs are bred for companionship purposes and further crossbreeding. There are some pretty amazing RT hybrids that combine only the best traits of these hunting dogs and other small breeds, such as the RT Beagle mix.

7. Mountain Cur

mountain cur dog sitting on the rock

Even though they make fantastic watch dogs themselves, these pooches are often crossbred with other dominant dog breeds, such as Pits for family and property protection purposes.

Known for their reserved temperament towards strangers and other dogs, these large pooches are generally used for hunting bears or wild boars. 

If not socialized and obedience trained from the start, MCs can be extremely dangerous, even for their own family.

8. Plott Hound

plott hound dog with toy in his mouth

These North Carolina dogs are favorable for crossbreeding as they make fantastic family dogs that have an extremely high level of tolerance, even towards strangers. A Plott Pit mix is one of the most famous offspring of these purebred dogs.

Even though reaching only up to 60 pounds in weight, PHs are used for hunting big game. Bears, wild boars, and other wild animals are their specialty. Despite their laid-back, calm, and friendly character when at home, these pooches make impeccable workers on the field.

9. Rhodesian Ridgeback

rhodesian ridgeback standing in the forest

According to their growth chart, these purebred pooches grow up to 27 inches in height on average. Ridgeback puppies were mainly used for hunting purposes, even though these pooches make fantastic watch dogs, too!

Extremely active, playful, trainable, and athletic – these pooches may be way too much for first-time owners. They require firm leadership and regular, high-intensity exercise to remain calm and friendly. 

10. Dachshund

dachshund dog sitting in forest

There are two reasons why this hunting dog breed is not the first choice for many dog enthusiasts. The first is their natural proneness to IVDD (intervertebral disc disease). The second one is their temperament.

Despite being excellent family dogs and quite decent hunters – these pooches are loud barkers that love having their own way from time to time. 

Known for their occasional stubbornness and spunky temperament, these small pooches are not recommended for first-time dog owners.

11. English Cocker Spaniel

english cocker spaniel in the garden

While many people mistake American and English CSs, the latter is not only known for their shorter coat, but also for better health and a longer lifespan. These small to medium-sized pooches are excellent in bird-hunting and retrieving prey from the water.

While they don’t make the best watchdogs, ECSs are excellent family dogs that love being around other dogs and small children. They prefer larger families and big crowds as they are naturally friendly and sociable.

12. Labrador Retriever

black labrador retrievers sitting beside hunters

How many of you know that Labs are great hunters, too? Not many, I guess. However, the truth is these purebred dogs make fantastic hunting dogs that specialize in retrieving prey from the water.

Besides, they make fantastic family dogs and great companions. Labs are known to be one of the most popular (if not the most popular) breed in the world. 

13. Golden Retriever

golden retriever holding duck

Right next to Labs, Goldies are the close second! These medium-long-coated, golden pooches qualify among the best bird-hunting dog breeds in the world.

The good news about these dogs is that Goldies have a really high level of intelligence, which makes them quite trainable. Eager to please, affectionate, and loyal to their owner, Goldies are fantastic companions in all kinds of adventures.

Still, their naturally friendly character makes them not so great as watch dogs or protection dogs.

14. Gordon Setter

gordon setter in the forest

If you’re looking for a good hunting companion that, at the same time, has a quite fashionable look – these pooches are perfect for you!

GSs are known for being long-eared dogs that excel in retrieving and pointing. Besides their excellent stamina and exquisite athleticism, these canines also make excellent companions.

Still, taking into consideration their high exercise needs, this breed might not be the best choice for novice owners.

15. Azawakh

azawakh dog standing in forest

The primary quality of these West African pooches is their loyalty to their owner. This skinny dog breed is known for hunting gazelle and small game. Besides their high stamina and athletic potential, these pooches are good as hiking companions, too.

Many Azawakh owners use their naturally high intelligence to prepare them for dog sports as these pooches are proven champions that perfect tasks easily.

16. Catahoula Leopard Dog

catahoula leopard dog in nature

We have a champion among spotted dog breeds as the CLD puppy is everything you seek in a dog, and more. Standing between 50 and 90 pounds on average, these puppies make fantastic hunters and watch dogs.

On the other hand, CLDs are not exactly recommended for people living in cities. They just don’t do well in closed spaces and small apartments as they need a spacious home for free movement. 

17. Basset Hound

basset hound sitting in a meadow

Even though this isn’t the most athletic hunting dog breed, BHs make great scent hounds as they have a fantastic hunting instinct. 

They were initially bred and used for hunting rabbits, although many of these pooches are used for tracking scents.

The downside of these long-eared, short-legged pooches is their common ear infections. 

Still, properly-maintained BHs make awesome family dogs that do perfectly with children and other house pets.


Deciding on which one of these hunting dog breeds is the best is almost impossible as each of these dogs specializes in a specific field. 

The purpose of this article is to present to you the list of the finest AKC-recognized hunters that, at the same time, make fantastic family dogs. If you’re looking for a hunting dog to adopt – you should, without a doubt, consider one of these pooches. 

If, however, you already have one in your home, I hope that this piece has helped you in getting to know your companion even better.

Read more:

• 20 Scariest Dog Breeds: The Best Dogs To Keep Out Intruders

• 19 Non Sporting Dog Breeds: Wide Range Of Diverse Dogs