Can you have a hunting dog as a pet? Well, the answer is yes. Anyone who loves hunting with dogs would like to have them as pets too. Doing so develops better bonding with the animal that spends more time with the family.
As a result, the dog becomes more attentive and biddable makes it eager to perform better in the field and please the owner. Gone are the days when people used to look upon the hunting dogs as mercenaries, only to perform the heartless duties of pointing, retrieving, and flushing the hunted birds at the command of their owner.
Today, people are eager to give the hunting dogs the place they deserve at home, allowing them to stay with the family in the house as a loving pet instead of sending them away to a kennel or dog house in a secluded corner of the backyard.
Most dog breeds make good pets. However, hunting dogs belong to dog breeds with hunting abilities infused in their bloodline like the spaniels, pointers, and retrievers. For hundreds of years, these dogs have been our hunting companions in the field.
Thanks to their instinct, skills, and energy. As hunting opportunities are decreasing, it becomes necessary for the dogs to compete in field trials and events to practice and maintain their desired level of skills and in-built abilities to assist bird hunters. Although human companionship is innate in most dogs, all hunting dogs might not be good pets.
How does the attitude change?
Until a few years ago, it used to be the norm to keep hunting dogs away from home in outside kennels and treat them differently than pets, turning to it only during hunting expeditions.
One of the reasons for keeping the hunting dogs at a distance from the house was the belief that staying too close to humans could soften their temperament as a hunting dogs and impair their abilities to assist hunters in the field. However, there is no evidence to support such claims.
A more practical reason for keeping the hunting dogs in outside kennels is to prevent the spread of external parasites like mites and fleas that can pose health hazards for the residents if the dog comes inside the house.
Nowadays, that advanced treatments for scabies are available. Hence, that reduces the threat of diseases. It is worthwhile to treat hunting dogs as pets too. Allow them to stay indoors and mingle with the family members with ease.
All hunting dogs might not be homely as house dogs. However, here are six selected breeds that can become your best companion at home while performing efficiently in the fields.
1. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever can match equally with the Labrador in the skills and temperament of a hunting dog. However, what sets it apart is its affectionate and fun-loving nature.
Hence, it helps the dog adapt comfortably within the household. Despite being highly intelligent and ready to respond to any training, the Golden Retriever is a party animal.
They can light up the party scene with fun antics and friendly behavior, thus making them a hot favorite among kids. If you go for pheasant hunting, then the Golden Retriever is the dog you need because it is a specialist in the field.
2. Labrador Retriever
The name of this dog breed reveals its hunting skills as the Labrador Retriever is exceptionally skilled in retrieving fallen birds. The even-tempered dog that exhibits its superior skills in water and land when taken to the fields is equally at ease in mixing with kids who can have a fun time with the intelligent animal that loves to be at home with other people.
The dog exhibits its gentle nature. It is protective of children that making it a favorite pet when not tasked with hunting assignments.
3. Brittany Spaniel
It is hard to miss the presence of the Brittany Spaniel in highly competitive shooting trials because of its excellent bird hunting skills that make it a favorite among hunters. The highly loyal dog is always eager to please and is exceptionally skilled to assist in pheasant and quail hunting.
The characteristic of this dog makes it a great companion not only in the hunting field but inside the homes too. The intelligent dog is always eager to please.
Hence, it is a perfect choice as a pet that radiates infectious energy that spreads fun and happiness across the household.
4. German short-haired pointer
If you are looking for an all-purpose dog, the German short-haired pointer is just right for you. The dog is an all-rounder in its hunting abilities as it can perform multiple tasks like pointing and retrieving besides hunting small and large game.
The intelligent and playful breed makes a good house dog at night that protects the family after spending the day in the fields to fulfill the hunting assignments of pointing and flushing.
The highly energetic animal keeps demonstrating its superior hunting skills. Moreover, it can be an excellent walking or running companion.
5. Jack Russell Terrier
The pint-sized Jack Russell Terrier is a playful and friendly hunting dog that can double as a lovable pet because it is easy to train the animal and even easier to work.
The dog is a bundle of energy with an even temperament that allows you to direct energy in the way you want, whether accompanying them in their hunting expeditions or spending time with your family at home.
No other dog can track and hunt varmint in the way the Jack Russell Terrier does. Neither can other dogs adapt to the homely ambiance with so much ease.
6. Golden Doodle
The Golden doodle is a cross-breed of the Golden Retriever, and the Standard Poodle is equally conversant in hunting and an excellent pet at home.
The intelligent and hard-working dog excels as a hunting dog. It is one animal that gives a lot of comfort and fun to children playing with them. An incredibly affectionate companion, the dog is easy to train.