11+ Best Retriever Breeds for Hunting

Dogs have been man’s special friends for centuries. They are special creatures and friendship with humans started a long time ago.

It is not surprising that these pets were deployed for lots of domestic services. They were trained to assist humans in lots of capacities especially in domestic affairs.

They are effective in guarding the home, tracking, as well as pulling the sled. Most importantly, dogs are not only man’s companion, but they are also helpful in hunting activities.

Though different dog breeds can be wonderful in all these activities, man’s best friends and great hunting companion remains the retriever breeds.

These dogs are versatile and they can outperform other species in several respects. They are versatile because you can engage them in different kinds of hunting activities such as waterfowl, upland game, and a combination of both.

If you want them to stay in the house as a companion, they are good for that. In the same way, if you want them in the field, they are great. There are various species of retriever breeds. If you want the best for your hunting activities, then you can consider the following breeds.

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

Labrador retriever is perhaps the most popular retriever in America and other parts of the world. For over two hundred years, the breed has occupied man’s hearts for many reasons. It can do a great caring and companion job.

If you are looking for the perfect hunting buddy, then you can always consider this. Other attributes make it the best for your field activities. When it comes to caring ability, the dog has an edge because they are friendly with children.

Furthermore, the species is versatile in the field. Whether you want to engage in waterfowl or upland hunting, then this is the best for you. Laying your hands to the dogs is not difficult as they are readily available.

They can live for a long time and they can survive even the most difficult temperatures. They are known to have few health issues. The dogs are healthy.

One of the few complaints is that Labradors can shed and they can grow large as well. This can be an issue for those without sufficient accommodation.

The dogs are active and can withstand all your hunting conditions. If you are looking for a great retriever which can be helpful in domestic and field activities, this should be your first choice.

2. Golden retriever

Golden retriever

This is another popular choice. It is common for many households to have this retriever with Labrador retriever.

The dog does only care and keep companion, it is the great hunting retriever.

The soft mouth and the great nose make people have a special love for the breed. Several other factors make this dog the best. The first is that the retriever is friendly.

If you are looking for an aggressive dog to guard your house, then you should not consider this because they are friendly to people.

When it comes to intelligence which is an important attribute in any hunting expedition, this species has an edge. You can see some people rating it better than Labrador when it comes to intelligence.

One of the few things people consider in owing dogs includes obedience. This species is famous for is obedient disposition. Most importantly, this dog looks great and attractive. It comes with every feature you require.

However, it is important to point out some of the things you must tolerate if you want to own this one. The first is that this dog is mischievous.

They are associated with some health issues like joint problems. Apart from these few complaints, these are great dogs and you can have them in the house and take them to the hunting field as well.

3. Boykin Spaniel

Boykin Spaniel

If you are looking for dogs popular for active sporting life, this is one is recommended to you. It is popular in many parts of the country.

If you go to a state like South Carolina, you discover that this is the best species. They are versatile when it comes to hunting.

These dogs were meant for waterfowl hunting, but they are also good at quail and other kinds of animals. Quail hunters in Carolina use them for that purpose.

Many people do not rate it high because of the diminutive size. Even though they are not the large type, they can hunt down even the toughest animal in the field.

Because of the dexterity in the bush, this species is considered the little retrieving machine. There are many species in the field and they are going to help you to achieve your hunting dreams.

Several great things about it stand it as the best. It is known for its energy in the bush. Most importantly, when it comes to the home front, the dogs are excellent. They can serve as good companions.

They shed but not as labs, even at that, they are regarded as moderate shedder. Another thing you will like in the dogs is the obedient disposition.

Many families consider this top when they are making a choice. Because of their obedient disposition, you discover that they are easy to train. Moreover, because of the smaller size, they are easy to train for hunting purposes.

However, there are a few things to know about the dog. First is that dogs cannot be intolerant of rough treatment.

If you have one, you should be careful about how you treat it. If you are a beginner dog owner, it is advisable not to start with this one. You need to supervise otherwise it would wander.

4. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

If you want to engage in waterfowl hunting, you can consider this wonderful species. Even if you want to hunt in brutal and rough waters, this dog can help you to achieve that purpose.

These are the next to Labrador retriever. The reason is that they come from the same ancestors. You can always differentiate them from their wavy coat.

The dogs are not all friendly to strangers and this also sets it apart from the Golden and Labrador. Because of this aggressive behavior, they are often engaged in guarding purposes.

Several other features make it a good companion and a great hunter. They can survive even in the most difficult conditions. This means that they are durable.

The dog can be aggressive to strangers, but they are friendly to the owners and the family members. If you have kids in the house, they are friendly to the kids.

The other great thing about the species is the friendly disposition. When it comes to hunting, they are imbued with a wonderful hunting drive.

On the negative side, it is still important to stress that the dogs are known for their stubborn streaks. You must put up with that if you want to have them in the house. You have to be firm in training it, but you do not have to be forceful.

5. German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer

This is one of the best breeds. They are known to be pointers; they are considered the best hunting retriever breed. Because of the size, it can pounce on any game. It is not surprising that it is a great hunter.

If you train them very well, they are can be the better retriever than any of the dogs that you can think of. They are always ready for any outdoor activity that you want to engage them in. Because of their physical disposition, they never get tired.

They are loyal to the family and can keep you and your family members company. Because of their obedient disposition, it is not difficult to train them. The high energy level makes the best hunting companion.

If you want the dog to perform the best, then you can think of engaging them in the training program. Besides, these dogs can bloat, but you can control the way you feed it to prevent bloating.

6. Curly-Coated Retriever

Curly-Coated Retriever

This is one of the oldest breeds which found ways to the country in the early 1900s. This breed may not be the best articulate because they do not learn fast, but once you can train them, it would be difficult for anybody to defeat them in the game.

They can be used for many hunting activities, especially for waterfowl hunting in Australia and New Zealand and so on. They are not the best friends to animals to strangers, but they can make a good companion to family members.

You can use them for different hunting expeditions such as waterfowl and upland hunting. Another thing that makes them great for hunting is their ability to adapt to the coldest temperature.

They are also very obedient, agile in the field and very active in the bush. They shed twice yearly. You have to be very careful in handling them.

It requires a patient handler and that is how it can learn fast. They are not known to be fast learners.

7. American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniel

This is one of the compact retrievers in town. For those who want kayak and canoes hunting, this retriever is great for that.

However, because of the weight which can be shifted, you have to be very mindful of how you use them inside water. The dogs can be heavy.

Because of their nature, they can accompany you to the waters and lakes. They feature a waterproof coat and they are not readily endangered in water.

Another thing that makes them great is the intelligence. They are known to be articulate and that makes it easy for them to be trained. Furthermore, the pet is agile and very obedient.

If you have this one, you would be very happy, because they are more interested in pleasing the owner.

8. Flat-Coated Retriever

Flat-Coated Retriever

This is one of the best family dogs even though they are not fast to mature. When it comes to the family, they can perform wonderfully well, just as they are excellent in the family provide a warm companion.

They are also wonderful in water. Before the second world war, this species was the most favorite to hunters, but now labs and golden retrievers have overtaken them.

It is a great idea to have this dog around. They have a special love for people. However, because of their nature, it is not a good idea to leave them alone for a long time.

If you have one, you should spend time with it and provide sufficient space for exercise.

There are other fantastic reasons you must always consider to have this dog. If you are active in hunting the brand is good for that as they can perform very well in the upland game and waterfowl hunting.

Because of their nature, they are better and well suited for different kinds of hunting situations. Most importantly, they are great companions and known to be very happy.

These dogs are easy to train and people love it for intelligence. However, the major complaint is that it takes time for the pets to grow. If you handle it roughly, the dog could be aggressive.

9. Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel

As you can infer from the name, this species comes from Ireland. It was introduced to the US during the Civil War.

They are popular because of the obedience disposition and performance in the field. Over the years the dogs have proven to be great companions.

The dogs could adapt easily because of their special nature. They feature a very long leg and more intelligent than several other species out there. Intelligence makes it easy to train pets. They can learn very fast.

The dogs were very popular in the past, but they are not common these days. Many hunters do not take them to hunt expedition and that could be because they are less common.

If you lay hands on one you discover that the dog species is very easy and simple to manage. Even if you do not have sufficient accommodation in your home, you can manage with the dogs.

They can easily adapt to any environment they found themselves. Other reasons make the dog the best for hunting purposes.

Experienced handlers consider them the priority because it is very easy to train as they can learn very fast. They can do well in the field. If you are looking for that unique dog you can convert for a special purpose, this is the pet for you.

When it comes to family, the dogs are friendly to kids in the home, strangers and they can relate well with other dogs. However, it is important to stress that if you are not a good handler, then this dog is not for you.

The dog sheds and if you cannot put up with that, then you should not consider the species. If you are looking for a great companion and hunter, you can choose this.

10. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

The dog is famous for some reason. It comes with great mustache canine.

If you have one you are going to like them because of their friendly looks and obedient disposition. They are good to have in the family as they can be very friendly.

However, if you must have one, you must allow it space because they can hardly do well in a confined area. When it comes to training and learning, they have edge over others because they can indeed learn very fast.

It can train fast but you have to monitor to ensure that it does not take over the training session from you. The dog is indeed smart.

They often do much to please you and you must be very careful in the way you handle them. This is because they do not require heavy handling.

Many people would prefer to have this for several reasons. Apart from the fact that the dogs are easy to handle and train, they do not shed. They are healthier and if you are allergic to dog hair, you can consider this one.

There are several other great reasons you must consider having this one in the home. When it comes to hunting, it can do well in the upland game and waterfowl hunting.

Furthermore, the dog can retrieve, it can point as well. This is a great attribute and this puts it ahead of others.

Because it is a relatively new breed, it does not suffer from some of those deficiencies other breeds can suffer. Healthwise, it is a great companion.

However, if you must own one, you must be ready to exercise with it daily because it requires exercising daily. The dogs are pointers as well; you must learn how to train pointers if you want to derive the maximum benefit of this special dog. They do not do well when you leave it alone, it has to be near you must of the time.

11. Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever

The dog’s size makes them great for hunting expedition. It is easy to convert the pet into hunting and it is not surprising that they were actively engaged for that role over the years.

They can help attract those curious birds to a gun range. In terms of size, the species is smaller than most other retrievers as the maximum weight it can attain is fifty pounds.

If you want the pet to do well, you must spend some time training them. They do not like overpressure; they cannot withstand that.

You must be patient and experience enough to handle it, but if you train it very well, you are going to enjoy the benefits.

There are other great reasons you can opt for this species. First, the tollers are known to adapt very well and fast in confined spaces.

If space is your problem, then this dog is a great companion. When it comes to waterfowl hunting, the dog has an edge over other species.

When it comes to family use, the species is also good as they are agile, obedience and friendly. On the other hand, you must be very patience in handling the pet. When it comes to upland games, they are not adept at that. It does well when you train them.

12. Drahthaar


Another name for this species is German Wirehaired. The dog is special because of it a retriever and a pointer. To differentiate from other species, it is regarded as GWP which is the German Wirehaired Pointer.

There is a great difference between this and other species. If you are looking for a species that can do well in the field, then you can always consider this pet. It can relate to you, but if you train it very well, you see that it can relate very well with the kids in the home.

The difference between it and its close relation which is the Griffons is that this species sheds. While Griffons do not shed and this means that if you are allergic to such then you do not consider this, because of the health implications to you.

When it comes to uses in the field and the home, the dog is better than most other species out there. Another thing that makes them great is the intelligence.

The species is known to be very intelligent and that makes it easy to train them. Furthermore, to get the best from the pet, they require an experienced handler. If you do not supervise it closely, it can easily get into trouble.

They tend to be independent even though they tend to be around with people. The dogs were specifically bred by the Germans for hunting purposes. They are ready to hunt anytime and anywhere.

If you often engage in the field game or waterfowl hunting, the dog is good at that. Furthermore, they rarely shed, and this makes it good for most households.

The other great thing people love in the dog is their adaptability. They can adapt to the coldest temperature. It can swim in all kinds of water.

However, you must be patient with it. Besides, you must be an experienced handler to handle the pet very well. If you do not have sufficient space in your home, then this dog is not for you. You should not leave the dog alone for a long time because it could be destructive.


These are some of the retrievers you can acquire today for your hunting expedition. There are several others out there but before you choose them, you must consider different factors.

Such dogs must be friendly and they would not be difficult to train. You can get a great retriever hunter but they can turn out to be good companions.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168159104000711
  2. https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:1056230

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