Best Dog Breeds for Bird Hunting

The Airedale is often called “the King of the Terriers.”  The Airey is a great dog for hunting both waterfowl and upland birds as well.  A medium built dog with a curly weather resistant coat.  The Airedales have a gentle temperament with members of their family, but the spirit, determination and courage to hunt in all kinds of foul condition and also to guard their homes and families if required.  Averaging about 55 pounds, the Airey is an intelligent and active dog that requires regular exercise and lots of attention from their family.

The English Springer Spaniels:  Little thought of as hunting dogs Springers got their name from springing or flushing birds out of hiding. Slightly smaller than the Airedale at 40 to 50 pounds, they have strong legs and lots of energy to take them through long days of hunting.  Breed to hunt by site and then flush the game birds, it also has a soft mouth grip and can be trained to retrieve birds as well.    Intelligent and trainable Springers can be taught to hunt in a variety of game birds.  Their two layered coat with a short undercoat and longer overcoat these dogs can tolerate a wide range of field conditions.

English Setters: are the top bird dogs in England. They have the best traits of both spaniels and pointers.  Using their excellent sense of smell they will crouch next to the prey rather than flush it like a springer.  They have lots of stamina to hunt all day across difficult terrain.  Active and energetic these dogs require lots of exercise.  These intelligent dogs along with their related breeds; the Gordon Setter and Irish Setter will all make excellent gun dog as well as excellent companion dogs.   All these breeds average about 50 to 60 pounds.

German Shorthaired Pointers: These pointers are highly intelligent and easily trained. While primarily used to hunt upland birds, they can also be used to hunt waterfowl as well as land mammals, up to the size of deer.   Another medium sized breed at between 60 and 70 pounds when fully grown.  These dogs have an excellent sense of smell and will locate the prey and then point and wait for the hunter to flush the prey. Also renowned for its athletic ability these dogs range far ahead of the hunter to find the prey.

Labrador Retrievers and their cousins, the Golden Retrievers are among the most popular breeds in America. Best known as water dogs and, of course, retrievers, both these breeds are great all around bird dogs.  They are equally at home in that cold pond going after duck as they are in the open fields going after quail.  Averaging about 65-75 pounds with lovely coloring as well as highly intelligent and eager to please, these dogs are very trainable and make great house pets as well as excellent hunting dogs.