Perfect Hunting Dog: The Best Breed for Your Hunting Style

The bond between man and dog forms strongest when you and your furry partner share interests. Here are types of hunters and the breeds that fit them. Generalizations help, but to predict a pup's personality, meet its parents.

Part-Time Upland Hunter

English setter

English setter

English setterEditors

Photograph courtesy of Scarlett2308/Flickr

You hunt grouse during an all-too brief season. You want a hunter in the fall and a family dog the rest of the year.

Dog: English setter

Teach them to come when called and to stop when you say “whoa” and they’ll do the rest. They’re also loving and lovable.

Year-Round Hunter

Drathaar Hunting Dog

Drathaar Hunting Dog

Drathaar Hunting DogEditors

Photo by Mark Palas/Windigo Images

Birds, rabbits, coons, waterfowl, and deer—is there anything you don’t hunt?

Dog: Drathaar

The pure German variety of the wirehair has an all-weather coat and mind-boggling tracking ability. Drathaars can be aggressive around strangers.

Hardcore Waterfowler

Chesapeake Bay ­Retriever Waterfowl Dog

Chesapeake Bay ­Retriever Waterfowl Dog

Chesapeake Bay ­Retriever Waterfowl DogEditors

Photo by Denver Bryan

You will hunt anything with webbed feet anywhere.

Dog: Chesapeake Bay ­Retriever

Hardy enough to fetch divers in big water and nasty weather, they have a reputation as mean dogs, but it’s undeserved. They’re merely protective of their owners.

Duck and Pheasant Hunter

Labrador Retriever Hunting Dog

Labrador Retriever Hunting Dog

Labrador Retriever Hunting DogEditors

Photo by John Eriksson/images on the Wildside

You hit ponds for ducks, then switch to pheasants.

Dog: Labrador Retriever

America’s gun dog: affectionate, trainable, loves to hunt on land and water. Be careful where you shop to avoid hereditary health problems.

Apartment-Dwelling Hunter

Hunting with Cocker Spaniels

Hunting with Cocker Spaniels

Hunting with Cocker SpanielsEditors

Photo by Dale Spartas/Corbis

A small space needs an ­efficiency-size hunting ­companion.

Dog: Cocker Spaniel

You have to search to find a hunting cocker, but it’s worth it if you want a 25-pound flushing dog. Cockers are athletic, easy to train, and eager to please.