Hunting hound dogs

You probably have seen Game of Thrones and heard of “The Hound” as one of the people Arya wanted to kill. Hounds are actually a thing. They are hunting hound dogs – wild dogs, with a reputation for their eyes and nose’s incredible perception ability. The truth is, you don’t want a hound on your back. They don’t stop till they are told to by their owners. 

Hunting hound dogs have been with man for about 12,000 to 20,000 years now. This breed has been around through most of man’s evolution and changes in culture. In the Middle Ages, European nobles who had the time and resources were commissioned to breed and train these dogs for hunting and other purposes. However, with the passage of time, you don’t need to be a noble or rich individual to own a hound dog. 

You may not expect it, but hunting hound dogs are now common in residential areas. As their name suggests, they are used mainly for hunting. They are always happy and ready to go hunting with humans. However, once you properly train them, you can be confident that they won’t pose any problem in the neighborhood. There are different types of them, and they are developed and bred for different hunting tasks and purposes. 

It seems as though the main characteristics of a hound are nothing special, as most dogs were trained to leverage their natural perception instincts. However, there are slight differences between hunting hounds and normal dogs. This article covers these differences, what makes hounds special, and the various types of them you can pick from. We will also highlight a few of our favorite hunting dogs that are not hounds. 

hunting hound dogs

What are Hunting Hound Dogs?

Most of the dogs we have around are either cuddling up on sofas or chasing sticks around the park. These home-bred dogs still have the natural instinct their noses afford them. But you can’t compare these to the hunting hound dogs. Hounds are closer to nature, and the natural instincts of their nose are simply incredible. 

Beyond the sensitivity of the nose, they are full of stamina. The energy is unmatched. They can run for miles without tiring out as other dogs would. They also possess skills that make them just the right companion to have on a hunting expedition.

Hunting dogs are divided into two major types. There are the sight hounds and the scent hounds. This categorization is basically dependent on the primary organ they use in searches and the location of a target. As a good hunter with a really strong hound, you can hunt down animals like deer, raccoons, coyotes, etc. 

Sighthounds are always tall and lean. They are specially adapted for running at high speed. Their vision is unmatched, and finding targets always comes easy to these animals. The sighthounds have a hunting strategy referred to as coursing. The bottom line of this strategy is that they locate their target from a distance, chase it down, and ensure to catch it. 

The scent hounds on the other hand are those that carry out hunting by scent. They are mainly used to find animals in the wild. Sometimes, though, they can be used to kill the game. When these dogs bark, it’s always in loud and deep bellows. 

The presence of hunting hound dogs can make your hunt a whole lot easier. Tracking animals becomes very easy. You may even need not to fire any bullets through the hunt. Though, you’ll need to put in extra effort to accommodate the presence of the dogs. What, then, makes this extra effort of catering to the hunting hound dogs worth it? 

Advantages of Having Hound Dogs

Whether you have a sight hound dog or a scent hound dog, there is always something you are bound to cherish. Below are a few reasons you should have hound dogs around beyond taking them into the wild. 

Awesome family dogs

When properly trained, the hound dogs can be the best thing to happen to your family. They are very loyal and actually enjoy the company of people. These dogs are always very friendly and happy. The hunting hound dogs are also very excellent therapy companions. For instance, if you need to take frequent runs, these dogs are ready to go. They have a very sturdy body and are very patient. Whatever age you may be, these dogs are ready to make you feel better in all ways. However, you should know that these dogs have varying patience levels. 

Easy to care for

More often than not, to keep these animals healthy, all you need to do is engage them in exercises. You can take them out for a daily walk. Also, because they don’t shed frequently like other dogs, you don’t need to worry much about special days dedicated to spas or whatnot. There are some hounds that, however, defy this assumption. 

Come in all sizes

Hounds are available in different sizes, just as there are different breeds. If you are a first-time dog owner, it’s best to go for one of a smaller size. You wouldn’t require much space to care effectively for them. And if you have the space and resources you need, you can go for the bigger options. 


You can experience a generally improved health condition just by having a dog around. With their big soulful eyes and beautifully floppy ears, this sweet face animal will make your heart melt over time. They can make you laugh, being just that partner you needed in the home.

Personalities of Hound Dogs

Hounds are different, and it’s reflected in their personality. They need certain skills to do their jobs effectively. As their owner, you’ll notice the following personalities from them. 


Once they have their sight or nose locked on a particular perception, they follow it to the end. They refuse to be distracted by anything going on in their environment. As the owner, if you don’t understand this personality, you’ll easily find it frustrating when you are trying to bring them under control and they totally ignore you. Hunting hound dogs find it hard to come back when they have these perceptions locked in the course of action. They aren’t technically ignoring you as the owner. The hunting hound dogs are simply wired to shut out every form of distraction, till they achieve their aim. 


More often than not, these dogs follow their instincts, while executing duties for the owner. Hence, rather than a structure or line of activities, what they need more from you are goals. Once they have a goal, even when the owner is not there for a short while, they can carry on without flinching. Other breeds of dogs may not be able to achieve this. 

Mainly quiet

These aren’t loud like other dogs, especially while showing their affection. You should expect kisses and all when they see you, and not that excited sequence of barking other breeds engage in. 

May not be the cleanest

More often than not, this breed of dogs prefer to roll in the things you won’t want them to. They possess that characteristic dog smell, which some persons may not find comfortable. Though, of the various species, the sight hounds are better at staying clean. 

Regular sprints

For sight hounds, they are comfortable with simply running once in a while after long periods of inactivity. However, for the scent hounds, they prefer having to engage in intermittent sprints, no matter how brief they are. When they are not working, these animals would actually love to just sit or cuddle up somewhere. They can seem extremely lazy. 

3 Common Hunting Hound dogs

Having hunting dogs around is a fun idea, but getting to choose one is more difficult than you think. Below we will show you several amazing hunting hound dogs, and popular hunting dogs as well.

Hunting Hound Dog American Foxhound

American Foxhound

Just as their names suggest, these dogs are meant for the wild. The American Foxhound has a long history of loyalty and astounding abilities that makes them one of the best hunting partners you’ll ever find anywhere. They are astute in tracking and hunting foxes. These hunting hound dogs are close to beagles in physical appearance, but they are generally taller and leaner. You can trust this specie of dogs to be hard-working and athletic. They give everything they have to the chase. 

Hunting hound dog beagle


These dogs are very playful and cute. Their curiosity is also a well-known trait. Their original purpose was for them to help in hunting foxes, birds, deer and rabbits. They resemble the American Foxhounds, but they are shorter. Their colors are unique, and they can be very loyal to a fault. These dogs are popular in America, for quite some time. You don’t have to search every nook and cranny before you find one you’ll like to adopt. Intelligence is also one of their strong points. Hence, they don’t need much training to be the best dog you’ll ever own. 

Hunting Hound Dog Bloodhound

Blood Hound

These are the best investigative dogs there are. The scent tracking of this hunting hound dog is in a league of its own. This is why they are used by law enforcements in conducting searches for hard drugs, illegal substances, bombs and whatnots. If you are finding anything, this is the animal you should have on your side. When they are less busy, they are docile and easy-going. 

More Hunting Dogs That Are Not Hounds

Brittany Dogs 

This hunting dog falls in a category between spaniels and setters. This is a testament of their versatility during hunting. They are that dog breed that can help you retrieve anything while still bossing it at agility contests. They are quite handsome and don’t take much maintenance for them to remain in good shape. 

English Setter

English Setters can be considered the most beautiful dog on the list. They have an amazingly long and luxurious fur, unlike most other hound dogs. While this is an alluring attribute, it can pose to have downsides during hunting. The fur easily gets dirty during hunts. Hence, maintenance is always frequently needed with this dog. If you will enjoy having to groom it frequently, then you need to save up to get it. 

Golden Retriever 

This dog breed is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. This can make you wrongly guess them to be more on the companion side. However, this is not so. They are just hard working at hunting as they would be. They have a warmly appearance. As retrievers, they are always happy, ready to play catch. They have a great deal of stamina, so you don’t have to worry about them tiring out while you make them chase. Golden Retrievers are also very intelligent. This is that dog that you can easily train and will follow you everywhere and anywhere. 

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador is smart, obedient and astoundingly loving. Just as their name suggests, they have a penchant for hunting – retrieving. They are great with hunting birds. Loyalty is one of the Labrador Retrievers strongest attribute. No matter how hard the going gets, they don’t abandon their owners. They possess short furs, hence, maintenance is very low. You are free to forget about grooming them at all. This is one of those dogs that you can hardly find a weakness with. 

American Pit Bull Terrier  

This breed can have an incredibly loving nature, these dogs were originally meant to be nanny dogs. When you properly train them, American Pit Bull Terrier can be one of the sweetest animals you’ll find anywhere. A flip side to their reputation is being robust, scary, tenacious and dangerous. This stack opposite of their loving nature makes them perfect for both the home and the wild. This is why they are the most common hunting dogs used as guard dogs. When you are on a hunt for animals like boars, this is the hunting dog you want to have with you. 

Other hunting dog breeds: Pointer, Weimaraner, Jack Russel Terrier, Irish Setter, German Shorthaired Pointer, Coonhound, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and Boykin Spaniel. 

Final Take 

Whatever you may get them for, hunting hound dogs are always great addition to the family or to your hunting gear. They can all serve your purpose, you just need to go for one that catches your fancy the most. 

Read Next: 13 Best Hunting Dogs You Should Know About

Hunting Hound Dogs

Kelly works as a veterinary technician in Austin, TX as well as regular animal rescue volunteer. She's been an animal lover and dog owner since childhood, and has worked in different dog related fields over the last twenty years. Currently she lives with three dogs and a cat.