History Of Hunting Dogs: Humans’ Best Friends

One man showing another man how to use a hand gun.

Dogs are constant friends for many of us, and their companionship goes far beyond cozy snuggles. They are smart and useful and are often used for hunting, helping their humans track and point out game. And when they spot that game — pheasants, for example — we can then turn our attention to our hunting weapons of choice and take aim.

Hunting dogs date back to prehistoric times when men partnered with their dogs to capture their prey. The dogs helped humans track the catch through blood trails, helping force their game targets into areas that couldn’t be escaped. It is believed that hunting dogs were used as early as 20,000 years ago.

As humans, hunting, and hunting weapons continued to evolve, hunting became less necessary and dogs began to be used for not just hunting purposes, but to also oversee other animals. They helped humans discover predators and help recover lost members of flocks.

Today, hunting is mostly done for sport, especially in the United States, where hunting deer is done for food but not necessarily for survival. Of course, some people in some areas of the world continue to hunt for food and survival.

Humans and dogs have long hunted small mammals, wild boar, ducks, and other animals. This has been true for thousands of years — on the North American continent and across the world. Early humans created cave paintings that feature dogs; these are probably 8,000 years to 9,000 years old.

There are a variety of different dog breeds that are used for hunting, but there are several main types. Many of these dogs have been bred to hunt small game, large game, birds, reptiles, burrowing mammals, and more.

Retrievers: These dogs are easily trainable, are intelligent, and obedient. They love the water and have webbed toes that help with swimming. Because of this, these “water dogs” are commonly used in hunting birds, especially duck hunting.    

Setters: These pups are very athletic and patient. They follow the smell of the game and instead of attacking them, they crouch and wait, keeping the animal trapped for the hunter.

Scent Hounds: These dogs have strong senses of smell and sight. They are not only used in hunting but they are commonly used as police dogs.  

Spaniels: These small hunting dogs are intelligent and obedient. They have thick coats and soft mouths, which allow them to retrieve game without causing damage.

Pointers: Known for their athleticism, dedication, and incredible sense of smell, these dogs can track prey very well. The dogs generally go ahead of the hunters to smell and lead them to potential prey.

Guns, dogs, devoted labrador retrievers, baying hounds … at Sporting Systems, we love them all. And we are your hunting and outdoors outfitting specialists! We have the products you need for a successful hunting trip, so come and see us today!


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