Top Five Hunting Dogs for Families

Natural hunting instincts combined with people-friendly attitudes make certain Irish setters suitable family pets.
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A good hunting dog will be obedient, loyal and highly trainable. A good family dog will be people-friendly. Among breeds with all these traits, a handful are notably suited to the field and the homestead. Chesapeake Bay retrievers, bloodhounds, Weimaraners, Irish setters and golden retrievers are capable of identifying prey, trailing scents, and retrieving and recovering game, as well as of bonding well with humans of all ages.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Originally bred to hunt for water fowl in adverse weather conditions, the Chesapeake Bay retriever has the capability of withstanding repeated plunges into icy water to retrieve fowl. The dog has a tender bite that allows him to carry waterfowl without damaging the quarry. The Chesapeake Bay retriever is independent and calm, and has a strong desire to learn. The breed's calm, friendly, affectionate disposition and happy, nonexcitable nature makes the dog a suitable pet for the entire family. Although daily exercise is required, whether it is taking a walk, hunting or playing fetch, the Chesapeake Bay retriever likes to spend time with family and is well-behaved around children. Grooming needs are minimal due to the dog's oily, water-resistant coat. The dog requires infrequent bathing. Brushing once a week will remove loose hair.


The bloodhound is loving, gentle, and good with other pets and children. In the field, bloodhounds have superior skills for trailing scents and enjoy the thrill of the chase to retrieve the results of a good hunt. Weekly grooming is necessary to remove hair and debris from the coat. How often you'll have to bathe the dog depends on the specimen's lifestyle.


Weimaraners enjoy attention and affection from their owners. They are friendly and obedient. Weimaraners are energetic and playful; at times, they can become rambunctious. They are best around older children; early socialization around smaller children is required. Weimaraners are valuable companions for hunters due to their strong scenting ability and desire to maintain an even pace to allow their masters to keep up with them. They prefer retrieving quail, pheasant and upland birds. Grooming is minimal, with occasional brushing and bathing when necessary.

Irish Setter

Originally bred to "set" game by crouching low near the prey, allowing the hunter to cast a net over them both, Irish setters have adapted to pointing game with an upright stance. They require regular exercise on a daily basis. Irish setter coats needs to be groomed regularly to prevent mats and remove loose hair and debris. They are good around older children and other pets in the household. They are friendly, intelligent and loyal. They enjoy being part of a family, but, due to their highly enthusiastic, tireless, energetic nature they are not suitable around young children.

Golden Retriever

The golden retriever is a skilled waterfowl retriever and has the versatility to balance being a hunting dog and a loving, affectionate companion dog. The golden retriever prefers to be social and spend time with his family, and gets along well with children of any age. The golden retriever is friendly toward other dogs, pets and strangers. The golden retriever's coat sheds but does not mat..It requires brushing twice weekly.