Best Dog Breeds for Waterfowl Hunting

Best Dog Breeds for Waterfowl Hunting

Duck hunting serves so many distinct purposes from being a recreational sport to putting food on the table. While duck hunting can be done with just the hunter, most prefer to have a four-legged friend out there with them to retrieve fallen birds. If you’re considering getting a dog for that purpose,, it’s important to know which breeds are the best. Of course, most dogs have the ability to be trained, but these are the best breeds to have in the duck blind.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever waiting for instruction

Known as America’s hunting dog, the Labrador Retriever is everyone’s top pick for a duck hunting companion. They are extremely intelligent, which gives their hunters confidence when looking for a downed bird. Webbed feet and a water-resistant coat make them the perfect water dogs.

Labs are known for being not only great hunting companions but also loyal family pets. A mild temperament along with adequate patience allows them to handle stress and children. As puppies, they can be high energy, but some discipline to will get them ready to be in the blind.

Golden Retriever

A Golden Retriever running through water

Second to the Labrador Retriever comes the Golden Retriever. This handsome dog has been a favorite among duck hunters for decades. Thick, water-repellent fur keeps them warm in cold climates. As natural retrievers, their gentle mouth makes it easier for them to pick up game.

As a well-mannered and intelligent breed, these golden beauties make a great companion for families and hunters alike. Be sure to get a puppy that comes from a line of hunters. This will ease some of the difficulty when it comes time to train.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever swimming

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers were bred specifically for duck hunting in Maryland. Their thick coat helps them stay warm in the harsh winters in the Northeast and Midwest. While these dogs are intelligent, they’re more difficult to handle than Labs and this may turn some hunters away.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a reputation for being strong-willed and don’t usually take listen to strangers. It’s important to train them by yourself and not with a trainer. They are very loyal dogs and will never waiver from you if trained correctly.

German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer laying down

When sportsmen think of a German Shorthaired Pointer, it’s usually in conjunction with upland bird hunting. But these dogs are quite the duck hunters. High energy and enthusiastic, this canine can be taught a variety of tasks.

Their enthusiasm will turn them into your favorite hunting buddy. Because they have a short, taut coat, mud and duckweed won’t stick to them. The downside to this is that they can’t handle swimming for hours at a time in colder climates. Give them time to rest between retrieves to prevent hypothermia.


Beagle in grass

Beagles are known for their coon hunting abilities, but did you know they make excellent duck hunters? Their scent-tracking abilities are second to none. Small size and agility allow them to dart through bushes and shrubs that larger dogs can’t. Not to mention the bond between a Beagle and its owner is unbelievable.

Since they were bred as coon hunters, they have a bad habit of not being quiet which may turn some hunters away from taking them duck hunting. Train them not to bay while allowing them to get the scents of duck hunting down as puppies. This will make them better duck hunters as adults.