The history of hunting dogs has been traced back many centuries, and the first hunters to use dogs in hunting probably used some domesticated wolf. Dogs are capable of tracking and finding prey, and when they are well trained, they can do so and then notify the hunter without alerting the prey.
Dogs played a major role in the development of hunting history and may have even been used back in the days before organized agriculture. Of course, they are still a valuable part of hunting in today’s modern society, both for hunters who do it only for sport and for those who hunt to get food to eat so that they can survive and not starve.
Some hunting dogs – especially long ago before we had firearms and other advanced weapons – were specially trained to “set” game birds. This means that the dog would find them and prevent them from escaping until the hunter had time to come and to toss a net over birds.
Bird dogs, for example, can also be trained to stand still and assume a pointing posture when they encounter a flock of birds. Retrievers can be trained to swim into the water or run across the land to capture birds or other small prey, after they have been killed, and carry them back to the Hunter.
They do this without mangling or eating the prey, so pointers and retrievers are two of the most useful hunting dogs. Throughout history retrievers and pointers or “setters” have been trained especially for the hunt. Faster dogs have been primarily used throughout history for chasing down a game. Raccoon hunters, for example, use small, fast dogs to find and chase raccoons that have to be hunted in the darkness of night. Foxes are also fast animals, and for centuries hunters in England have hunted down foxes with the help of fast dogs.
These speedy dogs used for chasing prey are typically from the hound breed. Hounds also have very sensitive noses, which is why they are used by law enforcement to track criminals or to find missing persons. They are useful to hunters for locating animals like rabbits, raccoons, and squirrels, and throughout history, many unique breeds of hounds have been developed for hunting purposes.
Some of the most prominent of these hound breeds are the blue tick hound, red tick hound, Walker hound, and the redbone hound. Meanwhile, spaniels and Labradors are excellent pointing and retrieving animals, and beagles are expert at chasing animals like rabbits through thick brush and briar patches. Dogs used for flushing out animals from their hiding places – like cocker spaniels, for example, are likewise very handy for hunting birds like doves, quail, and pheasant.
Of course hunting in the modern age usually involves firearms such as rifles or shotguns, and when these powerful weapons are fired, they create such a loud noise that most shooters wear earplugs. So over the past couple of centuries, it has been important to train dogs to actually hunt while with someone using a gun. Normally any animal would be frightening and run away at the sound of a gunshot, but hunting dogs are well trained so that they are not scared away but instead maintain their position. They will continue to guard or identify the location of prey, even when guns are going off and making loud noises.
Dog is man’s best friend without a doubt. Recently I got a doggy daycare and pet hotel in Cheyenne Wyoming by the name of Red Ruff Inn to watch my dog. During the holidays, the staff and owner seemed pretty clueless as to how my dog was being fed and treated and they reported he was losing weight. When I complained, they dropped him off at the pound while I was out of the country!