By Courtney Corbridge
When you think of your dogs or your neighbors dogs, you are likely aware of how obedient, affectionate, fun, soft, cute, funny, entertaining, or protective they are. As long as any of us can remember, and certainly much longer than that, dogs have been considered man’s best friend. That’s true right here in Alabama, and it is true pretty much anywhere you go.
But this relationship wasn’t always just the recreational one it largely is now. Dogs became man’s best friend when they banded together for survival. Man protected dogs, and dogs helped man find food. Though hunting dogs have mostly become family dogs in our day, here are a few dogs that are still used for hunting today – especially in Alabama.
The best way to tackle the expansive list of hunting dogs is to first break them down into types. For our purposes, we’ll just look at the two main types—hounds and gun dogs. Some dog experts break this down further to include curs, terriers, feists etc. But the two most common dog types today are hounds and gun dogs.
Hounds are land trackers. They are best for hunting raccoons, jackrabbits, coyotes, and similar animals. Some hounds track using their developed sense of smell, and some track with their acute sight. The more familiar hounds, the scent trackers, will go on long chases as they hunt their prey, and they’ll often chase the target into a tree, where the dog will patrol until the hunter catches up by following the dog’s bellowing barks. A few great hound breeds are American Foxhounds, Basset Hounds, Beagles, Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, and Greyhounds.
Gun dogs are better for hunting prey that cannot climb trees. These game dogs are more tactful for hunting deer and birds, and typically the hunters that use them are armed with shotguns—hence the name gun dogs.
Retrievers, one variety of gun dogs, locate prey once they have been shot down, and they quickly retrieve it for the hunter. The Labrador Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and Golden Retriever are three of the most loved retrieving gun dogs.
Flushing dogs, yet another type of gun dog, are trained to locate hiding prey and then force them into the open. Common flushing dogs are spaniels like the Blue Picardy Spaniel, the American Water Spaniel, and the Welsh Springer Spaniel.
Unlike flushing dogs, setters and pointers locate their prey and then freeze on the spot for the hunter to come with a net or gun. Common pointing dogs are Gordon Setters, Irish Setters, and the German Shorthaired Pointer.
For a more complete hunting dog list, check out http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/huntingdogs.htm.
Article sponsored by First South Farm Credit.
Find them on the web at: http://www.firstsouthfarmcredit.com/home.aspx