Let me tell you a small secret: the best duck hunting dogs may probably sitting at home right now with you! If you ask any hunter about the best waterfowl dogs, the chances are that you will get a different answer from every single one of them. Why it so? Because many of them have their personal preferences, hunting stories, and favorite breeds.
Despite that, we’re about to discuss a few duck dog breeds, they are very popular choices, but they are not the only ones that can do the job. Our picks, however, stand out because time and word of mouth have established their reputations as some the most capable hunting partners.
Hunting season turns out for the best duck dogs at your side. If you want your dog to retrieve your waterfowl, the following is a list of some of the most popular breeds that stand out for the job. Mainly because they are very intelligent, full of energy and they are also easy to train.
#1. Russo-European Laika
The list with the best duck hunting dogs begins with this breed of dog that comes from the forest region of northern Europe and Russia. They are the direct result of a breeding program that started in 1944 by E. I. Shereshevsky in the All-Union Research Institute for the Hunting Industry, in Kalinin. The average Russo-European Laika is a medium-sized dog that reaches no more than 60cm in length.
His natural demeanor is non-aggressive and quickly bonds with family groups. He is also prone to be on guard in the household that receives him and usually calls out the presence of strangers. Out of all the choices on the list, the Russo-European Laika is one of the most easily trained waterfowl dogs breeds out there.
#2. Karelo-Finnish Laika
This is a hunting dog breed that first appeared in the Karelia region of Russia. The breed is easily recognizable because it features a double coat: one layer that functions as a thick undercoat and a second one that guards the top. The overall mane is entirely red on most dogs of this breed, but it can vary at times. The average Karelo-Finnish Laika measures 48 cm in length and weights no more than 14 kg.
Karelo-Finnish Laikas are known for being fiercely loyal guard dogs that are very protective of their owners and household, but they don’t trust the presence of strangers, regardless of the fact that their family shows kindness towards them. Overall this breed is one of the best duck hunting dogs out there, and they are pretty easy to train as well.
#3. English Pointer
The English Pointer was breed in England with the sole purpose of being one of the best waterfowl dog breeds. The average English Pointer is a medium sized dog that can grow up to 60cm in length. It features a dense, short and smooth coat of fur mostly white or variations of it with a few body markings that make every dog very unique in look.
Pointers are regarded as non-aggressive, very friendly dogs, and some of the best house pets as long as the owners deal with their high energy levels. This breed is also very intelligent and affectionate, incredibly loyal and very clean. Pointers are some of the best duck dogs out there because they can be easily trained to retrieve waterfowl, a task they can do efficiently without damaging the prey.
#4. English Setter
The English Setter is a dog coming from a big family that was breed all over the UK. Their close relatives being the Red Irish Setters, the White Setters, and the Gordon Setters. They are a medium-size gun dog that can measure as far as 60cm in length. The English setter features a white body coat with long silky fringes and flecks of different colors on their coats.
The English Setters are regarded as some of the best hunting dogs because they are strong-willed animals, which can be a bit naughty at times. They have high endurance and are very athletic. They are mostly used by hunters for games such as quail, grouse, and pheasant. Once trained, the Setter is a methodical hunter that seeks the airborne scent of any prey, and it’s one of the best waterfowl dogs out there.
#5. German Shorthaired Pointer
The German shorthaired pointer was bred at some point in the 19th century in Germany by scientists who tried to create a mixed breed of the best hunting companions. The pointers sole purpose is hunting. It’s known for being one of the most versatile hunting breeds out there, with skills that allow him to track and retrieve prey, both on land and water as well. This German shorthair duck hunting dog is mostly a large sized breed, very streamlined, and features sturdy legs that allow him to move quickly.
Like most German pointers, this particular breed of dog has webbed feet. They make it easy for the animal to swim better when they go after waterfowl in the water or any other type of prey. This dog is highly regarded as a good duck hunting dog, but the natural roman-like stance it features at all moments, and how trainable it is makes it a desirable option for competitions and dog shows in general.
#6. Labrador Retriever
The Retriever is regarded as one of the most popular dogs and hunting companions out there. When people ask what the best duck hunting dog is, the Labrador is probably the easiest answer out there. He’s known for being one of the largest types of waterfowl retriever gun dogs. And it’s also the most popular breed of dog in the UK, the United States, and Canada.
The Labrador has many good things going on for him. This dog duck breed is known for being kind animals, very pleasant to be with, obedient, with a powerful sense of smell that allows them to track any given scent by following to the origin point. They used by many security agencies around the world to track down smugglers, drug dealers, and terrorists.
Their mouths are specially tailored to retrieve any prey since he has been bred to be this way. This also makes them prone to chew anything in their way, but they can be trained to abandon this habit. Their even temper makes them the ideal partner of a large household since they can grow to be pretty big.
#7. Flat-Coated Retriever
The Flat-Coated Retriever was initially bred in the United Kingdom. It is one of the many breeds that have been specially bred to be a versatile duck hunting dog. That’s why these retrievers can work on land and water as well and you can easily use them for the waterfowl hunting. This animal is known for being very active, and easily trainable on multiple talents. He gets along with his human family and always shows to be very confident, exuberant, and outgoing.
The Flat-coated retriever is a very active dog, so they need a lot of daily exercises to channel their natural energy output. They are also very reactive when it comes to the presence of strangers in the forms of barks, but they are not aggressive at all. Given their excellent sense of smell and their trainability features, they are regarded by many as one of the best duck dog breeds out there.
#8. Golden Retriever
Our final pick is probably the best dog out there. Bred in Scotland in the 19th century, the Golden retriever is one of the largest-sized breeds of dog out there. The Golden retriever duck hunting traits are the best on any dog with the right training. Their build and mouth are ideal out of all waterfowl dogs breeds out there to retrieve shot prey. They have an inherent love of water and are easily trained on basics as well as advanced obedience commands.
Golden Retrievers feature long-coats of fur, most of the time blonde to mid brownish. These waterfowl hunting dogs also have an inner coat to provide them with the required warmth they need to be outdoors. Their outer coat usually lies flat on their bodies to repel water efficiently. These dogs can live in suburban locations, but they are better suited for country environments given their size. They shed copious amounts of fur, so they need fairly regular grooming.
#9. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Yes, and there are another one retriever breeds which claim as one of the best for duck hunting. As said many authority sources, the “Chessie” (another one name for the Chesapeake Bay retriever) is like the Sherman tank of the retriever breeds. And as said many hunters, the Chessie is one of the best duck hunting dogs.
The Chessie a serious hunting dog and one of the most popular breeds built to be ideal hunting companion in the brutally cold, rough waters of Maryland and Virginia, where he was bred to hunt waterfowl such as geese and ducks.
If you need to find the right puppy, I highly recommend taking a look at the American Chesapeake Club. Here you can find useful information about breeders.
#10. Boykin Spaniel
These Spaniels aren’t the most popular breed for waterfowl hunting, but it’s also one of the best picks to think about. One of the key facts about this breed is that this small hunter was bred specially for turkey and duck hunting in the Wateree River Swamp, South Carolina, in the 1900s.
Additionally, Boykin dogs breed are outgoing and highly social as many other water spaniels. Moreover – you can’t use them as a guard dog because of their friendliness (but yes, this rule doesn’t cover the turkeys and ducks).
The Boykin Spaniels stands from fourteen to seventeen inches on average and their weighs is about 25-40 pounds. The average height for males is about 40–43 cm and the average weight is 14–18 kg. Females Spaniels are quite smaller, so their height is not more 42 cm and weight up to 16 kg.
So which breed is the best for duck hunting?
Here is the best answer: any of the mentioned! It’s up to you, so before you go, I recommend you to find good breeders and try to contact with the puppies. Who knows, which one will be your companion for the next duck hunting season?:)