Discussing the best breed of hunting dog for various game is kind of like arguing whether a Chevy or Ford is better. But, we’re going to take a crack at putting some definition to the hunting dogs discussion.
While many breeds can be hunted on several species of quarry, we’re going to only use a breed of hunting dog once – forcing us to choose wisely which breed we’d want if pursuing that animal. Hopefully this allows us to cover a wide range of breeds and gives you a better idea of the strengths of each dog. So, use our hunting dog guide for picking out your next pup and let the debate begin.
Duck Hunting Dogs: Labrador Retriever
Without a doubt, the best all-around waterfowl dog you can find, Labradors were bred for marking, retrieving, and delivering waterfowl to a hunter’s hand.
Their physical attributes make them perfect for cold-water retrieving: a double coat for warmth and water repellency; webbed feet; a compact, muscled body; a thick otter tail for balance and maneuverability in the water.
As perfectly suited physically as they are for swimming and retrieving, what separates the Labrador from other retrieving breeds is its intelligence. In particular, Labradors mature faster than other breeds, which allow them to grasp training at a younger age and handle the learning curve of taking whistle and hand signals at great distances while performing blind retrieves, as well as the complex concepts involved in field trials.
They’re the most registered dog in America for both their prowess in the field and their disposition in the home. They’re the all-American dog that can hunt all day and then come home and play with the kids.