If you’re a bird hunter, you just might be lucky enough to one day have a pointer dog of your own. And while researching pointers, these are seven of the top pointer dog breeds to consider for bird hunting.
Ask bird hunters about their favorite pointer breed, and you’re bound to get different answers and reasons. None is necessarily wrong, as there is an incredible number of ways to quantify specific dog breeds. But knowing what each hunting breed has to offer can narrow down your search for the perfect companion. Here are seven of the most popular pointer dog breeds for bird hunting.
7 Popular Pointer Dog Breeds for Bird Hunting
1. German Shorthaired Pointer
The German shorthaired pointer is such a dedicated pointer breed that “pointer” is a part of its name. This breed is often described as enthusiastic about hunting all kinds of birds, whether on land or water. They are also well known for being a loving and compassionate partner in the field and at home.
At 23-25 inches tall and between 55 and 70 pounds, this pointer breed can be a great size to have in the field, the truck, or the home. They tend to stay in a comfortable range from the hunter, never venturing off too far.
The high level of energy that the German shorthaired pointer has can make it difficult to raise them indoors without a highly active lifestyle, but it makes them great for long hunting days. They can hunt from dusk to dawn and never tire, as long as they are also getting a lot of love.
2. American Brittany
Having been a star in bird hunting since the 17th century, it isn’t surprising that the American Brittany has made this list.
The American Brittany is a great pointer breed that works closely with hunters and has a high natural affinity for hunting and retrieving. They measure in shorter and lighter than the rest of the list. Their small size also allows for high agility and speed, which makes them an excellent choice for hunting.
In addition to their speed, this pointer wants to be in the thick of it all. The American Brittany’s skin and coat armor protect them from sharps in the field, so they’re a great choice for rough terrain and thick brush.
Most importantly, the American Brittany is a loyal and loving companion that will come home at the end of a hunt and fit right in with the whole family.
3. English Setter
The English setter is another loving and affectionate breed that transitions easily from couch dog to hunting companion. Often described as graceful, the English setter channels the royal family and hunts with a great regality.
The English setter’s speed and endurance allow them to cover a large amount of ground while hunting. This is another pointer breed that stands at about 23 to 27 inches and weighs a healthy 45 to 75 pounds.
When looking for an upland hunting dog, look no further. The name “setter” comes directly from its breeding to lie or sit down when catching birds’ scent.
The Vizsla is a medium pointer breed that the people of Hungary have raised for the hunt. They sport a short coat without an undercoat, meaning they will perform best in warmer conditions. However, the wirehaired Vizsla can perform better in colder climates, which puts them on our list of “5 Rare Bird Hunting Dogs.”
The Vizsla thrives in water environments and makes a great choice for an early to midseason pointer breed for waterfowl. They were initially used as flushing dogs and could drive birds into nets, helping Hungarians survive countless wars.
5. Wirehaired Griffon
The wirehaired griffon truly is the jack of all trades when it comes to these pointer breeds. They do well hunting anything from small game to game birds, track well, point well, retrieve naturally, and love both water and dry land.
This pointer dog breed grows a longer, wiry coat that makes them prefer hunting in colder temperatures. They are incredibly loyal to their immediate family, making them great house dogs, but they can be slow to warm up to strangers.
Their medium size and flexibility to all different hunting types make them a great all-around choice for anything you’re hoping to do.
Possibly the only breed to beat the wirehaired griffon as the most versatile pointer breed is the Weimaraner. These dogs were initially used to hunt boar, bear, and deer, among other, larger game. They have an instinct for chasing down prey and must be trained early on if they’re to be used for hunting.
The Weimaraner is a large pointer breed, standing up to 27 inches and weighing up to a whopping 80 pounds. Next to their size, they are well known for their short, ghost-like gray coat and shadow-filled eyes. They were bred to do it all for the kings and queens of old Europe and still have the ability to do everything for today’s hunters.
7. Gordon Setter
The final pointer dog breed on our list is the Gordon setter. This gorgeous black-and-tan breed will range out a lot farther from the hunter than most other pointer breeds. But it demonstrates a high level of patience and stamina throughout the day.
Their instinct to point and retrieve makes up for their slower pace throughout the day. They are great companionship pets and need to be trained well, as they keep their puppy behaviors for a long time.
Pointer Dog Breeds for Bird Hunting: Wrapping It Up
The pointer dog breed that is right for each hunter will be different for several different reasons. There’s a time to take a Vizsla, and there’s a better time to take a German shorthaired pointer. Picking the right pointer breed can be a huge decision, but will pay off in how much is bagged at the end of the day.