If you’re into hunting and you’re thinking of welcoming a Goldendoodle into your life, you’ll need to know whether Goldendoodles make good hunting dogs. A good hunting dog loves to spend time in the Great Outdoors with his owner. But not all outdoorsy dogs with hunting breeds in their DNA make good hunters.
So, we did some research to save you the legwork!
Read this article to find out if the friendly, lovable, Teddy bear lookalike Doodle would be your friend or foe in the hunting field!
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What Makes A Good Gun Dog?
It’s thought that man has been using canines to help him hunt since dogs were first domesticated over 20,000 years ago, and today, there are over 30,000 recognized breeds of gun dogs.
Dogs are natural hunters and, as such, they are masters at locating prey and also have the speed to get close to the quarry before flushing the creature out of hiding and onto the hunter’s gun. Humans quickly realized that those qualities make the dog an excellent companion for hunting.
All dog breeds for hunting are classified under the American Kennel Club’s Sporting Group.
Gun dogs are often also called bird dogs since that’s their hunting partner’s main prey. However, these dog breeds are also used to hunt smaller animals, including rabbits.
Some gun dogs are specifically used to retrieve prey, such as Labrador retrievers and Golden retrievers. These dogs remain with their handler until the prey is shot, when the dogs are sent to go and bring it back to the hunter. Retrievers always have a “soft mouth” that won’t damage or bruise the quarry, which would render the bird or bunny unsuitable for the pot.
Other gun dogs are used for flushing the prey from wherever it’s hiding, as well as to retrieve the quarry after it’s shot.
Scent hounds are generally used specifically to track game. Some scent hounds are used to flush the quarry, whereas others are simply trained to “point,” indicating the whereabouts of the prey to the hunter.
Typically, scent hounds make a lot of noise during their work! The idea is not to frighten the prey but to tell the hunter the quarry’s whereabouts. Some scent hounds focus on chasing the prey, whereas others are “treeing” dogs that trap the creature in a tree, waiting on guard under the branches until the hunter arrives.
Although good gun dogs possess certain essential qualities and are undoubtedly highly trained, a personal connection between the dog and the hunter are equally as important. Basically, the tighter the bond between dog and hunter, the better and more successful that partnership will be.
Qualities Of Good Hunting Dogs
Every different type of gun dog, needs a certain degree of the following skills:
Sensitivity To Sound
Every type of hunting sport typically involves some degree of noise, so you need a dog that’s not frightened of loud bangs or lots of shouting. That’s crucial in the this field where firearms are used. However, it’s important to remember that some degree of sound sensitivity can be improved through correct and systematic training.
A Good Sense Of Smell
Whether you need a flushing dog, a retriever, a pointing breed, or all-around hunting dog, it’s essential that your dog has a keen sense of smell. If a hunting dog is oblivious to the smells and scents around him, especially in challenging terrain, he won’t be able to locate or track prey, which is a key element of a gun dog’s work.
A Soft Mouth
Generally, gun dogs are used to perform a retrieval function, traversing all kinds of terrain to find the short quarry and carry it back to the hunter. Now, since most game is destined for the cooking pot, it’s crucial that the bird or rabbit is returned unmangled and undamaged.
So, a retriever needs to have a soft mouth. In fact, the best retrievers can pick up and carry raw eggs without breaking the shells!
Other hunting dogs that are used for chasing and bringing down large prey need a strong jaw with a grip that won’t easily be dislodged.
A Calm, Friendly Temperament
If you want your gundog to be a companion and family pet, as well as working with you in the hunting field, a good temperament is essential.
Ideally, you want your dog to be loyal, friendly, and calm in most situations. Your dog must also get along with other pups, as he’s likely to meet and work with other hunters’ dogs in the field, so the last thing you need is for a dog fight to break out!
Intelligence is very important in a hunting dog. Not only do you need a dog that’s bright enough to learn commands, you need one that’s obedient and has a strong ability to focus on the job at hand.
Although to some extent it’s true to say that good hunting dogs are born that way, trainability is also an essential quality that a hunting dog must possess.
Your dog must be eager to please you and keen to learn new skills. Some breeds find concentration a challenge, which can make training them an uphill battle, whereas others are extremely bright and quick to learn.
It’s also crucial that your dog is quick to react and obey your commands. In the sometimes hectic environment of a hunting trip, you need a dog that you can rely on to do his job. A pup that wanders off when something on the periphery distracts him is more of a liability than a help.
Bravery And Courage
The hunting environment can be a stressful place for most regular dogs, especially if you’re hunting large game across difficult terrain. So, you need a brave, level-headed dog that can cope with a degree of tension in the field.
Although it’s possible to reassure your dog and bolster his confidence through training, ideally, you want a dog that’s naturally courageous and won’t flinch when faced with a feisty, cornered prey animal.
Stamina And Endurance
Hunting trips generally last all day, sometimes for a few days consecutively, and often involve crossing varied terrain. Depending on the nature of the quarry that you’re hunting, your dog might be required to run at speed over great distances to track and chase prey.
So, to cope with those demands and remain effective, your hunting dog must have endurance and stamina.
Are Goldendoodles Good Hunting Dogs?
Yes, Goldendoodles generally make excellent hunting dogs and they do possess natural hunting capabilities.
Goldendoodles are generally known for making perfect family pets. However, these days, Doodles also work as service dogs, serving the wider community as therapy dogs, disability assistance dogs, and seizure alert dogs.
More recently, keen hunters have recognized that Goldendoodles possess numerous qualities that they need in a hunting companion:
- Goldendoodles make excellent, loyal companions and are always eager to please their owners
- Doodles are friendly and get along with other dogs and people
- These furry hunting partners love to work!
- Doodles are highly intelligent
- Goldendoodles love to learn and are very receptive to proper training as potential hunting dogs
- Goldendoodles are strong dogs with proven athletic qualities, and they love to be in the Great Outdoors
So, you can see that the Goldendoodle has all the attributes that a good hunting dog needs.
Bred For Hunting?
A Goldendoodle is the offspring of a purebred Poodle and a purebred Golden retriever, both of which are traditionally bred to be used as hunting dogs. Goldendoodles of all sizes and generations retain much of the strong prey drive of their parents and can make very enthusiastic partners in the field when correctly trained.
When looking for a Goldendoodle puppy, always buy your pup from a reputable professional breeder in your area who has their stud dogs health-screened for genetic conditions. That should mean that your puppy should enjoy excellent health and be untroubled by the common health conditions that can affect purebred animals.
Some breeders specialize in breeding Doodles from parents of hunting lineage that have the skills for hunting, generally using Standard Poodle parents in the mix to produce larger, heavier types of dogs that can handle the rigors of the hunting field and cope with larger prey.
Most Goldendoodles are also naturally drawn to water and are excellent swimmers. These dogs even retain the webbed feet of their Poodle parent, which are used by the dog as paddles, enabling the Doodle to swim strongly even while carrying a large game bird.
That makes the Doodle perfect for hunting waterfowl.
Hypoallergenic Double Coat
Doodles are typically light-shedders, a quality that makes these dogs somewhat hypoallergenic. That’s excellent news for you if you have a slight pet allergy! That said, all Goldendoodles have a double coat, which helps to keep the dog insulated and dry when swimming in cold water or out hunting during inclement winter weather.
Depending on the generation of Goldendoodle you choose, the dog’s dense coat can be tightly curled, helping to protect the dog from thick undergrowth and brambles when flushing or retrieving prey that’s gone to ground. If you need a dog with that kind of protection, choose a generation with plenty of Poodle genes in the mix.
Of course, you also have the option to clip your Goldendoodle if you want to keep the coat shorter and easier to keep clean. Remember that those tight curls can be a magnet for leaves, thorns, and mud, so you will need to brush your Doodle every day to prevent matting.
Unlike more traditional hunting dog breeds, such as Labrador retrievers and Springer spaniels, Goldendoodles come in various sizes. So, if you want a larger, heavier dog for hunting big game animals or a smaller, more agile dog for getting into tight spaces to retrieve shot smaller prey, there’s a Doodle of the perfect size to suit your needs.
I hope you found our guide to Goldendoodles as hunting dogs interesting and helpful. Don’t forget; caring is sharing!
So, you can see that Goldendoodles have become popular hunting dogs that can also live as loyal, affectionate, and loving members of the family. The Goldendoodle’s intelligence, trainability, strong prey drive, and natural hunting instinct all combine to make this versatile breed a great choice for you if you’re looking for a four-legged hunting companion.
Do you hunt with your Goldendoodle? Tell us what makes your dog such an excellent hunting companion in the comments box below.