Hunting Dog Breeds (Sporting Group)
Among the various breed groups categorized by the AKC, the Sporting Group certainly holds a special place in the heart of all those outdoorsy folks out there. If you enjoy fishing, camping or hiking, there’s no better companion that these active and energetic dogs who are always ready to spring into action and accompany you on your outings whether in water or field settings. If you enjoy hunting or other field activities, then owning one of these breeds is a must.
A Look Back in History
In English, the term sport was often used to depict hunting as a form of entertainment for the noble and elite classes. The dogs in this category were generally used to hunt birds and small game both upland and inland. Interestingly, hunting dogs in this group were selectively bred for different tasks in which they excelled. We have dogs who specialized in retrieving downed fowl, dogs who flushed birds out of dense brush and dogs who stopped in their tracks to crouch or point in the direction of game.
Who Should Own a Dog from the Sporting Group?
- Those looking for a good family dog. Nowadays, many dogs in the sporting group are popular companions. Their well-rounded personality, gentle nature and receptiveness to training make them great candidates for being good family dogs. According to Animal Planet, it is estimated that Labs and goldens account for nearly one quarter of the over 1 million dogs registered with the American Kennel Club each year. Talk about popularity!
- Those looking for a good hunting companion. Many sporting dogs are still used for their original purpose. Retrievers, spaniels, setters and pointers are ready to accompany you in your favorite field activities. Looking for a versatile hunting dog? Choose an HPR, an acronym used to depict versatile hunting dogs meant to Hunt, Point and Retrieve.
- Active, outdoorsy people. These dogs will be more than happy to accompany you on your jogging sessions, hikes on rugged terrain and camping adventures. Many of these dogs are blessed with water-proof coats meant to protect them from all types of weather conditions and brush.
- Those who love training dogs. Many dogs in this group are highly biddable and eager to please. For a good reason, you’ll often see them employed as service dogs for the disabled, therapy dogs to cheer up patients in hospitals or even bomb sniffing dogs for law enforcement agencies.
If you are thinking about adding a sporting dog to your household, take a look at our post about top hunting dog breeds. It’s unfortunate that the popularity of many of these dogs has created a wealth of unscrupulous breeders who don’t screen their breeding stock for health and behavioral issues. This leads to many of these dogs developing congenital issues and the risk for being surrendered or re-homed due to unsound temperaments. And let’s not forget those strong needs for a daily dose of invigorating exercise! If you’re up for the task, these dogs are the perfect match for you.