Sporting Dog Breeds

Dogs from the sporting dog breeds in addition to their use in hunting waterfowl and game birds, are very popular companion dogs. In fact, they include some of the top dogs chosen by families.

American Brittany dogAmerican Brittany by Pharaoh Hound

Although often referred to as "gun dogs" used for locating, flushing and retrieving game in the field, the dogs from this group were used in relation to hunting long before guns were invented.

They are considered very intelligent and easy to train. In fact their intelligence makes them good candidates for assistance training or as sniffer dogs.

Sporting Dog Breeds - Pointers and Setters

Locating the game is mainly the role of pointers and setters in the hunting dog breeds. Once located, pointers will on command flush out the game causing them to fly up into the air.

Setters on the other hand, "set" down or lie low in front of discovered game to reveal their location to the hunter as well as prevent their escape.


It is mostly the larger, stronger sporting dog breeds, such as Flat Coated Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers or the Spinonis, that take care of the retrieving once the game has fallen to the ground.

With their excellent sense of smell, they have no trouble locating the game in all kinds of terrain.

Their webbed feet and waterproof coat make them also very effective retrievers in the water.


The Spaniel dog breeds in this group also have keen scenting abilities. They work well in areas that are swampy and in dense bushy terrain.

They are capable of flushing and retrieving and some have been developed to excel around water. They also have excellent endurance.

Sporting dog breeds are of high energy and stamina. They love the outdoors and will be very grateful if you give them plenty of vigorous exercise.

Sporting Dogs - The Breeds

Now that you know more about the functions of the individual sporting dogs, check out what they look like in the images below. Click on any of the dogs to learn more details.

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