What to seek in a hunting hound
Humans and dogs have been hunting together since the first canine domestication times. It began as a symbiotic relationship for both species where each one took benefits from their counterpart, combining the skills from both sides to succeed in the hunt and assure survival.
It didn't take too long for this "business relationship" to turn into a more personal one and dogs became not only hunting partners but humans' best friends.
Along the time, due to selective crosses, those first dogs accompanying the paleolithic men evolved into dozen of breeds, each one with its own physical characteristics, psychological profile, and even particular skills, rendering each breed suitable for a particular task.
That's how "specialized dogs" appeared. Some of them became shepherds, other guard and military dogs, different breeds were raised to become service dogs and many others became hunting dogs.
Due to their instincts, practically all dogs have a little hunter inside them, but not all of them count with the physical endurance and body characteristics required to succeed in a hunting expedition.
That's why despite of all them being natural hunters, only a bunch of breed is raised to become hunters, even when that does not imply they can't serve on other tasks like company or guard.
But, what does a dog have to become an excellent hunter?
Here you will find what to look for when you want to have a dog as part of your hunting pack.
The most important thing is a well-developed of their prey drive. This will assure a natural movement toward hunting without external motivation.
On the other hand, a hunting dog must have endurance, special athletic capabilities, and be very strong to go through all that's implied in a hunting trail.
Additionally, a good hunting dog must be intelligent enough to get trained and follow orders properly, constructing tie bonds with you due to the amazing job done together by the team hunter-dog.
Regarding size and shape, it will depend mostly on what type of hunting you will perform with your hounds, on this regard, there are two main categories, Gun Dogs and Scent Hounds.
Gun Dogs, called also Bird Dogs tend to be midsized hounds intended for waterfowl and small game hunting. Their main task is to locate the prey, force it out to the open field and retrieve the quarry.
On their side, Scent Hounds are small to midsized, athletic dogs intended to follow a prey trail for several miles making sounds to inform the hunter about their location despite the lack of visual contact. These vigorous animals may perform a non-stop chase for hours until the prey gets cornered.
Specific skills and capabilities will depend also upon individual preferences but certainly, the aforementioned characteristics are essential to find a great hunting dog.