If you’ve been itching to get yourself a hunting dog, but either you, or someone in your household is allergic, fear not! There are actually quite a few hypoallergenic dogs that would make fantastic hunting companions.
Please note that we have extended this list to include hunting dogs that don’t shed and hunting dogs that are low shed. Why? Well, there are different degrees of allergies, and some people can tolerate owning a low shed dog with proper grooming and feeding.
You should, however, make sure that breed will work for you before committing. Keep in mind that most good breeders not only are willing to accept the return of their dogs if there is an issue, but they even prefer it to happen. If you do wind up with a dog that you, unfortunately, are still allergic to, make sure to call them and talk about it.
Hypoallergenic (hunting dogs that don’t shed)
The dog breeds in this section are rated as “hypoallergenic”. This means that they have coats that don’t shed and they produce much less dander than average.
You’ll likely get a lot of opinions on these dogs, particularly from people who are reluctant to believe that alternative dog breeds can be used for tracking.
The truth is, many hunters claim that their Vizla is an excellent tracker, and does very well in the field.
However, the Wirehaired Vizla is actually a great all around hunting dog, and they will likely excel at whatever task you throw at them. This includes acting as a companion in the home as well. These dogs are calm, loving, and friendly, and they make excellent family dogs when not on the hunt.
Unfortunately, this means that they likely won’t perform well as a guard dog due to their friendliness. Though they will bark their heads off if an intruder comes in the yard, making them a solid watch dog.
The Mountain Cur is a courageous dog that has excellent treeing instincts. Despite their smaller size, they are not afraid to jump into the fray.
They’re also very intelligent, and eager to please their masters in whatever task is at hand from treeing, trailing, and baying any game from the size of a raccoon to wild boars, and even bears!
However, raising and training them can be a bit of a challenge. While they are fantastic dogs, they are also strong willed. It will take patience, knowledge, and probably a bit of experience in dog training to make a good hunting companion out of them.
This pup can also double as a good guard dog. While they are dedicated to their family, they’re distrusting of strangers and very protective!
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Known as one of the best gun dogs around, this pooch is dedicated to his trade. They’re an all-around hunting powerhouse, and this dog will be happy to join you in your upland hunts as a pointer, or leaping into the water to retrieve water fowl for you.
These dogs can even be trained to track wounded deer though if you’re into bigger game. While it’s easy to underestimate them based on their looks, this dog breed is an exceptional tracker, and they are often utilized by volunteer search and rescue teams to locate people lost in the woods.
Another positive to this breed is that most of the breeders are also hunters themselves. So, unlike other dogs who are “showy” and have had most of their hunting instinct bred out of them, it’s easy to find good lineage when you add a Griff to your family!
These sweet and lovable dogs may seem goofy, but they’re actually top-notch bird dogs and retrievers!
They’re obedient, easy to train, excellent family dogs, and their coat doesn’t throw off hair everywhere like other dog breeds, making them a good bet for allergy sufferers.
These water dogs love to swim, and they’re athletic and strong.
However, this is actually one of the newest breeds accepted by the AKC, and as such, it may be a bit tough to find a breeder.
Originally introduced in 1994, the Kennel Club estimates there are only about 500 of these dogs in the US.
While this lovely pooch is most often associated with racing, the truth is that their lineage stems from hunting!
These dogs have a voracious appetite for adventure, and they easily pick up the art of scent trailing, making them exceptional trackers!
That is, if you take the time to train them, as Greyhounds are frequently trained to follow human scent and find lost articles. Teaching them to follow anything else will also prove to be an easy task.
The greyhound is also very fast and exceptionally prey driven. They are happy to take off into the woods and chase down hare, foxes, deer, and even coyotes, believe it or not!
Greyhounds require tons of exercise, and a lot of attention though. So, make sure that you’re ready to work with them regularly and have a dog that demands to be constantly at your side, both in the field and at home.
Plus, thanks to their unique coat, and the fact that they just don’t shed very much they’re a great dog for allergy sufferers. Most people who experience allergy symptoms from other dogs do great with greyhounds!
The Airedale is a 3-in-1 hunter, perfectly capable of taking on upland game birds, waterfowl, and fur hunts.
These courageous dogs are enthusiastic about hunting, and they won’t stray from your side on the trail of game.
They’re excellent at scent tracking, and helpful for flushing out game, and for retrieving your kills.
Keep in mind though that these dogs are rambunctious. They require heavy exercise, else they can become bored and destructive.
This is, obviously, not a problem for a working dog, but if your hunting is infrequent, you’d best have some exercise routines planned in your down time!
This fantastic pooch is not only a fabulous gun dog, but he’s also a great family dog!
So, if you’re looking for a new best friend who will be as at home in your living room as he will be in the field, look no further.
While the name makes it sound like a “designer dog”, don’t be fooled! This canine comes from solid hunting lineage, and their hunting instincts have not been bred out of them.
They excel at both water fowl and upland hunting. However, they are also happy to participate in hunting rabbits, and even big game. The Pudelpointer can easily be taught to track, and are easy to train.
Portugese Water Dog
The Portugese Water dog is a a less common breed, but they have a lot of merits. Originally, this fine canine accompanied fishermen, retrieving nets, and tackle for them.
These dogs were even trained to herd fish into the fishermen’s waiting nets!
However, they also excel in other areas, and they make excellent duck dogs thanks to their water repellent coats and fantastic work ethic.
This handsome pup can also pull double duty for your home, as they are also excellent watch dogs.
They are protective, but not overly aggressive, and they will be quick to alert you of strangers that might be invading your yard or home. Though, due to their smaller size, they aren’t quite “guard dog” material.
While most people see the Poodle as a “froufrou” dog, because of the fashionable cuts that many people give them, that reputation is not deserved.
These dogs are tough, smart, and they have a longstanding heritage as hunting dogs in Europe.
Across the pond, Poodles have long been used as water retrievers, and they make excellent bird dogs! Their name actually comes from the Germand word “Pundelhund”. “Pundeln” means to splash, and of course, “hund” means dog.
Ironically, even the Poodle’s “fashionable” hair cut was originally intended for hunting, trimming fur in some areas for mobility, and leaving it in other areas to keep them warm in frigid waters whilst hunting.
The best part, of course, though is the fact that Poodles have a “non-shedding” coat. This means that they release a lot less pet dander than other dogs would, and thanks to this they’ve also become a favorite of dog lovers who are cursed with allergies. They’re one of the number one choices when it comes to hypoallergenic dogs for a reason.
This dog breed is not well known to many people, and due to their small size they’d likely be overlooked as a hunting dog. This is certainly a mistake, because these dogs were born to hunt!
Originally from the Congo, the Basenji was bred and trained to flush animals out of hiding and into hunters nets, and even to control rat populations.
The good news is that they can still perform these tasks for you if you take the time to train them. However, you should be aware that a Basenji is not recommended for a beginner dog owner.
While they are incredibly smart, they are also stubborn as a mule, and you’ll need to work harder to train them. Keep this in in mind before you get one, as it’s the reason that many of them end up in shelters when new pet owners realize that they’re in over their heads!
On the plus side, the Basenji is an incredibly clean dog, and they have mannerisms that some people would even describe as cat-like, such as grooming themselves. They also are hypoallergenic, and will produce much less dander than many other dog breeds.
PS. As a bonus, here’s an interesting PDF I found from the 70’s about training Basenjis to be hunting and bird dogs! Pretty cool.
Low Shed Hunting Dogs (Dogs that shed less)
The dog breeds in this section are low shedding hunting dogs. While they do shed, it is much less than many other breeds.
This can be further reduced with grooming and a high-quality diet. If your allergy is not severe, then you may be able to use one of these breeds for hunting.
American Water Spaniel
The American Water Spaniel is a great all-around hunting dog.
These dogs love the water, and they’ll be happy to leap from the boat to retrieve birds for you, or chase game.
Their appetite for the hunt is voracious, and they make fantastic companions for hunting ducks, geese, and upland game.
As another bonus, the breed is exceptionally healthy. They lack many of the persistent health issues that plague other breeds like retrievers, or larger dogs who often have difficulty with their hips and joins later in life. That means less vet visits, and a healthy, long-lived companion. They also have surprising stamina for their size, and they’ll be prepared to hunt all day.
These dogs are also a convenient size. Coming in at 25-45 pounds, depending on their gender, they fit comfortably in smaller boats. Plus, they won’t be a problem for renters, or even on your insurance premiums, which can go up with some large breeds.
Specifically bred to go after big game, this formidable canine is most often used as a catch dog.
Muscular and tough as nails, this dog was intended to be a wild boar hunter and fierce protector of their humans.
However, this dog is also trained to hunt and tree mountain lions!
Like most large and strong dogs, training the Dogo Argentino is not for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of hard work and a strong hand.
So, if this is your first hunting dog, then you’d be better off to start with a breed that will be a little more forgiving and a lot easier to control.
Though for the more experienced dog handler, this breed is a fierce, powerful, and loyal companion who loves to hunt!
German Wirehaired Pointer
Affectionate, eager, and enthusiastic are traits which best describe this loyal pup.
These dogs are robust, and thanks to their weatherproof coat, they’re also ready to take on a variety of climates as your number one gun dog.
However, this dog is intelligent and has an independent nature, which could make them a bit of a challenge for an inexperienced dog owner.
Still, this breed is an excellent choice for the avid outdoors-man that is prepared to give this canine the attention, training, and exercise it deserves.
This dog’s interesting coat was originally bred into them as a way to protect them from thick overgrowth and thorns, water, and cold weather.
Fortunately for us though, this also translates to a coat which is easy to manager, and sheds only lightly, making them a decent choice for those who are allergic to other hunting dog breeds.
If you need an excellent scent hound, then this dog can fit the bill.
While they are not classified as “hypoallergenic”, they are a low shedding breed, which some allergy sufferers can tolerate.
With good nutrition, focusing coat health, and regular brushing, you can reduce the amount of dander produced a great deal.
If you’ve been desperate to find a true hound breed which will accommodate you, then this one is worth a look.
These dogs are energetic, and they just don’t quit. They live to hunt, and they have the stamina to keep going on multi-day trips, and the enthusiasm to see the job through.
The Redbone Coonhound is a natural born tracker, and they’ll happily lead you to raccoons, deer, bear, and other game. They are eager to please, but their attention spans can be short, so keeping them engaged in training can be a challenge until they get the hang of things.
The Plott Hound is a large breed dog which was originally bred for hunting bears and boars.
They’re excellent scent trackers, and have been bred for generations for their stamina and strength. It’s also North Carolina’s state dog!
These dogs are smart and capable, and like most other working breeds, they need constant mental stimulation!
A bored dog gets himself into trouble, so make sure that you’re prepared before you adopt one. A regular exercise routine, and games or toys which require problem solving are a good bet.
While these dogs are not considered hypoallergenic, they do shed infrequently. So, if your allergy is not severe one of these handsome pups may be a good fit for you.
The foxhound has an incredible prey drive, and limitless energy. While for a hunter, this makes for an ideal dog, it does not make for happy neighbors.
If you live in close proximity to other houses you should keep in mind that these dogs are not quiet.
However, they are excellent hunters and scent trackers. They are very independent, and while not disobedient per say, they do like to do their own thing, which can confuse and frustrate inexperienced dog owners. So be wary of this before committing to getting one.
If you are up for the challenge though, this formidable little pup will go for hours on end. Spending their time expertly trailing deer, foxes, and anything else you set them after.
Their passion for the hunt is as fierce as yours and it’s why they’ve been used so prominently in various hunting sports for so many years.