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Search and pointing dogs

Originally, i.e. in the early Middle Ages, scavenger dogs were companions when hunting with birds of prey. They had the task of rousing the feathered game so that the hunting bird, falcon or hawk, could then strike it. The search dogs were often spaniel-like. In Great Britain, there are still a large number of highly specialized spaniel breeds that independently search confusing terrain for game and drive it to the hunter with a track, i.e. barking.

The pointing dogs were developed for completely different hunting conditions. They track down furred and feathered games, but then only indicate it. They assume a pose typical of the breed – standing forward, usually, one foreleg raised and flexed. When the hunter gets close enough, good pointers jump up on command, the game flies up or flees, and the hunter fires. But the dog has to behave very calmly again, sit or lie down.

In Germany, all-rounders were bred that, in addition to rummaging and pointing, also search, fetch and even show manliness.

Some of these breeds are almost exclusively in the hands of hunters and would hardly be suitable as family dogs due to their still very strong passion for hunting. They have a great need to run and want to be busy, but they are not very aggressive and very intelligent and willing to learn.

Popular breeds of scavenger dogs and pointers are the German Wirehaired Pointer, Cocker Spaniel, German Shorthaired Pointer, Small Munsterlander, and German Wachtelhund.


Based on old representations, it can be stated that greyhounds have accompanied humans for a very long time. Early on, people used them specifically for independent hunting of fleeing games such as deer, roe deer, etc. Greyhounds do not hunt by their noses, but by their eyes.

In order for the greyhounds to be able to fulfill their purpose and still be able to do so in some regions of the world, particular attention was paid to speed when selecting the breed. The pronounced hunting instinct and the enormous speed are also what cause problems for greyhound owners today.

If you live in the city, there are hardly any opportunities to create species-appropriate housing conditions for greyhounds because they have a strong need for exercise. Visits to the racetrack or coursings or at least running on the bike should then replace the freewheel. Even in rural areas, in game-rich areas, it is not always possible to let greyhounds run free, because they often have retained their original independence and stray far from their owner – very dangerous not only because of prohibited hunting, but also because of the ubiquitous Cars.

What makes them so pleasant as companions is, among other things, the less aggressive nature of most sighthound breeds. Most hardly bark and are easy to keep indoors. Sensitive, too, to their owners’ moods, they can make good housemates.

Despite these characteristics, which are more or less present in most sighthounds, there are of course also considerable differences between the individual breeds, which are not only noticeable in size.

The most popular greyhound breeds include the Irish Wolfhound, Whippet, Borzoi, Afghan Hound, and Saluki.

Running and sweat dogs

In the past, large packs of hounds were used to hunt deer and wild boar, and more rarely to hunt foxes. The hounds experienced their heyday in large packs in par force hunting in France before the revolution. Entire breeds were lost in the turmoil of the Revolution, but today par force hunting is very popular again in France. In England, too, the controversial fox hunts with foxhounds still take place, despite violent protests from animal rights activists. In Germany, chasing game is forbidden, in so-called drag hunts, and equestrian events, the hounds follow an artificial trail.

In contrast to greyhounds, hounds hunt loudly, i.e. by barking, and thus drive the game in front of them.

Bloodhounds, so to speak a subdivision of the scent hounds, were bred to look for wounded game (“to weld” means “to bleed” in the hunter’s language), and their noses are correspondingly good.

Lauhund and scent hounds are friendly animals but have retained their passion for running and chasing to a large extent, which can make keeping and species-appropriate employment in the family, without hunting guidance, problematic for some breeds that are not listed here. The five most popular breeds in this group are the Beagle, Basset Hound, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, Alpine Dachsbracke, and Bavarian Mountain Hound.

The hounds and scent hounds also include the dachshunds, i.e. the popular dachshunds or dachshunds. They are descended from short-legged Bracken and have meanwhile gained a special position as family dogs in addition to being used for hunting.

Also known are the Rhodesian Ridgebacks and the Dalmatians, which belong to “related breeds”.


The retrievers or retrievers are used to bring the hunted game to the hunter. Here, too, as with the search dogs, there are specialists for different types of terrain and fields and for the water.

Because retrievers need less hunting instinct for their work than a good nose and reliability when retrieving the game they have killed, and because they neither hunt independently nor follow tracks, they are probably the most suitable of the hunting dog breeds as family and companion dogs. They are easy to train and willing to learn and are therefore also ideal as working dogs, e.g. as guide dogs or – quite new – also as service dogs.

Popular and well-known retrievers are the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever, less common are the Flat Coated Retriever and the Curly Coated Retriever.


Types of Dog Breeds: Hunting Dog Breeds (Part 1) 9

Good-natured, smart, and always ready for adventures together: a Barbet combines many positive character traits that make it the ideal companion dog. However, dog lovers should not underestimate the fact that they need a wide variety of activities in order to be balanced.

Fluffy eye-catcher

With a height of up to 65 cm in males – the size of females is between 53 and 61 cm – and the stately curly head, the Barbet is, according to the standard, a medium-sized dog with a compact build. The low set ears hang down, as does the tail. Its long fur is curly and sometimes forms cords – in summer it is usually shaved. The dog has a small fur beard under the chin and a “mustache” over the nose, hence the name “Barbet”, in English “bearded”. The coat can be black, gray, fawn, brown, sand-colored or white, with the majority being monochromatic, but there are also piebald barbets.

Peasant Dog of the French Coasts

The roots of this water dog reach as far as Africa: from here it was probably brought to France with the Arabs, where since the Middle Ages dogs similar to today’s Barbet were companions of the farmers on the French coasts. Here they looked after the house and yard and were reliable companions for the “common people” when hunting, while other hunting dogs were reserved for the nobility. In particular, this “water dog” – as many similar dogs were called from the 16th century onwards – hunted ducks and swans. Gradually, the term “Barbet” for this type of dog became established throughout Europe and was at times a generic term for all water-hunting helpers with wavy hair. Towards the end of the 19th century, the French ancestors of today’s barbet were considered almost extinct, only a few farmers or poachers kept the curly four-legged friends. Due to its friendly nature, however, the barbet experienced an upswing again from the 1970s, so that today there is a stable population. Even today, the French water dog is kept both as a hunter when hunting waterfowl and as a family dog. Even if the Barbet is a four-legged friend that is rarely encountered, its influence on the dog world is great: the breed was significantly involved in the emergence of hunting dogs such as Irish Water Spaniels or Pudelpointers. The Briard probably comes from a cross between Barbet and Picard. Whether the poodle is descended from the barbet has not been clearly proven.

Sympathetic family member

Anyone who uses this clever curly head properly will find him a pleasant and versatile four-legged companion. An all-round friendly, even-tempered dog, the Barbet is sociable and blends in beautifully with an active family. Here he is always ready for new adventures, but at the same time he does not let himself be disturbed. He is always loyal to those he cares about, but tends to be reserved towards strangers. The barbet will show anything unusual without tending to bark.

Barbet education

The breed is curious and likes to learn – the best conditions for an uncomplicated upbringing. However, since the four-legged friend is also very sensitive and clever, he quickly recognizes even the smallest loophole in the form of inconsistency. So stand your ground, even if your barbet lets the charm of his dachshund look work on you – a “no” should also remain a “no”. Positive reinforcement and varied training are the best ways to ensure success with this sensitive dog. Take your Barbet to a puppy play session to introduce them to fellow dogs of different sizes and personality traits. Friendships for life can often be made here. Visiting the dog school not only helps beginners in dog training to playfully teach the little dogs the basics of basic obedience. Even experienced dog owners benefit from the refresher, which is also good for the socialization of your companion.

Health risks

The increasing demand over the last few years has meant that more and more barbets from dubious “breeds” are being offered. Remember: Choosing a responsible breeder is the optimal basis for a long, healthy dog ​​life. Breeders should only breed from animals that have been proven to have been tested for hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia – feel free to have those results shown to you in writing. Of course, a healthy body weight and appropriate exercise also contribute to fit joints. In some lines, the Barbet has a genetic disposition for epilepsy and for a misalignment of the eyelid (entropion). Reputable breeders trace the pedigrees back several generations and choose their breeding animals not only according to type and character, but also according to the healthy ancestors. As with many water dogs, the Barbet is at increased risk of ear infection – but this can be counteracted with appropriate attention and care. A fit barbet is very resilient and robust – whether in cold water or on land. However, he does not tolerate heat well, which is why he is better clipped in summer. The breed reaches an average age of 13 to 15 years.

Barbet diet

Give your barbet a dog-friendly diet – that means lots of meat in the bowl! Regardless of whether you choose dry or wet food, meat should be the first item on the declaration. It is best to give the puppy the same food that you already know from the breeder’s household, even if you want to change your diet later. Once he has settled in, you can gradually mix a little more of the unfamiliar food into the familiar one every day. This is how you avoid hypersensitivity reactions. This method has also proven itself for many adult four-legged friends. When it comes to treats, use sensible rewards such as dried meat snacks or special dental care treats for dogs. As with the main food, the following applies to the additional snacks: avoid grain and sugar, because neither has any place in high-quality dog ​​food. Treat your four-legged friend to dog chewing bones or dry chews such as tripe from time to time, because these are a real treat for him to chew on. With a medium-sized four-legged friend like the barbet, it is important to let it rest after meals to prevent life-threatening stomach torsion. That’s why the following applies: Food is best after the excursions and before a cozy nap. Despite the lush coat, keep an eye on your barbet’s waist – if you’re unsure, weigh him every few weeks to be able to counteract obesity in good time. This usually succeeds without diet food – instead rely on adapted rations and more exercise. Remember that drinking water should always be freely available to your barbet.

Activities for all-rounders

In principle, the Barbet is still suitable for hunting today – for example as a loser in water hunting, but also as a talented pointing dog or for welding work. However, you can easily keep your Barbet purely as a companion dog if you keep him busy elsewhere. The versatile four-legged friend is well suited for any form of nose work such as search games or mantrailing, for dog sports such as agility and of course as a companion on long hikes or jogging. Make sure that you always adapt sporting activities to the training condition of your four-legged friend – you should only train to a limited extent, especially with young dogs. The smart and sensitive four-legged friend is not only enthusiastic about hunting and sports: he also proves his diverse talents as a guide dog or therapy dog.

Is a beard right for me?

This smart companion desires an active household and family members with whom they can do lots of things. Of course he’s not a dog for couch potatoes! So plan several hours a day for activities with your Barbet. The friendly breed is good with families and can make a wonderful companion for children who have been trained to treat animals with respect. The Barbet can also make friends with cats – for this he should have already made acquaintance with velvet paws as a puppy.

Despite the lush coat of fur, you will hardly find anything of her in your apartment, because the barbet does not shed or only its undercoat sheds slightly. However, you can solve this by brushing regularly so that it does not spread in your four walls. However, this does not mean a free ticket for allergy sufferers: If there is a possibility of an animal hair allergy, always check with your doctor beforehand whether you are allergic to dogs and, if in doubt, talk to him about the possibilities. Since some allergy sufferers do not react to barbets, it is advisable to spend plenty of time with representatives of the breed beforehand.

A barbet can be kept well by beginners, but they should then go to the dog school together with their four-legged friend. Although he is not suitable for a small apartment because of his size alone, he can also become a city dog ​​in appropriate living space. Then go on trips in parks or outside of the city as often as possible to offer your companion green variety. In general, you should not leave this people-oriented and social four-legged friend alone for too long. Tip: Before you move in, plan where your new animal roommate will be staying during the holiday period – you might want to take them with you too? Thanks to numerous dog-friendly hotels, there’s nothing wrong with a hiking holiday in temperate climates with a well-behaved barbet – but there’s plenty for it!

Bracco Italiano

Types of Dog Breeds: Hunting Dog Breeds (Part 1) 10

Granted, at first glance the Bracco Italiano might seem lame and goofy, but it most certainly isn’t. He may not be the fastest, but he is a powerhouse, a persistent dog who thinks for himself. The Bracco Italiano is ideally suited for its tasks as a helper in the hunt, as a pointing and retriever. The Bracco Italiano is listed by the FCI under number 202 in FCI Group 7: Pointers, FCI Section 1: Continental Pointers. It is also known by the names Italian Hound and Italian Pointer.

Origin and breed history

The history of Bracco Italiano goes back to ancient times. Even Xenophon, a student of Socrates, described the dog breed. The hunters of antiquity wanted to breed a breed of dog that was particularly well suited for hunting poultry. The Bracco Italiano can be proven in Italy as early as the 5th century BC and is a cross between the powerful Molosser and Arabian and African greyhounds. Hunting dogs that correspond to today’s Bracco Italiano have been described again and again over the centuries.

Two forms were known in the 18th century: the maroon Bracco Lombardo and the Bracco Piemontese with its orange markings. The Bracco Lombardo was bred for hunting in Lombardy. With his sweeping, trotting gait, he was perfectly made for hunting in the forests of Lombardy. The Bracco Piemontese, on the other hand, found their feet in the hills and mountains of Piedmont with their sure-footedness. Breeders began crossing these two breeds. This resulted in today’s form of Bracco Italiano. He was still known almost only in Italy.

In the 1930s, breeders of the Bracco Italiano joined together to form the Società Amatori Bracco Italiano, S.A.B.I. for short, to form the community of lovers of the Bracco Italiano, the breeding association for the Bracco Italiano. After the Second World War, the Bracci Italiani, as the Italian pointers are commonly called, almost died out, like many other dog breeds. However, committed breeders rebuilt the breed and on February 19, 1949, the ENCI, the Italian Purebred Dog Association, defined the breed standards that are still valid today and were recognized by the FCI.

Today, the Bracco Italiano is known far beyond the borders of Italy and is enjoying increasing popularity. The imposing hunting dog is also becoming increasingly popular in Germany.

Essence & Temperament of the Bracco Italiano

The Bracco Italiano is considered a gentle giant who is said to have a great sense of humor. He is people-related like hardly any other dog. He would probably prefer to be the shadow of his human, who never leaves his side. He is a calm, balanced fellow and is considered good-natured. But you shouldn’t underestimate him either, because he doesn’t put up with everything. Although it is considered child-friendly, it should never be left alone with a small child. Because with its 30 to 40 kilograms, it can quickly become dangerous if it gains respect. Basically, however, he is a very sensitive dog that senses vibrations very precisely and recognizes exactly whether his opponent means well or badly with him and reacts accordingly.

He is generally open to strangers if they seem friendly to him. The Bracco Italiano is often said to be a poor guard dog and will greet burglars with a wag of its tail. Especially if the burglar bribes him with food, because the Bracco Italiano really appreciates a good meal. Whether this is true depends on the individual dog. Not every Bracco Italiano is like the other. But what is certain is that he would defend his human to the death if it were necessary. At the latest when he or his human is attacked, the sluggishness and good nature is over and the Bracco Italiano shows its strength.

He is also not always as friendly with fellow dogs as he is often said to be. Outside of his territory, he doesn’t really care about other dogs as long as they don’t challenge his rank and bully him. But he will not tolerate any competition in his territory. Despite all this, he is willing to learn and intelligent. He learns quickly and never forgets, for better or for worse. And he is a dog who thinks along and wants to understand why he should carry out an instruction.

The appearance of the Bracco Italiano

Descended from the Molossians, the Bracco Italiano is related to Bull Terriers, Mastiffs, Boxers and other strong, muscular dogs. You can tell by looking at him. With its broad chest, it has little in common in appearance with the slender hunting dogs of other breeds. With a height at the withers of up to 67 centimetres, the Bracci Italiani is one of the larger dog breeds.

The fur is short and dense. It is lustrous silky white, white with orange or tan spots, white with orange speckles, or maroon with white spots. The hound has strong, prominent muscles, a distinctive skull with a long muzzle, floppy ears and prominent cheeks. Males are between 58 and 67 centimeters tall and weigh up to 40 kilograms. Bitches are a bit more delicate and are between 55 and 62 centimeters tall.

Is the Bracco Italiano right for me?

A Bracco Italiano is best kept in the countryside, where they can be exercised and walked for hours. He will not feel comfortable in the cramped city, especially since his height does not make him suitable for a small city apartment, even if in his home he prefers to lie still on his blanket. The Bracco Italiano also needs its people. He is not suitable for kennel keeping, nor does he fit into a family where everyone works and he has to be left alone for hours. If you take a Bracco Italiano into your family, you have to have a lot of time for him and the training with him.

His new person should not be a beginner either, otherwise, he will quickly be overwhelmed with the upbringing. But when the Bracco Italiano has found a family where it can be active and is kept busy, then it is an excellent family dog that also gets along well with the children.

Braque D’Auvergne

Types of Dog Breeds: Hunting Dog Breeds (Part 1) 11

The Braque d`Auvergne is a very old French hunting dog breed. Even if the name identifies it as a hound, the Braque d`Auvergne does not belong to the hounds and hunt dogs, but is counted among the pointing dogs and used as such. The FCI therefore leads the breed standard under number 180 in Group 7: Pointers, Section 1.1: Type Continental Pointers, with working test.

Origin and breed history

The Braque d`Auvergne is a very old breed and comes from the Auvergne, a mountainous region in central France, which mainly extends over the Massif Central with its mountains up to 1000 meters high and dormant volcanoes. Dogs of this type were used here more than 300 years ago, mainly for hunting birds. Since breeding was carried out in its pure form and no foreign breeds were crossed, the Braque d’Auvergne can look back on a very long breed history. The international recognition by the FCI took place in 1955.

Although the name “Braque” is translated as Bracke in German, the French Braques do not belong to the hounds and hounds that are usually grouped together under this umbrella term. In terms of their overall appearance and their suitability for hunting, they are much more likely to be classified as short-haired pointing dogs. In English, the breed is therefore also known as the Auvergne Pointer. Unlike the Hounds, who independently search large areas, ferreting out game and barking loudly at the shooter, these fairly large and calm dogs will indicate the presence of game birds by standing still, forelegs raised, and gazing in the bird’s direction. On the instructions of the hunter, they then scare him away so that the human can shoot. After the shot, they then fetch the dead game, even out of the water.

Outside of its area of ​​origin, the Braque d’Auvergne is not very common. In Germany, the breed has so far hardly been able to assert itself against the local pointing dog breeds, although it also has the qualities of a very affectionate family dog.

Essence & Temperament of the Braque d`Auvergne

This very calm and gentle dog with the fine nose is extremely affectionate and cuddly towards his family. A Braque d’Auvergne also likes to show its close bond with its people through physical contact, be it when greeting them after short separations or simply after the day’s activities, when peace returns at home and the dog and master go over to the cozy part. The dog would then love to snuggle up on the sofa or even in bed with you. Therefore, this dog does not like long phases of being alone, even on vacation he would like to be with you as much as possible. In fact, a Braque d’Auvergne is also suitable for travel, as it can always adapt to the given situation.

Due to its intelligence and alertness, the Braque d’Auvergne is easy to train. He is very active and, if he is not being hunted, can also be used very well for sport. He loves children very much and is willing to let them encourage him to play. Above all, retrieval games can be played very persistently with this breed. His very philanthropic nature also makes him warmly welcome every visitor, which makes him rather unsuitable as a watchdog.

Since the Braque d`Auvergne only indicates the game in its hunting area, but does not actively drive or even attack it, it lacks the sharpness of a terrier as a predator. Therefore, these dogs are also very good to socialize with conspecifics or other animals that also belong to the household, as long as they are carefully and cautiously used to them.

Appearance of Braque d’Auvergne

The elegant, powerfully built dog reaches an impressive size of up to 63 centimeters. The ideal height for bitches is 56 cm, for males 60 cm. Depending on the size, the body weight is between 23 and 30 kilograms. The body length is about shoulder height and the head with the relatively long floppy ears corresponds to the “characteristic pointing dog type” according to the breed standard: strong lips, long muzzle, black nose, oval skull, large, dark eyes with an expressive look.

The tail is relatively long and tapers towards the tip. In the home country of France, the tail of this breed is still often docked to a length of about 15 centimetres, which fortunately is forbidden in Germany. In action the dog carries the tail horizontally and never over the back. The long legs of this persistent dog show an elegant, light-footed and expansive gait.

The Braque d’Auvergne’s coat is very short and fine, shiny and without an undercoat. The basic color is white with black markings and spots, but there are also so-called gray molds with black markings. The head should be extensively black with a white blaze. Completely black or white dogs are not desired and will be excluded from breeding.

Is the Braque d’Auvergne right for me?

The Braque d`Auvergne breed is still relatively unknown in Germany and there are only a handful of breeders dedicated to this dog. Therefore, if you want to have such a dog, you have to expect longer waiting times until a new litter of puppies is ready for delivery. You should use this time sensibly by informing yourself in detail about this breed and familiarizing yourself with its housing requirements.

Of course, before getting a dog, there are always a few questions that you have to clarify for yourself:

  • Do you have enough time to spend a lot of time with your dog and to exercise him enough according to his needs? The dog breed needs active owners!
  • Is your living situation suitable for a dog of this size and with this need for exercise? Ideally, you have a house in the garden!
  • Who can take care of your dog if it is not possible for you? And remember: A Braque d’Auvergne prefers to be with its people and suffers if it is put in an animal boarding house on vacation, for example!

If you have all the requirements to keep this beautiful and noble hunting dog according to its needs, you will find in it a loyal and cuddly companion, regardless of whether it should accompany you as a family dog ​​that loves children, as a reliable hunting helper or simply as a four-legged friend in all situations.

Due to the hunting instinct and the high level of activity, this breed of dog is less suitable for beginners and seniors.


Types of Dog Breeds: Hunting Dog Breeds (Part 1) 12

Originally from France, the pointing dog Epagneul Breton was already used in hunting in the Middle Ages. The breed is of the spaniel type, but unlike other members of this type, the Epagneul Breton are not scavenger dogs. This dog breed is less suitable for a life as a family dog, because its pronounced urge to move and will to be busy messes up every family plan.

The similarity to other hunting dog breeds cannot be denied. And yet the Breton has some unmistakable characteristics. Its high-set triangular floppy ears and long coat, unusual for hunting dogs, make it stand out from the crowd. With a size of up to 52 cm, the medium-sized pointing dog is one of the smallest breeds of its kind. The wavy and fine fur comes in the following color variations: white/red, white/black, white/brown, or tricolore. The tail is set high, but many Epagneuls are born without a tail (anuria).

Intelligent Alertness

The Epagneul Breton is a very intelligent and active dog. With a good upbringing and extensive socialization, this breed will be able to find its place in people’s everyday lives. He is focused and conscientious, allowing him to quickly and accurately carry out his owner’s commands. The dog wants and needs to be kept busy – if this is not done, the dog’s frustration will increase. This usually manifests itself in barking and more aggressive behavior. The animal is very human-related and needs close contact with its owner.

The Epagneul Breton has a gentle and playful demeanor, but due to its high level of alertness, it tends to bark at intruders into its territory. Due to its high level of intelligence, it is considered an easy dog ​​to train if the bond between dog and owner is intact. Note his pronounced hunting instinct, which you should definitely take into account. This works best when hunting, or at least in a dog school that specializes in hunting dogs.

The Lost Bringer – use in the hunt

The Epagneul Breton has its hunting origins in falconry hunting. Today it is used as a versatile pointer when hunting small games. Even in difficult conditions, his work after the shot is excellent. Thanks to his fine nose, which predestines him for welding work, he is considered a reliable bringer of loss.

Humans yes, dogs no

Thanks to its high level of intelligence and a good nose, the Epagneul Breton is made for hunting. He needs close contact with humans when living together and does not seek proximity to other dogs. As a family dog, he is a challenge because of his high need for exercise and activity. In order to avoid frustration in humans and dogs, it should be carefully considered in advance whether this breed suits you.