Do you enjoy hunting deer but tend to have a hard time when you have to track them down? Several dog breeds were initially bred to be hunting dogs with a keen sense of smell. Hence a dog would be the ideal partner when tracking deer.
Needless to say, not all dog breeds would be as suited to tracking deer as others. Fortunately, we have compiled a list of dogs who would be able to track down deer.
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List Of 16 Best Deer Tracking Dogs
1. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is amongst the most popular dog breeds in the United States. Their ability to excel in different fields as working dogs is exceptional. They have a strong sense of duty and are goal-driven, which are ideal characteristics for a tracking dog.
2. English Springer Spaniel
Known for its impressive agility, the English Springer Spaniel is a breed that is no stranger to track. They are highly versatile and can adapt to various circumstances, and this breed will be the ideal tracker if you intend to track for an extended period.
The Beagle’s nose truly guides them wherever they go. They were initially bred to track game and rabbits by scent, and they are still widely used as tracking dogs today; however, they need to be trained from a young age.
4. Basset Hound
Despite their unusual lazy nature, the Basset Hound has a fantastic sense of smell that the Bloodhound can only rival. Their sense of smell makes them ideal for tracking deer, and their medium size also allows them to navigate through the woods with ease.
5. Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois has the natural potential to excel in various working dog positions. Today, they are generally used as police and military dogs. If they are trained correctly, Belgian Malinois can be excellent tracking dogs.
6. German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer is an energetic and athletic breed that requires frequent vigorous exercise. They excel when frequently given physical and mental challenges, making them ideal for tracking deer.
7. Scottish Deerhound
If you are looking for a breed that has been tracking and hunting deer for ages, then the Scottish Deerhound is what you are looking for. They are large dogs who have impressive stamina and intense prey drive. Although they are pretty fierce, Scottish Deerhounds are also playful and affectionate with their family.
8. Black And Tan Coonhound
The Black and Tan Coonhound is a large and powerful dog breed. They are highly intelligent and passionate, and they are the ideal working dog because of their athletic bodies and responsive nature.
9. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever was initially bred to be a tracking, contraband sniffing, and retrieving dog. Their sense of smell and agility make them ideal for tracking deer. Another point worth noting is that Golden Retrievers are easy to train and highly obedient.
10. Labrador Retriever
Originating from Newfoundland, these popular working dogs are renowned for their versatility and persistence. Labs are large dogs typically between 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall and weigh between 55 to 80 pounds.
11. Great Dane
Great Dane is not considered to be scent hounds. The Great Dane is somewhat of a unique tracker who does not only use their sense of smell to track their prey but instead uses all their senses. They are excellent search and rescue working dogs.
12. Bavarian Mountain Hound
Like the Bloodhound and Basset Hound, the Bavarian Mountain Hound was bred to be a scent dog, and they initially tracked out deer in the mountains of Bavaria. However, the Bavarian Mountain Hound is rare compared to the other two types of Hounds.
As their name suggests, Bloodhounds are renowned for their superior tracking ability, and their scent tracking abilities are rivaled by none. However, due to their adventurous spirit and curiosity, Bloodhounds tend to roam, so they are best suited for leashed tracking.
Despite their size, Dachshunds are promising tracking dogs. They are active dogs that are ideal for tracking down wounded deer, and their size allows them to swiftly and safely move through bushes to get to the wounded deer.
15. Plott Hound
The Plott Hound is a scarce breed, and they are generally not kept as pets but are rather commonly used as hunting dogs in Carolina. They are strong and aggressive trackers who are highly determined and persistent.
16. Blue Lacy
The Blue Lacy was initially bred in 1800. They are adaptable dogs who also possess an endless supply of energy. When the Blue Lacy was being bred, deer tracking was one of the main goals in mind.
Things To Look For In A Deer Tracking Dogs
When tracking deer, you should naturally opt for smaller dogs rather than bigger dogs. Due to the terrain, smaller dogs would be able to navigate and move between thick bushes and shrubs more accessible than larger dogs. Your dog’s size can affect the speed at which they track down deer.
Tracking deer is hard work, and it is pretty physically taxing on your dog, and it requires a significant level of stamina because of the strain it places on your dog’s muscles and mental state.
Your dog is also required to remain focused, and they can only achieve such focus if they are fit enough to perform at such high intensity without being exhausted. To put it into perspective, your dog could be tracking deer for longer than 2 hours, which means that it is more than 2 hours of running and focus.
Your dog needs to have a sense of duty and determination to be able to track deer. Tracking deer can often turn into a task that requires time and patience. If your dog lacks the determination, they may give up after only a few hours instead of sticking to it until they can find the deer.
In order to hunt deer, dogs need to be trained accordingly. They require specific training to ensure they remain task-orientated and respond accordingly to particular commands.
If your dog is not trainable, they may not make good tracking dogs. Your dog needs to be able to track down deer even while they are off their leash. Dogs who are natural trackers generally do not require much training except for specific commands.
Your dog’s ability to smell is crucial when tracking deer. A good nose is a primary requirement for a dog when tracking down deer because that fact can help you differentiate between a good and not-so-good tracking dog.
Things such as focus and stamina can generally be improved, but a good nose is generally a talent that dogs are born with.
As previously mentioned, tracking often drags on for hours, if not days. Your dog should have the attention span to remain focused over the hours or days required to track deer.
If your dog has a short attention span, it may not be suited for deer hunting. Your dog needs to focus on the slightest scents and differentiate between the deer’s scent and that of other wildlife.
Can Any Dog Track A Deer?
No, not any can track deer. Some dogs were initially bred to be tracking and retrieving dogs, so they have an incredible sense of smell, stamina, and physical ability to hunt deer for as long as necessary.
Is It Legal To Track Wounded Deer With A Dog?
It is illegal to use dogs to track wounded deer in some states. Those states include Colorado, Lowa, Washington, Nevada. However, it is legal to track wounded deer with a maximum of two dogs in some of the Texas counties.
How Much Does It Cost To Have A Dog Track A Deer?
The cost of tracking a deer with a dog depends on the tracker and the time. However, you can expect to pay between $150 to $200 to track a deer with a dog.
Do German Shepherds Make Good Deer Tracking Dogs?
Yes, German Shepherds make good deer tracking dogs. German Shepherds are strong and athletic dogs initially bred to be tracking/hunting dogs, so they are in their element when tracking deer.
Can Golden Retrievers Track Deer?
Yes, Golden Retrievers can track deer. Golden Retrievers are calm and patient dogs who can maintain their focus for several hours. When tracking deer for hours, a Golden Retriever would be the ideal assistant.
Are Labs Good For Tracking Deer?
Yes, Labs are suitable for hunting deer. They are wildly used as hunting dogs because of their excellent sense of smell and natural athletic nature. Labs have impressive stamina and focus that allow them to track deer effectively.
Are Beagles Good Deer Tracking Dogs?
As members of the hound family, Beagles have an exceptionally keen sense of smell that allows them to be excellent tracking dogs. Beagles are also driven by a sense of duty and a need to accomplish whatever goal is given to them.
Are Basset Hounds Good For Tracking Deer?
Basset Hounds are excellent deer tracking dogs despite their short legs when trained appropriately. Their sense of smell allows them to find wounded animals with ease.
Tracking with dogs is definitely an effective way to go about it. You should opt for a dog with the stamina and mental fortitude to endure hours, if not days, of tracking. You should also ensure that your dog has a keen sense of smell because that is the most critical factor when deciding whether a dog is suited for tracking or not.
However, you should educate yourself regarding deer tracking rules with dogs in your state. Some states do not allow deer to be tracked with dogs, and you would not want to be on the wrong side of the law.