One of the most common activities that a Labrador Retriever is a part of is hunting. Today the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in the world and is beloved for both work and play. If you are looking for a hunting companion then look no further than one of these amazing dogs.
Being a working dog is natural to a Labrador Retriever. Their ancestors, the St. John’s dog was bred to be a working dog and were found to be excellent at retrieving just about anything, from fish to game. In the inhospitable Newfoundland climate their services were indispensable. They had the strength and endurance to work long hours helping to pull in the heavy fishing nets from the seas but were agile enough to help the settlers hunt game. The St. John’s dog was built to thrive in those harsh conditions.
Labrador Retrievers were bred initially in England in the early 1800s to be hunting dogs. Their intelligence made them indispensable on the hunt and their temperment made them a required member of the hunting party. They are highly trainable so they can learn new skills easily and are disciplined through their training to follow instructions. With seemingly endless energy they are one of the few breeds of dogs that are able to spend the day in the field.
Probably because of their breeding to be a retriever they have developed keener eyesight when compared to most other breeds of dogs. Labs bred for field work also tend to have better eyesight than Labs bred for show. Contrary to myth they are not colorblind (though they cannot see reds or greens) but do need movement to see something. Where Labs (and many other dogs) excel is at night or in low light situations where their eyesight is heightened, though they cannot see in total darkness.
Where a Labrador Retriever truly excels is their sense of smell. They are able to smell small traces of substances that our human noses cannot even come close to smelling. Their sense of smell may be one million times better than a human’s! There may be some breeds of dogs that have a better sense of smell like the Bloodhound but there aren’t many. What sets a Lab apart is their brain which is also better equipped to process smells thanks to an enhanced olfactory system. This helps to make these dogs one of the best sniffer dogs in the world as well as the best tracking dog.
While a Labradors Retrievers characteristics make it suited to be a good hunting dog training is still essential. One of the first things that a Labrador Retriever is trained to do is to not be afraid of a gunshot. Further training teaches the dog to sit quietly and wait for the command to retrieve the game and then bring it back to their master without damaging it. Some of this is natural as Labs are very intelligent and retrieving things is natural to them.
Not all Labs will make good hunting dogs. Just like humans are unique, Labs are all unique as well. They all have different levels of energy, intelligence, steadiness and reliability. The best way to see if your Lab has the makings of a good hunting dog is to fire a gun in their presence and see their reaction. If the dog is scared they may not be suited for hunting. Many of the traits can be determined by the dog’s parents so if one of their parents was a good hunting dog odds are their progeny will be as well.
There are other breeds of dog that are useful for hunting as well like foxhounds, beagles, pointers and other retrievers but none of those breeds offers the intelligence and versatility of the Labrador Retriever. Their health, stamina, sense of smell, tracking ability, intelligence, motivation, temperament, focus and agility make them the finest breed of dog on the planet. It is the ultimate hunting dog and is the dog that no hunter or sportsman should be without.
Animals praise a good day, a good hunt. They praise rain if they’re thirsty. That’s prayer. They don’t live an unconscious life, they simply have no language to talk about these things. But they are grateful for the good things that come along.