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Top 6 Small Game Hunting Dog Breeds

Humans and dogs have been working and living together for ages. Believe it or not, the canines are the best-hunting partners of humans. There are many types of hunting dogs, and small game hunting dog breeds are one of them.

Every hunting dog breed has specific skills which help people in many tasks. Some of them have coats made for hunting, are athletic, and all of them have a nose that supports them to sniff out the game.

Are you searching for the most suitable game hunting dog breed? Well, don’t worry! Here in this article, we are going to discuss the top 6 small game hunting dog breeds that are most popular in the world. But, before that, let’s understand the meaning of small game hunting dog breeds.

What Are Small Game Hunting Dog Breeds?

Game Hunting refers to any wild animal, which has been hunted for recreation, for the trophy, or animal products. A hunting dog means a canine that helps humans in hunting or hunts for their master.

Hunting dogs are used to continue running games such as rabbits or deer. They have a great nose and hearing senses, which helps in finding the animal.

There are many types of dogs developed for hunting tasks. Generally, hunting dogs have an imaginary portrait that they are wild, large in size, scary personality, and much more. But, in this article, we have listed the best 6 game hunting dog breeds, which are small in size.   

Top 6 Small Game Hunting Dog Breeds 

Identifying the best small game hunting dog breeds is not an easy task. No one can tell you that which breeds you should hop on to. But we have compiled a list of the top 6 breeds with their characteristics, price, size, and other features.

Breed Adult size Life expectancy Price 
English Springer Spaniels19 inches to 20 inches 12 years to 14 years $2,000 upwards to $10,000
Beagles13 inches to 16 inches 12 years to 15 years $400 to $1,000
Jack Russell Terrier10 inches to 12 inches 13 years to 16 years$800 to $1,300
Norwegian Elkhound18 inches to 22 inches 12 years to 15 years $1,200 to upwards $6,000
Wire Fox Terrier12 inches to 16 inches 13 years to 14 years $1,000 and $1,500
Mountain Cur16 inches to 26 inches 14 years to 16 years $300 to $500
size, lifespan, and price comparison table of small game hunting dog breeds

English Springer Spaniels

 English Springer Spaniels small game hunting dog breeds
The English Springer Spaniels breed of small game hunting dog

John Caius, the English physician, has described the spaniel in his book the Treatise of English Dogs. And it was published in the year 1576. That book has told about different British dog breeds.

In 1902, a combo of the physical standard from the ability standard from the Sporting Spaniel Society and the Spaniel Club of England led to the dog breed English Springer Spaniel being officially known by the English Kennel Club.

English Springer Spaniels have coarser coats. Generally, they shed in spring and summer months however shed occasionally in autumn.

With attentiveness and alertness, they are considered the right hunting companion. Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs has rank 13th and is known as an excellent working and game hunting dog.

Their coat comes in different colors such as, Black or dark brown that includes white and black or liver markings, and white markings; Tricolour that consists of liver and white or black and white with tan markings (on cheeks, eyebrows, under the tail, and inside ears).

The English Springer Spaniels is eager to please, friendly, quick learner, and obeys his master. For making them healthy, provide them plenty of walk and exercise.

The English Springer spaniel is also known as a “velcro dog.” Their size is 19 inches to 21 inches. You can buy a puppy at $2,000 upwards to $10,000. The price is quite high but worth buying. 


Two Beagles playing in the field
Two Beagles playing in the field

In the 11th century, William the Conqueror brought the St. Hubert Hound and Talbot hound to Britain. In Britain, both of the strains were then hybridized with Greyhounds to give them speed and stamina for hunting deer. The Beagle has its rise in England.

When you need hunting skills, it is a top-rated dog. The Beagle’s talent was developed in the ancient times of hunting rabbits, small game, and gopher.

The Beagle dog breed is gentle, sweet, and naughty. The Beagle breed requires training for hunting or socialization at an early age. This training will ensure that your puppy will be raised to a well-rounded dog.

A Beagle puppy needs to be trained well and supervised at an early age. Make sure to keep an eye on them because they are naughty in nature and can escape anytime. You can’t leave your dog in an open backyard.

The American Kennel Club says that there are two different types of Beagle dogs. The first is 15 inches in size, which can go up to 15 inches. And the second one is 13 inches, and they don’t exceed over 13 inches.

The price of a puppy starts from $200 to $400, which is quite cheaper than other small game hunting dog breeds.

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier breed of small game hunting dog
Jack Russell Terrier breed of small game hunting dog

The Jack Russell Terrier is broken or rough-coated, white-bodied and smooth, and can be of any texture. It has its origin in England.

Small tan and white terriers usually came from other breeds that are known as “Jack Russells.”

The Jack Russell Terrier is a small terrier popular for fox hunting. As they have hunting skills and love to chase their prey, always keep an eye on your dog.

The Jack Russell Terrier dog breed has a small body with a lot of energy. Generally, they are amusing, loving, and devoted to owners. They love to play over the field and don’t like to be jailed.

Undoubtedly this breed is genius but challenging to train because of its willful nature. They are friendly toward family members and owners.

The Jack Russell dog also loves family; so, you can keep them indoors also. However, they can be left in a fenced yard for half an hour to exercise. Look after them so it could prevent the dog from jumping, escaping, or climbing.

It is recommended to give them quality food at least two meals a day. They might fall sick if not fed appropriately.

The size of Jack Russell’s hunting dog is 10 inches to 12 inches. And the price for a puppy starts from $900 to $1,500. This dog breed is a bit expensive but a good pet and hunting companion.

When you are choosing them for game hunting, then no need to think twice.

Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound small dog breed
Norwegian Elkhound small dog breed for hunting

The Norwegian Elkhound is Norway’s National dog. It is one of the Northern Spitz-type dog breeds. The Elkhound dog breed has served as a guardian, hunter, defender, and herder. This dog breed is popular for its courage in hunting moose and other small game, like wolves or bears.

The Norwegian Elkhound was initially presented in 1877 at Norway’s dog exhibition.

It is an independent thinker and always sees itself as your companion. You can say it’s the most loyal dog that follows the command of its master. They are hard to train because of their independent nature, yet they can get it when the trainer is consistent and firm.

Remember, if you are not a firm personality, then Norwegian Elkhound will walk all away from you. So, don’t apply critical harsh training methods to them.

The Norwegian Elkhound should not only get energy but also maintain a healthy weight. This breed wants everyday exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Feeding them inappropriate food can make them obese. 

To fence, your yard is a good option before petting a Norwegian Elkhound. No doubt, this breed is a good game-hunting companion. It is recommended to feed them 2 to 2.5 cups of high-quality food (dry) every day.

Generally, their size is 18 inches to 22 inches. And you can buy a puppy starting from $1,200 to $6,000. It is really expensive to pet a Norwegian Elkhound, so compare before purchasing.

Wire Fox Terrier

Wire Fox Terrier game hunting small dog breed
Wire Fox Terrier game hunting small dog breed

The Wire Fox Terrier is commonly known as Wirehaired Terrier or Wire Hair Fox Terrier. It resembles a Smooth Fox Terrier, but both have been developed separately. This dog breed has its origin in England by fox hunting enthusiasts.

The dogs are thought to have been bred to follow foxes into their burrows; the dogs’ strong, short, docked tails were used by hunters as handles to pull them back out.

The Wire Fox Terrier dog has a rough, broken coat. Their coat color includes a predominantly white base and brown markings of the ears and face. It has generally large splotches or a black saddle of color; there might be more brown or black markings on the body.

The Wire Fox Terrier is the first bred to control rats and mice on farms. They used to help in fox hunting by driving them off their underground den. It is a courageous and fearless hunting dog.

They are quick, alert, and enthusiastic in nature and require training at an early age. The Wire Fox Terrier is prone to get overweight. Remember not to compromise with food quality, either home-prepared or commercially manufactured.

Before deciding on a diet chart consult your veterinarian. Keep an eye on calorie consumption and other traits of a dog.

The Wire Fox Terrier is a hunting dog with sizes 12 inches to 16 inches. The cost of a puppy starts from $1,000 to $1,500. They don’t need much maintenance, so buying a puppy at this price is a fair deal.

Mountain Cur 

Mountain Cur small game hunting dog breed
Mountain Cur small game hunting dog breed

Two hundred years ago, the Mountain Cur dog breed was brought from Europe to America. The colonizers of the mountains in Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, used the dog to guard property

The Mountain Cur is known for trailing and treeing small game, like raccoons and squirrels. The breed used to provide pelts and meat to their master for personal use and trading.

It is a short-coated dog that comes in black, blue, brown, brindle, or yellow coloration. Some have white markings on their chest or face. They are intelligent, neither shy nor vicious in nature, and can be trained easily.

In ancient times Mountain Cur was used as protection for families to save them from predators or attackers.

The Mountain Cur is intelligent enough to serve its master and it could be stubborn, so you need to train with a lot of patience. Also, they are obedient and behave well with other pets and family members.

They are an easy-to-maintain hunting dog breed. Mountain Curs can have a good lifespan, and there are no breed-specific health issues.

The size of this dog breed is 16 inches to 26 inches. And they can be available at a lower price; you can buy a puppy at $300 to $500.

Essential Care For Small Hunting Dogs

  • Your dog needs regular vaccination, so don’t miss their routine vaccines.
  • Take care of their paws.
  • Try to prevent ticks, parasites, and fleas.
  • Feed healthy and high-quality food to your dog.
  • Provide them recuperation and rest after hunting.

Wrapping Up 

There are many hunting dog breeds; some are experts in roaming around the mountain and some in the water. All the above-listed top 6 small game hunting dog breeds need daily exercise.

Take good care of your hunting dog so that it would be easy for you to handle.  Besides, these are good pets for outdoorsy and active families. Also, these dog breeds are intelligent and learn commands easily.

We hope this article has made your mind clear about the most suitable game hunting dog breed according to your lifestyle. Nonetheless, you can also read about small hound dog breeds you can use for hunting.

Moreover, we suggest choosing a dog after comparing qualities, care level, and price range. And if you need a good companion, then check out their life expectancy.

Tell us your favorite small game hunting dog breeds, and let us know your experience in the comment section. 

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