Any dog can be trained to be a squirrel-hunting dog. However, some dogs are genetically bred with the ideal characteristics that will help you out when you go hunting. Which dogs are these?
Squirrel-hunting dogs include the Airedale Terrier, Border Collie, American Blue Gascon Hound, Black and Tan Coonhound, Mountain Cur, Beagle, Treeing Cur, Treeing Tennessee Brindle, and Norwegian Elkhound.
Keep reading below for more information on these breeds and some tips that every dog owner should know before they go squirrel hunting with their pets.
Before reading this list of squirrel hunting dogs, check out: 10 Best Hypoallergenic Hunting Dogs! (2023) and 11 Best Rat Hunting Dogs For Vermin Control! (2023).
Best Squirrel Hunting Dogs
Below are some of the best squirrel-hunting dogs along with their commonly shared characteristics.
1. Airedale Terrier
The Airedale Terrier, also known as the Bingley Terrier and the Waterside Terrier, is a versatile breed with roots in England. As one of the biggest terrier breeds, his other name, “King of Terriers,” is quite fitting.
This breed frequently shows herding tendencies, and it is not uncommon for them to chase small animals, so keep that in mind.
The Airedale’s high intelligence and sense of autonomy make him the ideal hunting companion. They need extensive training to be able to manage cattle and livestock. If their purpose is to be kept as pets, they should be socialized with a variety of smaller animals beginning as puppies.
All of this indicates that Airedales make excellent squirrel-hunting companions, and the breed has been utilized for this task for quite some time. They can bark their way to the location of the squirrel and wait for the hunters to arrive.
They are included in the category of “tree dogs” because that spot is typically a tree. Their natural hunting instinct is what sets them apart.
2. Border Collie
Border Collies are best known for herding sheep, but their intelligence and trainability also make them excellent squirrel hunters. Collies may be trained to hunt any kind of wild animal since they have boundless energy, outstanding strength and agility, and an exceptionally keen sense of smell.
3. American Blue Gascon Hound
The American Blue Gascon Hound, is a breed recognized for its extreme devotion to its human family. In addition, he is adaptable enough to thrive in an urban or rural setting and makes a superb watchdog.
The American Blue Gascon Hound has earned a reputation as an excellent hunter and a natural leader of his pack.
However, he shouldn’t be trusted around smaller pets, especially if he wasn’t properly socialized as a young pup. He has a stellar reputation as a hard-working dog who thrives in adverse conditions. The American Blue Gascon Hound is not just an expert raccoon hunter, but also a master squirrel hunter.
4. Black and Tan Coonhound
A cross between a Bloodhound and a Foxhound resulted in the creation of the Black and Tan Coonhound. He has large ears and a tail, and his coat is black and tan. He’s not only a hard worker, but also a well-known raccoon and squirrel hunter on the trail and in the treetops.
Like other dogs, he relies solely on his sense of smell to track down his prey, and he has no trouble tracking down deer, bears, mountain lions, and other big game. He is strong and resolute, and he rarely gives up.
The Black and Tan Coonhound is a fantastic pet despite its outdoor-oriented nature. When he’s at home, he relaxes and becomes loyal to his loved ones. He is wary of new people and may bark or howl at them.
If he catches a whiff of something interesting, he tends to disappear, so choose his walking and exercise areas with care. The dogs will “tree” the squirrel and continue to bark at it until their owner returns. When following a small animal, they also take precautions to ensure it doesn’t get away.
5. Mountain Cur
The Mountain Cur is a type of working dog developed for chasing after and retrieving small game, such as squirrels and raccoons, from trees.
It is not uncommon to see these dogs working as water dogs, and they can also be utilized for baying larger creatures like wild boars and deer. That allows them to thrive in a wide variety of settings.
The Mountain Cur is an exceptionally bright dog that never displays aggression or timidity. He is devoted to his owner but can become restless if he is not kept busy.
That’s why it’s so important to give your Mountain Cur consistent, high-energy workouts. They can live up to 16 years and have a reputation for being courageous guard dogs that have given their lives to protect their owners.
Beagles were originally bred as scent hounds for tracking small game like rabbits and squirrels, making them both excellent household pets and wonderful companions.
7. Treeing Cur
The Treeing Cur is an agile hunting dog recognized for his speed and intelligence. They have the physical prowess and mental fortitude to hunt, protect, and herd livestock. It’s safe to infer that, given his name, he’s an excellent treeing dog and, by extension, a formidable squirrel hunter.
To follow his nose and trap an animal up in a tree is second nature to him. He needs regular exercise — preferably in the great outdoors — and training. If not, he may become more dominant than his owner.
8. Treeing Tennessee Brindle
Treeing Tennessee Brindle dogs, a subspecies of Cur, have excellent senses of smell and hearing. They have short, smooth, brindle coats and are strong, smart, and trustworthy.
9. Norwegian Elkhound
The historic Northern Spitz-type breed of dog recognized as the Norwegian Elkhound has been designated the National Dog of Norway. He also goes by the names Norsk Elghund Gr and Norsk Elghund Sort.
He is well-known for his many roles as a hunting companion, guard, and herder. The Norwegian Elkhound’s unique skill set is in tracking down and baying moose.
Other Popular Squirrel Hunting Dogs
The list above is by no means exhaustive. Many other squirrel-hunting dogs are worth a mention. We’ve listed some of them as follows:
- American Squirrel Dog
- Barger Stock Feist
- Black Mouth Cur
- Bluetick Coonhound
- Cajun Cur Cajun Squirrel Dog
- Camus Cur Canadian Cur
- Catahoula Cur
- Denmark Feist
- English Coonhound
- German Jagdterrier
- Cur Henderson
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Kemmer Cur
Tips on Taking Your Dog Squirrel Hunting
It is important to keep a couple of things in mind when you go squirrel hunting with your dog. After doing some extensive research, we’ve compiled tips to follow when you take your dog squirrel hunting.
Explore the Woods
Developing a squirrel dog requires extensive time in the woods. Their natural inclination is going to set in when they see the first squirrel dart across their path and up onto the tree right in front of them.
Get the squirrel down from the tree and drop it on them, and you’ll be off to a good start.
Don’t rush things after getting a dog. Dogs, like children, do not all develop at the same pace.
Once in a while, a dog comes along that seems born to live in the woods and can already spot squirrels from a mile away. Those canines are a true treasure. For other dogs, it can take as long as a year or two before they finally catch on.
Find the Right Tools
If you want to know where your dog is when you can’t see it, invest in a quality GPS-tracking collar. A tracking collar will always keep you informed of your dog’s whereabouts and activities. They also show the user how much ground they’ve covered and allow them to track many pets at once.
An orange dog vest is a good addition to a collar for added visibility in the forest. To teach your puppy to wait patiently beside a tree once it spots a squirrel, you’ll need a sturdy leash to keep it in one location.
Bring the Puppy with an Expert Dog
Taking a young dog on its first hunting trip alongside an older, trained dog can be beneficial.
The puppy will take note of the more experienced dog’s reactions to new routes or squirrels in the tree, and most puppies will be able to start barking too.
Try Not to Fire Immediately
When your dog finally does make a tree, this is the moment to get excited. Speak to the dog in an upbeat tone. Give the dog the impression that you are thrilled. Don’t be in such a rush to fire at the squirrel. Spend as much time as possible showing your dog appreciation for good behavior.
Use Up Those Old Boots
Getting around with a young dog is an experience that cannot be replicated. Involve them in as many short hunts as possible. Get out there and do some walking in the woods if you can.
If you want to make a squirrel dog, get ready to wear a nice pair of boots.
Help Out, But Don’t Go Overboard
Many hunters choose to use live traps to capture squirrels (in states that allow it), who are then placed in wire cages and hung from a low branch of a tree. A dog can be trained in this way to keep barking at the same spot in the tree, as it won’t ever lose sight of its prey.
Many hunters also use feeders filled with shelled or ear corn to lure squirrels into traps. Once the squirrels are in the area, the pup is taken for a walk through the area to increase its likelihood of spotting a squirrel on the ground and baying it into a nearby tree.
Overdoing any method might have negative consequences. An intelligent dog will figure out relatively soon that the only thing it needs to do is wait for its owner to show it a squirrel. They cannot fend for themselves in the wild since they always go for the easy mark.
Once again, the legality of one or both of these methods may vary from state to state. So, make sure to check the local laws regarding squirrel hunting before you go.
Frequently Asked Questions
A feist is a type of small hunting dog descended from terriers.
A finished squirrel-hunting dog can easily cost more than $2,000.
The smartest hunting dog breeds are the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, and Bloodhounds.
Conclusion for “Best Squirrel Hunting Dogs”
Now that you know all the best dog breeds to take with you for squirrel hunting, it’s no doubt you’ll have an amazing time. We hope the tips in this article will prove helpful for experts and newbies alike.
For more related articles similar to “Best Squirrel Hunting Dogs,” check out:
- Are Goldendoodles Good Hunting Dogs? (2023)
- Are Labradoodles Good Hunting Dogs? (2023)
- 10 Best Hunting Dogs that Don’t Shed (2023)
Learn more by watching “Squirrel Hunting with a Dog” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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