Best Grouse Hunting Dogs

Terrier with Hunted grouse

Are you considering the option of hunting with a dog?

Do you wish to own an active dog that can accompany you on your next grouse hunting trip?

Then this guide is the perfect spot to start with. It is difficult to tell which is the best grouse dog breed as it depends on everyone’s preferences and the dog’s generics.

However, we have carefully shortlisted some of the best and most loved grouse hunting dogs bred solely for hunting. Aside from being your loyal and efficient hunting companion, these dogs are ideal pets for any nuclear or big family.

Let’s start with our list of best grousing hunting dogs with none other than the English Setter.

English Setter

English Setter

Key specs

  • Origin: England
  • Average life span: 12 years
  • Average size: 24 to 27 inches

Everyone can agree that an English Setter is genuinely a regal-looking grouse hunting dog. Their long silky fringes on their tail, legs, and underbelly will surely make you fall in love with their beauty.

But don’t judge them for their looks, as the dog is equally ferocious in tracking the scent of a grouse from a distance. These are excellent with a keen nose that can chase a grouse without bumping into them. Because of its nature, it has been proven as one of the top performers since the 1800s.

Most English Setters are born with a raw natural proclivity to hunting, so they have undoubtedly ranked number one on our list. However, ensure that you ingrain the retrieving and force fetching command, so you do not have to search the lands for the grouse you just shot.

If you tackle the training part, we are confident that you shall never complain about the dog’s efficiency, speed, and dedication. They shall truly work within the bell range of the hunter and will stop as soon as they scent out the grouse.

These English Setters will also pin the bird quite competently until the hunter arrives to take charge. Apart from the hunting arena, these English Setters are highly energetic and well-suited for families. These canines are extremely friendly, just like your next-door golden retriever.

English Pointer

English Pointer

Key specs

  • Origin: England
  • Average life span: 12-14 years
  • Average size: 25 to 27 inches

English Pointers, sometimes known as Pointers, are genuinely the best upland bird dog you can train and pet. These dogs are bred to excel in numerous hunting-related tasks.

These Pointers have a perfect bundle of features like sharp minds, high endurance, and an excellent olfactory sense, making them an ideal grouse hunting dog. Their flashy pointing stance truly matches their name.

Their long, muscular body with a perfectly arched neck usually has an elegant smooth coat. The short fur enables them to become one of the best grouse hunting dogs, especially during the summer months.

However, they are relatively susceptible to cold during harsh weather. The species’ ultra-high endurance enables them to remain and hunt in the field all day long without any breaks.

During their training, owners must be meticulous as they have temperament issues. However, modern English Pointers are relatively friendly, and they shall gel well with your kids and the rest of the family. Since they are highly social dogs, you must keep them outside and busy with other dogs.

German Shorthair Pointer

German Shorthair Pointer

Key specs

  • Origin: Germany
  • Average life span: 9-12 years
  • Average size: 21-25 inches

German Shorthair Pointer is the third most popular grouse hunting dog. We like this breed because of its unchained versatility. This medium-range dog can be a companion of any hunter irrespective of their age.

German Shorthair Pointers are usually known for their excellent search patterns. Additionally, these canines are easy to train, so you can teach them to retrieve the downed grouse without extra effort.

Their water-repellent, short and sleek coat makes them agile for stream and land hunting. Since they prefer to explore outdoors, these canines do not get tired of grouse hunting in the fields.

These dogs are genuinely loyal, friendly, and playful, so they will always be ready for an extra round of fetch play even after your hunting trip. Moreover, their short coat enables the owners to groom their dogs less.

Owners must initiate their hunting training from an early age, so they grasp the commands properly without any chances of misbehavior. We highly recommend keeping their lessons short as GSPs are easily distracted.

Quick lessons with lots of entertaining play afterward is an excellent strategy. Lastly, don’t forget to take them out every day so they can relive some of their pent-up energy.

Gordon Setter

Gordon Setter

Key specs

  • Origin: Scotland
  • Average life span: 10-12 years
  • Average size: 23- 27 inches

Gordon Setter is undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous-looking breeds out of all hunting species. The thick black silky coat looks impressive when the dog runs to follow and track the scent of any grouse in the nearby areas. This large dog breed is a reasonably steady canine that carries the hunting function at a close range without any mishandling.

Most Gordon Setters are extremely alert, confident, and fearless, so they are perfect if you wish to own a reasonably perceptive hunting dog.

Owners must note that these dogs thrive in an attentive and loving environment, so consider being by their side most of the time. However, we highly recommend obedience training and early socialization to turn your Gordan Setter into a top-of-the-line grouse hunting canine.

Lastly, because of their genetic hunting instincts, they often tend to follow a specific scent at any point, which can be potentially dangerous if you reside near-constant traffic.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

Key specs

  • Origin: United Kingdom
  • Average life span: 12-14 years
  • Average size: 21-23 inches

It is not a secret that Labrador Retrievers are America’s sweetheart and have been considered one of the most famous breeds of dogs for more than ten years.

These dogs were initially bred for fishing in Canada, but they became perfect family dogs. These dogs are incredibly trainable, kind, and, most importantly, intelligent, making them ideal for grouse hunting.

Apart from the dogs’ exceptional retrieving capacity, owners should be ready as these dogs are frequent shredders and require daily brushing and grooming.

These big dogs require a lot of activities like swimming, running, hunting to keep them mentally and physically fit. Because of their energy levels, these dogs are always ready to accompany you on your grouse hunting excursions.

Additionally, the solid muscular body fits perfectly on any grouse hunting field. You might notice their over-enthusiasm when they visit a hunting field, but with thorough training, they shall learn the importance of staying quiet and focusing on sniffing out the grouse.

English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel

Key specs

  • Origin: England
  • Average life span: 12-15 years
  • Average size: 15-16 inches

The English Cocker Spaniel is the smallest breed of sporting and hunting breeds. Its name ‘Cocker’ originates from the bird ‘Woodcock’ – a game bird that English Cocker Spaniels initially flushed out for the hunters.

Today, these Cocker Spaniels are truly beloved pups in America, and people adore them for their long ears and silky coat.

These dogs are genuinely efficient in tracing and tracking grouse, so hunters can relax and proceed to pay attention to their pointing stance. Apart from grouse hunting, these dogs are considered excellent family pets and play safely with children of all ages.

These English Cocker Spaniels enjoy cuddles like a lapdog. These dogs are intelligent, resilient, alert, which helps them during long and tiring hunting excursions.

However, owners must be aware that these breeds do not appreciate being alone, so you might need to bless them with your presence now and then. These canines are exceptionally happy and cheerful even off-field in the home.

If you teach these dogs socialization at an early age, they become better in their grouse hunt training. Since English Cocker Spaniels tend to get stressed under loud surroundings and rough treatment, they need to be trained with extreme patience and plentiful rewards.

Boykin Spaniel

Boykin Spaniel Review

Key specs

  • Origin: United States
  • Average life span: 14-16 years
  • Average size: 14-18 inches

Boykin Spaniel is now the official dog of the state of South Carolina. The dog was discovered on the lands of South Carolina and, by the 1900s, were optimally bred to become successful hunting canines.

This medium-sized grouse hunting dog is known for its rich dark brown coat. However, the luscious wavy coat does require considerable grooming, so if you’re looking for a grouse hunting dog with minimal grooming requirements, this one might not fit the bill.

Their highly trainable personality comes in handy when teaching personal fetching commands during the grouse hunting trips. Similarly, these dogs enjoy activities, so owners must take them out for regular training with a few minutes of playtime each day.

Upon exercise, the Boykin Spaniel can hunt flawlessly as an upland and retriever hunter, flushing birds into flight. Boykin doesn’t have a strong pointing nature. But the field Boykin Spaniel ( a crossbreed ) can precisely flush the birds while waiting for the hunter to shoot the bird.

These dogs are perfect for accompanying hunters during the hot summer seasons. In addition, their excellent skills and hunting techniques are ideal for hunting other game birds like pheasants and doves.

Vizsla

Hungarian Vizsla

Key specs

  • Origin: Hungary
  • Average life span: 12-14 years
  • Average size: 21-25 inches

The Vizsla species is a proud descendant of the famous Hungarian Pointers that people bought in the land of the United States in the 1950s. In English, the Hungarian name ‘Vizsla’ translates to ‘tracker’ or ‘searcher.’

Looking at their build, it is safe to say that these grouse hunting dogs are the most athletic. Their physique and speed make them truly exceptional in the hunting arena. However, these dogs are not for the faint-hearted, as one needs to provide intense training for them to act according to your commands.

The dog usually features a rust-colored coat with a moderate size ideal for spotting the grouse from a mile away. We highly recommend this grouse hunting dog for owners who have prior experience in training dogs.

The breed can genuinely feel intense for first-timers. If you can handle and train them well, they can undoubtedly become perfect family dogs with their natural undivided inclination towards hunting. Since Vizsla has a comparatively short coat, they are popular amongst Florida grouse hunters.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Key specs

  • Origin: Canada
  • Average life span: 10-14 years
  • Average size: 18-20 inches

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, also known as the Toller, originated in the 19th century near Nova Scotia, Canada. This medium-sized canine is exceptional because of its unique hunting technique, giving it the nickname of ‘Decoy dog.’

This Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever usually lures the offshore birds like grouse within the hunter’s shooting range by playing near the shorelines as innocently as possible.

This playing usually intrigues the grouse, resulting in them coming closer to the dog. Since these canines have water-repellent double coats with webbed feet for swimming, they enjoy water and hunt near water bodies.

These dogs also have a rare high-pitched bark that makes them stand up from the other species. Moreover, owners must note that these dogs regularly chase other animals. So you might have to be cautious if your household already has multiple pets.

We highly recommend these loving and cunning dogs for hunters who have no current pets. Many hunters are not satisfied with the size of this dog and thus feel they will do a poor job of retrieving their grouse. However, these Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are more than capable of handling grouse, ducks, and even geese without much difficulty.

Brittany

Brittany

Key specs

  • Origin: France
  • Average life span: 12-16 years
  • Average size: 17-20 inches

Brittany is one of the best grouse hunting dogs that you can bring home as your pet. Earlier, people often misunderstood these dogs as related to a Spaniel species.

However, in 1984 AKC reclassified these dogs as Setters. Brittany has proven to be an excellent bird hunting dog who can live happily at any hunters’ home. Since these dogs are a little slower, they are perfect hunting companions for hunters who cannot usually catch up with big and fast dogs on the field.

Once these dogs learn the technique of grouse hunting, they will always point until they detect a mild fading scent and later will instantly try to relocate the smell until it becomes stronger. These dogs are genuinely perfect for average hunters who usually hunt for fun.

These fun-loving and sweet-natured dogs are always bustling with energy, making them restless sometimes. The Brittany species will undoubtedly live a joyful life in a household that allows them to play a lot and helps them get plenty of training.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Key specs

  • Origin: France
  • Average life span: 10-12 years
  • Average size: 20-25 inches

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, also known as the Gray Ghost or the Griff, is a medium-sized canine with unique fur. These Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are known for their prominent stealthy hunting style.

These dogs are exceptional grouse hunters and have a loving and silly side, perfect for a family pet. These dogs are athletic, highly trainable, and tend to please, enabling the hunters to easily teach all the required techniques necessary for grouse hunting within a short period.

These Korthals Griffon or Wirehaired Pointing Griffon have been bred to be excellent at hunting around water or in thick undergrowth. We like that these birds are equally efficient in hunting upland game birds and waterfowl.

Contrary to various sources, most Griffon owners say that these canines do not shed as much as people talk. So if you can handle a sweet yet athletic dog with moderate shedding, then Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a perfect choice.

Pointing Vs. Flushing dog breeds

Flushing dogs do not point at the game birds but use their nose to find them. Once they have successfully targeted the grouse, they shall home in on that bird and make it fly for the hunter to shoot.

Flushing dogs usually require a lot more training as compared to pointing dogs. On the other hand, pointing means your dog will track the scent and point toward the grouse hidden in the bush or grass. These dogs use their nose to follow the airborne scent of the bird for the hunter.

Thus, before selecting a dog for grouse hunting, pay attention to the dog’s breed as most dogs are only naturally able to point while others can flawlessly flush. You can even train them to do both, but it depends on the breed, ancestry, and teaching techniques.

Conclusion

We are highly optimistic that each dog mentioned in this list has exceptional grouse hunting qualities.

Consider spending a little time with the dog to understand its nature and check whether it desires to get trained to become a grouse hunting canine. You can also check the ancestry and look for parent dogs that have a history of field trials and hunt tests.

Lastly, if you are heading to your golden years, we recommend looking for a medium-range dog like the Brittany breed with a slower speed.

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