The use of dogs in hunting dates back to ancient times. Many hunters throughout history have enjoyed the companionship and camaraderie while using their favorite breed of dogs to hunt. Hunting for rabbits with dogs is just one branch of this exciting sport.
With that being said, it’s not always easy to find the right rabbit hunting dog for you that will meet your needs and wants. Let’s start with dog breeds to make things simpler. There are a few dog breeds that are good for hunting rabbits, however, beagles are the most prominently used. Bassets and Dachshunds are decent rabbit hunting breeds, as well. However, if you are training your first rabbit hunting dog I suggest starting with a beagle. The beagle is a loyal and easy-to-train breed that enjoys hunting rabbits. As a result, they are an excellent choice for rabbit hunting.
Top 7 Best Dogs For Hunting Rabbits
These striking gray dogs are very large. They can reach up to 50-75 pounds and will hunt anything they come across, whether it be a rabbit or another animal that’s weaker than them.
This breed is most common in Europe but also seen on the Eastern side of Russia as well as Asia Minor northwest towards Kazakhstan and Uganda.
2. Redbone Coonhound
Redbone Coonhounds are a perfect size for all sorts of hunting tasks – big enough to catch larger game, but still small and agile enough to hunt rabbits. They have incredible noses that can track prey over long distances with the most acute sense of smell in existence; their intelligence is also unmatched by any other breed out there!
The Redbone Coonhound may seem like an unusual choice when it comes time for rabbit hunts – not because they’re too large or heavy-footed, which would be advantages on such slippery grounds – rather because at 22 inches tall (and up) and 45 pounds (or more), this intelligent dog might seem better suited as a backwoods hunter than one who chases down smaller quarry.
3. Jack Russell Terrier
Intelligent and spunky little terriers, these dogs stand 10 to 15 inches tall with a weight of 13-17 pounds. Mostly white in coloration (though some have tan as well), they are known for their excellent noses and will trail rabbits much like beagles! Jack Russells also excel at slinking under brush piles or flushing bunnies out from hiding spots – giving them the perfect prey drive that’s so important for hunting success.
Beagles are an excellent choice for hunters who wish to live the traditional hunting life. They have a pleasant demeanor and weigh around 25 pounds, which is perfect for rabbit hunts in thick brushy areas. A beagle’s baying marks its progress as it chases down rabbits that circle back home after being scared away from their burrow by howls and yowls of these hounds on the hunt!
5. Mini Beagle
Some people believe that the Mini Beagle breed is just a smaller version of their purebred cousins, but they couldn’t be more wrong. There are many small dogs out there (10 to 12 pounds) who fall under this category and sometimes go by other names like “pocket beagles.” Like their larger counterparts, these little hunters hunt hard in even the smallest corners – perfect for exurban areas.
6. Basset Hound
Bassets are known for their floppy ears, droopy jowls and laid-back personality. The basset hound is a great hunting dog for rabbits because it moves at the right speed to keep up with rabbits who never hide in fear of being eaten. They also have deep, low bawling songs that will put any hunter into a trance!
Dachshunds are only 8 to 9 inches high at the shoulder and weigh 16-32 pounds. They enjoy protection against briars, thorns, and rabbits with their wire hair coat. Dachschunds were originally bred for badgers but in reality they’re a type of hound which means that these dogs will trail out any type of prey like rabbit’s or even foxes! Dachshunds have an amazing sense when it comes to tracking down small animals because low slung dachshuns can fit into tight spaces such as beaver holes where other breeds might not make it through easily.
Step By Step Guide To Choosing The Right Hunting Beagle
Step 1: Visit Different Rabbit Hunting Breeders
Start by researching different beagle breeders that specifically breed rabbit hunting dogs. Once you have found several near you plan to visit and check out their dogs and puppies. Be sure they are breeding best hunting dogs before you go visit. While visiting the breeders ask questions about their dogs such as: how well these dogs hunt rabbits, how long it took to train the dogs, what type of characteristics their dogs have, as well as, any other relatable questions that you may have. Be sure to get a good feel for the breeder and their dogs. I also suggest going to a breeder and not an animal shelter for your hunting dog. You really want to know the history of a dog and be able to train it well. Animal shelters don’t always have animal’s backgrounds.
Step 2: Check Breeders Pedigrees
Pedigrees can tell you a lot about a dog. It can tell show you how well of a hunting dog they may be, their health and their family history. This site has a long list of beagle hunting breeders for you to choose from:
Also for information on pedigrees, to find a pedigree or start a pedigree please visit this site:
Step 3: Ask For Health History
Always ask for the parents health history when choosing a beagle puppy for hunting. This way you know right off the bat the illness that your next beagle may have. Also be sure to check out their shot records. Knowing the history of the the breeders dogs will also tell you how well they take care of them. Be wary of breeders who do not offer health history.
Step 4: Look For Characteristic Traits
You want a puppy to train that has good genes and good characteristic traits. Be sure to look for traits in both the parents, as well as a the puppy. One of the most important traits is a dog that has the desire, ability and willingness to hunt rabbits. A beagle that has no interest in rabbits will not do you any good. Also, you want a strong dog that has a good nose and will also follow commands easily. Another aspect to look at, as well, is how well they get along with other dogs. Once you decide on a breeder, it may take a couple visits to truly decide which of the puppies have the characteristics that you desire.
Step 5: Rule Out Unwanted Traits
There are several unwanted traits to look for when you are choosing a beagle for rabbit hunting. You don’t want a timid, shy dog that spooks easily. Also you don’t want a runner. In other words you don’t want a rambunctious dog that runs and doesn’t want to follow a trail. This maybe hard to figure out. However, after getting to know the puppies you will be the best judge of which one fits you well and your hunting style.Proper training and socializing can also help change certain puppy habits that are not desirable.
Step 6: Choose Puppy And Begin Training
Now it’s time to narrow down your choice and pick a puppy to start training. Many breeders and hunters that I have talk to say it is best if you choose a female beagle puppy for hunting if it is the first rabbit hunting dog you are training. Females are more obedient and are easier to train. Of course male dogs make great hunting partners as well, however sometimes they are a little more head strong when training.
Here is a video that will help you with training your puppy to hunt rabbits:
Hunting rabbit is a great sport. It’s even better when you have a loyal, well-trained rabbit dog by your side. Remember to find a great hunting breeder who has a good health record and pedigree before purchasing a puppy to train. Picking a hunting dog for rabbit hunting is not rocket science, however, if you do a little bit of research and take a little effort into choosing the right dog for you it will make your rabbit hunting days so much better! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this article. Please visit our website for similar articles. Also, feel free to comment or share these articles with your family, friends, and fellow hunters. Happy Hunting!!