Rabbiting or rabbit hunting is a hunting sport that has been a part of the human history for a long time.
And, hounds have always been our companions in this sport.
Back in ancient times, hunting wasn’t just a sport; it was a source of sustenance. Only the best hunters could get a hold of their prey for their survival. But, the challenge with hunting rabbits is that they’re small, fast, and get camouflage easily.
That’s why dogs are the best companions if you wish to hunt rabbits! Dogs are great trackers and are easily able to hunt small animals such as rabbit.
In this blog post, I’ll help you find the best dog for hunting rabbits for you. Let’s begin!
Read more: Top 10 Hunting Dog Breeds
What Qualities Should Rabbit Hunting Dogs Have?
To be able to hunt rabbits, there are a few things your canine companion should be able to do.
Let’s take a look.
To hunt a rabbit, jumping is probably one of the most important things that a dog must be able to do.
Jumping helps to clear the path and run after the prey.
Rabbits jump over logs of wood, stones, etc. easily and the dog hunting him should be able to do that as well.
Rabbits are good at hiding in small and dark places.
So, you need a dog that will be able to trace the bunny. For that, you need a dog with a powerful nose and good tracking skills.
The scent is something that remains intact and can lead you to a hiding rabbit—no matter where he is.
Rabbits are fast.
To hunt them, you need a companion that’s just as fast and has more stamina than a bunny does.
Ultimately, a chase will tire the rabbit out. But, you need to have a dog that can catch up to a rabbit and still have the energy and stamina to hunt it.
Even if a dog has all the three qualities mentioned above, it won’t be a good hunting companion unless he has the hunting instinct.
This instinct is something that a dog is born with and can’t be taught.
So, a dog either has it, or it doesn’t.
Without instinct, your dog won’t be motivated enough to catch a rabbit, let alone hunt him.
The Challenges of Hunting Rabbits
Hunting rabbits aren’t the same as it was 25 years ago.
The population of wild rabbits is declining due to two main reasons:
- Changes in habitat: Large fields have usually been converted into parking lots, malls, etc. and bunnies have no home
- Increase in the population of predators: There are a lot of animals that hunt bunnies
A few years back, landowners would freely shoot owls, hawks, and coyotes for several reasons. So, their population was in check.
However, laws have changed since then, and you can’t really shoot animals for no reason.
So, the population of the rabbit’s natural predators is on the rise.
This has caused the population of rabbits to decline. And, rabbits have become much better at hiding as it is a matter of life and death for them.
That’s why hunting rabbits are more difficult.
The Top 5 Dogs for Hunting Rabbits
In this section of the blog post, I will go over a few dog breeds and help you determine the best dog for hunting rabbits after keeping certain factors in mind.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look:
1. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are excellent hunting dogs.
The energetic and intelligent Labrador is easy to train and can be taught complex verbal and nonverbal commands. This medium-sized dog is athletic and has a lot of stamina and energy which is required to chase rabbits.
Not just that, Labradors have a strong sense of smell and are good trackers. These dogs can help you find a hiding bunny!
Labs often accompany their owners for hunting waterfowl as they’re good swimmers but, they can be excellent in hunting small game such as raccoons, rabbits, etc.
On to the next one…
2. Dogo Argentino
This white and muscular dog is rather stern-looking.
Hunting rabbits require determination and stamina—something that this dog doesn’t lack at all. This dog breed was developed in Argentina for the sole purpose of hunting big game like the boar.
This brave dog is resilient and can wear down a rabbit. Because of the excellent stamina, this dog can be on the hunt for a long time without getting tired.
These dogs are hunters as well as retrievers.
This dog can catch up with rabbits but, may as easily lose them in the forest.
3. BloodhoundBloodhounds are excellent trackers and have worked hand-in-hand with humans for decades. Because of this ability, Bloodhounds are accepted in the court of law as evidence!
These dogs were bred specifically to hunt.
Bloodhounds have been fairly used to hunt rabbits but, they aren’t the kind of dogs that’ll run behind bunnies to tire them down.
Instead, these dogs are used for their nose and excellent tracking skills.
Essentially, Bloodhounds track a rabbit down, and it is your task to make the kill. So, they’ll just take you to the prey.
Small in size, this mischievous dog is best known to be able to hunt rabbits.
Beagles do come in a small package but have lots of energy and stamina for a dog so small! Beagles have lighter bones that make them more agile and flexible than other dogs making them be able to run faster.
Also, they can turn at high speeds because of this as well!
Beagles are also stubborn and won’t give up a hunt unless the win! So, a rabbit really doesn’t have a chance if there’s a Beagle on the loose.
Because of their size, Beagles can fit almost anywhere the rabbit goes and have the high stamina that matches that of rabbits. So, they’ll never lose a bunny and keep tiring it.
Beagles let you know the location of the rabbit by making a noise. This keeps you in the loop about the bunny’s movements.
The Rabbit Dachshund was bred specifically to hunt rabbits.
Because of their small size, these dogs are used to hunt small game like rabbits, hares, etc.
This courageous dog is tireless and can chase after rabbits for hours on end to tire it down. The great thing about this dog is that it can go anywhere the rabbit can and invade all of its hiding places.
These dogs are intelligent and trainable—which are two qualities that are necessary for hunting dog breeds.
Dachshunds are good trackers as well and can easily track wounded game.
They are good dogs to have on your side while hunting rabbits.
I feel that the best dog for hunting rabbits is one that suits your lifestyle needs and is eager to help you out on a hunt as well.
In this blog post, I shared the top five dog breeds for hunting hares. You must determine which breed is the best for you.