View Poll Results: What is the best hunting dog breed for hunting in Alaska?

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  • Springer Spaniel

    3 3.90%
  • Brittany Spaniel

    4 5.19%
  • Pointer

    6 7.79%
  • Labrador Retriever

    36 46.75%
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever

    15 19.48%
  • Beagle

    1 1.30%
  • Other

    12 15.58%
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Thread: What is the best hunting dog breed for Alaska Poll?

  1. #1

    Default What is the best hunting dog breed for Alaska Poll?

    Give your reason(s) for choosing this breed.

    I selected beagles because I myself have a beagle and they make great hunting dogs for snowshoe hares. I used to own a chocolate lab and it was a great waterfowl retriever, but the waterfowl season is so short up here and it overlaps with most of the big game seasons. Rabbit (hare) hunting is good from October until March, so it last half the year. I can see where spaniel and other pointer/upland breed dogs would be good for hunting ptarmigan and grouse, but I think there are much more opportunities to hunt snowshoe hares for most people up here for the longest period of time. Accessible ptarmigan hunting locations can be hard to find. Grouse are usually accessible but sometimes inedible like spruce grouse in the winter etc.

  2. #2
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    Drahthaar is the best hunting dog for Alaska. Smart, tough, hunts upland as well as waterfowl. Good ski-jor dog in the winter.

  3. #3

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    I agree that the waterfowl season is limited, but I still think a Lab is the best dog to have. It would certainly depend where you are in the state and what you are targeting. That said, you can hunt most anything over a lab, especially ptarmigan. In terms of versatility, they do pretty well.

    The primary reason I would say labs score up is that they are far more cold hardy than most of the other breeds listed in the poll. Chesapeakes could also be high on the list, but so far as I have seen, they are not as instinctive upland hunters as labs. A golden would also be high on my list, if only for the cold hardiness. Most upland breeds (including drathaars) just don't have a great coat for snow and cold.

  4. #4
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I have killed hare and grouse over my springer the same day. I am looking forward to getting him in a duck blind one of of these days as well since he loves water.

    That said there isn't really a one dog for all situations so I recently added a Large Munsterlander to the family and it should be a lot of fun having a pointer in the field.

  5. #5
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miller View Post
    Chesapeakes could also be high on the list, but so far as I have seen, they are not as instinctive upland hunters as labs..
    Imo, what kind of dog depends on what the hunter plans on using them for. I voted for the chessie. They can handle the cold water better. And my old girl used to point and hold upland birds as well.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  6. #6

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    I am curious how labs actually help in hunting for upland birds and for snowshoe hares. Don't get me wrong, my favorite dog I ever owned was a chocolate lab. And she was a great retriever. I remember times that I shot ducks and there was no possible way I would have retrieved those ducks unless I had her with me. But as far as trailing and scenting rabbits or pointing a grouse or ptarmigan, I don't believe it would have been possible for me to train her to do that. It just isn't in the genes of a lab to do so. I can see a lab being a good companion when hunting for grouse, ptarmigan and hares, and also retrieving them, but it's not really necessary to retrieve a grouse, ptarmigan, or hare. They live on land.

  7. #7
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    But as far as trailing and scenting rabbits or pointing a grouse or ptarmigan, I don't believe it would have been possible for me to train her to do that. It just isn't in the genes of a lab to do so..
    Of course a bird dog on rabbits is a no-no imo. But even though you may not have heard about it much, enough labs (and chessies) have pointed birds that it has become a pretty good debate among upland hunters. Meaning........true pointers vs pointing retrievers. It seems that pointer handlers don't like the idea of retrievers that point. Don't really know why....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  8. #8
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    I don't believe it would have been possible for me to train her to do that. It just isn't in the genes of a lab to do so.
    Beg to differ... genes is often an 'excuse' about dogs. What a dog can actually do is as much about proper training as anything else. My dad used a german shepherd to hunt upland birds down in Oregon. He had it trained to point, then flush on command, and then retrieve. And it did it better than a lot of thousand-dollar "genetic" hunting dogs.

    Any breed on the list could be the "best" hunting dog in Alaska. Depends on the dog's individual personality, the handler, and the training.
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  9. #9
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Beg to differ... genes is often an 'excuse' about dogs. What a dog can actually do is as much about proper training as anything else. My dad used a german shepherd to hunt upland birds down in Oregon. He had it trained to point, then flush on command, and then retrieve. And it did it better than a lot of thousand-dollar "genetic" hunting dogs.

    Any breed on the list could be the "best" hunting dog in Alaska. Depends on the dog's individual personality, the handler, and the training.
    Agreed, so I don't know who you are begging to differ with...???......lol Training is mostly what it's all about, as I've seen plenty of retrievers that didn't like to retrieve......
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  10. #10
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    Bunnies, ducks, grouse, ptarmigan... Murdock gets it done

    ...no idea if a Chessie is the 'best' AK dog, I'm far too ignorant on the topic to say, but he's pretty darn good...
    ------------------------------------------------
    pull my finger....

  11. #11
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Of course a bird dog on rabbits is a no-no imo. But even though you may not have heard about it much, enough labs (and chessies) have pointed birds that it has become a pretty good debate among upland hunters. Meaning........true pointers vs pointing retrievers. It seems that pointer handlers don't like the idea of retrievers that point. Don't really know why....
    My springer is ballz to the walls covering every inch of ground and hunts close enough that all I have to do is keep in good shooting lanes. If it runs or flies he will find it and flush it. I may walk 5 miles with him in a few hours but he probably runs 30. The reason I went with a flushing breed was because I am just as happy with rabbits as I am grouse. I am always amazed at the brush he will bust through without hesitation. He would likely be better with a decent trainer but for a hunting pet he does plenty to make me smile.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Of course a bird dog on rabbits is a no-no imo. But even though you may not have heard about it much, enough labs (and chessies) have pointed birds that it has become a pretty good debate among upland hunters. Meaning........true pointers vs pointing retrievers. It seems that pointer handlers don't like the idea of retrievers that point. Don't really know why....
    That's a good point. I hadn't thought about a pointer retriever. I guess I was thinking more about my beagle. Her nose is incredible. I don't think that is a trait you are ever going to get in a lab. She will follow the rabbit and continue barking until the rabbit is either shot or she loses the scent. I don't see much use for a dog that flushes a rabbit and the rabbit simply runs away. My beagle runs the rabbit in a circle and if I just wait long enough I can usually get a shot if she doesn't lose the scent.

  13. #13
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Flushing dog works like kicking brush to flush them without all the hard work of kicking brush plus the dog is all nose so he finds the ones that hold tight in thick cover. Hounds are awesome for hunting but they have annoying traits that make them less desirably to me as a pet.

  14. #14
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    That's a good point. I hadn't thought about a pointer retriever. I guess I was thinking more about my beagle. Her nose is incredible. I don't think that is a trait you are ever going to get in a lab. She will follow the rabbit and continue barking until the rabbit is either shot or she loses the scent. I don't see much use for a dog that flushes a rabbit and the rabbit simply runs away. My beagle runs the rabbit in a circle and if I just wait long enough I can usually get a shot if she doesn't lose the scent.
    Yes, if there is a better rabbit dog than a beagle I'd like to know what? The guy I work with used to run beagles in actual rabbit trials. Pretty interesting the way he describes how they watch beagles run rabbits and judge them.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  15. #15
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    Agree with 4merguide, I have raised hounds for the last 40 years, coonhounds, beagles, and just recently mnt Fiest squirel dogs. Some do make good pets if trained right but these dogs have the instinct to hunt and will always have that drive. There is no one dog for everything IMO. Beagles have been trained mainly for rabbits, but we had some that would also track grouse and other birds too and one friend even used his with his bear dogs (small dog get in and out fast). One of my friends growing up had a beagle/terrier cross he would chase rabbits and tree squirels by day, and coon at night, of course he would leave a rabbit for porky often.

    I'm not a bird hunter, but if I was, and also rabbits, I would have two dogs, one for birds and one for rabbits. Two dogs don't eat much more than one, besides I like dogs

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    Wow, great discussion you guys. Good, fun reading here. I voted for lab retriever primarily because I have one. As for the idea of pointing retrievers, my dog came from a kennel that supposedly specializes in pointing labs (Tiger something kennels in ... Northwest US someplace I forget exactly.), but I've only seen him point a few times. To be fair, it's not a skill I know how to train for, so he gets zero practice at it. Plus, I'm not a prolific, or even successful hunter, so he gets few opportunities. However, he breaks through brush like a bull dozer! So he is good at flushing birds, if they're there. Not sure he is really using his nose to find them, though. As for rabbits, we haven't hunted rabbits together, but he brought my girlfriend's dad a rabbit he caught and killed himself (it was still warm), so, he at least knows what a rabbit is.

  17. #17
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    I vote Lab, they are a pretty versatile breed, that can be used for upland, or waterfowl. They handle the cold well, and are great with kids, people, and other dogs. I see them used as avalanche rescue dogs due thier incredible noses as well. Labs also make good shed hunting dogs. I'm starting mine on this training now, going to find some whitetail sheds before I make it back up north.

    Patrick McManus always said "the best hunting dog belongs to somebody else. You don't have to worry about cleaning up after it, feeding it or any of that other stuff. You just use him for the day then take him home." of course he also had that other dog named Strange, that used to drag his rear across the ground only when important company was over and usually when they were all looking out the window, he was an expert at catching skunks, and his prey of choice was year old road kill.
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  18. #18
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    My vote is for lads but then it's the only dog I've ever trained
    Is it opening day of duck season yet
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjm View Post

    Bunnies, ducks, grouse, ptarmigan... Murdock gets it done

    ...no idea if a Chessie is the 'best' AK dog, I'm far too ignorant on the topic to say, but he's pretty darn good...
    Wow, awesome pictures, I really like the last one, beautiful dog!

  20. #20
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    How do the springers handle the cold/snow/ice?

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