If you’re a hog hunter, you know that the activity is breathtakingly exciting but dangerous engagement. Because the entire game is laced with danger, you need to have the best equipment with you at all times. The first tool to have – which is not exactly a tool – is the best pig hunting dog. If you get the one, the hunting job will be more comfortable. Actually, a good hunting dog will ensure that the work happens quickly. If the dog has extra training, it will help pin the hogs down until you catch up.
This article will open you up to the best dogs used in the hog hunting business. Since the dogs have not been presented in a particular order, you will need to choose the best one for yourself. Before you even choose, you need to know about the characteristics you’re supposed to focus on. You need a hunting dog whose mental psyche is stable, is fearless and loves to hunt, and agilely fast. On top of that, you need a good dog with kids and can double up as a family dog. If you take all the qualities mentioned in mind, here is a table showing the breed that you are likely to give attention to:
|Best Pig Hunting Dogs|
|The Redbone Coonhound||American Pit Bull||Dogo Argentino|
|Mountain Cur||Walker Coonhound||Plott Hound|
|Rhodesian Ridgeback||Florida Cracker Cur||Catahoula Leopard Dog|
|The Blue Lacy|
Anyone who loves hunting will see and enjoy the need to have their dogs. The belief held by research scientists is that since canine domestication began, dogs have been hunting together with humans (even before agriculture came). The development of each species was improved by hunting because it helped both of them survive.
Before we get into the flesh of the article, you must know this: many dogs use in hunting are gun dogs or scent hounds. Here are two bullets differentiating the two types of dogs:
1. Scent Hounds – as the name suggests, the dogs usually use their nose to follow trails. When they are running after their prey, they typically make a lot of noise – the calls are cues that the hunter uses to follow the path, too, especially when the dog is not within sight. Some hounds are also the treeing type – they pursue prey until it climbs a tree. Then, it stands panting at the base for the tree for its owner and hunter to arrive.
2. Gun dogs also go by the name bird dogs, which should tell you the prey they primarily focus on. Apart from birds, they can also engage in taking down rabbits and other smaller animals. First, the dog locates its target. Then, the owner or hunter shoots it (the prey) after the dog flushes it out. In the end, the dog retrieves the kill for the hunter to take and pack.
Now, let’s explode the table into something fleshy – let’s hunt for pigs.
Best Dogs To Hunt Hogs With
1. Redbone Coonhound
Although arguable, this breed is not just good – it is excellent for pig hunting. Mature males weigh upwards of 70 pounds and may stand on a 27-inch height. The dogs themselves are powerfully sleek, and there are born of bloodhounds and foxhounds. This ancestry should communicate to you that they are expert trackers – they can pick up a trace left by wild hogs and follow it up until they get the animal.
Among the many scent hounds, the Redbone Coonhound is the one that can trace both fresh and old scents. If you go out hunting with this dog, you will enjoy its versatility. The dogs can take on rugged terrain with comfort and show intelligence and flexibility during all hunting times. Because of their vocal nature and distinct bray, hunters will find it easy to follow the trails set by Redbone Coonhounds.
If you train them well, the dogs will display high levels of determination. They won’t stop pursuing a pig across hills and water bodies if such situations present themselves. The other thing that makes them excellent dogs is their friendliness. They will switch from tough hunters to beautiful pups when they get back home. If you get the Redbone Coonhound, you will be enjoying their powerful tracking ability and incredible olfactory senses.
2. The Mountain Cur
This is another good pig hunting dog, but its primary specialty is smaller animals. Because Mountain Curs have alpha-dog inclinations, you will need to train them properly, especially for subservience. Once you are done preparing them, they will show you intelligence and competence.
If you look at the breed, you will see that it has a mixture of both hound and terrier characteristics. Together with their weight – upwards of 60 pounds – the dogs have super hunting instincts, determination, and power. The one caveat is that their stubbornness can sometimes be uncontrollable.
Like many other of the same umbrella breed (Curs), these Mountain dogs are excellent workers. They should not be left in the house alone as they can cause distraction. They do not act smoothly near other pets, meaning that they won’t appreciate it if you have cats or other dogs. On top of those antisocial inclinations, they will also require a lot of attention from you.
You will love that this breed does not have any related health issues, and if taken care of well, it can live upwards of 16 years. This means that for a significant amount of time, you will enjoy its company.
3. The Rhodesian Ridgeback
If you look at the canine history books, you will discover that these huge dogs were used in lion hunting – yes, lion! This was happening in Africa, and therefore, you should not be surprised why they have made it to this list. They stand up to about 31 inches, and their weight is upwards of 110 pounds, meaning that they are powerfully large dogs. However, their towering figures should not scare you as they are calm canines.
When trained, the Rhodesian Ridgebacks are impressive guard dogs that show a lot of power and dominance when hunting. Their loyalty and intelligence are other remarkable things that many people do not see.
As a scent hog, this breed does the work of tracking dogs excellently. It can pick out a scent from a far distance and follow it down. That mighty scent-picking power is combined with good stamina and fastness, meaning that they can pursue, slow, and take down the hogs they come across.
The only downside that comes with this breed is that it is susceptible to getting thyroid issues and dysplasia, which can cause medical problems.
To put them in their best shape and form, you should give them extensive and proper training to ensure that they are the best. This will build up on their independent, intelligent natures. Because the dogs are likely to develop separation anxiety, do not leave them for too long. If you take them for hunting, you will surely enjoy their loyalty and obedience.
4. The American Pit Bull
Seeing the Pit Bull Terriers and the American Pit bulls on this list should not surprise you. These dog breeds are known – far and wide, famously and infamously – for their aggression, which works to their advantage during hog hunting.
Generally speaking, these dogs are mid-sized, intelligent biters whose biting forces are ones to reckon with. This is probably the reason why law enforcement agencies so much love them.
As hunting dogs, Pit Bulls will dedicate themselves to a particular pig. At one point in the pursuit, they are likely to show their aggression. Once they corner the pig, Pit Bulls will use their stamina to hold them down.
You should know that the use of Pit Bulls in pig hunting is not allowed in all states. So, before you engage in your hog hunting business, ensure you go over the state’s laws or jurisdiction in which you wish to operate. That notwithstanding, Pit bulls are impressive hunters because of their athleticism and determination.
5. The Blue Lacy
These are some of the best working dogs and will help any hunter who is out to take down pigs. In the 1850s, breeders gave rise to the Blue Lacy, and at that time, it was used in Texas to hunt for wild hogs. They are a near-perfect hunting breed because of their speed, agility, and stamina. This implies that it will keep tracking a pig then hold it down (when it gets it) until the hunter comes to the spot. The Lacys will use their powerful bites to grab onto the pig, and with resoluteness, they will ensure that the grunter stays in place. They also succeed because of their intelligence and determination.
As compared to other dogs like the Redbone Coonhound, they lack a powerful sense of smell. However, they make up for that downside by being excellent in picking up tracks that have been recently used. Because they are a hardy breed, expect them to take on any terrain that comes their way with little challenges.
6. The Walker Coonhound
As you may have intelligently picked up from the dog’s name, this breed comes from American and English foxhounds, and they are used for hunting down racCOONs. Because of their intelligence and playfulness, they are great hunters and good family and house pets.
As scent dogs, Walker Coonhounds will take their time pursuing scents with all their sinews, muscles, and energies. Actually, the dog may engage itself to a point where they are a little too exhausted. That notwithstanding, the Walker will only rest after they have taken down the pig.
As compared to other scent dogs, their receptors are not very powerful. However, they have speed and tenacity that make up for that receptor-related weakness. Unlike many other hunting dogs on this list, the Walker Coonhounds can be good house pets and have little problems living together with other pets like cats. If you walk them on a leash, prepare for a challenging experience because they will act aggressively.
However, that does not stop the dogs from being both on-hunt and off-hunt beauties.
7. The Florida Cracker Cur
If you look at the canine history, you will pick out that these dogs came with the Spanish to America during the pre-colonial times. These dogs have powerful willpowers and particular docility that makes them one of the best pig hunting dogs.
As compared to other pups, the dogs of this breed have a certain audacity that gives them the courage to approach animals that are bigger than them. So, the Florida Cracker Curs won’t have a problem holding pigs when they locate them.
Although they do not have a strong sense of smell, they can carefully and patiently follow a scent. To get the dogs to be composed, you need to subject them to training and discipline. If not, you may end up dealing with an overly dominant dog that is a little too overprotective. So, any hunter who wishes to take up a Cur should be assertive enough to tame it.
8. The Dogo Argentino
If you look at the images of all the listed dogs, the Dogo Argentino is an absolute breed that will take down pigs with power. They stand at about 27 inches and measure upwards of 100 pounds. The breeding of the Dogo happened in Argentina in 1928 because the breeder wanted a powerful dog that could hunt big game like mountain lions. Its ancestors are the now-extinct Cordoba fighting dog mixed with the Bulldog, Great Dane, Boxer, and Terrier. The resultant dog is bravely protective.
On top of the hunting business, these dogs are taken up to work alongside the police. Although they show great dedication and stamina when hunting, the personalities can become unstable. When that happens, they are likely to go out of control and harm children and other pets. So, the Dogo Argentino cannot be taken in as a house pet.
To make them tamer, you need to socialize and train them with great care. Also, their owner needs to be dedicated to getting the dog back to shape.
As hunting dogs, you will like that the Dogo Argentino can sprint impressively and go on for long distances without giving up. Their bravery and powerful bite combine to help the dog hunt for hogs effectively.
9. The Plott Hound
If you’re reading this from North Carolina, you should know the Plott Hound as it is the official state dog. Initially, this hound was used in bear hunting but is now one of the most excellent hunting dogs. These days, there are mostly used as gun dogs, but they also show prowess in taking down hogs.
The Plott Hound can reach up to 25 inches in height and 60 pounds in weight. Those physical details put them out as strong dogs that are both intelligent and speedy. Although these hounds fall under the umbrella of Coonhounds, they have no linkage with Foxhounds. You can draw a line from them to the German pig hunting dogs – those were brought to North Carolina in the 700s by the Plott family, which explains their names.
If they are owned by a timid person, Plott hounds will dominate them. The situation may be worse if the dog does not get proper training. On the flip side, however, the dog will behave sociably and live together with other dogs.
During hunts, they usually produce high pitches, which make it easy for them to be located. The sound, however, may get your neighbors knocking at your door because it’s not very pleasant.
When on the hunt, these dogs are actively happy and will use their sense of smell to spot hogs effectively.
10. The Catahoula Leopard Dog
Among the many dogs listed here, this is the one every hog hunter should go for. The dogs of this breed are assertive and know how to control cattle and feral hogs. Their strength is sourced from their powerful ancestry, as they are born of the Spanish Mastiff and the American Greyhounds in Louisiana.
This is the only listed dog that has a myth tied to it – it is said that Native Americans bred it from wolves. Surprisingly, the Catahoula Leopard Dog does its hunting calmly and non-aggressively, but that does not mean that they won’t bark. They are wary of strangers and will always be ready to step out and protect their families.
Mature male leopard dogs stand 26 inches tall and weigh about 90 pounds. A prospective owner should know that the dogs have lots of energy within them and need lots of exercises to be too destructive.
The one caveat with these dogs is that they are prone to getting hip dysplasia and deafness. So, getting this dog means that one should be on the lookout for those health issues.
Because of their powerfulness, these dogs need a strongly confident hunter-owner to help them thrive. So, before you get this dog, ensure that you’re ready. Also, do not expect them to be good family pets are they are more fit to engage in pig hunting.
Bonus Section: Hog Hunting History
The culture of getting dogs and taking them for pig hunting to get family meals may have started in the 1800s in America. However, the practice is as old as Roman antiquity. During those times, the hunters used to engage two canine types – catch and bay dogs.
Both catch and bay dogs engage in pig hunting, but there is a significant difference between what each does. Bay dogs are first released to engage in a pursuit with the boar or sow. When the pig attempts to fight back or is cornered, the hunter will then release the catch dog to immobilize the pig by seizing it behind its ear. This will help the dog to gain full control and pin the pig down. Then, the hunter comes to spear the boar and dispatch it.
Apart from the hunting business, these catch dogs were used to keep livestock – cows and chickens – safe from the animals lurking in the wild. For early settlers, the most significant problems they had to face were bears and cougars. So, these dogs protected the families and livestock of the early settlers because, at that time, America was an untamed expanse.
At that time, man’s best friend had a significant, more purposeful meaning because dogs would work with humans side by side. At the end of the day, both their efforts would determine if the humans had food on their tables. The dogs’ life also got more meaning rather than aimless scavenging and petty fighting in the wild.
Pig Hunting In The Modern Times
Up to date, many hunters still engage in the business of hunting hogs all over America. This is because, in the country, wild boars are still a headache. Feral pigs and wild boars are still causing a lot of menace in agricultural and livestock fields, meaning that those places still need protection.
While there may be no way of getting the exact damage amount, these wild pigs cost the agricultural and timber industries. The US Department of Agriculture put the estimate at around a couple billion dollars each year.
Because the dogs don’t stop at anything when eating, they cause a lot of damage to the environment, which cannot be estimated fully. The pigs also engage in wallowing and rooting behaviors, which creates runoff. Anyone who knows anything about runoff knows that it causes pollution to water sources.
Here’s something to note about pigs. After a sow gets to 6 months of age, they become sexually mature. From that point onwards, they produce two litters each year. A piglet litter is usually between 10 and 15 piglets, meaning that they give birth to at least 20 piglets each year. Since the wild pigs lack natural predators to keep their population in check, they may invade a property in no time. This explains why hunters still take down feral and wild boards with catch and bay dogs.
These days, however, much has changed. A hunter just needs their rifle and knives. Also, modern-day equipment like binoculars can help them to spot the pigs. Actually, pig hunting is more of nighttime activity, something that the earlier hunters would have never done because they considered dangerous animals like cougars and bears.
Less and fewer hunting dogs are used, but that does not mean that they are neglected. The dogs undergo tough, rigorous training so that they do their part well. When the dogs are in shape, they are taken out for hunting expeditions.