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Best Dogs for Duck and Waterfowl Hunting

by NOMAD Outdoor September 15, 2015

Duck hunting is one of the most enjoyable sports in America, but without the right dog, it can be a tiring, frustrating activity.

If you’ve decided to get a dog to retrieve your waterfowl, make sure you get the right one. While there are many excellent dogs for duck hunting, specific breeds will give you the temperament, energy, enthusiasm, and trainability that you are looking for.

A few are completely expected, but one in particular is sure to make your hunting partners laugh...until they see the dog in action.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Big, strong, and hearty, this is one of the best retrievers in the land, especially if you hunt in lots of cold weather for hours on end. They have a reputation for aggression, but it’s really a protective nature that was instilled by their early-American breeders. With structure and discipline, this is one of the best duck dogs you’ll ever have in your home or in your boat.

German Shorthair Pointer

Most hunters would consider the German shorthair pointer a dog for hunting upland birds like pheasant, quail, and grouse, but they are also one of the best dogs to take into the wetlands. With energy, intelligence, and stamina, they are easily trained for multiple tasks, but their thin coat will give them chills when swimming for long hours in cold water.

Labrador Retriever

This is America’s hunting dog. It’s a great family dog, a quick learner, and eager to please. It’s also one of the finest duck hunting dogs in the land, if not the best. Black, yellow, or chocolate, labs have a thick, dense coat, paddle-like feet, compact muscles, and a wide tail that they can use as a rudder. Labradors are known to mentally mature fast, making them excellent retrievers from an early age and giving American hunters over a decade of service and love.

American Water Spaniel

Looking for a dog that could hunt on both land and water, 19th-century dog breeders in Wisconsin created the American water spaniel, a curly, dark-haired dog that became one of the top duck breeds in the country. In general, the breed is less high-strung than the English springer spaniel, but it loves the water and has a knack for retrieving that rivals a Labrador.

Golden Retriever

If the Labrador is America’s hunting dog, the golden retriever isn’t far behind. The friendly, intelligent breed is known for it’s attractive coat, high spirits, and excellent hunting skills. Golden retrievers have a soft mouth and a natural attraction to water, making them ideal for duck season.


Skip the fancy haircuts, designer collars, and shiny ribbons and take your poodle to duck hunting school. Poodles were retrieving waterfowl long before the Labrador retriever was ever bred. In fact, the dog was originally meant to be a water retriever, and the name poodle has similar roots as the word puddle, so you know this dog likes to get dirty, despite it’s prim-and-proper reputation. Give the poodle a chance and you’ll have one of the best dogs for your next duck hunt.

The Best Apparel for the Entire Hunting Season

Now that you know the best type of hunting dog breeds, you’ll have to stock up on the rest of your hunting gear. You can have excellent hunting apparel when you shop the selection from NOMAD Outdoor. You’ll find jackets, pants, hoodies, and more. We have everything you need to prepare for this year’s hunting season, so stop by and stock up today!

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