Tracker dog breeds were mainly used for hunting purposes back in the day. While we don’t need their services nearly as much in the modern age anymore, they are still excellent in terms of security and safety.
With over 300 million smell receptors, dogs can smell danger from miles away. Then you have these super sniffer breeds who have such good noses, like German Shepards, that we’ve employed them in the police force.
But which tracker dog is the right fit for your family? There are small to large dogs with varying needs and energy levels.
Find out more about these 13 tracker dogs to help you decide which is best for you.
- 1 What Is a Tracker Dog Breed?
- 2 Tracker Dog Breeds
- 2.1 1. Bloodhound
- 2.2 2. German Shepard
- 2.3 3. Basset Hound
- 2.4 4. Beagle
- 2.5 5. Redbone Coonhound
- 2.6 6. Saint Bernard
- 2.7 7. Labrador Retriever
- 2.8 8. Dachshund
- 2.9 9. Belgian Shepherd
- 2.10 10. American Foxhound
- 2.11 11. Majestic Tree Hound
- 2.12 12. German Shorthaired Pointer
- 2.13 13. English Springer Spaniel
- 3 Final Thoughts on Tracker Dog Breeds
What Is a Tracker Dog Breed?
Tracker dogs are any dogs that help track down a scent for a short distance. They are pretty popular for hunting purposes as they help their owners track down their prey. However, today, they are mainly used in law enforcement.
Instead of tracking down prey ready for a kill, police officers use these super smellers to help them track weapons, drugs, or bodies. If trained correctly, police sniffer dogs have an 80% accuracy in detecting drugs.
But tracker dogs aren’t only used to track prey and contraband. In the case of Saint Bernards, this breed has been used to search and rescue missing people in dangerous areas like the Swiss Alps, for example.
Dogs are natural hunters. It is something they’ve had to do for many years and were actually bred to do. So, it’s no surprise that they are often the go-to animal used for tracking.
Tracker Dog Breeds
These are the top tracker dog breeds to look out for, whether you’re looking for a hunting partner, hiking pal, or just a companion in the garden.
Image by Ilona Krijgsman from Pixabay
While some may consider this breed an ugly dog, they prove that it’s not all about looks. This long-eared breed has gained the nickname ‘Sleuth Hound’, proving they have one of the best sniffers in the biz.
They originated from France and were actually bred to hunt. So, it’s no surprise that they’re also pretty active and intelligent too. If you plan on getting a Bloodhound for your family, expect to spend plenty of time training and exercising with them. They also pick up commands quite easily — especially when looking for a scent.
2. German Shepard
Photo by Anna Dudkova on Unsplash
This big fluffy dog breed is probably the most well-known tracker dog purely because we see them so often. You’ll often see German Shepards in airports or alongside their police partner in the street.
But, while they’re trained to do a tough job, they are actually very reserved and friendly. Don’t forget they’re incredibly intelligent, too — not much escapes their thoughtful gaze. They are very loyal to their owners, too. So, if they sense their owners are in danger, they will not hesitate to protect them.
But isn’t that what you’d want from a family dog?
3. Basset Hound
Photo by Lauren McConachie on Unsplash
Stocky, tripping over their ears, and with a drooping face. It may be difficult to see how this short-legged dog could be used for hunting, but they were many a hunters’ preferred helper in the field.
Not only are Basset Hounds excellent tracker dogs, but they are also some of the most low-maintenance dog breeds you can get. They are incredibly independent and easy-going, meaning they won’t need that much attention and can be left alone for a few hours.
They are very intelligent but can be quite stubborn, so they won’t always do as you say or do tricks right away.
Photo by Mark Rimmel on Unsplash
If dogs could smile, Beagles would have a permanent grin plastered on their faces. They are extremely happy-go-lucky and warm-hearted dogs.
Initially used for hunting rabbits and hares, this breed has a sharp nose that can pick up scents for miles. They are also very energetic because of this and need lots of exercise and playtime outside to keep them happy.
Because Beagles love attention and affection, they won’t fare well being left alone for longer than five hours at a time. So, if you do get this breed for your family, know that you’ll have to invest lots of time with them.
5. Redbone Coonhound
Image by Adam Bouse on Unsplash
Not as well-known as other dogs on this list, the Redbone Coonhound’s origins are in the United States. You’ll know this breed when you see one. They have slender, muscular bodies, big floppy ears, an unmissable sleek, and shiny red coats.
This dog enjoys vigorous exercise and even swimming a few laps. It’s safe to say this breed is a true outdoors fan. They can easily pick up hunting commands but struggle to pick up more everyday tricks.
That said, they are very calm, laid-back, and excellent with children, so don’t let their high energy scare you off.
6. Saint Bernard
Photo by Siddharth Shah on Unsplash
This drooly yet sweet fluff ball will have anyone fall in love with them, especially when they’re the first thing you’ll see after getting lost in the Swiss Alps.
This breed was bred in Switzerland to lend a helping paw as a rescuer for the Hospice of St. Bernard in the 1800s. Today, you’ll see Saint Bernards all over the world in many people’s homes.
This might be because of this breed’s gentle, calm, and caring nature. They work well with children and are very easy to train too.
Besides the drool, what’s there not to love about this big teddy bear?
7. Labrador Retriever
Photo by Ivan Louis on Unsplash
One of the most popular family dogs in America, the Labrador Retriever, is actually from Newfoundland in Canada and named after the Labrador Region. They were typically used as gun dogs and, as their name suggests, retrievers that would return wild animals once shot.
However, they are fun-loving and energetic dogs that love playtime. They are easy-going and low maintenance, making them ideal for beginner pet owners. However, they enjoy spending time with their owners the most and can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone for too long.
Photo by Katie Bernotsky on Unsplash
Known also as a sausage dog or ‘Liberty’ on Paw Patrol, this tiny pup will melt many people’s hearts. However, just because they’re small doesn’t mean you can expect a pushover.
Dachshunds are known for being very determined and stubborn, which makes them excellent tracker dogs. While their bodies may look funny, their short legs and long torsos were bred with a purpose. This was to help them enter badgers’ burrows when on the hunt.
9. Belgian Shepherd
Photo by Bella Pisani on Unsplash
As you can probably gather from the name, this dog breed has origins in Belgium — not too far away from its cousin, the German Shepard. While they are two different breeds, they were bred for similar reasons.
The police and military also use this dog breed for its sniffing capabilities. Besides slight differences in appearance, there isn’t much difference between the breeds. The Belgian Shepherd will also make an excellent addition to the family, just like their German counterpart, as they are sensitive, protective, and loving.
10. American Foxhound
Image by Giovanni Gio from Pixabay
Closely related to the English Foxhound, the American Foxhound has the same general build but is slightly smaller and lankier. This breed is very independent but sweet-tempered compared to the English Foxhound, who is more social.
The American Foxhound is also quite stubborn, which could make training and disciplining them a bit difficult. But that doesn’t mean they don’t like exercising whenever they can.
Because of their high-energy temperament and high prey drive, they aren’t the best for apartment living. These dogs need free range and open fields to keep them chipper.
11. Majestic Tree Hound
Image from Canva
You may not have heard of the Majestic Tree Hound. That is because it is a relatively new dog breed that’s a cross-bred belonging to the Bloodhound family.
While a relatively large breed, they are quite gentle, affectionate, and a loves being around people. In fact, they are very prone to separation anxiety if left at home for hours on end. Watch out. When they’re puppies, they seem to have an endless amount of energy.
12. German Shorthaired Pointer
Photo by Mariyan Atanasov on Unsplash
With its spotted sweater and brown face, it is difficult to miss this pointer breed. Bred to be an all-rounder in hunting, the German Shorthaired Pointer hunted, pointed, and retrieved everything from rabbits to deer if needed.
This high-energy dog has strong legs that they like using to run around any chance they get. So, like with the American Foxhound, apartment living is a no-go. After a vigorous exercise routine, you’ll notice that they tend to calm down a bit more.
This breed usually plays nice with other pets and children and is quite playful, to say the least. They are highly intelligent, too. Add that together, and you have a very obedient student eager to learn any tricks you’d want to throw their way.
13. English Springer Spaniel
Photo by Rafaëlla Waasdorp on Unsplash
English Springer Spaniels are also sometimes referred to as flushing spaniels because they were mainly used for retrieving and flushing birds for hunters.
This breed has a silky coat covered in long fur with equally long (and floppy) ears. These dogs are very affectionate and make excellent family pets. Because of their hunting background, they are extremely disciplined and aim to please their owners each time.
Final Thoughts on Tracker Dog Breeds
Tracker Dogs were chosen or bred to hunt and work well alongside their owners. So, it makes sense that these breeds are loveable, active fluff balls that love spending time with their owners.
They are also extremely loyal, and many often work well with kids, so they are an excellent choice for families. A few are also great emotional support animals, too.
So, if you’re looking for intelligent but affectionate dog breeds, these 13 tracker dog breeds will surely lead you in the right way.
I covered all of the costs associated with this tacker dog breeds post. However, it does contain affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links in this article and end up making a purchase, I may receive a small commission. It won’t affect the price that you pay. Just wanted to let you know.