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The Early Origin of the Hunting Dogs


The history of the hunting dogs began 20,000 years ago when the Mesolithic man used early dogs to hunt for food, along with animal pelts for shelter and clothing. At a later date, approximately 9,000 years ago when livestock became a domesticated animal for mankind, the dog changed roles and became known as a protector and guard. During the Bronze Age, about 4,500 B.C., there were five types of dogs in existence—pointing dogs, shepherding dogs, mastiffs, greyhounds, and wolf-type dogs—with early cave paintings during this time demonstrating that dogs worked alongside of hunters. The cave's visual demonstration of these early hunting dogs showed that they were bred to work with people as hunting dogs the majority of the time—as hunters of animals, fish, and birds.

The hunting dogs bred from that time on were bred for a specific environment and climate, eventually developing into a wide variety of hunting dogs that were bred to hunt their own particular game while using their individual skills, to achieve this goal for the hunter and friend alongside them. The changing attributes of these early hunting dogs were dictated entirely by the needs and changing lifestyles of mankind, with the development of the dog linked entirely to the evolution of humanity.

Hunting dogs consisted of bird dogs that flushed birds or some form of fowl, but some were developed to flush bird out of water environments while some were bred to flush the bird on land. Also, some hunting dogs treed coons while some would hunt rodents of some time. But either way, the dog was developed to assist man in his hunt for food, clothing, or shelter. As modern times developed with more advanced agricultural methods, manufacturing, or new weapons and ways to hunt--the dog became more of a friend or a hunting dog for pleasure, becoming more developed for pleasure than need. And since the definition of the hunting dog refers to a dog that assists mankind to hunt, the expression hunting dogs have also had to change also.

Today, the most popular hunting dogs are the hounds, terriers, gun dogs, and the curs--after that, more sub-categories can be made in regard to the particular hunting skills of each breed. Some examples are the hounds that have the sub-categories of sight hounds and scent hounds; gun dogs have the sub-categories of retrievers, setters, spaniels, water dogs, and pointers; terriers have the sub-categories of Lakeland Terriers, and Curs. But they all have one thing in common—the love of hunting with their owner.

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