Goldendoodles make excellent hunting dogs because they have incredible endurance and endless enthusiasm. Not only are goldendoodles loyal hunting companions who love being out in the field alongside hunters, but they are fantastic family dogs with great personalities.
If you are looking at different dog breeds for duck hunting, here’s everything you should know before deciding on a goldendoodle or another retriever.
Are Goldendoodles Used for Hunting?
As a cross between golden retrievers and poodles, goldendoodles have impressive stamina and focus that makes them great hunting dogs.
Both golden retrievers and poodles are trusted hunting dogs, and goldendoodles have the same love of running and water that helps them excel in the field.
Just like with any other gun dog, training from a young age is key. Hunters who have the most luck with goldendoodles take the time to carefully train their dogs, although it helps that this breed is naturally super obedient.
Were Goldendoodles Bred to Hunt?
This cross has only been widely bred since the 1990s, but since then goldendoodles have become a popular family breed, known for their fun-loving personalities and allergy-friendly coats.
Once the demand grew for labradoodles and cockapoos, breeders decided to combine the poodle and golden retriever for a larger doodle.
The low-shedding, low-dander coat and friendly golden personality proved this was a smart breeding decision, and it wasn’t long before goldendoodles were tested as hunting dogs.
While goldendoodles weren’t specifically bred to hunt at the start, now there are selective breeding programs that produce prominent field dogs.
Of course, it all comes down to the dog’s natural abilities and how you train them. Like all the bird dog breeds, some goldendoodles are naturally stronger and more adept at hunting than others.
It’s all about unlocking the dog’s instincts to help them reach their full hunting potential.
Are Goldendoodles Good Tracking Dogs?
One of the best things about hunting with goldendoodles is that they are great at tracking. While their nose isn’t quite as strong as a beagle or another hound, they can be incredibly focused and keep their nose down for miles.
When exposed to birds as a growing pup, goldendoodles can build on their natural prey drive and become highly motivated to follow the scent and find the bird.
Speaking of puppies, look for a goldendoodle that’s actively sniffing and exploring. You can tap into their natural curiosity and hone in on their innate tracking and retrieving abilities to produce a strong hunting dog.
As they get older, it’s important to keep up with training and give them as much field experience as possible. The more time a goldendoodle spends sniffing and following birds, the greater opportunity you have to refine their skills.
What Are The Best Qualities in Goldendoodles for Hunting?
Like labradoodles and other doodles, goldendoodles can be produced from a golden retriever and a standard, miniature, or toy poodle.
Large goldendoodles are most similar to golden retrievers and labs, giving them strong, powerful muscles that suit regular hunting, but many hunters enjoy success with medium or small goldendoodles too.
Goldendoodles that exhibit these positive traits of golden retrievers make the best hunting dogs.
- Willing to do anything to please their owners
- Super family-friendly and active
- Soft, gentle mouth for successful retrieving
- Likes to swim and run
- Confident and doesn’t shy away from the hunt
- Warm coat
- Obedient listening for easy training
- Thick coat helps stay warm on the hunt
- Wants to please and get praise
- Natural-born retrievers
- Water dog, successful swimmer
- Highly loyal and intelligent
Remember goldendoodles are low-shedding and hypoallergenic dogs. If you’re looking for a family hunting dog that won’t shed and make as much of a mess as labs, then goldendoodles are a great option.
What Characteristics Should a Hunting Goldendoodle Have?
Whether you’re thinking about buying a goldendoodle or you have a young pup at home you want to train for hunting, there are some key characteristics to look for.
Keep in mind that goldendoodles should become more seasoned and adept hunters as they get older and graduate from youthful energy to laser-focus in the field.
Running and hunting are high-impact activities, so you need a healthy dog with the energy and stamina to go for hours.
Goldendoodles come from two fast-running breeds and bounce back quickly, so as long as the dog is healthy and comes from a quality lineage with no known health problems, you can expect some solid hunting years ahead.
Coming from two water retrievers, most goldendoodles have strong swimming skills and a natural love for the water. Even so, you definitely want to introduce a goldendoodle to the water when they are young.
If they can associate ponds and lakes with fun retrieving exercise, you will have a better time training them to be obedient and intelligent hunters.
Goldendoodles are robust, resilient retrievals with an instinct to track and chase. That prey drive has to come naturally to dogs, and that usually isn’t an issue with goldendoodles.
They love to retrieve everything from balls to birds, and will be happy and focused while doing so. This instinct is what makes them great bird dogs who will keep going until they find the bird and bring it back.
Loyalty and Courage
When training a goldendoodle to hunt, you can build on this breed’s natural loyalty, courage, and confidence. Both golden retrievers and poodles love pleasing their owners and earning praise, so a goldendoodle likes to do the same.
Careful field training can show even the most energetic young goldendoodles that doing well in the field comes with rewards.
The goal is to train your goldendoodle to be a confident, courageous canine companion who doesn’t shy away from a challenge in the duck field.
Possible Challenges of Hunting With a Goldendoodle
There are not many bad things to say about goldendoodles in general, let alone their hunting ability.
One consideration is that most goldendoodles don’t come from multi-generational hunting lines, and if they do, they are more expensive.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it just means you may not get the same hunting prowess passed down multiple generations like with prestigious lab or beagle breeders.
Goldendoodles also may need more grooming before and after a hunt compared to other breeds.
Indeed, the water-resistant and non-shedding coat performs well in wet, muddy conditions, but bristles and burrs may get stuck in their soft coat. Knots and matting are also possibilities, especially on long, wet hunts.
Other than that, goldendoodles with proper training and field experience can perform right up there with more common hunting dogs like labs, foxhounds, and pointers.
Final Thoughts on Hunting With Goldendoodles
Many hunters highly recommend hunting with a goldendoodle. With the right training and exercise regime, goldendoodles thrive as hunting dogs.
Thanks to the brilliant mix of golden retriever and poodle, goldendoodles have sharp minds and powerful physiques that allow them to hunt for hours without stopping.
Raising a goldendoodle hunting companion can be approached the same as for any other retriever, with a focus on obedience training and field experience where they can get used to gunshots.
Patience and persistence will get you the best results with a goldendoodle hunting companion.