6 Best Coyote Hunting Dogs

There are two methods of hunting coyotes with dogs. One is based on curiosity and daring of the prey – tolling or decoying.

Coyote dogs used for decoying and tolling need to be of similar size to their prey. The objective is not to scare the coyote away with a large dog, but not let it get too confident and attack the small one. 

Coyote dogs need to lure the coyote out in the open and within rifle range, they need to have a lot of courage and stamina.

The other method of coyote hunting with dogs is to send a pack of dogs to chase the prey. It is similar to fox or hog hunting, where a pack of dogs is set loose to chase the prey and ultimately catch it.

The size of pack-hunting dogs doesn’t play as big of a role, as they usually hunt in big numbers.

Best dogs for coyote hunting:

Decoy/Tolling breeds:

  • Mountain Cur
  • Border Collie
  • Australian Shepherd

Baying/Coursing breeds:

  • Greyhound
  • Foxhound
  • Bluetick Coonhound

Mountain Cur

coyote hunting dogs

The most popular breed in North America to take coyote hunting is Mountain Cur. 

Hunting with Mountain Curs is very straightforward. After locating the coyote’s denning area, the hunter uses howling calls to get the coyote to show itself.

Curious animals come out to see what’s the noise about, and that’s when the Mountain Cur comes in.

Once the Mountain Cur gets a visual of the prey, it tries to bring it within the rifle’s range. A well-trained dog won’t engage in a one-on-one fight with the coyote.

Depending on the dog’s training, it can either stay close to the hunter and play a decoy for a coyote or run towards it and try to bring it within the hunter’s range.

Due to the daring temperament of Mountain Curs, they can toll coyotes closer to the hunter by mock charges and teasing, making the coyote confident or aggressive enough to follow the dog.

Mountain Curs can also work as decoy dogs. It means they can play around in the field close to the hunter, let the coyotes see them, and come closer to investigate. 

This type of hunting is based on the coyote’s curiosity and confidence, leading the coyote towards the dog to check it out.

Both types of hunting have the same outcome: once within the range, the hunter can efficiently dispatch the coyote with a rifle or a bow.

Border Collie

coyote hunting dogs

The Border Collie is not a hunting breed but has proved itself with coyote hunting over and over again.

The breed is highly responsive, very easy to train, and can catch up on the “hunting” part very easily. 

Border Collies are a herding breed, and hunting with it somewhat differs from hunting with hounds and other bay dogs. Border Collies will not chase the coyote but lure it in, similarly to decoying Moutain Cur.

Coyotes are very curious creatures, and having a medium-size dog playing around is a sure way to attract them for a closer look.

Border Collies can roam quite far from the hunter, but a well-trained dog will not engage with the coyote upon meeting, even when separated from the hunter beyond signal range. 

Instead, Border Collies will try and make the coyote follow the dog towards the hunter and within the rifle (or bow) range.

Australian Shepherd

coyote hunting dogs

Another non-hunting breed that is a surprisingly good decoy dog for coyote hunting is the Australian Shepherd.

Aussies are herding dogs, and by dealing with significant numbers of animals daily, including ones much bigger than them like cattle, they got tough and brave, so a little bit of coyote interaction doesn’t put them out.

Similar to Border Collie, hunters use them to attract coyotes within shooting range by letting dogs play around their calling stand. 

Australian Shepherds have just enough moxy not to be completely afraid of an approaching coyote, but they have enough respect to not face it straight on.

Aussies are easy to train and are wicked smart, so the lack of strong prey drive is not an obstacle in this type of hunting. A well-trained dog will listen to the hunter without questions and only engage the coyote enough to lure him in.

As working dogs, Australian Shepherds have abundant energy, so a whole day’s hunt for coyotes won’t come as a big strain for this breed.

Greyhound

coyote hunting dogs

Hunting with Greyhounds is somewhat similar to fox hunting, and it’s called coyote coursing. The job of the Greyhound is to spot the coyote and, together with other dogs in the pack, give chase. 

Greyhounds are sighthounds, and although they have a great sense of smell, they mostly rely on their eyes during the hunt. 

Greyhounds also rely on their speed rather than strength and needs to hunt in packs. Therefore, the hunter needs to pick a good area for dogs to be most successful. 

It should mostly be open plains or small shrubbery, where dogs can easily spot the coyote and give chase without too many obstacles.

The pack of Greyhounds aims to catch the coyote without the help of the hunter. 

The sport is not very common in North America. In fact, it is only legal in a few Western states, but some of them, like Utah, Montana, and New Mexico, hold coyote coursing contests.

Foxhound

coyote hunting dogs

Although Foxhounds were bred for hunting foxes, coyote hunting is very similar, and the breed can handle it with ease.

The goal of coyote hunting with Foxhounds is for the dogs to pick up the scent of the coyote and follow the trail until they find the animal. After that, there is the chase. 

Depending on the preferred hunting style and the hunting area, the successful hunt will end either when the pack of Foxhounds catches the coyote or chases it out of the hiding spot in front of the hunter, who then has a chance to shoot it.

As long-distance runners, Foxhounds are perfect for this type of hunting, and their exceptional noses can run the cold trail until they pick up a hot one.

Compared to Greyhounds, Foxhounds can run on any terrain, and they don’t need to see the prey to start the hunt. They are often used to chase coyotes out of a dense cover of trees and shrubbery.

Bluetick Coonhound

coyote hunting dogs

Bluetick Coonhounds are mostly used for hunting coons, which it was bred for, but a pack of Blueticks can also track and chase coyotes with a lot of success.

Bluetick Coonhounds are usually slower than other hounds, but it makes up with its nose and determination. The breed has a lot of stamina and a very high prey drive. A pack of hounds can run a coyote down for miles until the animal gives up.

In this situation, a well-trained pack would not approach the coyote, but bay at it, keeping it in one place while waiting for the hunter to catch up and dispatch the animal.

Blueticks are good pack hunting hounds for hunters who like to shoot their coyotes as opposed to letting their dogs do the work.

The pack is usually slower than the coyote, but it will push the animal in the open in front of the hunter to take a shot.

Although Blueticks are rather challenging to train, many hunters claim it is easier to manage in the field than many other coonhounds.

However, Blueticks can sometimes stray from coyote tracks if they catch a coon scent unless adequately introduced to coyotes and taught to hunt them.

Final Word

Although these breeds are amongst the most popular, there are others that would certainly be fit to perform the duties.

Some people use packs of Plott Hounds or German Shorthaired Pointers, and others use Labs or Catahoula Leopard Dogs.

For the chase hunting, any hound with a good nose and a lot of stamina will do the work, and as for a decoy dog, you want a dog that can think and obey your command.

In the latter case, you don’t even need a hunting dog. It all comes down to the coyote coming to you.

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