Probably the most common way to get a hunting dog is to go to a breeder. It’s also probably the most reliable. Dogs that come from reputable kennels have pedigrees that prove their family track record.
But you can also get a good hunting dog at your local animal shelter. I’m not going to tell you that every time you stop in, you’ll find the best hunting dog on the planet. But don’t rule out the pound just because it’s the pound.
The shelter in Cheyenne had several labs and a really good-looking pointer last week, and the Casper Metro shelter had a whole litter of pointer-lab crosses.
Now, it may be that not a single one of these dogs will actually hunt. But if you’re looking for a hunting dog, and you don’t have a thousand bucks or so to spend, the pound might be your best option. Keep in mind that if the dog’s price tag is, say, 750 bucks, you can expect to spend another three to five hundred dollars on all the other things you need for a new dog.
Even if you do have the money it takes to bring home a pure-bred dog from a breeder, where’s the harm in going to the shelter to take a look?
Again, I’m not saying the shelter is a magical place that spits out nothing but fantastic hunting dogs. Just because the dog is a member of a hunting bred doesn’t mean it’ll hunt. Quite often, dogs that were intended to be hunting dogs are given up at the shelter because they won’t hunt. Sometimes they’re gun shy, sometimes they just don’t have the knack for it.
But other times, a great hunting dog is turned in because its former owner couldn’t keep it under control. Many hunting breeds are fairly high-strung, and if they’re not doing what they were bred to do, they can cause trouble. That lands a number of them at the pound.
So give your local shelter a shot, if you’re looking for a new hunting dog.