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Deer Tracking Dog Breeds

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Tracking deer can be an exhausting task for hunters because injured deer can run for long distances before they succumb to their injuries.

Having a deer tracking dog to assist in the hunt can save deer hunters a tremendous amount of time and resources.

Deer tracking dogs can track the trail of a live, injured, or expired deer with far more precision, accuracy, and speed than a trained hunter can.

Finding the right dog for the job may seem daunting, but in all actuality, there are several deer tracking dog breeds to choose from.

Can You Use Dogs to Track Deer?

A curious deer in the forest

Dogs can be used to track deer and they are far more accurate than most humans. They are able to track live deer or they can track wounded or dead deer that hunters cannot find using their characteristic sense of smell.

A well-trained deer-tracking dog can find the deer rather quickly, allowing hunters ample time to harvest the animal for meat. This means that the hunted deer is used for a purpose and not simply left in the woods since it could not be found.

What Do Deer-Tracking Dogs Do?

Deer tracking dogs keep their noses to the ground and use their superior sense of smell to track a deer’s distinctive scent. Dogs naturally have a superior sense of smell that is up to 100,000 times better than ours.

Deer tracking dogs will continue to follow the scent of a deer until they find the deer. Only very rarely do deer tracking dogs completely lose track of the deer’s scent and typically that is for an environmental reason out of their control.

15 Great Deer-Tracking Dog Breeds

Many dogs have the ability to detect certain scents, however, there are some dogs that have a superb sense of smell along with a strong desire to relentlessly track down the source of the smell.

Here are 15 deer tracking dog breeds that are excellent in tracking down deer. Some of these dog breeds may not have even been on your radar at all.


tricolor beagle dog sitting in comfortable armchair of modern home

Beagles are popular dogs in the hunting world and that is no different when it comes to deer-tracking. They are considered an ideal deer-tracking dog breed by many hunters.

Often called miniature foxhounds, beagles are born hunters that have a loud bark and an innate desire to hunt. Beagles are fast, persistent, and short-statured dogs that thoroughly enjoy hunting deer.


Spaniel dogs are not only desired for their gorgeous coats of fur, they also make excellent deer-tracking dogs. There are several spaniel dog breeds including field spaniels, American cocker spaniels, and Brittany spaniels.

While most spaniels are utilized in bird and fowl hunting, their keen noses and retrieving skills make them ideal for deer hunting as well.

Spaniels may not be the first choice for many hunters, but they are an excellent deer-tracking dog breed nonetheless.

Louisiana Catahoula Leopard

young Louisiana Catahoula Leopard with his head tilted to the side in the park

Louisiana Catahoula leopard dogs are known for their hunting abilities and they are one of the most unique-looking deer-tracking dog breeds in the country.  They have short ears, unique merle or leopard markings, and they are relentless in their hunting.

Catahoula dogs are used to track a variety of wild game animals including wild hogs, bears, bobcats, and, of course, deer.

They are the official dog of Louisiana and a favorite deer-tracking dog breed among many hunters.


bloodhound dog laying on a bed

Bloodhound were bred to track the scent of animals and they remain a go-to option as a deer-tracking dog breed. Today they are used not only to track deer and other wildlife, but often missing people as well.

Bloodhounds have extra-long ears that help them hone in on a scent and they will track it persistently.

They are notoriously able to detect cold scents that are old and often difficult for many dogs to follow.

Scottish Deerhound

Scottish deerhounds are another great choice as a superior deer-tracking dog breed. They are large-sized and extremely active hunting dogs that physically resemble the look of greyhounds.

Scottish deerhounds were bred and raised initially to stalk and take down live wild red deer in Scotland.

Red deer can weigh up to 400 pounds but Scottish deerhound dogs are fast and strong enough to successfully harvest a deer on their own.


Dachshund, albeit small, make great, unsuspecting deer-tracking dogs. While they are too small to apprehend a live deer, they can flush one out of the woods and easily track injured or deceased deer for hunters.

It may seem unlikely to some hunters but dachshunds can be some of the quickest and most successful deer tracking dogs out there.

Dachshunds have more than earned their place on the list of deer tracking dog breeds that you should consider.

Plott Hound

Plott hound brindle dog on beach

Plott hounds are large hound dogs that hail from the mountains of North Carolina. They are ideal for tracking big game animals including deer.

Plott hounds are no doubt an excellent deer-tracking dog breed for big game hunters across the country. They are strong, muscular, and extremely athletic dogs that do not fear a challenge.

Great Dane

Great Danes many not be the first thought when considering deer tracking dog breeds, but they are often used by deer hunters. They are extremely large dogs, some of the largest known in the world.

Great Danes are strong and large enough to take down live deer, but they are also useful in tracking down injured or dead deer for deer hunters.

Great Danes are used not only for deer-tracking, but also to hunt bears and wild boar.

Bluetick Coonhound

Bluetick Coonhound in the park

While bluetick coonhounds are most notably used in raccoon hunting, they make excellent deer tracking dogs. One of the biggest hurdles for raccoon hunters is training their bluetick coonhounds to not track deer.

Bluetick coonhounds are a great option for a deer-hunting dog breed. They are often slower than other dogs but they have loud bawling howls that alert hunters when the deer they are tracking has been found.

Bavarian Mountain Bloodhound

Bavarian Mountain bloodhounds are large big game hunting dogs that originate from Germany. They are ideal for tracking the blood trail of injured deer and other animals.

Bavarian Mountain bloodhounds are fast, agile trackers that truly enjoy finding the animal at the end of the trail. This exceptional deer-hunting dog breed does exceptionally well in mountainous regions and rough terrain.

American Foxhound

American Foxhound in a public park

American foxhounds are yet another excellent deer-hunting dog breed. They are used by hunters across the country to track deer and other game.

American foxhounds are active, obedient dogs that enjoy tracking scent trails. They are deer-tracking dogs that have unique song-like howls that alert their owners when they are hot on a deer’s trail.

German Shepherd

German Shepherds, like bloodhounds, are often used in roles that involve scent tracking of some kind including bomb detection, rescue missions, drug detection, and also even deer tracking. German shepherds definitely make the list of deer-tracking dog breeds to consider.

German shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs that can learn how to track specific scents depending on their training. These dogs are strong, capable animals that can successfully track down deer for hunters.

Hanoverian Scenthound

Hanoverian scenthounds were originally bred in Germany to do exactly what their name implies, track the scents of other animals.

In particular, these dogs were used to track down wounded and deceased big game including deer for hunters.

Hanoverian scenthounds were born to be a reputable deer-tracking dog breed. They are dedicated trackers that are agile, strong, and more than capable of being superb deer tracking dogs.

Jack Russel Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier in the autumn forest

Jack Russel Terriers are well-known for being extremely active dogs, but did you know that they make great deer-tracking dogs as well?

The potential deer-hunting dog breed was originally used to track foxes and push them out of their holes, but big game hunters found the small dogs useful to track deer as well.

Their mainly white color makes them easy to spot and their penchant for tracking animals makes them successful at finding deceased or injured deer lost by hunters.


A Weimaraner puppy sitting up on a bed

Weimaraner dogs were used centuries ago to hunt wild game including bears, wild boars, and large deer. These deer-tracking dogs not only have unique champagne gray-colored coats, they are also very smart canines that have a strong tracking nose.

Weimaraner dogs are extremely active and love the physical demands of an active pursuit of a live or injured deer.

They should not be overlooked as a deer-tracking dog breed prospect.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a great deer-hunting dog, you now know that there are several dog breeds that will fit the bill.

The best deer-tracking dogs are the ones that really enjoy the hunt and have a strong desire to track a scent.

You may even have a potential deer-tracking dog sitting right under your nose!


There is a lot of information that can be found about deer-tracking dog breeds. Here are the sources used specifically to craft this article.