Are Pitbulls Good Hunting Dogs? Here’s How to Train Them…

Whether you like it or not you’ll find your Pitbull’s eye glow when he sees anything running before him. And it isn’t only about your puppy, regardless of what category your dog belongs to, hunting probably runs in their blood.

But a lot of people think that Pitbulls are natural hunters, and there are too many people believing that Pitbulls were originally bred as hunting dogs.

So, are Pitbulls good hunting dogs? Pitbulls can be great hunting dogs, they have the strength for this type of sport like hunting which requires high energy levels, good prey instincts, and high stamina – all of which Pitbulls have. However, Pitbulls were originally bred for bull-baiting, as the name suggests, and not for hunting.

To know more about Pitbulls ’ history as hunting dogs, how to train your puppy to be a hunting dog and what difficulties may face you, keep scrolling.

Are Pitbulls Hunting Dogs?

pitbull in hunting position to show why are pitbulls good hunting dogs

Pitbulls can make good hunting dogs if trained for it at a young age. Hunting requires a special level of intelligence to follow certain commands and orders to grab the prey the right way. And lucky you, Pitbulls ranks as one of the smartest dog breeds.

Pitbulls have ‘’ above average intelligence’’ according to Stanley Coren, the canine expert.

This means that they have the capability to be trained for hunting. And because Pitbulls can be highly obedient dogs, once they are trained they can strictly follow your command without thinking twice.

Once your puppy has learned how to hunt, you won’t have to worry about him being disobedient.

The history of pit bulls as hunting dogs

Pitbulls have a history of being used as hunters. Yet they excelled in hunting in a specific area in some states where feral hogs started to invade lands and destroy crops. Pitbulls training has started then. Owners then began to train them to hunt.

When training started they were used as both “bay” and “ catch” dogs.

“Bay’’ means the pitbull’s job was to track scents, chase, and then corner. However, Pitbulls who were trained to catch had an extra job to capture and kill hogs.

Even though catching may sound extra fun for your pitbull, it can be very dangerous for him as hogs contain diseases that can kill your dog.

4 reasons that make Pitbulls good hunting dogs

There are 4 main reasons why Pitbulls make such good hunting dogs:

  • Intelligent
  • Easy to train
  • Obedient
  • Physical strength

Pitbulls are very smart, which means they are easy to train, and once they are trained on a specific command, they will not break it. If they are trained to take down prey, they do not back down even if the fighting gets rough.

Pitbulls are also physically strong, which means they have what it takes to take down even the larger prey.

When it comes to dogs training to hunt in general, they are trained to be catch or bay dogs. However, because of how smart, strong, and obedient Pitbulls are, they can do both jobs.

What game can Pitbulls hunt?

Pitbulls are well suited to hunt feral dogs, large game such as boars, hogs, and deers can also be their thing. Because of their given strength and high prey drive, they make great catch dogs.

How to train your Pitbull to be a good hunting dog?

Preparing your Pitbull for hunting could be challenging but in a good way.

First, you’ll have to start by socializing your puppy. I can’t stress enough how introducing your puppy is a vital first step for your pitbull.

Exposing them to different people and dogs at an early age will make them less likely to get stressed out in new situations and when meeting new people and their pets.

Because the hunting experience can have lots of stimulation, so you’ll want your pitbull to be ready for fast changes.

First things first, start with basic commands such as sit, down, stay, or come. That’s when your puppy learns to be obedient which will be very important during hunting.

You don’t want your puppy to start chasing or even run after any prey before taking orders. Even worse, you don’t want them running after someone else’s prey. That’s how you fight with friends.

After teaching your pittie basic commands, then it’s time to take his training to another level. First, you’ll have to decide what you want to train your pitbull for?
Tracking, retrieving, for catching or baying?

Not sure about their differences, take a look at their meanings.

Dog’s roles in hunting


The goal of this type is to use a scented track to locate what the owner wants his pittie to find.


Retrievers were bred to retrieve prey after they were being hunted meaning return them back to the hunter without damage.


A catch dog is trained to catch large animals.


A bay dog or in other words ‘’bailer’’, is trained to find, chase and then bay or howl to get its owner’s attention.

Training the Dog to Hunt

Now that you know the difference, check the items you’ll need for the training

  • 20-50 ft leash
  • Durable tracking harness
  • Person to find
  • Open door, distraction-free area

Let’s get to the training steps

  • Ask the person to run and hide, having a toy or a bone with him.
  • Let the dog try to find him
  • Once they’ve reached the destination, reward him.
  • Repeat 5-10 times

Because Pitbulls are strong, durable, and athletic, your pittie will have no problem keeping up with prey in the hunting field.

Are Pitbulls good for tracking scents?

Pitbulls have an excellent sense of smell and can get better and stronger with training.
Whether you want your Pitte to have fun tracking or you need him for real work. Your pitbull will make an excellent tracking dog. Because Pitbulls primarily have a great deal of drive, Training your puppy to track through it will be so much fun for both of you.

Pitbulls’ sense of smell is so great that he can track a trail that is a week old.

Interesting Fact: Pitbulls have 300 million scent receptors in their noses.

What are the difficulties of hunting with a Pitbull?

If you want to use your pitbull for hunting, you’ll be getting them out of their comfort zone. Even though they can make great hunting dogs if trained, you and your pitbull will face some problems when he starts hunting.

They are rough on the prey

Because Pitbulls were not born to retrieve, their strong prey instinct might make them see small animals like a rabbit or bird as something to play with rather than give them back to their owners. And if returned they’ll be back chewed up.

They are not very good swimmers

Because of their muscular bodies, Pitbulls don’t float very well, and if they aren’t able to swim, they’ll easily get exhausted before reaching the prey, which will make it very difficult for them to catch it.

They can learn how to swim if you are willing to put in the time and the effort, and you can learn how to teach your Pitbull to swim here.

They can’t handle very hot or very cold weather

Because of Pitbulls’ single and short coats, they have little protection from extreme weather conditions. Overly hot or cold temperatures will do your pitbull more harm than good.

Pitbulls don’t have a history of retrieving unlike labradors and golden retrievers who were originally born and built especially for retrieving which is their area of expertise.

Some other dog breeds can be exceptionally talented in hunting but Pitbulls are not one of them unless they were trained at a young age.

Even though Pitbulls were originally bred as fighting dogs, they are instinctively drawn to catching, and because of how strong their jaws are, they may not be suitable for a hunter who wants his prey to be in one piece when it gets back to him

Related Questions

Can Pitbulls be bird hunting dogs?

Pitbulls are not reliable bird dogs, they can locate small prey but are not very good at catching them. They are more suited to catch large prey like boars, hogs, and deers.

Are Pitbulls good tracking dogs?

Pitbulls can make great tracking dogs, if received the proper training at a young age, they can be your favorite tracking dog.

What do Pitbulls hunt?

Pitbulls are used for hog hunting and can be trained to hunt any animal no matter how big they are if received the proper training at a young age.


Pitbulls can be used as bay and catch dogs in hunting, and with some good training, they can skillfully handle other skills like tracking or retrieving. Even though in the world of hunting, they aren’t the most common dogs people use for hunting, their intelligence, obedience, strength, and determination make them excel in hunting

Helpful Resources

The History of Pitbulls

Hunting with dogs: Training and Safety tips

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