Shed Hunting Dog Breeds

Here are five of the best shed hunting dog breeds out there right now.

Shed hunting dogs have been gaining in popularity for years now, and that’s an understatement. Even better, training your dog to help you find antler sheds isn’t all that hard, and it is a ton of fun for the dog and the dog owner. Your shed dog doesn’t need to be a bred hunter, just a good pet that you love spending time with outside.

Mind you, it’s not an overnight thing and training a dog to shed hunt takes patience and persistence like any other kind of animal training. While many dogs can be trained to track down antlers, there are a few shed hunting dog breeds that you’ll recognize as particularly trainable, sharp-skilled, and smart.

The benefits of having a trained gun dog are well known to sportsmen everywhere. For those that want more in the way of getting outside with their favorite canine, or those that don’t bird hunt, having a dog that can track down a few antler sheds can be a great way to do it.

Labrador Retriever

Whether it is the black lab, chocolate lab, or yellow lab, you’ll find that a retriever like this has been bred to maintain great characteristics including intelligence, loyalty, and temperament. Those are great for shed hunting dogs, but their determination, enthusiasm, and keen sense of smell tip things over the scale. 

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

This hard-charging breed has plenty of energy and drive, making it a great dog to teach the antler finding skill. Once you have a Chessie on a mission, it’s a dog that can and will keep its drive towards the goal intact.

German Shorthaired Pointer

This breed comes with all the skill availabilities of both the pointing breeds and the retrieving breeds. Shorthairs are intelligent and have the drive to keep going once they know what the game is, and teaching them to find sheds is a joy for GSP owners everywhere.


This breed is renowned for its versatility to track game in rough conditions, so it’s not surprising that the Pudelpointer’s name made the list. Being another one of the high-energy breeds, the Pudelpointer needs plenty of exercise daily, so why not have him or her ready to use all that energy to find some sheds? This is also a good breed for the hilly, mountainous regions where many of us hunt.

American Foxhound

This is an interesting choice since the AF has the reputation for being a bit stubborn and difficult to train because of its high energy. But for those who have the patience and skill to stay with these highly trainable breeds, the rewards far outweigh the difficulty.

It All Starts with an Antler

When it comes to dogs, just about any good hunting breed can be taught to shed hunt. It wouldn’t be the first time that we heard of a family mutt that got good at finding deer antlers with a little consistent training.

Sooner or later you’re going to introduce pup to an antler to get them familiarized with its size and shape, afterwards it’s all about finding them and letting them find one. Usually it’s best to start indoors and then take the game outside in the yard. Remember that it’s meant to be the same work as their other training so you want them to bring it to you or point it out, not so much grab it and run.

Please check out my book “The Hunter’s Way” from HarperCollins. Be sure to follow my webpage, or on Facebook and YouTube. Go to Rack Hub and use the coupon code Craiger for a new way to display those antler sheds!

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