Can Pitbulls Be Hunting Dogs?

Last Updated: 3 months ago

Some pit bull owners recognize this dog breed as a basic home pet, just like any other breed.

However, with their strength, agility and intelligence, they can perform better tasks than just sitting in your home and bringing joy to their owner. 

Hunters usually look for a breed to help them acquire their bounty. If you’re one of them, continue reading.

So, can pitbulls be hunting dogs?

Pitbulls are known for their ability to fight, and given the strength that they possess along with proper training, they can become excellent hunting dogs.

They can easily hold down a bounty while waiting for its owner to arrive. Thus, making them a perfect choice of a canine breed to assist you in your hunting journey. 

Check out this article if this topic seems of particular interest to you. Here, you’ll learn about the history of this breed as a hunting dog, their capacity for hunting, and how you can train them to be one successfully. 

So, keep reading.

History Of PitBulls As Hunting Dogs

History Of PitBulls As Hunting Dogs

Originally, people bred pitbulls for one harsh reason, and that’s for blood sports.

In the early days, pit bull owners prepare their dogs for blood sports by depriving them of food and beating them. As a result of this ferocious training, they tend to be desperate for food and become brutal when placed with other dogs or animals. 

When they’re ready for battle, they will be released in a pit to entertain viewers. Whoever survives wins. 

From this kind of set-up before, pit bulls took a big turn from the murderous past they’ve been. Since these activities are banned, these dogs have become better companions for their owners. However, the strength and perseverance they got from their ancestors are still innate in them.

That’s when people decided to train pit bulls for hunting as they play an excellent job in this role. 

Strengths Of PitBulls As Hunting Dogs

When it comes to strength, pitbulls are one of the breeds that has the strongest bite force. Their strength, vigor, and the pressure they exert in their bite is 240-330 pounds per square inch (PSI). Thus, allowing them to defeat even larger prey.

For Pitbulls, backing down is not an option, even when battling with an animal that’s double their size like bears and wild boars. 

Therefore, with its strength, speed and determination, a pitbull is definitely a good hunting dog. 

Role Pitbull Takes In Hunts

Role Pitbull Takes In Hunts

There are so many hunting dog roles. However, not all roles apply to pitbull dogs, considering their temperament and characteristics. 

Bird dogs are dogs who assist hunters as they hunt for birds. These dogs locate birds and startle them so they would fly out.

That’s when hunters shoot them with a gun. However, this isn’t possible for a pitbull because a pitbull’s instinct is to kill any animal that comes along its way. Thus, messing up your bounty.

Another type of hunting dog is a bay dog. They’re used to capturing big games. These fast dogs usually find a bear or a hog and bay on it. This also sends a signal to the hunter to release the catch dog. But, Pitbulls aren’t suited for this task.

Nonetheless, Pitbulls play the catch dog role best. Catch dogs are released as soon as the bay dogs spot prey and bay on it.

Pit bulls will run towards the bounty to attack it, thus, immobilizing it and allowing the hunter to finish the job. Because of their strength and no backing down instincts, they can easily pin down bounties like hogs and bears.

Training Pitbull For A Hunting Dog

Yes, Pitbulls are great options for a hunting dog. They would definitely do the job well with the strength and determination they have. However, just like any breed, one won’t be a reliable hunter without proper training. 

If you’re thinking of training your pitbull as a hunter, here’s how you can do it:

Basic Training

Basic Training

Training should start from puppyhood. Everything should start with basic training such as:

  • Basic Commands

These are basic cues: sit, stay, wait, leave it, take and release, and go. Such commands will prepare them for intense training such as hunting training.

  • Socialization

Like any other breed, you need to train your dog to act with people, children and even other animals. This is very important when it comes to safety. Doing so will also allow them to be comfortable and calm amidst the outside chaos. 

  • Gear On Training

When preparing your pitbull for training in the future, you should also teach them to be familiar with wearing harnesses and jackets, especially when outside

  • Control Training

Because Pitbulls are known to be quite aggressive dogs, you need to teach them control. This is vital, especially for times when they are under aggression. 

Take And Release Training

As mentioned earlier, take and release are one of the basic cues you need to teach your pitbull, as these commands are involved during hunting. 

You can use decoy toys to play with your dog during this training. As a result, your dog will know exactly when to run and retrieve the bounty and release it whenever you tell him to.

This training will also teach your pitbull how to locate the bounty, which is really ideal for hunting purposes. 

Gun Training

Gun Training

It’s really crucial that you train your dog to be calm and collected amidst gunshots.

Untrained dogs, for this scenario, tend to run off when spooked by gunshots. Such behavior is not ideal when hunting. Exposing them to gunshots is essential to becoming a successful hunting dog. 

You can start this by using decoys to play fetch with your dog. As you do this, try incorporating a shooter into it. As the shooter fires a shot, signal your dog to retrieve the decoy toy.

Reward your toy after every retrieval. Continually do this, taking gradual steps to be closer to your dog each time until your dog is used to the noise. The goal is to be beside your dog when shooting. 

Expose The Bounty

Your dog must know what to hunt. To do so, you can introduce your pitbull to a possible bounty like a pig enclosed in a cage.

Develop your dog’s interest in catching the prey by constantly showing him the bounty but not allowing him to touch it. This will make him more and more excited.

Gradual Hunting Experience

As soon as you can attest that your dog is ready for hunting, you can gradually expose your dog to actual hunting. 

Allow them to hunt one prey at a time. As soon as they learn the hang of it, you can expose them to bigger targets. 


Indeed, Pitbulls can be excellent hunting dogs. However, training is a key for them to be a successful hunter. 

Their strength, intelligence, speed, and determination undoubtedly carry what an exceptional hunter dog possesses. But, keep note that patience is key when you train them.

Because this breed is known for its possible aggression, you need to show your dog who the authority is and teach them control. Such attributes are crucial for a successful hunting dog.

Considering the above factors will definitely lead you to train your pitbull to become a hunting dog. 

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