Goldendoodle sitting between hunting birds such as pheasant, quail, duck, and goose

Goldendoodle Hunting Dog: A Perfect Fit for the Field

Move over pointers, spaniels, and retrievers. There’s a new breed of hunting dog out there: the Goldendoodle.

Yeah, yeah, I get it. You’re probably sick of seeing and hearing about these golden-colored fluff balls. They seemed to have taken the world entirely over.

Sure, you see them on every sidewalk and dog park, but what about in the field or the marsh?

The two parent breeds have been renowned hunting dogs for hundreds of years. They were literally bred for hunting.

Considering this, the Goldendoodle might be the next go-to hunting dog for hunters worldwide. What do you think?

Check out the rest of this article before you make up your mind!

Why Goldendoodles are good hunting dogs

Goldendoodles are the descendants of two renowned hunting dogs: Poodle and Golden Retriever. Both parent breeds were bred specifically for hunting waterfowl and upland game.

Poodles and Goldens have been trusted as hunting companions for hundreds of years. Today, they are still excellent choices to bring along on the hunt. So what happens when you mix the two?

You get a cute, curly-haired dog that wants to cuddle all day long, right? Wrong!

The Goldendoodle is a perfect mix between both parents. It inherits the intelligence, trainability, and athletic traits common in both Poodles and Goldens. They are also no strangers to the water, as their parent breeds are excellent swimmers and very comfortable in the water (especially freezing-cold water!).

Although they are cute, Goldendoodles are primed for the hunt. With proper training, these dogs will be eager to learn to find, flush, and retrieve game of all sorts.

To gain a better understanding of where their hunting genes come from, let’s explore the hunting history of the Goldendoodle’s parent breeds.

Hunting History of the Parent Breeds

As previously stated, the Golden Retriever and the Poodle originated hundreds of years ago for hunting. Both dogs were bred to be comfortable retrieving game in the freezing waters throughout Europe.

These natural hunters both have a unique origin story. Let’s start with the Golden Retriever.

Golden Retriever: The Excellent Hunting Dog from Scotland

Portrait of a Golden Retriever staring at something in the sky

Golden Retrievers originated sometime in the 1800s in the Scottish Highlands. Lord Tweedmouth is credited as the breed founder. As hunting was gaining popularity, he sought to breed the perfect hunting companion.

The Golden Retriever was a mix between the Tweed Spaniel and Yellow Retriever. The hybrid dog displayed the traits required for a good hunting dog: athletic prowess and trainability.

If he were alive today, Lord Tweedmouth would likely be surprised to learn that his efforts in breeding the perfect hunting dog spiraled into a worldwide obsession. Golden Retrievers are not only great hunting dogs but they are the most popular dog breeds in the United States.

Hunting Style of a Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers were bred to aid in hunting upland game such as quail, grouse, and pheasants. They were also trained to retrieve waterfowl game like ducks and geese.

A well-trained Golden will have a nose for nearby game. He will be persistent in the pursuit and ready to flush the birds confidently and naturally. Goldens are known to be pretty independent on the hunt and will not need excessive command from their owners.

They are quick and nimble, which allows them to retrieve efficiently and gracefully. They have remarkable tracking ability and will pick up the wounded game with a soft mouth.

A quote from a hunter with birds of prey and a Golden Retriever next to him

As a natural-born swimmers, Golden Retrievers are eager for water retrieval. Thanks to their double coat, they are comfortable in cold waters. They will show pride and enthusiasm when entering a body of water to retrieve the game.

Regarding Golden Retrievers, one hunting dog trainer said, “They’ve got a killer nose. Their nose is second to none . . . If you put a bird in high cover, that Golden Retriever is going to get that bird for you.”

Poodle: A Natural Waterfowl Retriever

Three different colored standard Poodles sitting next to each other

Poodles have a rich history that dates back more than 400 years ago. Often mistaken for being France-natives, Poodles originated in Germany.

They were bred to be water-fowl hunters and retrievers. This enabled them to evolve as a strong, athletic, and intelligent dog. They have an eagerness to learn and perform specific duties, which means they respond well to training.

Many people associated Poodles with France. However, these wonderful dogs originated in Germany. The name “Poodle” comes from “pudel,” a German word that means “to splash in” in English.

Poodles are an attractive option for a bird dog because they are hypoallergenic. Hypoallergenic dogs are ideal for hunters that are sensitive to dog allergens and dander.

They are one of the smartest breeds, which makes them a joy to train for the hunting field.

Si Robertson (Uncle Si), from Duck Dynasty, said it best when he adopted a Standard Poodle for duck hunting:

“Everyone knows Poodles are the best hunting dogs in the world.”

Don’t believe me? Watch the Vietnam veteran’s hunting Poodle go to work!

Hunting Style of the Poodle

Cartoon illustration of two hunting Poodles next to a hunter in a field

Poodles are naturals in the water. This ability makes them an excellent choice for duck blinds. Finding and retrieving waterfowl is a job cut out for the hunting Poodle.

As one of the most intelligent breeds in the K9 world, they can be trained to excel in upland hunting and waterfowl.

Finding, locating, and retrieving are no matter to a well-trained Poodle. This makes them an all-purpose hunting dog.

Proper Training For Your Goldendoodle

Goldendoodles are not born perfect hunting dogs; they must be properly trained first. I am by no means an expert in training dogs for hunting, but through my research and personal experience with trainers, I have picked up a few things that are worth mentioning.

Start Early

A Goldendoodle’s training must begin early. This goes for any training. Whether for obedience, hunting, or service/therapy, a dog must be exposed before but not too early.

A very young puppy will not be able to learn much as they’re just getting introduced to the world. Be patient. Serious training will come in due time.

Ronnie Smith Kennels, one of the best gun dog trainers in the South, recommends that puppies are at least four months old before they start their field introduction training class [1]gardenandgun.com/feature/five-of-the-souths-best-gundog-trainers [2]ronniesmithkennels.com/training.

According to the American Kennel Club, Golden Retrievers and Poodles rank 5/5 on trainability. This means your Goldendoodle will be well-suited to a rigorous training program.

If you want more specifics on when you should start serious obedience training, I recommend consulting with your veterinarian to establish a training timeline.

Build Your Relationship

If you are hunting with your Goldendoodle, you will need a relationship built on trust. The dog must trust you, and you, the dog. Really, this goes for dog ownership in general.

Goldendoodles are smart. They can read your body language and facial expressions. You should try your best to get to know your Goldendoodle’s temperament and different emotions from a young age.

Dogs often show different signs when they’re scared, anxious, happy, etc. The better you understand how your dog displays these emotions, the better your relationship will be.

A caring, responsible owner will have a dog that never wants to leave his side. This unspoken bond will be crucial for success in the field. Some hunters boast that their relationship with their dog is so good that they don’t even need to speak or signal commands; the dog knows exactly what to do.

Steady, Steady, Steady

Along with establishing a prey drive, it is vitally important that your Goldendoodle can remain steady during the hunt.

This is a large task to ask of a pup. They would rather romp around the field and go looking for different scents. Instead, a well-trained hunting dog must sit close to their owner for hours on end until it’s time to go flush or retrieve.

Luckily, Goldendoodles are smart. With a little bit of practice, they will learn to sit by your side until you give them the go ahead!

What type of hunting are Goldendoodles best for?

Goldendoodles are ideal for hunting both upland game and waterfowl. Both big game and small game. A solid training program can teach them to conquer any game or terrain.

Below is a list of some of the different types of game birds they are suited for:

Upland

  • Grouse
  • Pheasant
  • Dove
  • Partridge
  • Quail
  • Pigeon
  • Crow

Waterfowl

  • Mallard
  • Gadwall
  • Northern Pintail
  • American Wigeon
  • Northern Shovelers
  • Redhead
  • Canvasback
  • Scaup
  • Ring-necked Duck
  • Teal
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Goldeneye
  • Snow Goose
  • Bufflehead
  • Snipe
  • American Coot
  • Sea Duck
  • Merganser

Finding a Reputable Breeder

It is imperative that you find a good breeder for your Goldendoodle. If you want to have a hunting dog that is healthy and obedient, then you should start with the breeder.

Goldendoodle breeders that are worth their salt will ensure that both parents are health-tested. Screening for potential diseases and problems will increase the odds that your puppy will grow to be a healthy dog.

A good breeder will socialize your puppy early, so they have an easier time adapting to your household. This will also help establish a pleasant temperament around humans and other animals. The last thing you want is a hunting dog that doesn’t like people… I don’t think training will go very well.

A breeder that has experience with field dogs, or hunting dogs, is something to keep in mind. This is also true for those that breed service dogs or therapy dogs. This breeder will have the knowledge and experience to properly raise and train your Goldendoodle.

To ensure you find an excellent breeder, make sure you do your research. I encourage you to seek out other owners and ask for their recommendations. Don’t be afraid to increase your search radius; the right breeder is often well worth the drive.

Note: American Hunting Doodles is the only breeder I’m aware of that specifically breeds Doodle dogs for hunting.

Final Thoughts

In this article, I covered:

  • History of the parent breeds
  • Hunting style of the parent breeds
  • Proper training
  • Types of hunting Goldendoodles are good for
  • Finding the right Goldendoodle breeder

The Goldendoodle can make excellent hunting dogs. They are the product of two popular hunting dogs. They can cover all sorts of upland game and waterfowl with the right training.

If you enjoyed this article, you should check out my in-depth guide to the Goldendoodle dog breed.


Kevin is a proud Bernedoodle owner and Doodle dog fanatic. Read how a chance encounter with two Bernedoodles spurred a lifelong passion here. If you want to get in contact with Kevin, you can send him a message.