Hunting Dogs

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Hunting Dogs

[′hənt·iŋ ‚dȯgz]
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hunting Dogs


a group of special breeds of dogs used for hunting. The use of domesticated dogs for hunting is based on the predatory instinct characteristic of all canids. Numerous breeds of hunting dogs, each adapted to a certain type of hunting under certain geographic conditions, have been developed as a result of the centuries-old use of dogs for hunting in various localities, natural and artificial selection, and special training.

Of the more than 100 existing breeds of hunting dogs, 25 are raised in the USSR. Dogs increase the productivity of hunters. More than 60 percent of the valuable squirrel, marten, and sable furs obtained in the USSR are acquired with the aid of dogs. Some types of hunting are impossible without the use of dogs. Hunting dogs are classified in the following groups: laikas, scent hounds, sight hounds, terriers, pointing dogs, and retrievers.

Laikas are used for hunting fur-bearing animals and ungulates (boar, elk, deer) in forest regions. They are also used to hunt aquatic and pine-forest game birds in forest and forest-steppe zones. Having sighted the animal or bird, the laikas surround it and bark, detaining it until the hunter arrives. Breeds include the Russian European, the West Siberian, the East Siberian, and the Karelian-Finnish laikas.

Scent hounds are used to hunt rabbits, foxes, wolves, jackals, lynx, and ungulates in forest and forest-steppe zones. The dogs pursue an animal by its tracks and bark until the hunter spots the animal and shoots it. Breeds include the Russian hound, the spotted Russian hound, the Estonian hound, the Hanoverian bloodhound, the Bavarian mountain hound, the English foxhound, the beagle, and the basset.

Sight hounds are used to hunt rabbits, foxes, and small steppe ungulates in open areas of the forest-steppe, steppe, and semides-ert regions. Breeds include the Russian wolfhound, the Russian steppe courser, the chortay (khortaia), the tazy, the Kirghiz taigan, the greyhound, the Afghan hound, and the saluki. Sight hounds are large, strong dogs measuring from 60 to 80 cm high and have keen vision. Their bodies are built for speed (up to 20 m/sec). Sight hounds overtake the game, detaining and sometimes choking the animal. The dogs are not extensively bred.

Terriers, which include the fox terrier and the dachshund, are used to attack such burrow-dwelling animals as foxes, badgers, and raccoon dogs. They enter the burrows, attacking the animal and driving it out toward the hunter. Sometimes the dogs kill the animal in the burrow.

Pointing dogs include setters, pointers, the German short-haired pointer, and the German wirehaired pointer. They are used to hunt marsh, forest, steppe, and aquatic birds. Upon finding the bird by scent, a pointing dog freezes in a characteristic pose (the point) to show the hunter the bird’s location. On command of the hunter, the dog flushes the bird into the line of fire.

Retrievers are used to hunt game birds. They drive the bird hidden on the ground into the hunter’s line of fire. The dogs then locate and retrieve the killed bird. Breeds include the English springer spaniel, the cocker spaniel, and their varieties bred in the USSR.


Posobie po okhotnich’emu sobakovodstvu. Moscow, 1970.
Posobie po sobakovodstvu, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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