Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a hunter, but I do allow my dogs to practice their “hunting” skills with no intent to actually kill anything. It's a great energy-burning outlet for them and a chance to do what comes naturally to them. I find it very interesting to observe the differences in “hunting” styles among breeds.

Greyhounds, like our Jahzara, are sighthounds. (March 2011) Although their sense of smell is far superior to ours, it doesn't match the breeds who are bred more for using their noses. Sighthounds, as the name indicates, hunt more by sight than by smell or sound. While they certainly use those senses as well, just watching them makes it clear that they are much more visually-oriented than some of the other breeds. Sighthounds are excellent at spotting movement. A bunny sitting still might easily be overlooked, but if he starts running, he'd better be moving fast!

Vizslas, like Romeo, are Pointers. Though not scenthounds like Bloodhounds and others, they certainly use their sense of smell far more than their vision when searching for prey. Romeo's nose tends to be to the ground far more than Jahzara's. While she's watching for bunnies, Romeo is tracking their scent. He can usually tell whether or not there is a bunny hiding there right now or not.

While Romeo can tell you if there actually is a bunny hiding in the wood pile, he might not see it sneaking quietly out the other side and disappearing. Jahzara, on the other hand, might not be able to tell you if there's a bunny there right now, but she will be ready if that bunny makes a break for it.

Now, if the two of them team up, the bunnies are in trouble. Romeo sniffs them out, and sometimes forces them to attempt an escape out the other side of their hiding place. If Jahzara is in the right spot, she will spot them making a break for it and pursue them to their next hiding spot. And she is pretty darned fast for a 9 year old!

They enjoy the hunt tremendously, and I allow some of it as long as I'm certain no bunnies are going to be harmed. Jahzara actually has caught a bunny, but her instinct is only to chase and not to kill. So even if she catches one, she won't physically harm it. To her, it's all a fun game. Romeo, well, I'm not as sure what he would do. That's why he's still on a long line so he does not have the opportunity to continue pursuit if a bunny hightails it out of there. He doesn't get the whole idea of: “You're a Pointer. You're only supposed to point out where they prey is but not actually pursue it.”

What are your dog's hunting styles and do they fit the breed description?