Discover the Best Dog Breeds for Driven Hunt Techniques

February 6, 2023
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

In a driven hunt, the game is pressed instead of driven, meaning it is not chased by humans or dogs through the undergrowth. This reduces the release of stress and adrenaline hormones in the animal. The aim is to calmly move the game from one location to another, with the hunters staying in the background and the hunting dog doing most of the work by presenting an obstacle instead of an immediate threat. Different animals react differently to a hunting dog, which can either be seen as an annoyance or a source of curiosity. The dog's presence can cause the animal to move to a more accessible position for the hunter or seek another resting place. The goal is to put the game in a position where it can be easily recognized by multiple hunters, promoting optimal teamwork.

Driven hunts are a quieter and less dangerous form of hunting, requiring fewer hunters or drivers to kill an animal. It is also better suited for beginners, both on the human and animal side, as hunting assistants have to adjust to the environment. Driven hunts typically take place in dense forests, whereas driven hunts occur in open areas like fields or clearings. They are subdivided into three further hunts: bolt hunt, Lapp hunt, and lancing, each of which is similar in execution but used in different areas.

Bolt Hunting

Driven hunts are characterized by their gentle and quiet approach to hunting animals. In mountainous areas, the driven hunt involves slowly moving the game from its current location to a designated hunting area with a small number of hunters or drivers. This method is used when it is dangerous or confusing for the hunters to shoot in the animal's current location. This reduces the risk of injury or misses and minimizes the stress on the hunted animal.

The game is moved from its resting place in a natural manner, and it is not alarmed by the process. The nearby animals are usually scared away, but they return to their resting place by the end of the hunt, as they do not perceive a significant threat. The drivers maintain a low stress level to minimize danger to the animals. The wild animals perceive the hunters, drivers, and hunting dogs as minor obstacles.

During a bolt hunt, special care is taken to be quiet. Most often, the use of the hunting horn, which signals the start and end of the hunt, is avoided, as it startles hunting dogs and releases adrenaline in them. Only a few well-trained dogs remain calm in the presence of a hunting horn. Instead, a set time is designated for the start and end of the hunt to keep the dogs calm.

A bolt hunt is typically applied to cloven-hoofed game, such as roe deer, red deer, fallow deer, and geese, and occasionally predatory game, such as foxes. Bolt hunts are easier with larger animals and require calm pointing and flushing dogs. Dachshunds and small Bracken are unsuitable for bolt hunting as it involves large game.

Pointing and flushing dogs should have a tracking sound as soon as the animal is found or a scent is picked up, but not be too excited. A driven hunt is quiet, and the game is driven to move naturally, so loud dogs and dogs with a high game sharpness should be avoided. Suitable hunting dogs for a bolt hunt include:

  • German hounds Stichelhaar Hunde
  • large and small Münsterländer
  • Weimaraner
  • Irish Red Setter
  • Gordon Setter
  • German Wachtelhund
  • English Cocker
  • Springer Spaniel

These dogs have a pronounced tracking sound, but remain calm due to their good pointing manners.

Lapp Hunting

Lapp hunting, also called Lapp hunting, is a traditional hunting technique where a small number of hunters push game into a designated area surrounded by lobes (fluttering rags attached to strings) serving as a boundary. The movement of the lobes spooks the game and keeps it from breaking through the boundary. The game follows the lobes, instead of breaking through the area. Nowadays, the technique is used only sporadically and with restrictions, such as a radius of 300 meters, to avoid startling the game and driving it towards the hunters. A hunting assistant is often necessary, and the use of calm, well-behaved dogs is recommended. Smaller dogs, such as fox terriers and Parson Russell terriers, are preferred for this type of hunting.


Launching is a technique in hunting that utilizes the hunting dog's sense of smell. It involves the dog tracking a selected game while on a leash and leading the hunter to it. Unlike in driving hunts, the dog remains quiet and doesn't run freely through the underbrush. The goal is to locate a specific game and herd it to another location for hunting. Before the game is herded, its change (the route it takes when moving from one resting place to another) is blocked using a piece of clothing or a human dummy. This forces the game to take a different path, leading it to a place where it can be hunted. Welding dogs, such as the Hanover Hound and theBavarian Mountain Hound, are suitable for this technique, especially in cases of injured animals. Smaller breeds like beagles and badger dogs are recommended as they can easily go under bushes or fallen branches. The term "launching" also applies in human rescue, when a dog is used to find missing persons.

Driven Hunting

Driven hunting, unlike its quiet counterpart, is a hectic and fast-paced form of hunting that is better suited for open areas such as meadows, clearings, and fields. It requires a clear line of sight, making it suitable for large open spaces where shooting is only allowed on clear sight. The focus of this type of hunting is to startle and rush the game by making loud noises, putting the animal into panic and forcing it to move in the direction desired by the hunters.

Dogs are trained to indicate and draw attention from the beaters, making the game feel attacked and causing it to flee. The constant movement and pace of the hunt often covers many kilometers and requires dogs with enough endurance and physical ability to keep up. The type of dog used in this hunt must also be able to handle the stress of the game.

The driven hunt is further divided into four categories: kettle drive, patrol, standing or projecting drive, and shearing drive and planing.

Kettle Hunting

Kettle hunting is a type of battue hunting that is dangerous for both humans and dogs. Although hunting dogs are not always directly involved in the activity, it is still an important part of the drive hunt. This hunting method is mainly used for hares, foxes, and sometimes pheasants in large open areas that can be seen from multiple sides. The area is surrounded by beaters positioned in a circular formation around a designated point. The hunt begins with the blowing of a hunting horn, which triggers a release of adrenaline in hunting dogs and creates a loud commotion.

The drivers then move towards the center of the circle while hunters are allowed to shoot with buckshot. However, once the beaters are close to each other, shooting is no longer permitted due to the long-range nature of buckshot. A hunting dog that strays too far away from the drivers in this scenario could become vulnerable to potential harm. Shooting is only allowed if a deer tries to escape from within the circle and is in line of sight.

As the beaters approach the center, the animals inside the circle become distressed and try to escape, providing an opportunity for hunting. A signal is sounded once the beaters reach the center, signaling the end of shooting. In cases where the circle is large enough and the hunters are experienced, hunting dogs may also be used. For this purpose, Bracke breeds are typically employed as they are slower than the hares being hunted. The Bracke barking behind the hare directs it towards the shooter. Continuous sound must be maintained even when the hunting dog and game are within sight of the hunter. Only close-range shooting is allowed with buckshot, making small breeds like the Beagle, Badger Bracke, and small dachshunds suitable for the hunt.

It is important to note that terriers and retrievers are not recommended for this type of hunting as they are usually trained to be quiet and may not provide the necessary sound for the hunter to locate their target.

Patrol Hunting

Patrol hunting refers to two different forms of hunting. The simple patrol involves hunters and beaters progressing in a single line across an area. During this type of hunting, the targeted game can still escape to the side or straight ahead. In the Bohemian patrol, the area is covered in a U-shape, making it impossible for the game within the formation to escape to the side. Hares, rabbits, and partridges are hunted using this method. The U-formation ensures that the game can only escape straight ahead. For this type of hunting, smaller hunting dogs that can quickly chase small game are recommended.

Large hunting dogs may struggle to perform at their full potential if they are only chasing small animals and have to slow down. Badger dogs, beagles, and larger Bracke breeds like the Brandlbracke and Tiroler Bracke are recommended. Bloodhounds, including the Hannoversche Schweisshund, can also be useful. A Bavarian Mountain Welding Dog may not be ideal as a Bohemian patrol typically takes place on flat, clear terrain rather than in rapidly changing areas like mountain ranges or highlands.

Stand Driving & Stem Driving

During stand or pointing drives, hunting dogs play a crucial role. The drivers and shooters remain stationary, allowing the dogs to guide the game towards them. This type of hunting is named after the drivers' stationary position and the dogs doing the majority of the work. Pointing dogs are often used in this type of hunt, as they are trained to locate and point at game. Larger game, such as wild boars, require a larger dog, but not necessarily.

Well-trained pointing dogs of various breeds, such as: German long-haired, short-haired, wire-haired, and Stichelhunde, as well as small and large Münsterländer, Weimaraner, and foreign breeds like Griffon, Magyar Vizsla, Epagneul Breton, and Braque Francais, are all suitable for pointing.

The wide range of breeds to choose from makes this type of hunting versatile. However, it is important to choose a hunting dog that is able to make the appropriate sounds and follow the animal, so a hunting dog with a shoulder height of over 50 cm is recommended.

Shear Driving & Planing

Sometimes, it may happen that a deer won't move from its resting place, even with the loudest hunting dog. For this, there's a popular hunting method called shear driving. Hunters surround the area and drivers approach the deer from two offset sides, forcing it to move forward. Planing is similar, but it's done twice in succession. In both methods, the drivers move while the hunters remain still as the game is driven towards them. Each driver usually has one or more hunting dogs, and it's important that the dogs get along well with each other as they may be in close proximity.

Active dogs with high shoulder height and a loud bark are ideal, such as the German Longhair or Münsterländer. These dogs are also known to be playful and good with other dogs, making them a good fit for shear driving and planing.

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