Most Common Retrieving Dog Breeds

When deciding which dog you want to add to your family, one category of breeds to consider is retrieving dogs. Retrieving dog breeds, also referred to as sporting dogs, are among one of the most popular types of dogs for individuals to choose. While there are many different breeds of dogs that fall under the umbrella of retrieving dog breeds, this guide will introduce you to a brief history on this category and review some of the common retrieving dog breeds known today.

A Brief History of Retrieving Dogs

Retrieving dogs, or sporting dogs as they are often called, includes some of the most popular breeds of dogs because of their intelligence and gentle personalities. Historically, retrieving dogs were bred to be companions to hunters and would help to locate, flush out, and retrieve game as it was being hunted.

The four main types of sporting dogs are retrievers, setters, pointers, and spaniels. Because retrieving dogs are bred for a purpose, they have a high level of trainability, another quality that makes them appealing dogs for future owners and families. Today, retrieving dogs are now one of the preferred breeds for service dog positions, such as helping disabled individuals.

Common Retrieving Dog Breeds

Sporting dogs are one of the most sought after types of dogs in the world and it’s easy to see why. Their alert, active, and intelligent personalities make them ideal companions for any individual. Below are a handful of the most common retrieving and sporting dog breeds.

Golden Retriever

One of the most popular and well-known retrieving dog breeds is the Golden Retriever. These gundogs are of Scottish descent and are known for being friendly, adorable, and devoted to their owners and families. Golden Retrievers are medium-sized dogs, making them the perfect companion for any activity.

Golden Retrievers average height is twenty-three inches to the shoulder for males and between twenty-one and twenty-three inches on average for females. Golden Retrievers are recognizable for their distinctive dense and shiny golden coat and their broad head adorned with a friendly face. Additional characteristics that are markers of the Golden Retriever include a straight muzzle, short ears, a broad head, and intelligent eyes.

Despite their often smiling appearance, Golden Retrievers know how to handle any job. Because of their dedicated work ethic and trainability, Golden Retrievers have also been utilized for other important roles, such as in search and rescue missions and as guides for the blind. These dogs move smoothly but with power when they run and walk.

As family dogs, Golden Retrievers are dedicated and loyal animals that are eager to please and loving companions. These pups love a good exercise outdoors, whether that be through swimming, hiking, or running. It’s easy to see why Golden Retrievers are among the most sought after dog breeds.

Labrador Retriever

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in America today. Labrador Retrievers are active, friendly, and adventurous companions that are known for their kind and high-spirit dispositions. Labrador Retrievers are between twenty-one and twenty-five inches tall and usually weigh between fifty-five and eighty pounds depending on their sex. Labrador Retrievers are considered a medium to large-sized dog and are a popular choice for families looking for a fun and kind companion.

Labrador retrievers have hard coats that are made up of dense fur and come in three main colors: black, yellow, and rich chocolate. For families looking for an ideal housemate and pet for the whole family, these dogs top the list because of their friendly disposition. Behind their congeniality, these pups were bred with a purpose in mind. They have an innate drive to complete a job, which means they also have high energy levels that will need to be exercised on a daily basis. Walking, playing fetch, going for a dip in the pool, or any other activity that will keep them mentally and physically engaged is a must for these four-legged companions.

Irish Setter

Another top choice for a retrieving dog breed that is a great family companion is the Irish Setter. Irish Setters are sweet dogs with a strong drive to work and are known for their distinctive red coats. On average, male Irish Setters reach a height of twenty-seven inches and females reach a height of twenty-five inches. Irish Setters typically weigh between sixty and seventy pounds when they are full-grown.

Known as one of the most physically attractive dog breeds, Irish Setters are a retrieving breed that won’t be missed in a crowd. With unique red-hued coats of varying length and long, muscular legs that help them to be among the quickest sporting dog breeds, Irish Setters are easily distinguishable among other breeds. These canines are very outgoing and will happily make friends with other animals and humans.

Their good-natured personalities make them lovable companions for their owners and fun-spirited playmates for children. When hunting and retrieving quarry, Irish Setters are fierce and daring in the name of accomplishing the task at hand. Because of their long history of retrieving, these dogs are easily trainable. Irish Setters are high-spirited gundogs that have made wonderful partners for hunters and families alike for hundreds of years.


Pointers are aptly named for their most well-known characteristic, their skill in pointing to game to help their human hunting companions secure their kill. Pointers are known for being even-tempered and hardworking dogs that are loyal to their owners and families. A male Pointer often is between twenty-five inches to twenty-eight inches and females typically range between twenty-three and twenty-six inches at the shoulder. Male Pointers average between fifty-five and seventy-five pounds while female Pointers come in slightly smaller between forty-five and sixty-five pounds.

Pointers have been the ideal companion to hunters for centuries because of their instinctive drive to work and alertness. Because of their impressive speed and agility, this breed is one of the most sought-after retrieving dogs today. Since these dogs thrive from a challenge, they will need to have a daily outlet to expel their built-up energy. This makes them great companions for active owners.


This retrieving dog breed hails from Germany and is often known by the distinctive moniker of “Gray Ghost.” Weimaraners are sporting dogs that are beloved by both pet owners and hunters because of their obedient personalities, fearless nature, and welcoming friendliness. Male Weimaraners are often twenty-five inches to twenty-seven inches and females are slightly smaller at twenty-three inches to twenty-five inches. Weimaraners typically weight between fifty-five and ninety pounds depending on their sex.

Weimaraners often have a solid grey-colored coat, though some may have a white spot on their chest depending on their breeding line. Another unique physical feature of the Weimaraner is their blue-gray or amber colored eyes, which are distinctive, particularly when set in contrast to their gray coats and framed by their long, soft ears.

Equal parts friendly and intelligent, Weimaraners thrive on being in the company of their family and love to engage in exercise that challenges them both mentally and physically. These dogs require lots of exercise, which means they need an active family that can meet their needs. All in all, Weimaraners are a trainable breed and have a strong desire to please their human companions.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, also sometimes called a Chessie, is a duck dog that hails from the Mid-Atlantic. These canines are known for being a sensitive and intelligent hunting dog that are also excellent breeds for families. Male Chesapeake Bay Retrievers typically are twenty-three to twenty-six inches at the shoulder and females usually are between twenty-one and twenty-four inches. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are strong dogs that are powerfully built and weigh between fifty-five and eighty pounds on average.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a waterproof coat that has a unique wave pattern on its surface. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers come in a variety of different colors, including brown, deadgrass, or sedge, all of which complement their amber-yellow hued eyes.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are tireless and driven to work, energetic, loyal to their owners and families, and affectionate with those they love. An important trait to know about the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is that they are more willful and emotionally complicated than other gundogs. They have a tendency to think very independently. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are also watchdogs that will be protective over their human families, and while polite, will not generally exhibit overt affection to strangers. Pet owners and hunters looking for a dog that will be loyal, intelligent, and loving will find what they are looking for in a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointers are a medium-sized sporting dog that are known for their desire to please, friendly personality, and their high intelligence. Male German Shorthaired Pointers weigh between fifty-five and seventy pounds on average while females typically weigh between forty-five and sixty pounds. At the shoulder, males usually reach between twenty-three and twenty-five inches while females are usually between twenty-one and twenty-three inches.

German Shorthaired Pointers are recognized for their distinctive coat that is a solid reddish brown with mottled white coloring. This breed is naturally athletic and they love having a job to do. If that wasn’t enough, these pups are among the top-winning breeds in competitive hunting events and are considered one of the most versatile hunting dogs. They love to work for long periods of time with their owner by their side and have enviable endurance, speed, agility, and power that makes them great sporting dogs.

German Shorthaired Pointers are highly energetic and need daily exercise to burn off their desire to work. Engaging them in physical activities and making sure that they are mentally stimulated is a must if you want to bring one of these dogs into your household. German Shorthaired Pointers love outdoor activities like running and swimming and excel at dog sports that put their skills to the test and keep them learning. At the end of the day, these dogs are loyal to their families and are easily trainable.

While these are some of the most common retrieving dogs, there are many other breeds that fall into this category.  As you can see, retrieving dogs make excellent family companions for any household.



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“The 10 Best Hunting Dog Breeds.” Wide Open Spaces, 11 Dec. 2018,

Greenberg, Aurora. “Golden Retriever Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club, 6 Nov. 2017,

Paulenoff, Simon. “Labrador Retriever Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club, 6 Nov. 2017,

Paulenoff, Simon. “Irish Setter Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club, 6 Nov. 2017,

“Pointer Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club, 6 Nov. 2017,

Kriss, Randa. “Weimaraner Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club, 6 Nov. 2017,

“Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club, 6 Nov. 2017,

Greenberg, Aurora. “German Shorthaired Pointer Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club, 6 Nov. 2017,

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