Basset hounds have a nose that's pretty hard to beat, the Basset and the Blood hound both have the Ultimate noses for tracking scents, the other hound that is not only Excellent while on a scent trail but they make for a Top Notch family dog even with small children..
The Harrier Hound loves hunting and thrives on making his master happy & proud but the Harrier also needs to be leashed or fenced in because they scent everything and won't hesitate to track down all the scents they pick up on, they also require some exercise pretty much on a daily basis.
And HuntNH is correct, Beagles also do very well with Rabbit/Hare still a little short legged but they can do the job just as well as the Harrier Hound.
never owned a hunting dog but my buddy i hunt with had a brown lab that did a awesome job on birds the dog recently passed and hes training a new pup now.beagles are the preferred rabbit dog round here
Ive rabbit hunted my whole life, all we have ever used is beagles. I got 2 right now that will get after it, rabbit hunting with dogs is a blast its even better when its your dogs out there making it happen!
I have a beagle now, and had a basset mutt when I was little. If your not hunting in deep snow a lot, a basset's short legs can be an advantage because you don't want the dog to go too fast and keep losing the trail. That is the problem I have right now with the beagle, but he is still young and will hopefully slow down. That basset was slow, but never lost a trail.
I currently have 2 basset hounds, Roscoe and Elwood, and a Bloodhound Pearl. Love them all for their individual traits..
Elwood we got as a pup, naturally in the woods he was great with rabbits and especially squirrels, he went nuts over them and would follow one up a tree and just stand there staring until the Marlin .22 dropped it down to him. He is now 9 and blind and his days of heavy activity are over.
Roscoe was adopted at 2 yrs old as he randomly showed up one day. Neighbor came down to get him and said she was free to a good home, he was taken from her boyfriend's cousin who abused him. He is missing 4 front teeth, one broken off at gumline, both front legs were broke, his right actually points backwards when he stands still. Arthritis in hips now at 6 yrs old because those were once fractured, had an eye kicked out of socket on top of it all. Needless to say if we ever find the guy who did this we will break his legs and teeth.
Anyways, Roscoe is still a natural squirrel hound, he will tree them and have a good old time howling at them. He cant hunt long with his hips, he takes children Asprin daily and it still gets to where I carry him to his pen at night.
The bloodhound is great at tracking, she will find me anywhere on our 104 acres if i run from her and hide in thick brush full camo. She is all nose no eyes, to the point if i run a circle and then lay down, she will walk over me following trail until it brings her back. Afraid to say we wont own another, this is our 2nd and they are a handful medical wise, we had $4600 emergency surgery when her stomach flipped wrestling with dogs after eating.
Okay so I went waaay off topic here, sorry! Bottom line, I prefer bassets over beagels because in my experience they dont bark as much, and have a deep howl versus the machine-gun bark at a high pitch. I believe with actual training, would make great rabbit dogs. As our 2 were natural insticts, they did excellent with squirrels. Besides, you also get an organic garbage disposal, entertainment, and a dog that can find any bit of food you lose when you have a basset hound.
Find yourself a Bagel and have best of both worlds. Tad bit quicker, more of a howl, will have big old clodhopper feet, an awesome nose, and a stomach that can handle a 300wsm shell.
Bottom line is this: Bassets can't push a rabbit hard enough to make for a good hunt - they are not fast enough. Rabbits will run in a big circle (sometimes miles) - quite frequently coming back to the spot where they were jumped. That's when you shoot em'. Now a basset has a good nose but it will take FOREVER for the rabbit to get pushed back to the guns. You need a dog that can push the rabbit back to you within a reasonable time period - otherwise it could get very boring. Any you don't want a dog that's too fast - you aint going to get to shoot if your dog actually catches the rabbit. A good dog is not going to break off of a rabbit and you don't want a dog to break in mid chase. So, get a beagle. I have a 13 inch and I run with 13's. Two beagles are great. As for barking, mine does not go at it unless a critter comes into the yard at night. When I borrow a dog so I can hunt a brace, I have a bark collar that sprays citrinella into its face if it barks. It works - I've had it on the loudest, smelliest, nastiest, buck-toothed, cornbread eatin' hunting dogs - and I live in a subdivision in Knoxville. Also, training a young dog is very important - they have natural instincts to chase - but you don't want them chasing deer or other critters - so you might have to break the dog from deer etc... Don't buy a dog from any chump either. Not all beagles are the same. Bloodline is critical. My brother owns three beagles that aint worth a $hit. My dog has got moxy - if you need a referral, I can give you one for a guy in Kentucky or a guy down in Sweetwater Tennessee.
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