If you want a hunting dog who serves double duty as a house pet -- and won't leave hair all over the furniture and floor -- you have various canines from which to choose. Don't expect some of the best-known hunting/pet dogs to share your life, such as the Labrador or golden retriever. They shed quite a bit.
Two of the coonhound breeds -- the redbone and the bluetick -- shed very little. The handsome redbone probably makes the best house dog of all coonhound types. The bluetick makes the better pet if you share your home with cats. Both have that distinctive hound odor and may require regular bathing to avoid offending your olfactories. Both breeds mature between 21 and 27 inches tall, weighing between 45 and 80 pounds.
The Standard Poodle
While it's well-known that poodles don't shed, they aren't the first breed coming to mind when considering hunting dogs. Think again -- that's what this breed was originally bred to do, either as a retriever or a spaniel-type gun dog. The standard poodle matures above 15 inches tall at the shoulder, but hunting poodles generally range between 22 to 26 in height, weighing between 45 to 70 pounds, with males larger than females. This breed is smart, eager to please and easy to train. Poodles come in a variety of solid colors, but you don't have to keep your hunting dog in a fancy poodle clip. In fact, during hunting season, it's best to have a groomer clip the coat so that's about 1 inch long.
The Irish Water Spaniel
Largest of all spaniels, the Irish water spaniel resembles a brown standard poodle with a rat-like tail and webbed toes. The spaniel name is misleading, as he's more often used as a retriever and his curly coat repels water. Although he doesn't shed, his coat requires a lot of brushing along with regular trimming. Unlike many hunting breeds, he's also a good watchdog. He makes a good pet for an active family but needs a lot of exercise. The Irish water spaniel matures between 21 and 24 inches tall at the shoulder, weighing between 45 to 68 pounds.
The lagotto romagnolo hails from Italy, where he specializes in truffle hunting. He's also known as the Romagna water dog and he may be the progenitor of all water retrievers. The American Kennel Club describes the lagotto romagnolo as "affectionate, keen and undemanding." He sports a curly, woolly, waterproof non-shedding coat. When full grown, this breed stands between 16 to 19 inches tall at the shoulder, weighing between 24 to 35 pounds. Males are larger than females. Lagotto Romagnolos appear in off-white and various brown tones, but never black.