Shibas generally aren’t bred or used for hunting anymore, and while many of them retain some instinct, it would be a stretch to call them actual hunting dogs. After owning a purpose-bred hunting dog, what Conker is capable of is nothing compared to Flint, and it’s not because he’s half Flint’s size. He lacks so many of the qualities of a true hunting dog that makes them so great at it. But when it comes to exterminating vermin that doesn’t require much instinct and skill, Conker is a pro.
Despite not being purpose-bred, Conker does have a lot of prey-drive, plenty of grit (maybe too much), and does make a fairly decent side-kick for Flint on our nighttime adventures. He isn’t capable of taking down a coon on his own, but partnered with Flint, the two can take one out pretty quickly.
Conker is not a good tree dog, he has a hard time finding game once it’s treed and doesn’t naturally look up all the time like Flint does. He looks around the tree but rarely in it, unless he actually sees the critter tree and doesn’t lose sight of it somehow. But if he can see it, or is confident it’s in whatever tree he’s at, he’ll bark his little head off at it.
He is so enthusiastic about catching game that he will ignore discomfort and even injury in pursuit of his quarry. While that can be an admirable trait, it is also potentially dangerous, and landed him at the vet’s office this past season when he tangled with a large coon he had found before Flint arrived.
Due to Conker’s severe luxating patella in his right knee, and mild in his left, I do not hunt with him very often, but I do try to sometimes include him since he enjoys it so much.