Drever (Swedish Dachsbracke)
The Drever (Swedish Dachsbracke) is a sturdy and skilful Scent Hound, which was produced by Swedish breeders in the early part of the XX century. The breed is noted for its highly sensitive nose, good-naturedness and elongated trunk. Being a very popular hunting dog in its homeland and some neighbouring countries it hasn’t yet attained much recognition in the rest of the world.
The Drever is relatively newly invented breed and its first specimens were produced as early as in the 10s and 20s of the XX century. It was developed by the Swedish hunters who needed an adaptable and hardy hound to work in the roughest and most challenging terrains of their homeland. Prior to the beginning of the XX century local hunters imported a number of foreign breeds in order to test their hunting abilities in the rigorous climate and broken ground of Sweden.
Under these circumstances the most effective hunters appeared to be the Dachsbracke, a group of closely related German hound breeds. They played a crucial role in the development of the Drever. Several other German, British, and French hounds were also utilised to produce this breed. The resulting Scent Hound bore lots in common to its forefathers in terms of hunting talents and appearance, but was a little bit taller and easily endured severe climate and dangerous terrain of Sweden.
The local hunters treasured the Drever as a very capable tracker and used it to hunt small burrowing game such as rabbits, badgers, and foxes. The primary quarry of the dog was the roe deer. The Swedish roe deer was infamously known for its fickle and nervous nature and used to flee by the slightest odd sound. The short-legged Drever kept pace with a hunter and couldn’t scare the quarry away before it got in the range of a shot. The breed’s name was derived from the Swedish word “drev”, which describes a specific way of hunting where the dog drives the prey towards the hunter.
By the 40s of the XX century the breed had already been widely acknowledged as the most popular working Scent Hound in Sweden. In 1949 the Drever was formally recognised by the Swedish Kennel Club and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). Thanks to its talents in hunting the deer the breed also acquired sizeable following in Norway and Finland. It was given complete recognition of the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1996. In Scandinavian countries it retained its popularity as a hunting dog but it can be rarely met outside its homeland.
The Drever is characterised with a sweet and well-balanced temperament so it can be turned into a pleasant companion animal. This dog is truly people-oriented and usually displays an outmost loyalty and affection when things concern its human family. When correctly and timely socialised it gets along with children and usually becomes their favourite playmate.
The Drever is also nice with strange people and human aggressiveness runs across very rarely in this breed. At first the dog tends to behave sheepishly in front of a new person but it rather quickly overcomes this initial shyness and shows its natural affability. Some specimens are observant and alert enough to make reasonable watchdogs but others seem to show little interest in this kind of work. On the whole it’s too kind and sociable to make any use in the role of a guard dog.
The breeder disfavoured any manifestation of canine aggressiveness in the Drever since it had to operate alongside with dozens of other dogs during a hunting trip. The breed actually prefers to live on a permanent basis with a few of other canines. But in any case its owner should always be present when two strange dogs meet for the first time. The breed is substantially less accepting of other species of animals. It’s an infamous cat chaser and should always be kept leashed while being walked. At the same time it will co-exist with few issues with a household pet (including a cat) with which it has been reared since its puppyhood.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· back problems;
· slipped discs;
· degenerative spinal disease;
· ear infections;
· demodex mange;
· eye problems;
· weight gain;
The Drever has fairly low grooming requirements. Its coat should be carefully brushed on a regular basis. Be mindful that this breed is an incredibly heavy shedder. During the sheading season the dog’s hair will most probably cover all your possessions including clothes, carpets and furniture. Thorough systematic brushing will greatly cut down its amount but it’s barely possible to get rid of them totally.
The Drever’s big hanging ears needs to be regularly inspected and cleaned because they are prone to get infected or irritated really easily.
The Drever’s training is a very difficult task with the exception of its ability to hunt. Hunters value this dog for its relentlessness in pursuit, self-assurance, stubbornness, and well-developed prey drive. Unfortunately the very same qualities turn its training into a true challenge.
This breed learns at the maximum speed when handled by a strong and dominant trainer, which is prepared to invest significant amount of time and efforts to achieve desirable results. Force-based methods of training don’t work with the Drever, which responds relatively well only to positive reinforcement and plenty of its favourite treats.
The Drever was developed as a tireless and determined hunter and therefore it should receive plentiful of vigorous daily exercise. Its owner should walk with this dog for at least 45 minutes each and every day. At the same time it tends to display laid-back and relaxed attitude indoors once its exercise need has been properly satisfied.
On the whole the breed is much more energetic than majority of similarly sized dogs. The Drever usually becomes a destructive, nervous and disobedient creature if it isn’t provided with enough opportunities to burn its buoyant energy. The happiest specimens are usually those, which are assigned with its original hunting duties on a regular basis.