Hygen Hound (Hygenhund)

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red & brown or red & yellow, with black shadings, with or without white markings; black & tan, with white markings; white with red-brown or yellow-red patches, or with black & tan markings
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Pros Cons
  • excellent hunter
  • good health
  • great stamina
  • good companion           
  • independent-minded
  • needs a lot of daily exercises
  • not for a city apartment


The Hygen Hound (Hugenhund) is an unbelievingly sturdy and athletic hunting dog, which was produced in Norway in the late XIX century. This tireless and dependable working dog is also well-known for its lovely easy-going demeanour, which makes it an excellent pet for sport-oriented families. The breed enjoys moderate popularity in its homeland but it is regarded as rare elsewhere in the world.

The Hygen Hound is the product of breeding efforts of Norwegian breeder named Mr. Hygen. In the first half of the XIX century he was inspired by the idea to invent the hunting breed, which would be endowed with enough stamina and determination to pursue the prey in chilling condition and raging blizzard of Arctic regions. In 1839 Hygen settled in Romerike and brought along several Holsteiner Hounds, which he acquired in Germany. Then he mated these dogs with various Scandinavian hounds. Derived dogs were subsequently crossed with the more compact and lighter Norwegian Hound and the new breed was born.

The Hygen Hound was granted the name in honour of its creator. His aspirations were fully fulfilled in this dog as it was characterised with ability to hunt unceasingly for hours on end in the most challenging terrain. Actually this passionate hunter can be tasked to track and retrieve any kind of game in any kind of terrain. No wonder that the breed won many fanciers among avid hunters in Norway in XX century. It is also valued as a companion dog because of its lively and cheerful personality. Eventually owners of the Hygen Hound revealed its hidden talent as a watchdog and today it’s widely used in this role as well.

Despite its pleasant character and supreme working abilities the breeds’ population remains fairly small even in its homeland. The Hugenhund’s breeders stick to very rigorous breeding practices in order to preserve and enhance hunting prowess of this dog. Its standard strictly prohibits its reconstruction from other breeds. Although the Hygen Hound can be exceedingly rarely found outside its native country it was granted the recognition of the United kennel Club (UKC) in 2006.

Apart from being an excellent hunter the Hygen Hound is endowed with enviable zest for life and a very charismatic personality. This dog is prone to develop intense attachment to all family members. At the same time it is also known for its excitable nature and short temper so it requires deep and early socialisation to learn proper patterns of behaviour in a human society. It usually treats children with touching consideration but this breed will never put up with extremely harsh games and can bite in defence of its personal boundaries.

The Hygen Hound is tender and kind only with people it knows and can demonstrate wariness and suspiciousness towards strangers. Be mindful that without good amount of socialisation it can even become outright aggressive if some unfamiliar person tries to pet it. This dog possesses strong protective instinct and usually takes its responsibilities of defending its family very seriously. It can make a wonderful watchdog, both personal and property. The breed is probably too small to become an effective guard dog although it has all necessary qualities to perform guarding duties.

The Hygen Hound has mixed reputation with other dogs. While some of its specimens have strong tendency to dominate in the group of other canines, others can manifest extreme shyness and uneasiness in interaction with strange dogs. However these communicational problems can be eliminated by timely obedience training. As one would expect this breed isn’t trustworthy with non-canine animals. This dog is an eager hunter, which treats every moving thing as a potential prey. The probability is high that it will behave itself politely with a household cat with which it has been raised together. Nevertheless some individual dogs will be aggressive towards all small animals, familiar or not.
Health Problems

Very healthy breed

As a working breed the Hygen Hound needs insignificant amount of maintenance. Its dense coat provides it with an effective protection from the most adverse weather condition. It should be brushed 3 to 4 times a week to stay neat and healthy-looking.

The dog’s master should avoid bathing it too frequently since aggressive shampoo can strip off from its hair essential oils, which are responsible for weather-proof quality of its coat. The owner also shouldn’t forget to systematically trim dog’s nails, clean its ears and brush its teeth.

The training of the Hygen Hound can become a true challenge because of its complex character. The dog has well-pronounced tendency to independent thinking and prefers to rely on its own decisions rather than to obey someone’s orders. Nonetheless it’s noted for a superb quick-wittedness and can learn very advanced tricks if the handler approaches its training with enough patience and good humour.

The disposition of the trainer also has the outmost importance, as the Hygen Hound won’t comply with commands of a spiritless or week person. You won’t get good results in teaching the member of this breed if you motivate it to work with yelling or other forceful methods. The dog learns most willingly if you reward its efforts with verbal praise and food incentives.

The Hygenhund is an extremely active dog, which easily adjusts itself to very intense physical activity. Daily long walk will be insufficient to satisfy its exercise need so it should have ample space to run and roam unrestrained ona daily basis. It can become a perfect suburban dog for families who live in the house with spacious but securely fenced yard.

The Hygen Hound won’t be an agreeable household pet for a too busy person or an apartment dweller. Without extensive and regular physical stimulation it will most certainly display unwelcome behavioural patterns and eventually turn into unruly, nervous, hyper active dog with tendency to constant barking.