Istrian Short-Haired Scent Hound (Istarski Kratkodlaki Gonič)

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snow white with orange markings
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Pros Cons

excellent hunter

great with children

wonderful watchdog


tends to bark a lot

requires a great deal of physical and mental stimulation


The Istrian Short-Haired Scent Hound is a proficient and determined hunting dog, which originated in Istria many centuries ago. This breed conquers the hearts of dog fanciers not only by its outstanding working qualities but also by its biddable and affectionate demeanour. Nonetheless it hasn’t yet earned wide international recognition and its population is mostly concentrated in its native land.


The Istrian Scent Hound played the role of a popular hunting dog in Istria since time immemorial so its ancient background is undisputable. Regrettably it also means that its ancestry can’t be traced with any degree of certainty. The venerable age of the breed proves its image on the frescoes, which embellish a XIII century chapel in Beram. In the beginning of the XVIII Century this dog was often portrayed on paintings and mentioned in canine literature. For example, Bishop Bakic of Djakovo thoroughly described its hunting prowess in his chronicles of 1719.

The Istrian Scent Hound is acclaimed by Istrian hunters for its multifunctionality. This dog can perform its hunting responsibilities individually, in a pack or as a leash hound. In hunting it is guided by its acute scent to track the prey and can follow it tenaciously for several hours on end without showing a sign of fatigue. Moreover thick vegetation won’t shake the dogs’ determination even a bit so it will keep baying all the way in order to point the hunter the right direction. This breed is also widely used to trail a wounded animal.

In the early XX century the specimens of the Istrian Scent Hound were exported from its native Istria to neighbouring areas. However the systematic breeding began only in 1924 when it its first stud books were finally opened. Actually there are two types of the Istrian Scent Hound, which are considered as separate breeds and differ only by the length of their hair: the Istrian Short-Haired Scent Hound and the Istrian Wire-Haired Scent Hound. Both of them were formally recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1949. The United Kennel Club (UKC) accepted them in 2006. Presently these dogs still generally serve as hunter’s companions in Istria although lots of them are owned exclusively for companionship.


The Istrian Short-Haired Scent Hound was developed as an indefatigable and versatile hunting dog and its character fits perfectly to this role. This dog shows true persistence in pursuing the prey but its mood and temper change completely as soon as it finds itself in a home environment. The breed is known to form intense attachment to all family members and treat kids with care and tenderness. Furthermore it usually tolerates their tease and can make a patient playmate. However, early socialisation is mandatory for this breed if you intend to keep as a companion animal.

Human aggressiveness is untypical for the Istrian Scent Hound but it tends to behave itself forbearingly in the presence of unknown people. Commonly it’s more than willing to defend its family and assigned territory so it makes a fairly decent guard dog. Be mindful though that you may end up with too good-natured and friendly specimen, which doesn’t suit for such kind of work. This sensitive and vigilant dog can become a wonderful watchdog, which will bark loudly every time when it detects something suspiciousness.

The Istrian Short-Haired Scent Hound has good reputation with other dogs and will be immensely happy to have a permanent canine companion. Nonetheless this courageous dog will never back down from a fight if provoked so it would be wise to walk it on a leash at all times. Surprisingly enough but it’s generally alright with non-canine animals with which it has been raised together. At the same time it demonstrates hostility towards all stray and unfamiliar creatures.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· ear infections;

· parasites.


The Istrian Short-Haired Scent Hound requires very simple grooming. Its short coat will look tidy and shining only with a weekly brushing.

As a working breed it’s prone to catch ear infections and external parasite. It’s highly advisable to examine skin and ears of this dog after each and every hunting experience. The owner should bathe this breed as rarely as possible although bathing usually becomes a pressing necessity if the dog has spent some times in the wood. The rest is standard care, which consists of systematic teeth brushing and nail trimming.


The training of the Istrian Short-Haired Scent Hound is commonly a task of average complexity. Despite its quick-wittedness and attentiveness it’s also endowed with well-expressed stubborn streak, which makes the learning process quite a challenge. Luckily this breed takes over hunting behaviour very naturally and doesn’t need any instructions to perform its original duties.

The handler should establish confidential relationships with this dog by treating it with firmness but without excessive harshness. Anyway it’s absolutely useless to stimulate the dog’s desire to learn by screaming or physical force. Thanks to its incredible stamina and boundless energies it can also become a highly perspective participant of various canine sports.


The Istrian Short-Haired Scent Hound is a vivacious and sturdy working dog, which requires long and intensive physical exercises. Its master should walk with this dog for at least an hour every single day although it still won’t satisfy its crave for a free run. That’s why it’s recommended to let it off-leash several times a week in a securely fenced territory. A hunter will appreciate the unfailing enthusiasm of this breed in chasing the game.

Actually if this dog has regular opportunity to expand its energy excesses in hunting it’s quite happy with a brisk daily walk. The Istrian Scent Hound is keen on barking and won’t make a well-mannered apartment dweller. Be aware that an under-exercised dog tends to manifest such intolerable behavioural deviations as constant barking, hyperactivity, nervousness and even aggressiveness.