Smaland Hound (Smålandsstövare)
The Smaland Hound is an outstanding multifunctional sporting dog that was invented by Swedish breeders as early as in the XVI century. Thanks to its sharp nose it’s capable of tracing both furred and feathered prey although it shows the most proficiency in hunting hare and foxes. The breed is considered to be extremely rare even in its homeland since only about 60 puppies are recorded by the Swedish Kennel Club annually.
The Smaland Hound is thought to be the most ancient canine variety in Sweden. Its appearance as a separate breed supposedly goes back to the XVI and XVII centuries. According to some speculations its early version was developed as early as in the Middle Ages. The dogs’ alternative name is the Smålandsstövare and it received it in honour of Småland, a province in southern Sweden. Its forefathers were imported to this historical region by soldiers coming home from the Great Wars (1611-1718). These hounds from Poland, Germany, England and Baltic countries were blended with indigenous canine population that is consisted mainly from Spitz-type farm dogs.
Eventually, the Smaland Hound evolved into an all-purpose hunter who would easily track down birds, hares, squirrels, foxes and even larger game like elks. It became the favourite of poor Swedish hunters who could provide nourishment for one dog. They highly valued its remarkable hunting prowess as well as the breeds’ ability to operate without any help of its counterparts.
At first, the Smålandsstövare existed in various sizes, coat colours and could have a tail of any length. Its organised breeding began only in the XIX century. It’s believed that during this period foreign hounds were also included into the breeding program in order to enlarge its gene pool and to reconstruct the major characteristics of the true Smaland Hound. The dog achieved recognition of the Swedish Kennel Club in 1921. Today it’s the only variety of a Scent Hound with a naturally docked tail. Such unusual physical feature was created by Baron Frederik von Essen who gave preference to short-tailed breed members.
The ultimate standard of the Smaland Hound was written and approved in 1952. Currently this breed is very uncommon even in its native country where it’s still praised as a superb companion for an avid hunter. Nonetheless its stable and staunch disposition also made it a relatively popular pet in Sweden.
The Smaland Hound always exerts every effort in discharging its hunting duties but once it goes back home it turns into a calm, loyal and easy-going family dog. Of course, it must be properly socialised in the puppyhood to play the part of a four-legged friend for children. However this dog is known to form firm bonds with all its masters and it commonly plays with toddlers with utmost care. It won’t tolerate rude invasion in its personal space so teach your kids to stay away from the dog while it’s eating or gnawing a bone.
The Smålandsstövare wants to defend its owners and territory from any possible threats including unfamiliar people. So it always remains strained and wary in the company of houseguests and vigilantly watches their actions for the slightest indication of aggressive intentions. Early obedience training will ensure its adequate behaviour in public but it will never make this dog outright friendly even with welcomed guests. Apart from being an intrepid guardian the breed is always ready to notify its human family about unwanted visitors and becomes a great watcher.
The Smaland Hound gets along with other canines unless they provoke it to reciprocal aggression or attempt to cross the border of its domain. Nonetheless it will treat another dog as a part of its pack if they grow up together in the same homestead. Be aware that other species of animals will be in permanent danger in the presence of this breed although it’s a good chance that its correctly socialised member won’t pester a household cat.
Breed has strong immune system.
The grooming of the Smaland Hound is a very easy task. Brush your pet once a week and its coat will always retain its beautiful gleam. This breed should be bathed rather rarely although its member may get extremely dirty during a hunting trip and therefore needs an unplanned bathing.
The master should also periodically check the hanging ears of his pets for grime, earwax and signs of infection and irritation. Regular nail trimming is also an essential care procedure especially if the dog doesn’t wear the nails off naturally. The breed is a moderate shedder.
The Smålandsstövare can be trained basic tricks relatively easily since this dog stands out for inquisitive nature and keen mind. Being a typical hound its character also has certain stubborn streak and occasionally it disagrees with the trainer’s opinion and completely ignores his commands. That’s why it’s important to disregard such moods of your pet and keep training sessions sort and fun.
Remember that this dog can be quickly distracted by some interesting smell so even its favourite treats won’t be able to return its interest back to the lesson. In general, the optimal strategy in the work with this breed is based on using exclusively positive reinforcement.
The Smaland Hound is a very vigorous and cheerful dog that has be provided with plentiful of daily playtime in a securely enclosed area. Of course the perfect type of exercise for this breed will be chasing a prey in the wilderness but it will be absolutely happy to participate in any outdoor activities with its human family.
The Smaland Hound easily endures very challenging physical exercises and can tirelessly run beside your bike for several hours. Remember that the dog that has to pass all time doing nothing will soon find its own methods to entertain itself and they surely won’t please its masters.