If you haven’t heard of the Bavarian Mountain Hound, you’re not the only one. Despite having a history that stretches all the way back to the 19th century, this purebreed hound is one of the rarest breeds around. Although they’ve made some progress in the UK and US in recent years, their numbers are still low enough for people to do a double-take when they meet them on the street. With their strong, powerful bodies, attractive markings, and expressions of solemn dignity, they’re a beautiful dog with a dignified, calm temperament. Although their docile dispositions and gentle natures make them good family pets, they need an experienced hand at the tiller – causal owners might find it a challenge to keep up with their extensive training and exercise needs. If you’re ready to find out more about this unusual breed, take a look at these 20 things you didn’t know about the Bavarian Mountain Hound.
1. They hail from Germany
As dogtime.com writes, Bavarian Mountain Hounds can trace their origins all the way back to 19th century Germany. At the time, local hunters were using Hanoverian Scent hounds to help them track and trace game. The breed’s strongly developed sense of smell made them the ideal companion from one perspective, but their large, heavy frames made traversing the mountainous regions of Germany a chore. The smaller German Braken hunting dogs, on the other hand, combined a lithe, agile frame with the perfect noise for trailing game. By breeding the two dogs, the Germans found the perfect hunting companion…and, incidentally, the Bavarian Mountain Hound. In recent years, the breed has increased in popularity in the UK and US, but it’s still in its native Germany that it’s the most well known.
2. They’ve got a coat to match any occasion
Now, we’d never suggest buying a dog just because it comes in your favorite color. But if you wanted to, you could… at least if we’re talking Bavarian Mountain Hounds. The breed comes in a vast array of colors including brindle, reddish-brown, and tan. You can also find them in every shade of fawn, from the lightest yellow to the darkest red. Regardless of its color, all Bavarian Mountain Hound’s share the same short, dense coat, which lies flat against their body in an almost aerodynamic way.
3. They were first recognized in 1996
In 1996, the Bavarian Mountain Hound won the honor of being officially recognized as a breed by the United Kennel Club (UKC). The notoriously exclusive American Kennel Club would take another 20 years to extend the breed recognition, finally inducting it into its Foundation Stock in 2016. A year later, the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound Society of America was launched with the mission to spread the word about this rare breed. Considering its rarity, the society has a big task in front of them. On the plus side, numbers have been rising in recent years.
4. They come in a variety of sizes
Just as no two Bavarian Mountain Hounds share exactly the same color coat, neither do any two Bavarian Mountain Hounds share the exact same size. Most will stand between 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder, and the majority will weigh in between 44 and 55 pounds. But really, there’s no such thing as ‘standard’ with this breed. The only thing you can know for sure is that they will be on the medium to large side.
5. They’re prone to separation anxiety
Bavarian Mountain Hounds are exceptionally loyal and devoted. They may prefer a jog around the park or a game of frisbee to an afternoon of cuddling on the sofa, but don’t underestimate the affection they feel for their guardian. Sometimes, that affection can be so intense, it actually becomes a problem. Bavarian Mountain Hound’s don’t like being away from their owner for too long. Leave them home alone all day, and they can start displaying signs of separation anxiety. If you spend a lot of time at the office or away from the house, this might not be the breed for you.
6. They need lots of exercise
Retrace your steps to the early days of the breed’s development, and they spent most of their time tracking through the foothills of Germany hunting down game. Little wonder then, that this is a dog that thrives on plenty of exercise. At a minimum, they need at least a good hour-long walk per day, along with a few shorter walks and a few games of fetch or tug of war for good measure. Basically, the more exercise you give them, the happier they’ll be.
7. You need to keep an eye on their health
The Bavarian Mountain Hound is considered a healthy, robust breed, but like most hounds, they can be susceptible to certain medical complaints. This can include eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy and entropion, along with musculoskeletal issues like hip and elbow dysplasia. Keep a close check on their health and whip them off to the vets if you notice any warning signs.
8. They can easily put on weight if you’re not careful
The Bavarian Mountain Hound is a breed that loves exercise. It’s also a breed that loves its food. If you forget the one and overindulge them in the other, your pooch could soon be looking a lot more rotund than is good for them. To keep them in peak condition, make sure you give them plenty of runs around the park and stick to a regular feeding schedule. Too many treats should be frowned upon, as should table scraps and snacks. Bear in mind that like all dogs, the Bavarian Mountain Hound’s dietary needs change over their life: feeding a senior dog the same amount of calories as a young dog is asking for trouble, as is failing to keep up with a growing pup’s huge energy requirements. As weight, age, and health all play their part in the ‘ideal’ diet, always consult your vet if you have any concerns about what, and how much, you should be feeding your pet.
9. They’re good with kids
Introducing a new dog into your home when you have kids is always a worrying time. Will they get on? Will your kids be safe from the dog? Will the dog be safe from the kids? Luckily, you don’t need to worry too much when it comes to the Bavarian Mountain Hound. This is a dog that’s born with an old head on its shoulders. They’re mature, patient, and loyal. All that being said, it still pays to be cautious. Teach your kids how to behave gently around your new pooch, and always make sure that interactions are supervised. Early socialization can also make sure your pet is accustomed to a wide range of people, kids included.
10. They don’t like smaller pets
Bavarian Mountain Hound’s will usually get on with most people and most pets, providing they’re well socialized from an early age. That being said, they tend to favor other animals of a similar size and disposition: small, flighty pets are likely to test their patience – not to mention tap into their prey drive. If you live in a multi-pet household, lots of training might be in order to keep the peace.
11. They’ve got incredible noses
Considering they were bred specifically to help trace game, it’s little wonder the Bavarian Mountain Hound has a keen sense of smell. But just how keen might surprise you. As rd.com notes, the breed’s incredible talent for sniffing out game is so advanced, it even allows them to differentiate between the wounded animal it’s hunting and other animals of the exact same species.
12. They need lots of space
The Bavarian Mountain Hound is a hound, and if there’s one thing every hound hates, it’s being cooped up. If you live in a tiny studio apartment in the city with no outside space, this isn’t the breed for you. Neither are they the breed for you if you aren’t prepared to leash train or secure your yard. As petcratesdirect.com writes, Bavarian Mountain Hounds are escape artists: if they spot an opportunity to squeeze through a gap in the fence or make a dash for freedom by vaulting over a fence, you can bet they’re going to take it.
13. They have distinctive looks
There’s no mistaking the Bavarian Mountain Hound for any other breed. As per Wiki, these distinctive looking dogs have a strong, elongated head with a curved nose bridge, a broad, solid muzzle, and full lips. Their noses can be either black or red, while their ears are high set, medium in length, and heavy. Their bodies are just a touch longer than their tail, which are high set, medium in length, and carried either hanging down or level to the ground.
14. They’re super rare
If you want a dog that no one else has (and probably even fewer people have heard about), the Bavarian Mountain Hound might be your ideal match. Although they’re considered the ultimate hunting companion for gamekeepers and professional hunters, they’re still incredibly rare among the wider population. That said, their numbers have started to grow across both the UK, Germany, and the US in recent years. If you want to be a leader rather than a follower, you’d better get your name down for a Bavarian Mountain Hound pup asap.
15. They do best with experienced owners
Bavarian Mountain Hounds are a joy in many ways. They’re calm, they’re mature, they’re poised, and they make loyal, devoted companions. But for all that, they hide a stubborn streak a mile wide. They were trained as working dogs, and for years were expected to make decisions on their own without constantly checking back in with their owners. Left unchecked, their independence and single-mindedness can become a problem. Unless you’re experienced in raising dogs, you might find them a challenge.
16. They can take or leave strangers
The Bavarian Mountain Hound is a devoted, loving, loyal, and calm companion. They might not want to spend all day hanging around your feet, but make no mistake, they love you. Whereas strangers… meh. It’s not so much that they don’t like them, it’s more that they aren’t quite sure what to expect. While you don’t have to worry about them getting shy or aggressive around unfamiliar faces, you might need to concentrate on early socialization and training if you want to tackle their wariness.
17. They live for 10 -14 years
Although you need to watch out for a few medical complaints that are common to all hounds, the Bavarian Mountain Hound is by and large a healthy, active pet with an average life span of between 10 and 14 years old.
18. Regular grooming sessions are a must
You might think a dog with a coat as short as the Bavarian Mountain Hound’s would be low maintenance. To an extent, they are, but you’re not off the hook completely. Weekly brushing is a must to keep their coat sleek and shiny. Their fast-growing nails need regular trims to stop them from splitting or cracking during activity. A twice-weekly tooth brushing session will keep dental problems at bay.
19. They’re part of the Hound group
As their name makes perfectly clear, the Bavarian Mountain Hound is part of the Hound breed group. As thekennelclub.org.uk notes, hounds are breeds that were originally developed for hunting either by scent or sound. Scent hounds include the likes of the Beagle, the Bloodhound, and the Bavarian Mountain Hound, while sight hounds include breeds such as the Whippet and Greyhound. All hounds require plenty of exercise and share the same dignified, aloof and trustworthy characteristics.
20. They’re a one-person dog
Whoever trains the Bavarian Mountain Hound instantly becomes its master. While they’ll happily bump shoulders with other members of the family, it’s for their master that the Bavarian Mountain Hound reserves most of their affection. So strong is the tendency, wagwalking.com has gone so far as to describe them as a ‘one-person’ dog.