If you haven’t heard of the Drever, you’re not alone. Despite being recognized as a breed since the 1940s, this easy-going, affectionate little dog is barely known outside its native Sweden. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve to be. Friendly, playful, and as even-tempered as a dream, Drevers make loyal, loving companions. Keen to find out more? Then here are ten things you didn’t know about the Drever.
1. They hail from Sweden
As the AKC writes, the Drever was developed in the early twentieth century in Sweden. They originate from the Westphalian Dachsbracke, a type of small German Hound that was imported to Sweden in 1910. The Westphalian Dachsbracke was registered in 1913, but little was heard from them again until news of their hunting prowess started circulating in the 1930s. Deer had until then been a rare commodity in Sweden, but in the 1930s and 1940s, their numbers increased dramatically. As word got out about the Bracke’s skills, more and more deer hunters started buying into the breed. In 1947, the larger Swedish variety of the Bracke was given the name ‘Drever’; 6 years later, it earned official recognition as a Swedish breed. Since then, its popularity in Sweden has continued to grow. Despite its popularity, it’s still considered to be primarily a hunting dog, rather than a companion dog. Outside of its native homeland, the breed remains relatively rare.
2. Their name was decided by a newspaper contest
Not many breeds earn their name via a newspaper contest, but clearly, the Drever is no ordinary breed. After the Westphalian Dachsbracke was bought from Germany to Sweden in 1910, breeders began to cross it with other hounds in an effort to create a dog that was better suited to the unique terrain and game of the country. By the 1940s, the breed had split into two, with one group being large and the other being small and short-legged. In 1947, a newspaper launched a contest to choose the name for the larger of the two varieties. Of all the entries, ‘Drever’ proved the most popular. As Wikipedia notes, Drever derives from the Swedish word ‘drev,’ which refers to a particular kind of hunting expedition in which the dogs are used to drive the game towards the hunter.
3. They’re even-tempered
If you’re looking for an even-keeled dog that stays calm and even-tempered no matter what, the Drever might be the dog for you. Although they can get a little vocal when they’re playing or sounding an alert, they’re known for their calm temperaments. This is a dog that’s rarely shy or nervous, and almost entirely lacking in any aggressive tendencies.
4. They’re excellent hunters
Considering their working roots, it won’t come as a surprise to learn the Drever is an excellent hunter. Its powerful nose means it can sniff out game from miles away. While its short legs make it slower than many other hunting dogs, those same legs prove incredibly useful at maneuvering game towards a hunter. In case the Drever comes up against a particularly aggressive prey, it’ll alert its master with its surprisingly loud, musical voice. Originally used to hunt deer, the Drever’s tenacity and talents have since led hunters to use the breed for hunting everything from hares and foxes to wild boar.
5. They have a distinctive appearance
There’s no mistaking a Drever for anything else. Its head is large, long, and well proportioned, with a straight muzzle and clear, alert eyes. While its legs are short in proportion to its body (much like those of a Dachshund), they’re as straight as a die. Its close-fitting coat is thick and flat. Coat colors can be fawn, black, or black and tan. Regardless of its coloring, the Drever will always boast white markings on its face, chest, neck, feet, and tail tip. The tail is long, well-furred, and carried with a downward curve.
6. They were first recognized in 1947
37 years after the Westphalian Dachsbracke first made the voyage to Sweden, its offspring was officially recognized as a distinct breed when the Swedish Kennel Club extended the Drever recognition in 1947. Since those early days, the breed has gone on to earn recognition internationally. According to dogbreedinfo.com, the Drever has now been recognized by the American Canine Association Inc., American Canine Registry, American Kennel Club, American Pet Registry, Inc., Fédération Cynologique Internationale, Canadian Kennel Club, Continental Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America, Inc., and National Kennel Club.
7. They don’t like other pets
The Drever might be an amicable, easy-going breed, but it reserves most of its affections for people. It isn’t a good mixer with other pets and tends to see small, furry creatures more as prey than potential friends. While it doesn’t mind other dogs too much, it’s also very happy to be the only pet in the household. If you intend to bring a Drever into a house that’s already full of other animals, prepare to put plenty of effort into their socialization and training. When it comes to kids, they usually get on well enough with older children. However, as with all dogs, they’ll prefer it if the kids in question have been taught how to behave and interact with pets.
8. They can weigh up to 34 pounds
The Drever is neither very large nor very small. Their legs are short, but their bodies are stocky enough to disqualify them from the title of ‘petite.’ Although sizes vary, most Drevers stand between 11 and 16 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 32 and 34 pounds.
9. They’re free of hereditary health problems
Despite being a purebred, the Drever comes with none of the usual genetic complaints and grievances of pedigree dogs. Although it pays to keep a close eye on their health (as it does with any dog), you won’t have to worry too much about them developing any hereditary diseases.
10. They’re adaptable
Like all working breeds, the Drever needs plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to keep happy. But as Canadian Dogs notes, this doesn’t necessarily mean that apartment life is a write-off. As Drevers are independent, they can usually occupy themselves well enough in most environments. That said, it’s important to ensure they have enough regular, scheduled activities to keep fit, healthy, and happy.