The Halden Hound: Norway’s celebrated hunting dog

HoundPhoto: Creative Vix / Pexels

The Haldenstøver or Halden Hound is a scent hound. It originates from the city of Halden in Southern Norway. The breed is a cross of English foxhounds, beagles, and local scent hounds.

According to the Norwegian Harehound Clubs Association, it is not precisely known how old the Halden Hound breed is, though it can be traced back to the 1860s.

A farmer in Østfold named Hans Larsen Bisseberg propagated the breed. The dogs were initially named Bisseberg Hounds, and later called other names including the Ankerstøver.

The current Haldenstøver came about in 1938. Its true origin is believed to be the local harehound breeds found in the Østfold district which had been crossed with a harrier, foxhound, and beagle. 

In addition, according to the Illustrated Guide to Breeds, a book by Joan Palmer, these hounds are an evolution through the crossing and selection of Norwegian hounds with hounds imported from Britain, Germany, France, and, presumably, Russia.

Photo: Andrey Grachev / Pixabay

The breed was said to be doing well towards the 1930s until the outbreak of the canine parvovirus occurred in 1931. Furthermore, World War II also had a negative effect on the population. 

After the war, there were several individuals committed to the breed’s advanced efforts. The breeding strategies in the past produced a uniform variety of scent hounds, which is now the basis for new breeds.

However, the narrow breeding line often caused complications. In 1952, the Halden Hound received its final standard and was recognized as a separate breed, as a result, the interest in the breed rose.

However, their popularity began falling off from the mid-1950s. To this day, the breed’s population has never grown substantially. In the period from the 1960s until the present day, the popularity of the Halden Hound has varied somehow and it has not become a large breed in comparison to the Hygen Hound and Norwegian Dunker. 

The Norwegian Kennel Club has been registering between 7 and 21 Halden Hound puppies per year, a critically low number. This is due to the declining demand for puppies over the last years, and on certain occasions, a lack of buyers for the number of broods available.

The breeding goals are to retain and improve the breed’s hunting traits, as well as its overall well-being and characteristics, and reduce the inbreeding rate.

Standard characteristics

According to the standard descriptions from the Swedish and Norwegian Kennel Club, the Halden Hounds are fine hunting dogs. They are easily trained and very eager.

In fact, many Halden Hounds are known to perform well on hunting trials. The hounds are esteemed for being open and good-natured, having an equable mood and temperament, and especially for being extremely sociable and trusting. 

According to the book “Illustrated Guide to Breeds,” these gentle and affectionate hounds also have considerable stamina. Thus, they are wonderful companions, as well as exceptional hunting and family dogs. 

Hunting with hounds. Photo: Annie Spratt / Unsplash

The Halden Hounds are medium-sized, proud, strong, and powerful. They are characterized by their slightly rectangular build, tranquil expression, moderately high set and dangling ears.

The desired height for males is 56 cm (52-60 cm as a rule), and 54 cm for females (50-58 cm as a rule).

Their two-part coat, a dense undercoat covered by a short and straight overcoat, has a usual white color with black patterns and tan shadings, mainly white with black marks, and lesser reddish-brown marks on the head and legs.

There used to be two types; white with black markings, and white with red markings.

Their neck is fairly long and strong without any presence of dewlap. Their tail is worn low and extends about until the hock.

Despite the breeding population remaining small, the dogs have no considerable extent of hereditary diseases recorded. They are of good health both mentally and physically, as there are no known occurrences of health illness or defects, and reproductive problems or behavioral problems. As for care, they require regular brushing and bathing. 

Source: #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayTravel

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