Hanover Hound

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Hanover Hound
Dojkungern / Wikipedia.org

A medium-sized scent hound with a red, short coat, the Hanover Hound is solidly built with droopy ears and attractive brown eyes. They descended from the medieval Liam Hound, and have been bred to use their scenting abilities to find blood trails and locate wounded game.

The Hanover Hound excels at its work and should be given the opportunity to hunt whenever possible. They have extremely high exercise demands, which can be difficult to meet in a dog that is kept solely as a pet. While they can be uncertain in the presence of new people, the Hanover Hound is affectionate and loving with their family.

About & History

In the early middle ages, a large breed of dog called the Liam Hound existed within Germany that was used for hunting and tracking. The Hanover Hound is thought to be a direct descendant of this ancient dog, and likely came into existence in around the early 1800s within the Hanoverian Hunting Estate in northern Germany.

The function of the Hanover Hound is quite unusual, and strikingly different to many other hunting dogs. The Hanover Hound is specifically used to trace wounded prey. While it is true that this benefits hunters who wish to capture their prize, the real reason that this is such an important task, is that German hunters do not believe in leaving an injured animal behind to suffer. They view it as a much kinder act for the Hanover Hound to seek out the bleeding animal in order for them to be put out of their misery.

A bloodhound by nature, the Hanover Hound has the impressive ability to follow a scant trace of blood to its source. They have the skill to track scents that have gone cold, even finding prey that has been injured days previously. The determination and stamina of the breed make them excellent candidates for the job. While they may not be the speediest of hunters, they will doggedly follow their nose until they have completed the task they have set out to do. Traditionally, the Hanover Hound has been used to pursue ‘cloven-footed’ animals, such as deer and goats, though more recently has been used to hunt a larger variety of game.

While broadly restricted to Germany, the breed was exported to France in the 1980s. It was here that they were bred with the Bavarian Hound to produce the Bavarian Mountain Hound, a medium-sized scent hound.

The UKC have recognised the breed under the name ‘Hanoverian Hound’ within their scent hound group since 1996, and they have recently been accepted into the Foundation Stock Service of the AKC.


Hanover Hound Large Photo
Pleple2000 / Wikipedia.org

The Hanover Hound is a medium-sized dog that should be sturdy and built well in proportion. With a classic hound dogface, the Hanover Hound has dark brown, soulful eyes, wide and droopy lips and broad ears that hang close to their head. Their skull is broad and rounded with a very obvious stop (that is particularly noticeable in the male dog), and a strong jaw.

They have a wrinkled forehead and well-developed cheeks. The nose of the Hanover Hound (arguably their most valuable asset!) is large and dark – a prominent feature of their face. The majority of dogs have black noses, but dark brown noses are accepted, although they are rare. Their long neck may or may not exhibit a dewlap. They have a rectangular body with a deep chest and long back. Their limbs are straight and powerful and their pelvis is described within their breed standard as ‘capacious’. Their long tail should taper to the end.

Their short, dense fur should be either a light or dark ‘deer red’ colour with brindling, and they may or may not have a dark face mask. It is allowable for them to have a small number of white patches on their chest, though this is not encouraged. The skin of the Hanover Hound is rather loose-fitting, though not to the same extent as some other bloodhounds.

Male breed members will stand between 49.5cm and 54.5cm, while the female will measure a little shorter between 48cm and 53cm. Male dogs weigh from 30kg to 40kg, while the lighter females weigh from 25kg to 35kg.

Character & Temperament

A hunter to the core, the Hanover Hound is often described as single-minded; completely dedicated to their work. When on the hunt, they will work to the exclusion of all else, determined to find their prey. Their concentration levels are unparalleled, and while they are not likely to find their prey quicker than other hunting dogs, they do have the ability to seek out a cold trail and persist with it for far longer than most.

They are known for their superb sense of smell and should be given the opportunity to use it whenever possible, otherwise they may become frustrated and demoralised. Both originally and nowadays, it is rare for the Hanover Hound to be kept purely as a companion animal. This breed is master at their job and thrives when at work.

Calm within the home once the working day is done, the Hanover Hound has the ability to bond strongly with their family and are known to make good family pets. While they tolerate children well, they can be quite boisterous, so are not the ideal playmate for young kids. Often wary of new people, the Hanover Hound can take time to warm up to strangers and requires solid socialisation during their maturation phase to ensure their tolerance of guests within the home. They will always be happy to alert their family of a new presence, and make good watch dogs, barking when anyone arrives.

Dog to dog aggression is rarely reported, but care must be taken when in the presence of any non-canine animals.


An intelligent scenting dog, minimal training is required when it comes to knowing how to hunt. The Hanover Hound will instinctively understand its role and can work independently, though is happy to respond to its master. The breed are generally happy and confident when on the trail and need little to no encouragement to get the job done.

While the independence of the Hanover Hound can mean it is somewhat more difficult to train than other breeds, they are usually obedient pets. Their sensitivity means that they respond best to positive reinforcement and encouragement, though do require consistent and firm training methods.


Their history as working dogs has meant that the hardiest and healthiest dogs would have been used for breeding, resulting in a fairly healthy population. There are a handful of health conditions that should be monitored for in individual breed members:

Ear Infections

The pendulous ears of the Hanover Hound are prone to developing otitis externa, particularly if owners do not maintain a cleaning regime. Chronic ear infections can be difficult to successfully treat and require co-operation on the dog’s part when it comes to ear cleaning and the application of medicine.

Hip Dysplasia

A genetic orthopaedic disorder that greatly hampers the mobility of a dog due to the malformed hip joints and resultant arthritis. Affected animals should not be bred from if possible.

Entropion & Ectropion

Disorders of the eyelid are common among hound dogs. Entropion refers to an eyelid that rolls in and rub against the eye, while ectropion refers to a droopy eyelid that does not encase the eye as it should.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Most certainly not suited to life within an apartment or small home, the energetic Hanover Hound relishes the opportunity to have space and freedom to roam. They should be provided with a large garden though should not be expected to entertain themselves outside all day, as will quickly become bored with the limitations of a fenced in area. If not used for hunting, this breed should be provided with 90-120 minutes of exercise daily to keep them happy. As well as a hike or jog, they should be kept mentally stimulated with various scenting games.

The Hanover Hound is a dog who needs to feel useful and may become destructive if not kept physically occupied. They are a high energy breed that would fit well into the lifestyle of an active family, content to tag along on any outdoor activity going.


The shine of the short coat of the Hanover Hound can be maintained by giving them a quick groom with a smooth brush once a week. Their claws will need trimming unless they are walked on hard ground, such as concrete roads or pavements.

It is the ears of the Hanover Hound that require the most care. After any occasion where the ears get wet, such as a bath or swim, the ear canals need to be dried by the owner to avoid the accumulation of excess moisture leading to infections. Any waxy build up should be cleaned out weekly.

Famous Hanover Hounds

An exceedingly rare breed of dog that is used more for working than any other purpose, there are no famous Hanover Hounds. But, of course, with the popularity of photo sharing around the globe, there are bound to be a few kicking around on Instagram. We particularly like the gorgeous and extremely loveable Holmes.


The Bavarian Mountain Hound is a mix between the Hanover Hound and the Bavarian Hound.

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