Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Schillerstövare
Lilly M /

A relatively new breed, the Schillerstövare was developed in Sweden in the late 1800s in an attempt to create a speedy hunting dog that would tolerate the harsh local weather conditions. Created from a mix of European hounds, the Schillerstövare is a medium-sized, muscular, black and tan hound.

With its vibrant personality and desire to be constantly on the go, the Schillerstövare is best suited to an active family that live in a rural setting. Though developed to be a hunting dog, the Schillerstövare is not often kept outdoors, but rather integrates well into the family home. Calm and affectionate, this dog can make a lovely pet as long as their exercise needs are met daily.

About & History

The Schillerstövare, or the Schiller Hound, is a Swedish, black and tan scent hound. They originated from the mixing of the English Harrier hound and a number of Swiss, German and Swedish hounds. The first Schillerstövare was introduced to the world at a Swedish dog show in 1886. The man who showed the dog was a farmer called Per Schiller, hence the name Schillerstövare. Despite their well-documented past and their popularity in dog shows in the late 1800s, it was not until 1907 that the Swedish Kennel Club acknowledged the breed, and they were officially named. Interestingly, Per Schiller worked alongside a Swedish Doctor called Adolf Hamilton, and they also led to the development of a similar dog called the Hamiltonstövare, which can be differentiated from the Schillerstövare by its tri-colour coat.

The Schillerstövare has traditionally been used as a scenting hound, though is described by some as a gun dog. The breed is renowned both for its speed and for its superior scenting ability; capable of quickly tracking down their prey and then howling loudly as their master approaches, alerting them of its position. They are a hardy dog that can tolerate the cold Swedish winters well. Often, they will work as individuals rather than in a pack and typically hunt rabbits and foxes. Even today, many dogs continue to work as hunters, though they make equally good household pets.

Outside of Sweden, the Schillerstövare remains a very rare breed. The UKC recognised the Schillerstövare within their scent hound group in 1996.


Schillerstövare Large Photo
Pleple2000 /

The conformation of the Schillerstövare is that of an athletic dog, and with its well-muscled body and strong limbs, it is clear that it is well-adapted to its working role. Their head is relatively small though long and they have a well-demarcated stop. The bridge of their nose should be straight and the nose itself is black with wide nostrils. Their dark brown eyes are sparkling and alert, set deep within their face. Their medium-sized, high-set ears hang close to their face and do not extend far past their lower jaw. Their long, lean limbs are parallel and are surely one of the main reasons for their impressive speed; giving them a very elongated stride. Their body is rectangular in its shape and they have a deep chest with a sturdy, solid back. Their lengthy, tapering tail should not be carried too highly in the show ring.

The shiny, straight fur of the Schillerstövare fits closely to their skin. The top coat is in fact quite harsh, though the shorter fur on their face and ears is softer to the touch. Predominantly tan in colour, the coat also has a prominent black mantle. Only small patches of white are allowed on the coat. Their fur is expertly designed to protect them in icy weather conditions.

Males stand up to 22.5 tall inches at the withers, while the slightly daintier female will stand at around 21 inches. Typically, once fully mature, dogs will reach weights of between 40 and 55lbs.

Character & Temperament

These vivacious dogs live life to the full and are a pleasure to be around. Always alert, they need quite a lot of attention and crave human companionship. The Schillerstövare will form a close bond with their family, and while they do tolerate children well, they require supervision when with younger children, as they can be quite rambunctious.

Schillerstövare dogs are usually kept inside the home and can be calm and polite housemates, though may bark melodiously on occasion. The watchful nature of this dog means that they will always alert their owner of any unannounced guests, however, they are not territorial enough to be employed as an outright guard dogs. This dog’s suspicion of new people can pose an issue when entertaining guests, though this can generally be overcome by early and thorough socialisation.

Though not conventionally worked in packs of dogs, the Schillerstövare can socialise well with other dogs if given the opportunity. Of course, smaller animals are not safe in their company and are likely to be seen as little more than prey.


These smart and, at times, overassertive dogs are not recommended for the novice trainer. They have a tendency to want to control situations, thus requiring a firm hand and clear, consistent instruction at all times. It is vital that all family members treat the dog in the same way to avoid confusion and ensure obedience at all times.

Undeniably intelligent, while the Schillerstövare is best suited to scenting and hunting work, they can be taught to perform a wide variety of tasks.


Most breed members will live into their early teens and tend to enjoy good health. There are a couple of conditions to consider when it comes to the Schillerstövare:

Hip Dysplasia

Malformed hips result in an uneven gait, muscle loss and lifelong discomfort. Affected canines are managed with a variety of therapies including physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and pharmaceutical pain relief. Prudent screening programmes in adult dogs of breeding age can help to reduce the overall incidence in the population. If a breeding dog gets a poor hip score they should be neutered and removed from the breeding pool.

Ear Infections

The floppy ears of hound dogs are a magnet for infection as they create humid environments within the ear canal for bacteria and yeast to thrive. Keeping ears clear and dry can reduce the potential for infection. If wax builds up, an ear cleaner should be used. Infections should not be allowed to fester and should be addressed as soon as they are noticed. Grumbling, chronic infections can pose a real challenge to cure and make for a very uncomfortable and unhappy dog while they persist.

Exercise and Activity Levels

When hunting in the Scandinavian wilderness, a dog must be hardy, resilient and incredibly fit. The sporty Schillerstövare has a very high demand for exercise and needs daily, vigorous workouts. Ideally, this dog would be provided with a large amount of outdoor space in which to roam freely and is not suited to a small home. When given the opportunity to wander, the Schillerstövare will gladly spend hours scenting and tracking, eager to find any prey in its vicinity.

Unfortunately, if an owner fails to provide sufficient physical and mental stimulation, it is extremely likely that the Schillerstövare will become a nuisance. Incessant howling, scratching and chewing at furniture and ignoring commands are all potential behavioral issues that may arise.


A brush down every week or so is all that is required as the short coat of the Schillerstövare needs little upkeep. Responsible owners will also clean their ears out every fortnight and clip their claws every couple of months. If they will tolerate it, the teeth of the Schillerstövare should be brushed a few times a week to prevent calculus deposition. Baths should not be given too frequently, as they will only serve to dry out the skin and fur.

If used as a hunting dog, it is always a good idea to get the Schillerstövare used to having a ‘check over’ when they return home. Owners should lift paws, check inside ears and run their hands all over the dog to ensure they have not suffered any injuries and do not have any parasites or foreign bodies in their fur.

Famous Schillerstövares

The first two Schillerstövares to be officially shown were Tamburini and Ralla I, a sister and brother. It should be mentioned, that they actually had brown markings, so are described by some as Schillerstövare ancestors.


The Schillerstövare is itself a cross-breed of a number of hound dogs, including the Harrier hound.

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