Serbian Tricolour Hound

Peter Richards
Peter Richards (BVSc, MRCVS, University of Bristol)
Photo of adult Serbian Tricolour Hound

The Serbian Tricolour Hound is a rare breed that is not commonly found outside of the Balkans. They share much of their history with other hound breeds from the region, such as the Serbian Hound. However, their distinct colouration marked them out as a separate breed with enthusiasts campaigning for the Serbian Tricolour Hound to be officially recognised as a separate breed from the Serbian Hound. Aside from their colouration, there are not many differences between this breed and other Serbian Hounds. They were originally bred for hunting game in packs but have begun to fulfill a more domestic role in recent years.

Serbian Tricolour Hounds are known for being a loving and loyal breed that form strong emotional bonds with their owners and family. They make excellent companions for children and adults alike with their playful nature and boundless energy. However, that boundless energy does need to be burnt off every day, so this breed is unlikely to adapt well to living in a city or an apartment. Aside from their high exercise requirement, the Serbian Tricolour Hound is a low maintenance breed with no complicated grooming or health issues.

About & History

Enthusiasts of the Serbian Tricolour Hound maintain that the breed has been separate from other Balkan hound breeds, such as the Serbian Hound for hundreds of years. Whilst this is a possibility, it’s likely that the Serbian Tricolour Hound is a variant of the Serbian Hound, which has recently diverged through selective breeding. Traditionally, the Serbian Tricolour Hound has occupied a different geographic range from the Serbian Hound, being bred mainly in southern Serbia rather than eastern Serbia. The most likely origin of the breed is in the early 20th century when breeders began to select for the tricolour characteristic over the usual two colours of the Serbian Hound.

The Serbian Tricolour Hound was considered a variant of the Serbian Hound until 1946 when a separate breed standard was established with official recognition of the Federation Cynologique Internationale received in 1961. The breed was formerly known as the Yugoslavian Tricolour Hound, but after the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1996, its name was changed to reflect its origin in Serbia.

As with the other breeds of Balkan hounds, the Serbian Tricolour Hound was bred as a hunting companion. Their usual quarry was smaller mammals, such as foxes and hares, but some more tenacious individuals were used to hunt boar and deer. The Serbian Tricolour Hound was known as a formidable hunter, able to track its prey over difficult terrain. In more recent years, with a decline in hunting, the Serbian Tricolour Hound has taken up a more domestic role. Rather than roaming the countryside looking for game, they are now more frequently found as their owner’s companion on outdoor activities or as an enthusiastic playmate for children.


Serbian Tricolour Hound Large Photo

The Serbian Tricolour Hound is a medium sized dog with a strong and muscular composition. The breed has a typical hound-like face with a long, sometimes angular muzzle and rounded forehead. Their triangular shaped ears are quite long and hang down past the level of the jawline. The body is well muscled with well-proportioned limbs. There is a slight abdominal tuck but the chest is not particularly deep. Their long, curved tails hang down at rest but are often held high during moments of excitement and activity.

Serbian Tricolour Hounds have an overcoat composed of short, glossy hair that lies flat. They have a well-developed undercoat that keeps them warm during adverse conditions. As the same suggests, the coat is composed of three colours. The base is a dark red to russet. This colour generally covers most of the head, forelimbs and hindlimbs. The body, neck and tail are mainly black, although this colour can also extend to the tops of the limbs. White markings are also present on the muzzle, chest (which may extend to forming a collar of white around the neck), limb extremities and tail tip. This white colouration distinguishes the breed from other Serbian hounds.

Character & Temperament

Serbian Tricolour Hounds are much admired in the Balkans for their characters. In general, the breed is known for its loyal and loving nature. Since the breed was originally used for hunting and required to cooperate closely with their masters, they form strong bonds with their owners and immediate family. Providing they are well socialised, a Serbian Tricolour Hound makes a great family pet, as they get along well with children.

Serbian Tricolour Hound are friendly to strangers and will get along with other dogs. Caution is recommended around keeping them with smaller animals since hunting dogs often have a strong prey drive. However, it should be noted that the Serbian Tricolour Hounds’ desirable characteristics will only come to the fore when kept under the correct conditions. At heart, this is still a working breed that requires plenty of exercise and outdoor access. Without exercise and stimulation, they will quickly become destructive, noisy and unpleasant to live with.


Serbian Tricolour Hounds are intelligent dogs and known for being obedient. However, they are can be willful and inexperienced owners may find them difficult to train. Patience and persistence are the key when trying to train difficult dogs.

Intelligent breeds often become bored with repetitive tasks, so a varied regime with different training activities is also recommended. Socialising is especially important for Serbian Tricolour Hounds. Making sure that they are exposed to as many different people, children and other animals at an early age will help them to develop their friendly and playful natures.


The Serbian Tricolour Hound is a generally healthy breed with an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. As a rare breed, there is very little information available about health. It is likely that the breed has avoided many of the congenital issues brought about by intensive selective breeding. However, one condition should be considered in this breed:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia (HD) refers to a condition in which the components of the hip joint, the head of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis, do not fit together properly. This causes abnormal levels of wear in the joint, which leads to arthritis and degenerative joint disease. The severity of HD varies wildly from mild cases in which changes aren’t noticed until old age, to severe cases where a dog will experience pain from 2 or 3 years old.

Since there is a genetic component to the disease, affected dogs should not be bred from. The challenge is detecting moderate to mild HD in breeding dogs who may not be showing symptoms. Hip screening using x-rays to detect HD is now widespread and many breeders will screen their breeding dogs for the condition.

Exercise and Activity Levels

As a working breed, the Serbian Tricolour Hound has a very high exercise requirement and this can make them challenging to keep. This breed is most suited to a rural setting where they have plenty of outdoor access. Even with access to a garden, they will require daily walks of between 1 and 2 hours in an area where they can be off the lead, free to explore and express their natural behaviour.

Their stamina makes them excellent jogging or biking companions, so an owner with outdoor hobbies will be well-suited to taking on an Serbian Tricolour Hound. Due to their high exercise requirements, they are not often able to adapt to a city or living in an apartment.


In terms of grooming, the Serbian Tricolour Hound is a low maintenance breed. Brushing once a week should be enough to keep their coat looking good and remove shedding hairs. In general, dogs shouldn’t be bathed too often. Due to their outdoor lifestyle, the Serbian Tricolour Hound is prone to getting a bit mucky. Waiting until the mud has dried before removing with a stiff brush is the best way to regularly clean your dog rather than daily or weekly baths.

Famous Serbian Tricolour Hound

Since the Serbian Tricolour Hound is rarely found outside of the former Yugoslavia, there are not yet any famous individuals from this breed and they are even quite rarely spotted on social media for that matter.


There are no recognised Serbian Tricolour Hound cross-breeds at the moment.

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