Smaland Hound

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Smaland Hound
Canarian /

A medium sized hound with a black and tan coat and a tail that may be a bob tail or of normal length, the Smaland Hound is the smallest of all of the Swedish scent hounds and is also referred to as a Smålandsstövare. A solo hunter, this dog tends to work alone, and enjoys pursuing any number of quarry, including squirrels and birds. They are most prized for their hardy disposition and the loyalty they have for their master.

As a family pet, this hunting dog exceeds expectations. They are affectionate with all, can do very well with both children and other dogs. They also serve the purpose of guarding the house; their territorial nature meaning they are keen to warn off any new intruders. It is essential that the Smaland Hound receives plenty of exercise if an owner is to avoid the development of destructive behaviours within the home.

About & History

A historical area in the south of Sweden called Smäland is the homeland of the Smaland Hound, who are thought to have originated there in the 16th century. However, it was not until long after, in 1921, that the Swedish Kennel Club recognised them as a breed and created their universal breed standard. While they have similar black and tan markings to a Rottweiler they are much smaller in stature and have a slimmer face. The Rottweiler is not thought to have played any role in their history and they are thought to be a product of breeding a mix of Swedish Spitz-type dogs with both German, English and Polish hound dogs.

Over the years, this dog has been respected for its ability to be an all-round hunter. While they would typically be used to hunt smaller squirrels and rabbits, it is not unheard of for these courageous hounds to pursue larger prey – even moose! Tending to hunt alone rather than in packs, the Smaland Hound was originally a popular option for farmers who could not afford the upkeep of more than one dog, or indeed, did not have the space to do so. Able to hunt even in the coldest Swedish winter over the most rugged of terrain, the Smaland Hound has earned its reputation as a hardy, robust working dog.

Over the years, the breed numbers of the Smaland Hound naturally dwindled, and in 1950, it became necessary to breed in other dogs to prevent their complete extinction. This intervention served to keep the breed alive and also prevented excessive inbreeding. Practically unheard of anywhere except for Sweden, even in their native country breed numbers are extremely low, with less than 100 new dogs being registered each year. In 2006, the UKC accepted the Smaland Hound into their scent hound group.


Smaland Hound Large Photo
Linathrash /

The Smaland Hound has the typical pendulous, flat ears and dark brown, peaceful eyes of other hound dogs. Their slender head houses a prominent muzzle that is the same length as their skull. Their upper lips droop marginally. Their nose must be black and has wide open nostrils to improve their scenting ability. The thick neck of the Smaland Hound is well-muscled, leading to a square, compact body that has a small but strong back. Their limbs contain dense bones but are flexible enough to allow for an athletic gait. Their tail may be long or naturally short, however, tail docking is not permitted.

Their harsh coat is of an average length and is made up of a thick undercoat that protects the Smaland Hound from bad weather conditions. Their fur is longer on the back of their hind limbs and under their tail. The fur must be black and tan, though small white markings are permissible.

When fully grown, the male Smaland Hound reaches heights of between 45cm and 53cm. Females are not as tall, measuring between 42cm and 51cm. The average weight of both males and females is about 15kg to 20kg.

Character & Temperament

While the primary purpose of the Smaland Hound has always been as a hunting dog, they have integrated well as family pets over the years. Their calm nature means that, as long as they have had plenty of exercise, they can relax alongside their family each evening and are unlikely to become destructive or to misbehave. Their good temperament means that they tolerate children well and they tend to form strong bonds with all of the family members.

A notable watchdog, the alert nature and natural wariness of the breed mean that they are naturals at protecting their territory and letting an owner know when someone has shown up unannounced.

Socialising with other dogs is not often an issue, however, this should be done from a young age to ensure success. Not really kept as a pack dog, some Smaland Hounds may initially resent sharing their home with another canine. As with other hunting dogs, to integrate them with smaller pets, such as cats, can pose a challenge.


The Smaland Hound requires a devoted owner who is able to put plenty of time and effort into their training. Their natural intelligence makes them easy to train in the right hands, and they are anecdotally good at learning a large number of different commands.

Positive reinforcement works best with the Smaland Hound. Desired behaviours should be rewarded with kind words and tasty treats and bad behaviours should be ignored, not punished.


Generally a fit and healthy dog, there are not many health issues associated with the Smaland Hound, however, the following conditions should be monitored for within the breed:

Ear Infections

Floppy ears in dogs result in an increased likelihood of ear infections developing. This is because it is more likely for dirt to get trapped inside and for the local environment to be damp and warm. In these circumstances, microorganisms proliferate causing infections. Owners can try to keep on top of this by maintaining clean and dry ears all year round.

Hip Dysplasia

Certain medium-sized and large dogs are more likely to develop hip dysplasia. While it can be caused by poor nutrition or inappropriate exercise in a juvenile dog, it has been proven that there is a genetic component to hip dysplasia. By testing all of the breeding animals in a population for the condition, and then removing any affected animals from the breeding pool, we can move towards eradicating the disease.


As the Smaland Hound requires such a large amount of exercise and has been bred over the years for its endurance, it can be difficult for the modern pet owner to keep up with its needs. Under-exercising the Smaland Hound may lead to obesity, particularly if they are not fed appropriately. Obesity can be prevented by following a calorie restricted diet and by avoiding giving our pets human food and excessive treats.

Exercise and Activity Levels

With such high exercise requirements, the Smaland Hound needs a very active household. Owners unable to provide this dog with enough exercise will soon face the consequences: a misbehaving hound that is quite the handful. Their energy can be burned off in a number of ways, whether it be hunting outdoors, performing scent work or learning new tricks and tasks to perform.

It is not advised that the lively Smaland Hound be kept in an apartment as they need lots of space to roam about in. They are best suited to rural life and living in a city would be a real challenge for them as they enjoy having their freedom. Their territory should have a sturdy fence around it to avoid any break-outs when they get the scent of an interesting animal that’s nearby!


Grooming a Smaland Hound does not require a lot of time as they only need to be brushed once a week or so. Most dogs will keep their own claws naturally short, though some may require a trim on a monthly basis if they are growing too long. Bathing is only necessary after they get particularly muddy or if they roll around in something foul-smelling. Owners should avoid over-bathing them, which can remove their natural oils.

The ears of the Smaland Hound require the biggest commitment from their owner as they can be prone to ear infections. A weekly clean will keep them in tip top shape.

Famous Smaland Hounds

Many sources claim that the first ever Smaland Hound to be registered was a dog called Skoj av Myren 789 V.


There are no well-recognised Smaland Hound cross-breeds, although some similar breeds were deliberately bred in to the Smaland Hound line in the mid twentieth century.

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