Norwegian Hound (Dunker)
Noruega FCI 203 - Medium-sized Hounds

Norwegian Hound

The Norwegian Hound (Dunker) it is found only in its country of origin and is practically unknown outside its borders.



The Norwegian Hound was originally called Dunker, in honor of the Norwegian captain and breeder Wilhelm Conrad Dunker (1806-1860), who established the first breed standard in 1850. During the first half of the 19th century, there was a large population of hounds in norway, including various types used for hare hunting. Wilhelm Dunker selected those with the sharpest sense of smell and crossed them with a Russian Harlequin Hound to produce a versatile hound, able to hunt rabbits and hares by smell rather than sight, and tough enough to withstand the harsh weather conditions of Norway.

In 1902 was founded the Norsk Harehundklub, a club dedicated to hounds. That same year the hounds were divided into two main groups, known today as Dunker y Hygenhounds. The first was the largest and included local dogs from all over the country, providing a wide and varied breeding base.

Although Norway was less affected by World War II than other European countries, the demand for these dogs dropped dramatically, which made it difficult for the breeders to continue their work properly. As a result, the number of specimens decreased significantly.

After the conflict is over, the Dunker regained some popularity and was officially recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1956.

However, this bounce was only short lived: lost ground again from the decade of 1970, due to competition from foreign breeds of hunting dogs imported into the country.

Things did not improve much in the 80, to the point that inbreeding problems began to appear. In fact, the decline in its population led many breeders to resort to inbreeding to continue breeding. This led to a high rate of congenital deafness.. For this reason, in 1987, the breeding committee of the Norwegian Hound asked the Norsk Kennel Klubb (NKK), the reference canine organization in Norway, permission to cross the Dunker with other races, but they denied it. However, how things did not improve much, the NKK finally gave his approval for some crosses two years later. This resulted in a more varied and healthy genetic makeup, while maintaining the characteristic features of the breed.

The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized it in 1996. However, the other American reference organization, the American Kennel Club (AKC), has not done the same to this day – nor does the neighboring Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) or the prestigious British Kennel Club (KC). In fact, at the global level, recognition of the breed is still quite partial.

It's the same for broadcast. Even in the other Scandinavian countries, is almost absent, with the exception of Sweden, where the Svenska Kennelklubben records a number of births each year that can be counted on the fingers of one hand, compared to around twenty in the early nineties. In France, not a single inscription was made in the Book of French Origins (LOF) during the first two decades of the 21st century.

In Norway, The number of Dunkers recorded each year in the NKK has been around 150 since the mid-decade 2000. However, this marks a halving of the number compared to the change of the years 90. This limited number is partly explained by the deafness problem present in this breed: almost the 75% of its population suffers from deafness.

Photo: A Norwegian Hound by Canarian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Physical characteristics “Norwegian Hound (Dunker)”

The Norwegian Hound It is a medium-sized dog distinguished by its long, well-proportioned body, his energetic and clear walk and his light weight. They have solid bones, giving an impression of strength and endurance. The back is straight, firm and long enough to give length to the rib cage. Lets on strong, dry front legs. The tail is wide and thick at the base and tapers at the tip. Descends to the hock or slightly protrudes from the hock.


Quite long, its head is characterized by a slightly domed skull and a marked stop. Located at half height, the ears are flat, without folds, hanging and soft to the touch. Half-width, taper towards its tip, which is rounded. Its mouth has scissor-shaped teeth dominated by a square, well-developed snout., a black nose and wide nostrils.

His eyes are round, large and very penetrating. Although they are usually dark in color, there are also individuals with one or two blue eyes, a characteristic that is associated with an increased risk of deafness. Minnow eyes are allowed in blue individuals (variegated). Regardless of the color of the eyes, the eyes express calm and seriousness.

The coat of the Dunker consists of short hair, hard, tight and dense. Its coloration is a distinctive sign of the breed: they are either black with light fawn and white spots, or blue merle (Variegated?) and mottled with light fawn and white spots. Jet black coats with dark tawny markings are less desirable, and those in which white predominates (to the point of representing at least the 50% Of the surface) are considered undesirable by the norm.

Last but not least, sexual dimorphism is not very marked in this breed: males and females are quite similar in size and weight.

Life expectancy: 12 years of age.

Size of Norwegian Hound

    – Female weight: Of 24 - 25 kg
    – Male weight: Of 24 - 25 kg
    – Female size: Of 47 - 53 cm.
    – Male size: Of 50 - 55 cm.

Character and skills “Norwegian Hound (Dunker)”

The Norwegian Hound is a fast and tenacious hunter with an above-average olfactory ability. They excel particularly in hunting hare and rabbit.

Being also gentle, loving, cheerful and friendly, they have all the qualities required to be an excellent companion dog. Balanced, patients, tolerant and devoid of aggressiveness, they are very good playmates for children. However, it is important to note that a dog should never be left alone with a small child without adult supervision, and this applies to all races.

His total lack of aggressiveness and his attraction to humans, even for those you don't know, make it totally impossible to use as a guard dog. In effect, not reserved at all, shy, fearful or aggressive with strangers, rather they tend to welcome them positively and trust them. They are more likely to greet a malicious person with curiosity and licking them rather than barking to warn their master or make them understand that they better go their way.

His sociability extends to other dogs too. Therefore, it is quite possible to share a house with a dog companion without fearing that conflict situations will multiply, and is generally friendly with those he meets on his walks.

With cats and other animals, things are a little more complicated. His hunting instinct naturally leads him to chase any small furry animal that is not part of the canine species.. Although he has grown up with him and must consider his little companion as a member of the family and not as a potential prey, risk can never be ruled out, so it is better to avoid such cohabitation. As for those that can be found on your walks, you probably want to chase them. Therefore, it is preferable to keep it on a leash during excursions, to avoid any accident.


In any case, the fear that it will chase other animals does not mean that you should not take it out enough every day, knowing that you need a lot of activity to expend your great energy. Need at least 45 minutes of exercise per day, but his stamina makes him happy to go further if given the chance. In addition, it is preferable to vary the pleasures to allow you to fully expend your energy: long walks, run through the park, sports with dogs, etc. Sports that require running (like canicross) and those that appeal to your senses (like tracking) they are the most recommended. In fact, this dog is very happy when he has to mobilize his physical and mental capacities. In any case, in addition to allowing you to exercise, all these activities reinforce the relationship with his master, which is especially important if you are hearing impaired.

From the above it follows that the Dunker not suitable for an elderly or very sedentary person, I couldn't give you all the exercise you need. The ideal for him is a master of sport, and willing to take his partner in his various activities. Retirees may be right for him, if they are active enough.

In any case, life in the city is not ideal for him, that needs large spaces to fully develop. A house with a garden in the country is a much more appropriate environment to live. However, it is important to ensure that the garden is well fenced and that the environment is safe, as his instincts and hunting instincts soon lead him to follow leads and flee.

Once your need for exercise is satisfied, the Norwegian Hound has an easy and docile character; is far from being as stubborn as many hunting dog breeds. However, your sense of smell can make training difficult, as he is easily distracted by a scent and not really responsive to his master's commands.

Their propensity to bark can also be quite annoying. He is particularly prone to doing so if his master is away for a long time without having given him any exercises beforehand and without having the means to do it himself.. In fact, inactivity can be a burden and cause those behavior problems, as well as destruction, for example. However, as long as you have something to take care of in the absence of your family, not the type of dog that suffers a lot from separation anxiety.

Education “Norwegian Hound (Dunker)”

Like all the other hounds, the Norwegian Hound must be socialized from an early age. In other words, so that he becomes a balanced adult and has no trouble finding his place, should be given without delay a maximum of opportunities to meet all kinds of humans (veterinary, neighbors, delivery man, etc.), Other animals, but also to face various noises, smells and situations. This is even more important as you are easily distracted by your sense of smell..

The rules established in your education should also be taught to you from an early age, when your ability to learn and docility are at their best. As with any race, bad habits are quickly acquired while he is still a puppy and become real problems when he grows up.

In any case, the Dunker it is a breed of dog that is easy to train and that listens to its master, as long as he uses a dog-friendly training method. Treatments generally prove to be very effective in positively reinforcing your good deeds and facilitating learning. However, sometimes it is necessary to show firmness and affirm your own authority to prevent this dogged dog from doing what he pleases. It can also be difficult to get their attention, given their tendency to be distracted by their sense of smell.

Since it has a strong inclination to follow its nose and to chase passing small animals, Teaching your dog to call back is especially important to avoid the risk of a frantic tug on the leash or running away if it moves freely.

It can also be helpful to try to teach him to channel his propensity to bark.. However, as it is deeply ingrained in him, should not be expected to be the calmest of dogs. If it is impossible to make him understand that some things do not necessarily require him to bark, at least he can be taught to stop on command.

Last but not least, if the dog is deaf from birth, as is the case with a significant fraction of the representatives of the breed, the master must obviously adapt to this restriction: training a deaf dog is not done in the same way as training another dog that is capable of hearing its master's voice. Trust is then even more crucial in the relationship between the animal and its master., so that you can learn and live in good conditions despite your disability. Of course, communication is then done through non-verbal communication, and it is up to the teacher to adopt explicit body language, based on gestures and precise mimics, specific for each indication you want to give.

Health “Norwegian Hound (Dunker)”

The Norwegian Hound is very resistant, generally have excellent health and very good longevity.

Used to living in harsh Norwegian weather, can tolerate cold and humidity without difficulty. Their coat is naturally waterproof and offers good protection from the elements. On the other hand, shows some intolerance to high temperatures, even if it is able to adapt to a Mediterranean climate. You simply need to lighten up your activities during hot flashes, or at least privilege those that are carried out inside, to make sure you always have access to a shaded place or even air conditioning and to avoid any excessive physical exercise in the hottest hours.

Its small population and its limited diffusion prevent a very important deterioration of health, but it has been shown that it is predisposed to certain problems:

  • deafness, what is a hereditary disease. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), almost the 75% of the breed population is today deaf by at least one, if not both ears;
  • hip dysplasia, a joint malformation that may be characterized by a hereditary predisposition. Can cause joint pain as well as difficulty moving;
  • Elbow dysplasia, which can also be favored by a hereditary predisposition. It is painful and leads to difficulty moving and the development of osteoarthritis;
  • progressive retinal atrophy, a hereditary and incurable eye disease. Causes loss of night vision first, then loss of daytime vision, to the point that the dog becomes totally blind;
  • Demodecic scabies, a contagious parasitic disease that causes itching and true discomfort to the dog, gradually losing appetite and sleep;
  • ear infections (otitis, etc.), due to its hanging shape.
  • In addition, individuals used for hunting are exposed to the various risks associated with this activity: wounds, parasites, thorns, etc.

    In addition, the Dunker has a strong appetite. How it is usually active, this is not usually a problem. However, if it is not, soon becomes overweight.

    Given the hereditary conditions to which the breed is predisposed, the breeder's work plays a decisive role in the adoption of a Norwegian Hound that he is in perfect health and that he will probably remain so. In addition to the results of genetic tests performed on the parents and the puppy to reduce the risk of such diseases, every serious and responsible breeder must be able to present a certificate of good health established by a veterinarian, as well as documents related to the vaccines administered.

    In addition, when the dog is small and still growing, your bones and joints are particularly fragile: therefore, any excessive or prolonged physical exercise should be avoided, since I could pay it one day or another, with potentially permanent sequelae (malformations, etc.).

    Last but not least, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian at least once a year to ensure that the dog is in good health or, on the other hand, to be able to detect as soon as possible any problem whose symptoms are not yet visible. This health check is also an opportunity to carry out your immunization reminders, which are another essential lever to keep the dog in good health. Still in the prevention registry, it is the owner's responsibility to renew the antiparasitic treatments whenever necessary throughout the year, so your partner is never unprotected.

    Care and maintenance “Norwegian Hound”

    A tough breed, the Norwegian Hound do not require much maintenance.

    However, they lose a lot of hair, so brushing your hair twice a week is not too much to help remove dead hairs and keep it looking good. During their shedding periods in spring and fall, when it should be done more often (even daily) to prevent hair growth throughout the house.

    Since his hair is not very dirty and therefore does not have a strong odor, bathing him two or three times a year is generally sufficient. In any case, a too frequent bath will make the sebum naturally present on the skin disappear, that insulates and protects it from the elements. Having said that, do not hesitate to give him a bath if he has gotten very dirty, for example during a particularly muddy hunting trip. In any case, you can only use a shampoo specially designed for dogs, at the risk of damaging your skin.


    The ears, on the other hand, require special attention, since its hanging shape implies an increased risk of infections (ear infections, etc.). They should be cleaned every week with a damp cloth or a cleaning product specially designed for this purpose.. They should also be dried after each bath or a long period of time in a humid place.

    Their eyes they should also be examined weekly and cleaned if necessary with a damp cloth.

    It is also necessary to brush the teeth of your dog every week or even every day to avoid the formation of dental plaque and its possible consequences (bad breath, diseases, etc.). A toothpaste specially designed for dogs should always be used.

    In addition, it is important to regularly check your dog's claws to make sure they are not getting too long and to trim them if this is the case. This could not only hinder your gait, it could also be broken and potentially injured at the same time. Having said that, while you're active and spending long hours outdoors, natural wear and tear is usually enough to file them.

    To know how to proceed during maintenance sessions, it is helpful to benefit from the expertise of a vet or groomer the first time. In fact, whether the various procedures for grooming the coat, the ears, the eyes, your pet's teeth or claws are not done properly, not only will satisfactory results not be obtained, but the owner may even injure or injure his pet. In addition, the owner should get used to his pet very soon, so that throughout his life he accepts to be manipulated without being rebellious.

    In addition, when your pet returns from a long time in the wild, it is a good idea to systematically take a little time to inspect it carefully: parasites, spikes or dirt may have gotten into their fur, and may also have been injured.

    What is the price of a “Norwegian Hound”

    In Norway, a puppy Dunker It costs around 7000 Norwegian crowns (a few 650 EUR). The sale price varies from one individual to another depending on the prestige of the offspring, the dog's lineage and its intrinsic characteristics.

    Since the breed does not have a wide international distribution, it is almost impossible to find a breeder of the same outside your country of origin.

    Therefore, whether you are in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada or elsewhere, who wants to adopt a Norwegian Hound you must opt ​​for the import solution. In this case, keep in mind that transportation and administrative costs are added to the purchase price and, of course, you must respect the regulations to import a dog from abroad.

    Characteristics "Norwegian Hound (Dunker)"

    Coexistence is important that you have with your new friend. Before considering the acquisition of a dog of the breed "Norwegian Hound (Dunker)" you know certain factors. Not all breeds of dogs are apt to live in an apartment, You must take into account their character, their need for exercise, their interaction with other pets, your care and if you have young children, their level of tolerance towards them.

    Adaptation ⓘ

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    Dog friendly ⓘ

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    Hair loss ⓘ

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    Affection Level ⓘ

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    Need to exercise ⓘ

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    Social Needs ⓘ

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    Apartment ⓘ

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    Grooming ⓘ

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    Stranger Friendly ⓘ

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    Barking Tendencies ⓘ

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    Health Issues ⓘ

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    Territorial ⓘ

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    Cat Friendly ⓘ

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    intelligence ⓘ

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    versatility ⓘ

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    Watchdog Ability ⓘ

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    Playfulness ⓘ

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    Videos "Norwegian Hound (Dunker)"

    Sabueso Noruego (Dunker) – Raza de Perro
    Dunker ?? Everything Dog Breeds ??

    Type and recognitions:

    • Group 6: Scent hounds, and related breeds.
    • Section 1.2: Medium-sized hound-type dogs.. With proof of work..


    • FCI – Group 6: Scent hounds, and related breeds. – Section 1.2: Medium-sized Hounds.
    • UKCScenthounds

    FCI breed standard "Norwegian Hound (Dunker)"

    FCIFCI - Norwegian Hound (Dunker)

    Alternative names:

      1. Dunker (English).
      2. Dunker (French).
      3. Dunkerbracke, Dunkerlaufhund (German).
      4. Dunker (Portuguese).
      5. Cazador noruego, Dunker, Sabueso de Dunker (Spanish).
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