The Hamiltonstovare is a versatile scent hound, bred to hunt hare and fox in Sweden. When not hunting, they can be found in the show ring, as their striking color makes them a stunning show dog. Hamiltons have been used as service dogs in America since the late 90’s, where their versatility and close bond with their people shine.
Hamiltonstovare are most commonly multi-purpose dogs; they are hunters, show dogs, and pets, all in one regal and versatile little package. As a hound, they follow their nose wherever it goes (and will not return for a good long while), so leashes and fences are a necessity with this breed. Unlike most scent hounds though, the Hamiltonstovare has an extremely high prey drive for both scent and sight. They can make excellent lure coursing dogs. In the home, they are a lazy, low maintenance dog who rarely sheds. Very food motivated, they can be easy to train despite their hound stubbornness, but higher competitive obedience levels are not usually an option. The only major problem with this breed is accessibility; there is only one breeder of Hamiltonstovare in the United States. Unfortunately, Hamiltonstovare have a rescue problem in the US as well, and some can be found in rural shelters in Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The Hamiltonstövare is a native breed of Sweden, where it was founded in the late 1800s by the founder of the Swedish Kennel Club, Count Adolf Patrick Hamilton. Count Hamilton sought a sturdy hound that could hunt both hare and fox in difficult terrain and harsh climate. The breed also needed to be flexible to negotiate the terrain of Sweden, which is mainly forested and mountainous. He used English Foxhounds, Harriers, and three now extinct breeds from Germany: the Curlandish Hound, Holsteiner Hound, and Heiderbracke. The hounds credited with founding the Hamiltonstövare breed were known as Pang and Stella, owned by Hamilton. The Hamiltonstövare was first shown in Sweden in 1921. They were known as the Swedish Hound then, but the name has since changed to honor the breed founder.
Unlike its English relatives, the breed was not developed to hunt in a pack, but instead used as a solitary hunter or as a pair. To this day, the Hamiltonstövare still performs its original purpose in Sweden, where the breed has a popular following. Most recently, Hamiltons have started to make an impact around the world outside of Sweden, though they are still very rare in the United States.
Temperament: versatile / agile / regal
Height: 19 to 24 inches
Weight: 40 to 75 pounds
Life Expectancy: 14 to 17 years
Foundation Stock Service
As a breed, Hamiltonstovare are very healthy and rarely diagnosed with inheritable diseases. Hamiltonstovare can get hip dysplasia and epilepsy, but it rarely happens. Care should be taken to not over-exercise them before their growth plates have closed. They are also sensitive to heat and cannot be outside for long periods of time in temperatures over 80 degrees.
Hamiltons require very little grooming and are very easy to keep clean. They are seasonal shedders that only shed low to moderately in the spring and fall. Hamiltonstovare also do not drool and rarely have a doggy odor. A bath once a month and proper nail and dental care are all that are required to keep them looking their best.
Hamiltonstovare are an active breed but they do have an off switch. They are ready to warm the sofa one day and go for a 10 mile hike the next. Daily, they need at least a 20 minute free-run outside and also something to stimulate their mind. They are a highly intelligent breed that thrives on being with their people and doing things that make their people happy. They are hounds and will follow their nose so a securely fenced yard is recommended.
Hamiltonstovare are a highly perceptive breed and adore their people. They make excellent service dogs, especially for medical alerts and psychological alerting. They are also wonderful family dogs and generally get along with everybody and everything. Hamiltons do have a high prey drive though, so they may not be the best dog for homes with rodents or even some cats as pets. They are highly food motivated and easily trainable to do just about anything.
Hamiltons are a cold weather breed and do not do well with certain grain sources, so a grain-free diet is recommended. They usually do not suffer from food allergies, so as long as they are kept on a grain-free diet, they will thrive. Working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.