It’s not hard to see why certain dog breeds are enormously popular. Who doesn’t love a Labrador or want to dote on an English Bulldog? On the flip side, it’s also understandable how some people would balk at bringing home a feisty Chihuahua or headstrong Bloodhound.
17 – 21 inches
40 – 55 pounds
12 – 15 years
White, brown, black
Hunters, those looking for an intelligent and easy-to-train dog
Loyal and loving, affectionate, well-mannered, energetic, clingy
That said, it’s not so easy to figure out why the Halden Hound isn’t more popular. Also known as the Haldenstover, this dog checks all the boxes that most people look for in a pet: They’re loving, easygoing, and wonderful around children.
Despite all their wonderful qualities, the Halden Hound is a rare breed outside their native Norway. Hopefully, that will change, assuming that enough people read this guide and find out what they’re missing!
Halden Hound Characteristics
Halden Hound Puppies
The fact of the matter is that Halden Hounds are not for everyone. These dogs are incredibly cute as puppies, but don’t let those little chocolate eyes talk you into making a decision that you’ll later regret.
There are two major drawbacks to owning one of these pups: their energy levels and neediness. Combined, those things mean you have absolutely no business owning one of these dogs if you can’t dedicate plenty of time and attention to them.
As energetic as they are when fully mature, they’re even more turbocharged as puppies, so expect to occasionally see a little flash of fur darting around your house. You’ll need to provide them with a great deal of exercise, even as puppies.
Luckily, they’re easy to train, so as long as you put the time and effort in, you shouldn’t have a holy terror on your hands. Just provide them with exercise and teach them a few manners, and you’ll have an A+ dog.
If you don’t put in the time with them, you could come home to a destroyed house every time you leave.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Halden Hound
Halden Hounds are incredibly charming pups. They’re affectionate and loving, and they’re more than happy to spend all day playing with their humans or simply soaking in as much affection as you can spare.
They’re not as stubborn as many other hunting breeds, but they will push you if they feel like they can get away with it, so you should enforce boundaries whenever they’re challenged. For the most part, though, they’ll live to please you, so making you upset would be catastrophic for them.
The biggest problem with them from a temperament standpoint is that they can become unbelievably attached to their owners. This can lead to intense separation anxiety, so you’ll have to train them to be confident, self-reliant dogs.
While they’re not especially prone to destructiveness, aggressiveness, or other serious behavioral issues, you’ll have a much better-behaved Halden Hound if you tucker them out every day. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but you should try nonetheless.
Like most hunting dogs, they’re incredibly smart, and you can teach them to do just about anything. They take to training quite quickly — they love it, in fact — but they can get bored if you’re constantly asking them to do the same old things. You’ll need to change things up regularly to keep them sharp and attentive.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Halden Hounds are excellent family pups. They’re well-built, medium-sized dogs, so you won’t have to worry about them trampling your kids (or getting trampled in return).
They’re also sweet and doting to children of all ages, and they’re quite accepting of very young ones. Still, you should never leave small children unattended with any dog, and you’ll also have to teach your kids the proper way to interact with your pooch.
Having a bunch of people under your roof comes in handy with these dogs, in fact. They’re bottomless pits for attention and affection, and one person may not be enough to give them all the adoration that they crave.
Older families or those with sedentary lifestyles may want to get a less energetic animal, however. These pups need quite a bit of exercise, and if you’d prefer to stay on the couch, you’ll be doing them a major disservice.
They’re not ideal for apartment dwellers for the same reason. You can keep them in an apartment, but you’ll have to compensate by spending quite a bit of time at the park every day. They need a big backyard they can tear around in.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?
Halden Hounds are usually accepting of other dogs, and they’ll often enjoy having a playmate that can keep up with them.
They’re not naturally aggressive dogs, but they can be protective of their humans, so you’ll need to curb any resource-guarding behavior that you see. They were also bred to work solo, so they don’t need other dogs around to be happy.
Socialization is key to getting your Halden Hound to accept other dogs, so try to introduce them to new animals, places, and people as early and often as you can.
Keep in mind, though, that they were bred to hunt — small, fluffy animals in particular. If you have a cat, rabbit, guinea pig, or other such creature in your home, you may not want to add a Halden Hound into the mix.
Every animal is different, of course, so you might find a pup that loves small pets.
Things to Know When Owning a Halden Hound
Given that there aren’t many of these dogs in the world, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll have ever encountered one before you bring yours home. As a result, you may not have the first clue what to do with your new addition at first.
The good news is that they’re just regular dogs for the most part, so there aren’t any deep secrets that you need to learn. If you follow these instructions, you and your new buddy should get along just fine.
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
These dogs are extremely energetic, and they need high-quality fuel to keep their motors running. You should give them a top-notch kibble, so look for one that’s high in protein, fiber, and fat.
Read the ingredients label before you buy. Make sure the food uses recognizable ingredients that you’d consider eating yourself — things like chicken, kale, and blueberries are all good.
Avoid cheap carbs like corn, wheat, and soy. Most dogs don’t digest these well, and they can turn to fat on even the most active of animals. Unfortunately, they’re often used to keep expenses down, so avoiding them will drive up the cost of your kibble.
Be strict about portion control as well. Many people make the mistake of assuming that a super-active dog can burn off any amount of food that you give them, but that’s not the case. Even athletes can become obese and being overweight is horrible for dogs.
You should also be stingy with treats and table scraps. You don’t need these for training purposes — your praise and affection are more than sufficient — and they’re incredibly calorie-dense. Many also contain ingredients that could be dangerous to dogs, so there’s no reason to take the chance.
These dogs don’t really have an off switch, and they can play and run around all day long if you’ll let them. While they’ll happily accept an entire afternoon of exercise, you can get by with just 1–2 hours of vigorous play per day.
These are high-energy dogs, and you shouldn’t adopt one if you’re not prepared to deal with that. They will curl up next to you on the couch for movie night, but you have to earn it with an athletic afternoon first.
They love to run around, play fetch, and chase after anything that moves. Training sessions are another good way to burn off energy while challenging them mentally, and you can also invest in puzzle toys and similar gadgets.
The breed fares well in agility trials and hunting competitions, so if you have such things in your area, you should consider letting your pup compete.
These dogs absolutely love to learn new things, and training should be fairly painless. They may push back a bit at first, but as long as you’re assertive and prove to them that you’re in charge, you should be fine.
Don’t mistake assertiveness for aggressiveness, though. These are sensitive dogs, so any sort of punishment or negative reinforcement-based training will likely backfire.
Instead, rely solely on positive reinforcement. That means rewarding behavior that you want to see continued and ignoring that which needs to stop. A bit of attention from you will be all that your dog needs to try to behave properly, so don’t overthink things.
You should keep things fresh and challenging, so don’t repeat the same training session every time. You may also want to select a training spot where there won’t be many distractions, as these dogs can be tempted by every sight or smell that they encounter.
Training should be a lifelong thing, so try to get a few sessions in every week at minimum. If you don’t feel up to the task, you could always get a professional to help you, but they should then teach you how to train the dog, as doing it yourself will strengthen the bond between you (and it’s fun!).
Despite coming from a cold-weather climate, these dogs don’t shed frequently, so they don’t need much in the way of grooming. Taking a brush to them once a week or so should be all that you need to do to keep their coat shiny and lustrous.
You shouldn’t need to bathe them often, just when they get visibly dirty.
One of the most adorable things about the breed is their folded-over ears, but unfortunately, those folds can be a haven for bacteria. If you don’t clean them out regularly — at least once a week — your dog will be more prone to developing ear infections. You also need to dry their ears thoroughly every time they get wet.
Beyond that, all you need to do is keep their teeth clean and nails trimmed.
Health and Conditions 🏥
The Halden Hound is a fairly healthy breed, but even so, there are a few medical conditions that you might run into if you bring one home.
This list isn’t comprehensive, and there are several other ailments that your dog could encounter — or they could live a long, happy, healthy life. There are no guarantees here.
Still, you should be on the lookout for the following.
Male vs. Female
There’s not much difference between the two sexes, although males tend to be slightly bigger. They can also be a bit clingier and slower to mature, although the difference is negligible.
Keep in mind as well that spaying or neutering your dog on time will mitigate many sex-related behaviors.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Halden Hound
1. They’re Natural-Born Hunters
These dogs were originally bred as hunting dogs — they’re basically the Norwegian Foxhound — but they have a few key differences from regular hunting dogs.
One of the most important differences between the Halden Hound and say, an American Bloodhound is the fact that the Halden Hound was bred to hunt solo. That means they had to stick close to their masters, so they’re in tune with their humans (and not as likely to wake the neighbors with their howling).
They’re also easier to train and less independent than other hounds, which makes them excellent companion animals.
2. The Breed Has Almost Gone Extinct on Numerous Occasions
Even under the best of conditions, there has never been a large number of these dogs in the world, and they haven’t always experienced the best of conditions.
There were a couple of world wars during the 20th century that devastated their numbers, and there have been a few parvo outbreaks that nearly finished them off as well.
The breed is currently considered “at risk” of extinction. However, that’s not due to any sort of pressing calamity, but rather the fact that there aren’t nearly enough of them being bred to increase their numbers.
3. Despite the Limited Gene Pool, They’re Not Prone to Hereditary Health Problems
If you have only 20 or so new dogs in a breed coming into the world every year, that’s going to lead to some inbreeding, which is terrible for dogs. It leads to hereditary health issues, birth defects, and more.
However, they haven’t seen much in the way of consequences from their limited gene pool. The breed is fairly hardy and healthy — for now, anyway. To be sure they stay that way, it’s probably a good idea to start making more Halden Hounds.
The Halden Hound may never challenge the Golden Retriever in terms of popularity, but that’s not the dog’s fault — this is an absolutely fantastic breed. These dogs are extremely loving and loyal, and they’re wonderful around kids of all ages.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many of these dogs in the world, so getting your hands on one will be a bit of a tall order. It’s well worth it, though, as they are every bit as wonderful as their more famous counterparts.
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Featured Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay