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|The Drever at A Glance|
|Other names||Swedish Drever, Svensk Drever, Swedish Dachsbracke, Svensk Dachsbracke, Dachsbracke|
|Average weight||30 to 35 pounds|
|Average height||11 to 15 inches|
|Life span||12 to 15 years|
|Coat type||Thick, close-fitting, flat|
|Color||Tricolor (red, black, tan), brindle, red, black and white, some white on neck, face, chest, and tail tip|
|Popularity||Not yet a fully registered member of the AKC|
|Tolerance to heat||Moderate to good|
|Tolerance to cold||Excellent – able to deal with even extreme cold|
|Shedding||Heavy – there will be a lot of hair left around the home|
|Drooling||Average – some when eating and drinking|
|Obesity||Average – measure its food and make sure it is well exercised|
|Grooming/brushing||Average to frequent – requires a few brushing per week|
|Barking||Occasional – does not bark all the time but there will be some|
|Exercise needs||High – needs active owners|
|Trainability||Moderately difficult – requires training from experienced trainer|
|Friendliness||Good to very good with socialization|
|Good first dog||No – requires knowledge of training or may become headstrong|
|Good family pet||Very good with socialization|
|Good with children||Very good with socialization|
|Good with other dogs||Very good with socialization|
|Good with other pets||Moderate – not good with non canine pets due to it’s strong prey drive|
|Good with strangers||Good – but can be aloof with strangers|
|Good apartment dog||Can be if properly exercised every day but best with a yard|
|Handles alone time well||Moderate – prefers not to be left for long periods|
|Health issues||Quite healthy, no known problems specific to the breed look to usual dog issues like ear infections, back problems, obesity, hip dysplasia and eye problems|
|Medical expenses||$460 a year for basic health care and pet insurance|
|Food expenses||$145 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats|
|Miscellaneous expenses||$220 a year for miscellaneous items, license, toys and basic training|
|Average annual expenses||$825 a year as a starting figure|
|Cost to purchase||$600|
|Rescue organizations||None breed specific, look to local shelters and rescues|
|Biting Statistics||None reported|
The Drever’s Beginnings
The Drever is a modern breed having been bred in the early 1900s in Sweden using Westphalian Dachsbracke (which came to Sweden in 1910) and other small German hound breeds. Until then dogs were shipped around and Swedish hunters were importing European dogs to use. But most hunting dogs coming in were not good at dealing with the treacherous terrain and the cold climate. Swedish breeders wanted to create a hunting dog that had been developed specifically suited to Swedish terrain and climate. It was developed to be a scenthound and after several crosses it became a low and long dog able to get through brush and hard terrain, hunt in the coldest of weathers and be strong with good stamina and a great nose.
For a few decades the dogs were called Dachsbrackes or Swedish Dachsbrakes to separate them from the German parent. In 1947 a contest was held by a newspaper to name it to put further distance between this dog and anything German, since the Second World War meant anything German was not viewed with much favor. The name Drever was chosen. ‘Drev’ comes from a certain way of hunting where rather than chasing the prey, it is driven towards the hunter. The late 1940s saw it being recognized by the Swedish Kennel Club and then not long after the FCI also gave it full recognition.
New Lease on Life
This dog has grown in popularity since then in Sweden and is the most popular breed there, comparable to how the US sees the Labrador Retriever. There are also a fair number in both Finland and Norway where the terrain and climate is similar and they are popular for deer hunting too. Canada too took notice of the breed, having cold winters and as such as the first English speaking kennel club to recognize the dog in 1956. 40 years later the UKC also granted it recognition but it does not have full recognition from the AKC. While there are a small number of Drevers in the US they are not established. It remains to be mostly a working dog in Sweden, Finland and Norway and its numbers make it a safe for now.
The Dog You See Today
The Drever is a medium sized dog weighing 30 to 35 pounds and standing 11 to 15 inches tall. It looks a lot like the Westphalian Dachsbracke or in the US it would perhaps be mistaken for the Dachshund/Beagle Mix. It is a short dog twice as long as it is tall with straight short legs, a rectangular shaped body, muscled shoulders, strong neck and straight back. Its chest is well developed and oval shaped and its tail has a wide base, is set low and is long with a curve going downwards.
The coat does a good job of hiding it but it is an athletic appearing dog. Its coat is close fitting, thick with a straight and harsh outer coat. Common colors are black, tan, fawn, and white markings. Its head is large, long and has a flat top. The muzzle is long too with a tight upper lip and the black nose has broad open nostrils. The eyes are dark brown and bright and the ears are medium length, hang close to the cheeks and have tips that are rounded.
The Inner Drever
The Drever is similar in temperament to most other scenthounds. It is very affectionate and sweet with its family and very loyal to them too. With good socialization it is friendly and social and should never be aggressive towards people. It is not the best dog if you want a watchdog and is said to always be happily wagging its tail. It is a calm dog when not on the hunt and it enjoys being a part of family activities and having its family and people around it.
It is keen about going on the trail of its quarry and because of its low body it moves slower than some other hounds. It is hard working and determined though and brave to, it will keep after even large game like boar. That tenacity on the hunt though does translate to begin somewhat stubborn around the home. It is somewhat wary with strangers but socialization means it will learn how to react appropriately.
Living with a Drever
What will training look like?
Training in the field takes very little work, its bred to hunt and does it very well with little learning needed! However obedience training and early socialization are also needed and these are a lot harder, especially the obedience part. It will take a strong leader being consistent, confident and patient as it is stubborn, may refuse to obey often and will need extra time and commitment spent on it. It needs to be with an experienced trainer and owner and methods should be positive rather than harsh. Set rules and stick to them but be fair with it. If the owner is too passive and meek the Drever will take advantage of that and be difficult to deal with. Make sure the socialization allows it to learn how to appropriately react to different people, places, animals, situations and sounds.
How active is the Drever?
Drevers are very active dogs, they can chase a quarry for hours without tiring over hard terrain and in difficult climates. Most small to medium sized dogs do not have the kind of energy and exercise needs this breed has. Expect to give it at least 60 minutes a day of vigorous activity and that it also gets plenty of mental stimulation too. It is important when walking with them that it is kept on a leash as it does like the chase and once it is gone is hard to pull off it. Its size means it can live in an apartment with enough exercise but really it needs a yard, and one that is well fenced. Be warned though it loves to dig. If it is not given enough exercise it is destructive, nervous, loud, hyper active and such. When well exercised it is more calm and relaxed. It should have some physical play daily and can join you when you exercise, biking, hiking, running and such.
Caring for the Drever
It is smooth coated and its coat is easy to look after. Give it a rub down with a moist cloth now and then so that you do not have to give it a full bath too often as that can dry out the skin. It does shed a good amount so be prepared for hair around the home that will need to be dealt with daily. Brush it at least twice a week, more if you want to keep on top of the shedding. It will not need professional grooming and make sure when you do bathe you only use a proper canine shampoo, anything else will also damage its natural oils.
Its nails should be trimmed when they get too long if they are not being worn down naturally with its activity. Use canine clippers or scissors and only cut as far the quick of the nail, not into it as there are blood vessels and nerves there. If these are cit it not only causes bleeding it also hurts a great deal. Its teeth should be brushed two to three times a week and its ears should be cleaned once a week and checked for infection signs.
The Drever will eat about 2 to 3 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals to avoid issues with bloat. The amount can vary depending on its metabolism, level of activity, age, health and size. It also needs access to water and this should be changed for fresh when possible.
How is the Drever with other animals and children?
The Drever is good with children when socialized well and especially if raised with them. It is affectionate towards them, will play for ages and can get along well with all ages. It is important though that the children are taught how to safely and nicely play and touch them and to especially not push or sit on its back. Having been bred to work with other dogs in a pack it gets on well with other dogs too and while it can work alone fine it does like to have the company of other dogs. It is not as good with other non-canine animals though. Some can learn to get along with other pets with excellent socialization and when raised with them but they see small animals as prey to chase and that is hard for them to ignore.
What Might Go Wrong?
The Drever has a life span of 12 to 15 years and is fairly healthy though does have a limited gene pool. Some issues to be aware of include back problems, obesity, eye problems, mange and ear infections.
The reports that cover 35 years of dogs attacking people and doing bodily harm in the US and Canada do not mention the Drever. It is not a people aggressive breed though and being so rare outside of Scandinavia you are not likely to see its name mentioned anyway. To make sure your dog is less likely to have an off day make sure it is well trained and socialized, given enough exercise and stimulation and that it gets the attention it needs.
Your Pup’s Price Tag
The Drever puppy will cost about $600 from a good breeder, and more for a top breeder. Take the time though to find someone you trust and avoid less savory options like backyard breeders, puppy mills or pet stores. Another option to consider is looking at adoption from a shelter or rescue, it is always a worthwhile thing to give a dog a new home, even if that means getting an older than planned new best friend, and one that may not be a purebred. Adoption fees are about $50 to $400.
When you have found the dog you are happy with there are some items you will need like a crate, carrier, collar and leash, bowls and so on. These will be about $200. There are also initial health costs to take care of like a physical exam, spaying or neutering, shots, blood tests, deworming or chipping for about $270.
There are also ongoing annual costs to think about. You can expect to spend a starting figure total of $825 a year taking care of your dog. Its basic health needs like shots, flea and tick prevention, check ups and pet insurance will be about $460 a year. The miscellaneous items, basic training, license and toys will cost another $220 or so a year. Feeding it a good quality dry dog food and dog treats will cost about $145 a year.
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The Drever is a great scenthound that is especially developed to be an excellent hunter on difficult and cold terrains. It needs to be with experienced and active owners who will take it hunting regularly. As well as being skilled at following a scent it is also an affectionate, loyal and very happy dog. It is especially hard to train though so will require a lot of patience in a confident and strong owner.
Featured Image Credit: Popova Valeriya, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
- The Drever’s Beginnings
- New Lease on Life
- The Dog You See Today
- The Inner Drever
- Living with a Drever
- Caring for the Drever
- How is the Drever with other animals and children?
- What Might Go Wrong?
- Your Pup’s Price Tag