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Halden Hound

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021

Halden Hound

The Halden Hound is a medium to large purebred developed to hunt hare and other prey on the plains of Norway. It is also known as the Haldenstover and it has a life span of 10 to 12 years. It looks like an American Foxhound but it is smaller and it is used to hunt with on its own not in packs. It is admired in Norway for its speed and high endurance but is also a good companion being affectionate, gentle and good natured. It is barely known in the rest of the world though.

The Halden Hound at a Glance
Name Halden Hound
Other names Haldenstover
Nicknames HH
Origin Norway
Average size Medium to large
Average weight 40 to 55 pounds
Average height 17 to 22 inches
Life span 10 to 12 years
Coat type Smooth, short
Hypoallergenic No
Color White, black, browns
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence Very intelligent
Tolerance to heat Good
Tolerance to cold Very good to excellent
Shedding Average – will be some hair around the house
Drooling Moderate to average – more when drinking
Obesity Average – measure food and track exercise
Grooming/brushing Average – brush twice a week
Barking Occasional – will bark sometimes but should not be constant
Exercise needs Very active – needs active owners
Trainability Difficult, experience needed
Friendliness Very good to excellent
Good first dog Good but experience helps because of the training difficulty and high level of activity
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Good to very good with socialization
Good with other pets Good with socialization but has high prey drive
Good with strangers Good but wary with socialization
Good apartment dog Moderate – best with a home that has space and a yard
Handles alone time well Low – does not like to be alone for long periods of time
Health issues Healthy breed in general, some issues can include ear infections, joint dysplasia and hunting injuries
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $270 a year for a good to excellent quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $665 a year for grooming, license, toys, basic training, miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $1420 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,200
Rescue organizations None breed specific, check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Halden Hound’s Beginnings

The Halden Hound comes from the south east of Norway, specifically a town called Halden, hence the name. It has been around since the early 1900s. The most popular thing hunted in Norway is the Norwegian hare, it has been a common hunt for Norwegian hunters since the 1600s. Over the years then there have been several dogs bred to be better at hunting this specific prey. Dogs needed to be fast, agile and nimble, they need to have stamina, be relentless over various kinds of tough terrain and deal with the cold climate of their homeland. The Halden Hound, a scenthound, was the smallest of the three hounds that eventually developed as a result and it was used as a single hunter rather than as a pack hunter.

It is said that a farmer called Hans Bissiberg Larsen developed his own hound and called it the Bissenberghund. Hunters in that area liked the breed and used it with other scent hounds from England, Sweden and Germany to create the Halden Hound or the Haldenstover as it is called in Norway. It quickly came to be known and prized all over Norway and was especially valued for its ability, speed and quick reflexes when hunting rabbit and hare. As hunting grounds disappeared with urbanization and industrialization the need for the hounds dropped and numbers started to drop too. Then in 1931 all dogs faced a challenge when there was a canine parvovirus outbreak and then the second world war actually nearly wiped the Halden Hound out.

New Lease on Life

It was saved though by some dedicated breeders after the war. In the next seven years a first written standard was drawn up for it and it was recognized as a breed. There was a lessening interest again in the dog from the mid 1950s and its numbers are low now making it a rare breed even in Norway. Most of its numbers are around the area it was bred and it not known, are hardly known, in the rest of the world. Only between 7 to 21 puppies are being registered with the Norwegian Kennel Club a year. If those numbers are not increased the future of the breed is in danger. Its role now is more a pet and companion with active families or with retired hunters. It was recognized by the UKC in 2006 but is not recognized by the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

The Halden Hound looks somewhat like the American Foxhound but it is smaller. It is a medium to large dog weighing 40 to 55 pounds and standing 17 to 22 inches tall. It is a solid and strong dog with a rectangular body shape and straight back. The tail is carried low hanging down and is quite thick. It feet are tight and high and have long toes and thick fur so it can deal with the terrain and cold climate. Its neck is arched and fairly long and the chest is deep and there is no dewlap.

The coat is dense, smooth, short and flat. It is white with patches of different shades of brown and black though the latter should not be too pronounced. It ears hang down and are curled and its skull is slightly rounded. Its head is medium sized and the cheeks are flat. The lips should not hang too much and the nose is black. Its eyes are medium sized and a dark brown color.

The Inner Halden Hound


The Halden Hound is affectionate and loving in the right home, friendly and makes a good family dog. It is loyal and gentle and easy to look after and have around. It does need to be with active families or owners though as it is energetic, vigorous and lively. When hunting you see its independent side more and it can be stubborn sometimes as a result. Out there is is passionate, focused and determined and inside it is sweet and calm. There is some discussion about whether it should be kept as only a companion as it was meant to be a hunting dog and there are less Halden Hounds taking on this role which according to some is affecting its hunting performance.

It usually bonds very closely to its humans and does not like to be left alone for long periods. It is social and outgoing and likes to be included in family activities. It is a cheerful dog with lots of endearing qualities about it that make it very easy to love. With strangers it is good as long as it is well socialized, it may be slightly wary but never aggressive. It is alert though and will bark to alert you to a someone coming or someone breaking in. It also has some protective instincts and it is brave so it can defend you and its home if there is a real threat. It is not a guard dog though.

Living with a Halden Hound

What will training look like?

As mentioned the HH does have an independent side which means it can be stubborn and more of a challenge to train especially if you are lacking experience. This is part of the reason why its best with experienced owners. It is important you are confident, strong, firm, consistent, patient and positive with your approach. Motivate and praise it and keep sessions short and fun so it does not get bored and lose interest. It is strong willed and will try to test your leadership position so be prepared for that. When you have earned its respect it is more likely to follow your commands. As well as making sure it has at least basic obedience training you should also start socialization early too. Introduce it to different people, places, situations, animals, sounds and so on so it learns how to react to them in an acceptable manner.

How active is the Halden Hound?

This is a very active dog and needs active owners who are happy to be out with it. It also needs a home with a large yard or even land not an apartment. It should be taken out for two long walks a day, 45 minutes to an hour each and kept brisk. It also needs play time with you and several chances each week to have safe time off leash. It has a lot of stamina and it can handle cold weather. Long times left alone and indoors doing nothing can lead to it becoming bored, restless, hyper, destructive and hard to live with. When out walking make sure it is on a leash or it will run off when it catches a scent it likes. It also needs mental stimulation along with physical exercise.

Caring for the Halden Hound

Grooming needs

It is an easy dog to groom, use a firm bristled brush and a comb to brush twice a week and that should distribute its natural oils around its coat, remove loose hair and any debris and keep its coat healthy looking. It is an average shedding dog so expect some hair around the home. Some owners take it to a professional groomer now and then for some pampering. Give it a bath and shampoo when it really needs it, not just be a set schedule. Make sure the shampoo is a dog one, nothing for people or even babies. That can cause skin problems as can bathing too often.

Its teeth should be brushed at least two to three times a week to keep them in good health and preveny tooth and gum disease. Use a proper dog toothbrush and toothpaste. Its ears because they hand down are more prone to ear infections so need to be checked weekly for signs like redness irritation, swelling or bad odor, and they should be cleaned. Do not insert anything into the ears though, just use a damp cloth or cotton ball with dog ear cleanser and wipe the areas you can reach. Also its nails should be clipped when they get too long using proper dog clippers and make sure you know where you can cut down to. Going too far can mean you cut into the section that has blood vessels and nerves and that hurts the dog and causes bleeding.

Feeding Time

This dog will eat around 2¼ to 3 cups of a good quality dry dog food to be split into at least two meals a day. It can vary due to differences in size, metabolism rate, level of activity, health and age. It should also have access to water at all times and it should be kept fresh as possible.

How is the Halden Hound with children and other animals?

With good socialization and especially when raised with them it is very good with children. It loves to play with them and they both help each other burn off some energy! It is also affectionate and loving towards them. However supervision is needed for toddler aged children as it does not like to be roughly handled or teased and may react defensively. It is not a pack hunter so while it can get on with other dogs there may be dominance issues especially between dogs of the same sex. It does have a strong prey drive so again socialization is essential and there are no guarantees when it comes to non-canine pets. If it has been raised with those pets some can get along better.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

It has a life span of 10 to 12 years and is thought to be quite a healthy breed. A few issues include joint dysplasia, ear infections and hunting injuries.

Biting Statistics

In reports of dogs attacking people doing bodily harm over 35 years in the US and Canada there is no mention of the Halden Hound. As it is unlikely to be found though in those places this is not surprising. It is not an aggressive breed though so with good supervision, socialization, training, exercise, stimulation and attention it is not likely to seek out trouble, though keep in mind no dog is 100% safe, all can have off days.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Halden Hound puppy will cost about $1200 from a trustworthy and decent breeder and then a lot more than that for show dog quality dogs and top breeders. Also factor in the fact that since most breeders are in Norway there can be transportation costs too. Avoid breeders that are not experienced and carry out unsavory breeding practices like puppy mills, backyard breeders and even some pet stores. There is an alternative to using experienced breeders and that it is to look into local shelters and rescues. If you are not set on a purebred, or even the age of your new companion adoption will cost about $50 to $400 and you will be giving a home to a dog that still has a lot to offer.

Once you have your dog and it is coming home you will need to get it some things like a collar and leash, bowls, bedding, crate and carrier and these will cost around $240. Then when it is home you need to arrange a vet visit as soon as possible and that will be another $290 for things like a physical exam, blood tests, micro chipping, shots, deworming and spaying or neutering.

Then there are costs of care that will be ongoing for the rest of the dog’s life. Feeding it will cost about $270a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats. Visits to a vet for a couple of check ups a year, shot updates, flea and tick prevention and pet insurance will cost another $485 a year. Miscellaneous costs like license, basic training, grooming, toys and miscellaneous items are another $665 a year (less about $400 if you opt not to use a professional groomer). This gives an annual starting figure of $1420.


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The Halden Hound is a great hunter and it has a lot of energy and stamina so will need active owners able to give it a good couple of hours a day come rain or shine! It is good in the cold but may need watching if it gets very hot where you live. It is a very loyal dog, and with good socialization and training can be a good companion but it does have a stubborn side and training can be hard. It is not the best breed for inexperienced owners and around small children always needs supervision.

Featured image credit: PxHere

Nicole Cosgrove

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.

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