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Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021

The Hamiltonstovare is a medium to large purebred from Sweden bred in the 1800s to be a very effective hunting hound. It is one of the most popular breeds in its homeland and shares ancestry with the English Foxhound, Harrier and some other German hounds. It is a handsome hunter with a life span of 10 to 13 years. As well as being attractive and great hare and fox hunters they are also intelligent, hard working, active and loyal. It is happiest when living in more rural settings.

The Hamiltonstovare at a Glance
Name Hamiltonstovare
Other names Hamilton Hound, Swedish Foxhound
Nicknames Hamilton
Origin Sweden
Average size Medium to large
Average weight 50 to 60 pounds
Average height 18 to 24 inches
Life span 10 to 13 years
Coat type Undercoat short, close and soft, especially thick during winter, outer coat is weather resistant
Hypoallergenic No
Color Tri-colour
Popularity Not yet recognized by the AKC but part of the FSS
Intelligence Very good to excellent
Tolerance to heat Good
Tolerance to cold Very good to excellent
Shedding Average – expect some hair in the home to clean up
Drooling Moderate to average – may be some when drinking
Obesity Average – measure its food and make sure it is very well exercised
Grooming/brushing Average – brush twice a week
Barking Occasional – will be some barking but it should not be constant
Exercise needs High – needs very active owners
Trainability Medium to difficult – requires training with experience
Friendliness Good to very good with socialization
Good first dog Moderate – best with experienced owners
Good family pet Very good with training and socialization
Good with children Very good with training and socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with training and socialization
Good with other pets Moderate to good – has a high prey drive towards smaller pets, socialization is needed
Good with strangers Good but can be wary of strangers – socialization is needed
Good apartment dog Low – needs space and a yard or even land
Handles alone time well No – can develop destructive behavior if left alone too long
Health issues Quite healthy but a few issues can include Hip dysplasia, epilepsy, cancer and bloat
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $260 a year for a good quality dry dog food and treats
Miscellaneous expenses $255 a year for license, miscellaneous items, basic training and toys
Average annual expenses $1000 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,500
Rescue organizations Not breed specific, check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Hamiltonstovare’s Beginnings

The Hamiltonstovare was bred to be a hunting hound and to work in pairs or alone in Sweden in 1800s. This tri-colored dog is also called the Swedish Foxhound or the Hamilton Hound and was developed mixing different German hounds like the Curland Hound, Holsteiner and Heidebracker, Harriers and English Foxhounds by Count Adolf Hamilton in the late 1800s.

The Count specifically wanted a sturdy and capable dog that was able to hunt hare and a single fox. He was less interested in a pack hunter than one who could do it themselves or with one other partner. It was developed to track and then flush out its prey for its human hunter companions. The Count is also the founder of the Swedish Kennel Club. There developed around the breed some Swedish folklore that says a Hamiltonstovare called Karo has a small elf called Tomten that comes with it to help Swedish housewives.

New Lease on Life

Today this is one of Sweden’s most popular dog breeds. It is valued for its excellent health and hunting instinct there and elsewhere in Europe including the UK by hunters. It is less known as a companion dog only though, but it is good at being both. It is recognized by several major kennel clubs and is currently in the Foundation Stock Service for the AKC. In the very popular novel and movie the character from ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ called Mikael Blomkvist is noted to have owned this dog to hunt hare with.

Hamiltonstovare Dog

The Dog You See Today

The Hamiltonstovare is a medium to large dog weighing 50 to 60 pounds and standing 18 to 24 inches tall. It is a good looking breed that resembles its relation the English Foxhound but its frame is lighter. Its neck is long and powerful with supple skin going into muscular shoulders and a deep chest. The front legs are straight and strong and the back legs are powerful too with short feet that have firm pads. It is athletic looking and has a straight back and a tail set low and tapering to the point. The tail can be held either a little curved or straight. Its body is rectangular shaped and well proportioned. Its coat has a short, close and soft inner coat that is thicker when it is cold and then an top coat that is close and weather resistant. It has some longer hair in the tail and a lot grows between the pads of the feet. Colors are black and different browns with a some white on the face, neck, tail and lower legs. Thus it is tri-colored.

The head is long and rectangular shaped with a little arch. The skull is fairly broad and the muzzle is long and large with moderate jowls. The nose is black with large nostrils and the jaws are strong with a scissor bite. The ears are set high but hang down and are just slightly lifted when it is alert. Its eyes are dark brown and give it a friendly expression.

The Inner Hamiltonstovare


This is not a breed for first time owners, they need confident handling, good socialization and training, and being high energy a lot of activity. In the right home it does have a stubborn side but is generally easy going, friendly, sweet and loyal. It likes to get lots of attention from its humans and does not like to be left alone for long periods, it can become destructive. It is best in a home where someone is home more than being out. It should be adjustable but it is happiest when it knows its place, has its family around it and gets to play a lot!

It is devoted to its family can be patient and even tempered but when out on the hunt is more courageous, bold and focused. It is an intelligent dog and while it is general social and forms close bonds with its owners, with strangers it is more reserved. Socialization is important to make sure that does not turn to suspicion, but it would be a very rare situation if a Hamiltonstovare became physically aggressive. It tends to be a dog you can rely on and trust.

Living with a Hamiltonstovare

What will training look like?

Early socialization and training is important with this dog. Socialization will help it grow into a trustworthy, happy and confident dog and it means basically introducing it to different places, people, sounds, situations and animals and teaching it how to react and adjust. Being stubborn this dog needs firm, consistent and clear leaders. Training should be done in a positive and gentle manner with patience, encouragement and motivation, as like a lot of hounds they can be sensitive but you also need to make it clear you are the boss. Do not resort to scolding or physical punishments though. Keep its training sessions short and fun so you can keep its attention and since they love to track and scent try to use those skills towards their training.

How active is the Hamiltonstovare?

It can be a great companion but only when it gets enough physical and mental stimulation. It was bred to be a hunter, it needs to work and be busy and be active. Ideally owners keep it as a hunting dog as well as a companion. It does best living in a rural setting with space and land to explore, track and roam on, it is not an apartment dog. Owners need to be active and happy to be so as this dog has a lot of endurance and stamina and can go for a long time. Expect to give it at least 2 hours of walks and physical play a day, though it can do more. It would happily join you for hikes, jogs, runs and so on. Make sure unless you are somewhere safe you keep it leashed or it will run after a scent it catches. Off leash time to run and explore time is also very important. If it does not get enough to do it will become bored and this can lead to it being destructive, loud and hard to live with.

Caring for the Hamiltonstovare

Grooming needs

The Hamilton is easy to groom and look after, it sheds a light to average amount though so expect some hair around the room to be cleaned up. Brush it once or twice a week to remove debris, loose hair and move the natural oils around the coat and skin. You can also choose to give the coat a wipe down with a chamois to give it a great shine. Only give it a bath as it needs one so you do not damage its natural oils. Also for the same reason only use a shampoo made specifically for dogs.

Taking care of your dog’s oral hygiene is important so get a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs and get it used to having its teeth brushed at least twice a week, though once a day is best. Its nails when they get long should be given a trim but do not cut too far down. The quick of the nail has nerves and blood vessels which if cut will hurt it and cause quite a bit of bleeding too. Another general maintenance job is to check its ears once a week for redness, bad odor and other ear infection signs and if they are fine give them a clean. There are dog ear cleansing solutions you can buy to use with cotton balls, or a damp cloth is fine too. It is best to avoid putting anything down into the ear though, you can easily hurt it and cause real and permanent damage.

Feeding Time

A Hamilton will eat about 2&frac12 to 4 cups of food a day, split into two meals and it should be of as good a quality as you can buy. The amount varies according to the dog’s size, metabolism, activity level, health and age. It should also have access to water at all times that is kept as fresh as you can.

How is the Hamiltonstovare with children and other animals?

With good socialization it can be good with children and even more so if it has been raised with them. It is best with children who are a little older though if being brought into a home with them already as they can be boisterous and young kids get knocked over accidentally. Children should be taught how to touch and play nicely too. It has been bred to work in pairs with other dogs so can get along with them fine with good socialization. It does have a high prey drive though so socialization is needed around small non-canine pets and supervision may be needed to.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

It has a life span of 10 to 13 years and is a fairly healthy dog but some issues that can come up include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, bloat and cancer.

Biting Statistics

The Hamiltonstovare is not an aggressive breed and especially not towards people. In reports spanning 35 years of attacks in North America against people that have done bodily harm there is no mention of this dog. There are no 100% safe dog breeds, all have the potential to be drawn into something, respond to a threat or just have a bad day. Early training and socialization, a good diet, exercise and mental challenge along with company and attention will help as is making sure you supervise when needed.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

If you want to get yourself a Hamiltonstovare puppy you can expect to pay around $1500 for one from a decent breeder. For something from a top breeder that can go up even more. Make sure you do some research and find a breeder that is trustworthy not one that runs a puppy mill, pet store or back yard breeder. Be prepared to be placed on a waiting list as breeders outside of Europe are rare. If you are interested in adoption there are a lot of dogs hoping for a new home in shelters and rescues. Expect to pay around $50 to $400.

There are initial items to pay for once your dog comes home and health needs to take care of too. Things needed will include a carrier, crate, collar and leash, bowls and such and that will cost about $240. Then health needs will include a physical exam, shots, blood tests, deworming, micro chipping and spaying or neutering. These will cost about $290.

Annual costs for keeping a Hamilton come to a total of about $1000. The good quality dry dog food and treats will be an annual cost of about $260. A license, basic training, miscellaneous items and toys will cost another $255. Then basic health care like flea and tick prevention, vaccinations, check ups and pet insurance will cost another $485 a year.


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The Hamiltonstovare is a hunting dog and then good family dog at its best. It was bred to hunt and needs to be active and busy. It can get along with children though is best with older ones but its high prey drive means it is not great with other non-canine pets. It is a rare dog though so make sure you are prepared to be put on a waiting list.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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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