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Hanover Hound

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021

The Hanover Hound is a large to giant purebred from Germany and sometimes called the Hanoverian Hound, Hanoverian Scenthound or Hannoverscher Schweisshund. It was bred to be a tracker and hunter and comes from bloodhounds used to hunt with as far back as medieval times. It is today a very rare breed with a life span of about 10 to 14 years. Its appearance is really one of the ultimate hunting dog, strong, powerful, large but it can also be a good companion in the right home with good socialization, attention and training.

The Hanover Hound at a Glance
Name Hanover Hound
Other names Hanoverian Hound, Hanoverian Scenthound, Hannoverscher Schweisshund
Nicknames HH
Origin Germany
Average size Large to Giant
Average weight 80 to 100 pounds
Average height 19 to 22 inches
Life span 10 to 14 years
Coat type Thick, short, harsh
Hypoallergenic No
Color Light to dark reddish fawn with brindle look. It may have a mask as well.
Popularity Not yet a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence Above average
Tolerance to heat Good
Tolerance to cold Good to very good
Shedding Low to average – some hair will be around the home
Drooling Average – will be some slobber and drool as with any large dog
Obesity Above average – make sure its food is measured and it gets enough exercise to keep it healthy
Grooming/brushing Low to average – brush once or twice a year
Barking Occasional – does not bark constantly but it does make itself heard!
Exercise needs High – active owners are needed
Trainability Difficult – experience is needed
Friendliness Good to very good
Good first dog No – best with owners who are experienced
Good family pet Good but requires socialization
Good with children Very good but requires socialization
Good with other dogs Good but requires socialization
Good with other pets Moderate – high prey drive though socialization is still essential
Good with strangers Moderate to good – reserved so socialization is important
Good apartment dog No – need space and a yard at least
Handles alone time well No – does not like being left alone for long periods
Health issues Fairly healthy some issues can be ear infections, cancer, bloat and hip dysplasia
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $270 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $245 a year for toys, basic training, miscellaneous items and license
Average annual expenses $1000 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,500
Rescue organizations None breed specific, check local rescues and shelters
Biting Statistics None reported

The Hanover Hound’s Beginnings

The Hanover Hound’s ancestors can be found dating back to the 1600s in Germany and are the Liam Hounds, large dogs used in medieval times for hunting and tracking. In Germany hunters followed an honor code that required them to hunt any wounded animal so it was not left to suffer. As a result a type of dog they called the schweisshunds was bred (bloodhounds). If game was wounded but it ran away the bloodhound pack were put on its bloodtrail. One type of bloodhound were the Liam Hounds, powerful, lots of stamina and able to track even a week old blood trail for over 30 miles over several days.

From the Liam Hound the Hanover Hound was developed by gamekeepers in the 1800s on the Hanoverian hunting estate in Hanover city, hence its name. It was developed to have the same tracking capabilities as the Liam, to be determined, persistent, focused and a great nose for blood trails and cold trails. They were not kept by casual hunters but by foresters and game wardens and were used singularly or in pairs as opposed to packs like its ancestor. In 1894 its breed club was formed and around then it was recognized by the German kennel club.

New Lease on Life

Since then the Hanover Hound has been bred primarily for their working ability not for looks. They are still highly specialized dogs and are rarely kept as just companion dogs. They came to France in the 1980s and it was crossed there with the Bavarian Hound creating the new breed the Bavarian Mountain Hound. The Hanover Hound is a very rare dog today even in it homeland of Germany. It is not recognized by the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

The Hanover Hound is a large to giant breed weighing 80 to 100 pounds and stands 19 to 22 inches tall. It is a muscular dog, strong and powerfully built with a deep and broad chest. It has a long and strong neck, long legs and a rectangular shaped body with a top line that is long and wide. The high set tail tapers to the end. It has a large head and a skull that is slightly rounded and broad between the ears. The muzzle is deep and broad too and is the same length as the skull. It has a black nose usually but sometimes it can be brown and its eyes are brown too. The ears are broad, long and hang down being set high and smooth to touch.

There is wrinkling on the forehead from having loose and thick skin there, as well as sometimes on the neck and head. The coat is thick, short, coarse and is usually one of a various shade of red along with some stippling and possibly a face mask. The hair under the tail and on the back of the legs is a little longer. Small amounts of white is accepted on the chest.

The Inner Hanover Hound


The HH is very loyal, welcoming and affectionate with its owner and when raised well it can be calm and even tempered. With people it does not know though it is more reserved and wary so socialization is important. It will bark to alert you to an intruder or someone approaching but it is not a guard dog. It is a sensitive breed and should be treated accordingly, it does not respond well to raised voices, tense atmospheres and physical punishments. It does have an independent nature which can make it stubborn sometimes and it should be confident.

It was bred to be a working dog and is best when used as such, it is a great tracking dog and it excels at this. It has a great nose, a lot of stamina and endurance and persistence. It will need firm but gentle handling and will form very close bonds with its owner. It can do well in certain dog sports and does not like to be left alone for long periods of time.

Living with a Hanover Hound

What will training look like?

Make sure you start both training and socialization from an early age, dogs train better and easier when you start as early as possible. Socialization will mean bringing in new people, sounds, locations, situations and animals to its every day life and teaching it how to respond and what is acceptable and what is not. It is intelligent and when a good balance is achieved it can be obedient. Make sure training is done in a firm and consistent manner but with patience and gently, never aggressively. Encourage it and motivate it and use things like treats to reward it. Make sure you are authoritative but not overly harsh.

How active is the Hanover Hound?

It is a very active breed and needs active owners who can happily keep up with that, and have a life style that allow them to take it hunting, and to give it a good two hours of exercise a day when there is no hunt. It is not suited to apartment living, it need space and a yard or even land to roam and play on. As well as going for two vigorous long walks it should play with you each day too and have opportunities for mental stimulation. It is a hard working dog breed and needs to be kept busy and useful. It also has a great deal of stamina so could go out for longer hikes and such. If it does not get the exercise and mental challenge it needs it is likely to become hyper, bored, destructive, hard to live with and even snappy.

Caring for the Hanover Hound

Grooming needs

The maintenance itself is fairly easy as the coat is short and that makes it easier to look after. It sheds a light to average amount so expect some hair to be around the home to clean up. Brush once or twice a week to remove some loose hair and keep the coat healthy and the skin in good shape. Only give it a bath if it gets especially muddy and dirty from its time outside. Bathing with anything other than a dog shampoo, or doing it too often can dry out the natural oils in its skin that it needs.

Check its ears for dirt and debris after a hunt and weekly and give them a wipe clean. Just take care of the area that are easy to reach, do not insert anything into its ears. Use a damp cloth or an ear cleaning solution with a cotton ball. At the same time you can check for infection signs like redness, swelling, or a bad odor. Its nails should be clipped when they get too long, though a lot of activity outside can help keep them shorter too. When clipping only use proper dog nail tools and be careful how far down the nail you go. There are blood vessels and nerves in the lower part that when cut or even just nicked can bleed a lot and be very painful. Another grooming need are to look after its teeth and gums. Brush at least two to three times a week using a dog toothbrush and toothpaste.

Feeding Time

The Hanover will eat about 4 to 6 cups of a good to excellent quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals to avoid problems with bloat. It can suffer from obesity so make sure you measure its food and take into account how many treats it is getting. The amount of food varies depending on size, metabolism, age, health and level of activity. It should also have access at all times to water which should be changed for fresh when possible.

How is the Hanover Hound with children and other animals?

The Hanover Hound with socialization and if raised with them can be good with children. It is playful, they make good playmates together to burn off energy and it can be affectionate with them too. It is important though to supervise young children just because sometimes they can get knocked over accidentally. It is also important to teach children how to touch and play with them appropriately. It can get on fine with other dogs though socialization is important there too and care should be taken with dogs of the same sex if they have not been fixed, or when bringing home a new dog. It has a high prey drive though and so even with good socialization care should be taken with homes who have cats or other non-canine pets.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The HH has a life span of around 10 to 14 years and is thought of as a generally healthy breed but there are some health problems to be aware of. These include cancer, bloat, obesity, ear infections, hip dysplasia and a sensitivity to anesthesia.

Biting Statistics

It is hard to get a feel of how likely a HH is to be drawn into violence as there are not many in North America which is where the statistics we have come from. Looking at reports covering 35 years of attacks that have done bodily harm to people by dogs there is indeed no mention of the HH. This is a large breed but that does not mean it is dangerous or violent. In fact this is not a dog that is people aggressive in general but sometimes any breed can have an off day or be drawn into something. While you can never guarantee a dog would never do this good socialization, training, care, attention, exercise, stimulation and diet are all ways to minimize the risks.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Hanover Hound puppy will cost about $1500 from an experienced and trustworthy breeder of pet quality dogs. If you want to use a show dog breeder be prepared for the price being a lot more. Since most breeders are in Germany it is possible you may have to use them, which will involve transportation issues and likely having to be put onto a waiting list. You need to do your homework on the breeders you are considering so that you do not end up using unsavory options like pet stores, backyard breeders or even worse puppy mills. If you can be flexible on getting a purebred, and even on the breed type consider adoption! Many rescues and shelters have lots of worthy dogs that can be great companions and loyal best friends. This would cost around $50 to $400.

There are also initial costs to consider both in terms of things it will need and then when it is home, medical attention it needs. The former includes items like a crate, bowls, collar and leash and such and comes to about $200. The latter includes a visit to a vet for a physical exam, blood tests, deworming, micro chipping, spaying or neutering, vaccinations and such for another $290.

Then there are yearly costs as well. Food each year will cost about $270 for dog treats and a good quality dry dog food. Miscellaneous costs like license, basic training, miscellaneous items and toys is another $245 a year or more. Basic health care like vet visits for check ups, shots, flea and tick prevention and then pet insurance will be around $485 a year. This gives an annual estimated cost of $1000.


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This is not a dog for just anyone and it is not an easy dog to find either. It needs to be hunted with and it needs lots of activity when it is not being hunted with. It also needs plenty of companionship and will bond very closely to its owner and human hunter companion. Make sure it is well socialized and trained especially so it responds appropriately to things like strangers approaching, children and other dogs, and be prepared for it to want to follow scent trails it may catch scent of.

Featured Image Credit: NSC Photography, Shutterstock

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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