The Hamilton Hound is a medium sized breed of hunting dog with an elegant and impressive appearance. With the athletic well muscled body, the rich golden tan coat made more eye catching by the clearly defined black mantle as well as the white blaze on the head, the white trimmings on the muzzle, the bib-like white marking down the neck, the white tail tip and the four white paws no one would disagree that this is indeed a beautiful breed.
This breed is highly valued in Sweden, its country of origin. In fact, the dog has been made a part of Sweden’s folklore. Legend has it that Tomten, a small elf who is believed to help Swedish homemakers with the household chores has a Hamilton dog for companion. The Hamilton Hound was primarily developed to hunt fox and hare. Swedish hunters are accustomed to hunting using only one dog. As such, the Hamilto Hound was trained to hunt alone. This breed is a courageous and passionate hunter. When it comes to hunting, this dog seems to have a one track mind. Once a scent is found the dog would be oblivious to anything else and no amount of recall commands would make the dog return. Originally developed to hunt small game, the Hamilton Hound is also utilized to track large game. This able and versatile hunter has the craftiness to flush and direct the game to the waiting gun of the hunter. This breed is a barker! The dog likes to hear its voice while hunting. The incessant barking allows the hunter to easily find the location of the prey and the dog.
The Hamilton Hound is an excellent hunter but it has the qualities to be an ideal home companion as well. This breed though would benefit from socialization and obedience training. Obedience training is necessary for any breed of dog. A well trained dog will be a pleasant companion. A Hamilton Hound would need a firm handler as the breed is known to be headstrong and can be difficult to train. Training that should be started at a young age must be reinforced with treats and praises. Socialization must also be started while the dog is still a puppy to achieve the ideal psychological development for the dog. A well trained and socialized Hamilton Hound puppy will grow into a well rounded and even tempered adult dog.
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A Hamilton Hound is a breed of scenthound with an elegant tricolored coat and a well proportioned body that project an impression of strength and great staying power. Males and females of this breed have clearly defined differences. A Hamilton Hound has a rectangular body. This dog has a rather long head. The skull is slightly arched and the rectangular muzzle is strong and long. This breed has lean cheeks and the black nose has well developed nostrils. Dark brown eyes have a calm expression. Jaws are strong and teeth have a perfect scissor bite. Soft ears are set fairly high and hang flat to the sides of the head. This breed’s long powerful neck has supple close fitting skin. The arch of the topline is more defined in male dogs. This dog has a level powerful back, a muscular and slightly arched loin as well as a broad long croup. The long well developed chest is deep reaching the level of the elbows. Ribs should be moderately sprung and the belly is slightly tucked up. The tail that is set level with the back has a thick base and tapers towards the tip. The tail is carried either hanging straight down or slightly raised with a curve but never above the level of the back.
The distinctively defined tri-colored coat gives the dog a striking appearance. This breed has a not too long harsh coat that lies close to the body. This coat grows thicker in winter. The head, ears and front of legs are covered with very short smooth hair. Coat is longer on the back of the thighs and on the underside of the tail though the hair is not long enough to form a fringe. Coat colors are black tan and white. The black coloration is usually on the back, on the upper part of the neck, on the sides of the trunk and on the upper side of the tail. The head, ears, the legs and the sides of the neck have tan coloration. The tan coloration could range from a golden hue to deep reddish brown. A Hamilton Hound would have a white blaze on the head and on the upper part of the muzzle. The chest area, the feet and the tip of the tail would have a white coloration too.
A Hamilton Hound has a friendly, gentle and even tempered personality. No wonder aside from being recognized as a hunter par excellence, this breed is also valued for being an ideal home companion. This breed is one of the “people dog” breeds. A Hamilton Hound bonds closely with its people and would not fail to show its affectionate nature to its human family. This breed would constantly need human affection and would appreciate to be included in the activities of the family. It would never do to confine this dog in a kennel or to have the dog chained outdoors as the dog would be miserable and bored. Bored dogs have the tendency to relieve the boredom with destructive gnawing, digging, incessant barking or worst the dog may attempt to escape from its confinement.
This breed has a fun loving and patient personality. A Hamilton Hound makes an ideal pet, home companion and playmate of the children as the dog is generally sweet tempered and friendly. This friendly nature makes the dog unsuitable as a guard dog. Moreover, this is not an aggressive breed. Although because of the dog’s extreme devotion and loyalty to its family it would not fail to protect any family member if necessary. This breed is generally tolerant of other dogs though other smaller pets must be introduced to this dog. Because of the high prey drive, the dog may find it “amusing” to chase smaller pets of the family.
A Hamilton Hound is an energetic breed thus it would have high exercise requirements to keep it physically fit. Being an intelligent breed, it would have to be mentally stimulated too. A game of fetch ball with the kids and daily long walks would promote the well being of this dog. This breed is not suited for apartment living. Apart from the dog’s propensity to bark that can irritate the neighbors, the dog would need a good sized yard where it can run with out the restrictions of a leash. The yard however, needs to be securely fenced. Even a well trained and obedient Hamilton Hound will turn a deaf ear and would ignore recall commands once an interesting scent or sound is found. Many dogs have been lost, stolen or injured on the road because of this situation.
A Hamilton Hound is an easy to care for breed. The short coat would not need an extensive grooming regimen. Brushing and combing the coat 3 to 4 times a week is all that is necessary to maintain its tiptop condition. Nail clipping and eyes and ears cleaning should be made a part of the grooming routine. Too frequent bathing is not necessary for this breed as this would dry out the natural oils of the coat. The Hamilton Hound just like any other breed of dogs is prone to a number of canine diseases. Regular visits to the vet for vaccination and related treatments are advisable.
Even during the 16th century breeds of hounds are already in existence in Sweden. Hunting with hounds was a popular and favorite sport of the upper classes during that time. Hunting then was a privilege granted only to royalty and gentry. The Hamilton Hound though was only developed in the 19th century. Lovers of this breed have to thank Count Adolf Patrick Hamilton, a connoisseur of hounds and the founder of the Swedish kennel Club for developing this outstanding breed. The Hamilton Hound, commonly known as Hamiltonstövare in Sweden, its country of origin was developed to hunt fox and hare. This excellent hunter that always hunt singly has the ability to hunt over difficult terrain and under difficult weather conditions.
Ancestors of this breed are believed to have been brought to Sweden by returning troops during the 17th and 18th centuries. During the 19th century, the English Foxhound, the Beagle and the Harrier was added to the gene pool of the indigenous Swiss hounds. The progeny of this cross breeding was speculated to be the forerunners of “Pang” and “Stella”, the dogs of Count Hamilton from where the Hamilton Hounds were created. The count imported German Hounds and crossed Pang and Stella with Holstein, Hanover and Curladia and the Hamitlon Hounds were developed. Because of the excellent hunting abilities of this breed it has gained recognition and became popular not only in Sweden but also in Great Britain. This breed is gaining a foothold in other countries as well.