History & Overview
The Norwegian Hound, known in his native country as Dunker, is a medium-sized working scenthound. The breed was created in the first half of the 19th century by Captain Wilhelm Conrad Dunker (1807-1860) who needed a good scenthound to hunt rabbit by scent instead of sight. By crossing various breeds, he created a powerfully built, well balanced, versatile dog. The breed club (“Specialklub for Norske Harehunde”) was founded in 1902.
Throughout its history, the breed faced strong competition from domestic and foreign breeds. Although hare hunting is among the most traditional forms of hunting in Norway, interest in this type of hunting has decreased recently which explains relatively low numbers of Dunker puppies registered by the Norwegian Kennel Club. To increase the visibility and interest in the Norwegian hare dogs, the Norwegian Kennel Club will maintain a website for these dog breeds and keep a yearly rabbit dog festival. With its 700 members, the Dunkerringen club publishes a popular magazine twice a year.
The Norwegian dog breeds are known to be good working dogs. They have served for generations as farming, herding, and hunting dogs and are universally appreciated as great companions and family dogs. Calm, docile, and very friendly, Dunkers make good family pets.
The Norwegian Hound gives an impression of striking elegance. The unique characteristic of this breed is the bluish-white iris of the eyes called “glass eyes,” although the breed standard also allows other eye colors. Its strong and muscular build almost fits into a square. His tail is carried straight or slightly raised and curved.
The harsh and dense coat can be tan with a black or marbled blue (dappled) saddle with pale fawn and white markings. Originally, most Norwegian hare hounds were black with brown and white markings (like modern hare hounds in Sweeden and Finland). The dappled color was brought into the Norwegian hound population by an almost white male “White Musik” and Wilhelm Dunker’s blue marbled hound “Alarm.”
Although dappled is the typical “dunker color,” half of the Dunkers are black with pale fawn and white markings. Half of the puppies are born dappled, and half black, because dappled hounds usually are mated with black ones and vice versa. A mating between two dappled ones may produce white-colored puppies, which should be avoided. The ears are soft and thin. According to the breed standard, the ideal height at the shoulders is between 47 and 55 cm.