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Group Hounds (KC)
History The Hamiltonstövare, also called the Hamilton Hound, is a large breed belonging to the hound family. It is a fairly young breed, developed in Sweden only in the early 20th century. It is named after Count Adolf Hamilton, also the founder Swedish Kennel Club, who created it by crossing various German hounds with his own dogs, an English Foxhound and a Harrier. The resulting breed was a large, sturdy dog able to navigate the dense Swedish forests and hunt for all sorts of game.
Because of its remarkable ability in the field, the Hamiltonstövare quickly gained popularity outside its home country. In 1968 the first Hamiltons were imported to Britain, where they are slowly gaining popularity as sporting dogs. Although still relatively unknown outside of Europe, the breed continues to thrive in Sweden not only as a hunting dog, but also a working dog and family companion.
Appearance The Hamilton has a well-boned, muscular body covered with a short double coat. The undercoat is soft and smooth for insulation, and the overcoat harsh and weatherproof. The head is long and broad with calm dark-colored eyes, high-set dangling ears, and a relatively flat square muzzle.
Colours Standard colors vary by association, but most Hamiltons have a tri-color coat of white, black, and a rich golden tan. The tan and black usually predominate; white appears on the muzzle, chest, feet, and the tip of the tail.
Temperament Hamiltons are generally sweet, gentle and mild-mannered. They make excellent family pets; they are very affectionate and get along well with almost anyone. They tend to be drawn to older children, most likely because they don’t like rough or heavy handling. Their hunting instincts are still very strong, though—they’ll go after anything that looks like prey, even other family pets. With proper training, however, Hamiltons can be well-domesticated and lots of fun to have around.
Weight As it is a fairly new breed, there are different standards on size and weight. The average adult stands 18 to 24 inches at the withers and weighs 50 to 60 pounds.
Problems Hamiltons are generally healthy, but like most large breeds, they are prone to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and other bone problems. Sweden-bred dogs are all hip-tested, but not all UK breeders take the same precautions. Epilepsy, retinal atrophy, and breathing problems are also fairly common.
Living Conditions These dogs are built for the outdoors and will be happiest in a home with at least an average-sized yard. Although usually calm indoors, they can get restless and destructive if they can’t satisfy their hunting impulses. Hamiltons don’t mind staying out all day, but being affectionate dogs, they like to spend time with the family as well. Yards should be very well-fenced, as these dogs can pick up and follow scents from a long way off.
Requirements Hamiltons need a lot of physical activity to stay in good spirits. A Hamilton who doesn’t get enough exercise is more likely to develop behavioral problems later on. Besides the daily walk or jog, they should be given lots of play time and allowed to run off the leash in a safe area. They also like retrieving, swimming, and playing catch.
Training Requirements This breed is highly trainable. Hamiltons love to please and will stop at nothing to get that well-deserved pat on the back. Owners should be very encouraging during training, offering rubs and pats along with material rewards such as dog treats. Hamiltons have a distinct bark that can be put to good use with watchdog training.
Life Expectancy The average life span for the Hamilton is 10 to 13 years.
Grooming The Hamilton’s short coat doesn’t need much grooming, except when it sheds. During shedding season, loose furs should be gently combed out every day to prevent tangling and matting. Otherwise, a quick brush and rub once a week should be enough.
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More Hamiltonstovare Information: Check out our Hamiltonstovare Clubs and links to more informative websites dedicated to the breed.
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