Other names: Swiss Scent hound, Berner Laufhund, Bernese Hound, Jura Hound, Bruno Jura Laufhund, Lucerne Hound, Lucerner Laufhund, Schwyz Laufhund, Schweizer Laufhund
The Schweizer Laufhund is certainly one of the best hunting dogs in the world. He looks very much like the Bloodhound. While he is a working dog, he’s very rarely kept as a family pet. This dog is a medium-sized hound, with a long body, drooping ears and short fur. There are actually 4 varieties of the Schweizer Laufhund and they are all very similar, other than their hair type. They are the Lucerne Hound, Schwyz Hound, Jura Hound and the Bernese Hound.
Key facts about the Swiss Hound
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Origins and history
The Schweizer Laufhund is an ancient breed, native to Switzerland. It is thought to have been developed from Roman hounds, although it wasn’t really popular until the Middle Ages. At this time, these dogs were favoured by European nobility. The Schweizer Laufhund received pedigree status in 1880 and then followed FCI recognition in 1933.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds
Section 1 : Scent hounds
Physical characteristics of the Swiss Hound
Female : Between 19 and 22 in
Male : Between 19 and 23 in
Female : Between 33 and 55 lb
Male : Between 33 and 55 lb
The Jura Hound: Black and Tan (Grey and white markings allowed)
Lucerne Hound: Blue (a mix of black and white fur) with black patches and tan patches on lower legs
Bernese Hound: Tri-colour
Schwyz Hound: White with orange colouring and an orange saddle pattern
Type of coat
All the dogs that come under this breed have short, smooth and harsh hair.
Light or dark brown.
All four of these Schweizer Laufhund dog varieties look extremely similar, apart from their distinctive coat colours. Each of the dog groups also appear in both Standard and Small sizes. These dogs have athletic and muscular bodies and their body shape is longer than it is tall. The dog’s ears are expansive and droopy and his eyes very expressive and pleading. The tail should be curved, while also elegant and slim.
Good to know
There are four varieties of hounds that fall under the banner of Schweizer Laufhund, but for registration purposes, they are all grouped under the same name. The Bernese Hound, Jura Hound, Schwyz Hound and the Lucerne Hound are all very similar apart from their different coat colours. The Thurgovia Hound is also a variation which is now thought to be extinct.
These scent hounds are usually gentle, friendly and affectionate. The majority of these dogs are face-lickers and cuddlers.
The Schweizer Laufhund, despite being mainly a working dog, will form a strong bond with any children in the home. He is gentle and tolerant with them.
A very docile canine, who is quite happy to follow instructions.
This is an intelligent dog, who responds well to training.
Certainly a hunting breed, well respected throughout Europe. He follows scents over long distances, using his nose.
Fearful / wary of strangers
The Schweizer Laufhund will welcome strangers into his home, often after barking to alert his master to their presence.
With a typical hound mentality, this dog can often be rather stubborn and independent.
Behaviour of the Swiss Hound
The Schweizer Laufhund won’t be happy to be left alone for long periods of time, as he has a high need for attention from his master.
Easy to train / obedience
Although this dog isn’t headstrong, he does need an experienced trainer who can show the dog who is in charge. The Jura Hound has no problems learning how to hunt, this comes very naturally to him.
Barking, howling and baying are normal behaviours for this breed.
Tendency to run away
This dog is born to hunt, so one sniff of an interesting scent when out walking, and he will be off to follow it.
The Schweizer Laufhund needs lots of activities to keep him happy, otherwise he will display problematic behaviours when he is bored.
Greedy / Gluttony
Not generally a greedy dog, providing he is given a high-quality food stuff to meet his energy and exercise levels.
All dogs from the Schweizer Laufhund group make good watch dogs, however not such efficient guard dogs as they aren’t aggressive.
In the first place, this dog is a hunting breed and very rarely kept as a family pet. He will be generally relaxed in a home environment, and friendly and affectionate too. He also needs a firm hand when being trained, so not always suited to a first time dog owner.
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Swiss Hound in a flat
Even though this dog prefers an active, rural lifestyle, it is possible to keep him in an urban situation. Of course, he does need to be well-exercised and to be kept busy with lots of activities and mental stimulation. Keep in mind that he is a “barking” dog, who can annoy the neighbours if he’s kept in a flat.
Need for exercise / Sporty
This dog has a high need for exercise and needs daily routines to keep him fit and healthy.
Travelling / easy to transport
This dog will travel in the rear of a vehicle without issue but not recommended for travelling on public transport.
Swiss Hound and cats
While the Schweizer Laufhund will get along well with other canines, because of his hunting instincts, he will chase after cats and other small animals.
Swiss Hound and dogs
These dogs get along just fine when working with other dogs. He won’t have any issues sharing his home environment with another dog.
Swiss Hound and children
In the few instances where the Jura Hound is kept as a family companion pet, he is usually very affectionate and gentle around children. Of course, early socialisation is required.
Swiss Hound and the elderly
This is an active breed who loves to be busy working outdoors. Not best suited to an elderly owner as he needs lots of daily exercise.
Currently in the UK, there are no documented costs to purchase a Jura Hound. Average monthly costs to keep one of these dogs in the home will be around £100 to £120 which will cover feed, vet’s bills, and pet insurance.
The dogs in this Schweizer Laufhund group all have short hair and a low maintenance coat. There is no need for a professional trim, and a weekly brushing should suffice to remove grime and dead fur.
Nutrition of the Swiss Hound
This medium sized, working dog requires a high-quality dry food. When hunting, he may do better on a feedstuff manufactured for working dog breeds.
Health of the Swiss Hound
As far as the health of the Schweizer Laufhund goes, he is relatively healthy. The average life expectancy for this breed is 12 to 14 years.
Strong / robust
The stamina of this dog is notable; he has enormous strength and endurance when hunting.
With his short coat hair, this dog won’t have many issues in periods of hot weather. Shade needs to be provided from the midday sun if he is kept outside.
These dogs are bred to follow quarry in the mountainous regions of Switzerland, regardless of how cold the climate is.
Tendency to put on weight
While the Jura Hound is a working dog, he won’t tend to gain weight easily. However, once he retires from the working dog life and his lifestyle becomes more sedentary, he can be more prone to becoming obese.