Hygen Hound

Other names: Hygenhund, Hygen Dog

Hygen Hound

The fact is that you’ve probably never heard of the Hygenhund. Even so, you will probably recognise his stance and his look, as he is an active, muscular and lithe dog, certainly very hound-like. Even though this breed of Hygenhund was developed for hunting purposes, he is also an amazing family pet too. If you are searching for a breed that will be obedient, loyal and also a good watchdog, perhaps the Hygenhund is the dog for you.

Key facts about the Hygen Hound

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Intelligent Hunter

Size :

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Origins and history

This Norwegian hound was developed during the 19th century. A Norwegian breeder, Mr. Hygen, was responsible for breeding the first dogs of this variety; a hunting dog with great determination and stamina to pursue prey through the harsh Arctic regions. His first scent hounds, the Holsteiner Hounds, were bred with Scandinavian Hounds, to produce the resulting Hygenhunds who were more compact and lighter. Even today, the breed is very rare outside of Norway. 

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds


Section 1 : Scent hounds

Physical characteristics of the Hygen Hound

Adult size

Female : Between 19 and 22 in

Male : Between 20 and 23 in


Female : Between 44 and 55 lb

Male : Between 44 and 55 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



This medium-sized scent hound is solidly built, yet compact. His head is triangular-shaped with a broad skull. The Hygenhund’s tail is carried high, and it should not curl over his back. His wide ears hang down, framing his face. This dog has a calm and keen expression with dark brown eyes. 

Good to know

Outside of his native Norway, the Hygenhund dog isn’t very well known. In recent years his popularity has declined rapidly. This hard-working scent hound, and great family companion dog, has been given a hard rap, probably because of his tendency to be possessive.


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    As the Hygenhund was initially developed as a hunting dog, he will probably have a totally different temperament when hunting to when he is at home. They are very obedient and loyal dogs, energetic too, but affectionate in the home. 

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    When associating with children, the Hygenhund can be protective, playful and loving, especially if he is socialised with the children from a young age. 

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    When trained and socialised, the Hygenhund is a calm, stoic dog.

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    Because of his hunting capabilities, the Hygenhund is an intelligent hound, who will respond well to training routines. 

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    A scent hound used to hunt hares and foxes.

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    Fearful / wary of strangers

    The Hygenhund will be loving and loyal towards those he lives with, but can be quite wary of strangers. He may become aggressive to any stranger who approaches him.

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    This happy, energetic lively dog likes to stay busy. He is independent too and can become very possessive about his toys and food bowl. 

    Behaviour of the Hygen Hound

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      Tolerates solitude

      This dog only moderately tolerates solitude, preferring interaction and guidance from his owner. 

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      Easy to train / obedience

      Usually very obedient, the Hygenhund will be loyal and respond to your training techniques, providing you use positive training methods. Once this dog understands a command, he will remember it. 

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      This breed needs lots of attention from his owner, otherwise he will become very vocal. In normal circumstances though, there is some barking, but not constantly.

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      Tendency to run away

      As a scent hound, the Hygenhund needs a fenced yard. He may well give chase if he picks up an attractive scent when out walking. 

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      This dog will certainly need lots of exercise to tire him out, otherwise destructive behaviours may result.

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      Greedy / Gluttony

      Not a greedy dog providing he receives a high-quality food product to meet his dietary requirements. 

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      Guard dog

      As an alert dog, the Hygenhund will bark to let you know if someone is trying to enter your home, or if a stranger is approaching. As a protective breed, he will also defend his home and family. 

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      First dog

      Not the ideal choice of pet for a first time dog owner. He needs a master to show the dog who is the leader in the pack. 

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        Hygen Hound in a flat

        Not the perfect choice for a dog breed to live in a flat. He needs space and a yard as a minimum.

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        Need for exercise / Sporty

        As a dog that lives to hunt, the Hygenhund certainly has high exercise requirements.  A brisk daily walk is needed and a large outside space where he can run freely. He can exercise for long periods of time without tiring and has boundless stamina. 

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        Travelling / easy to transport

        As a medium sized sporting dog, he will travel happily in the rear of a car if going for a day’s hunting. Not recommended for travelling on public transport.


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          Hygen Hound and cats

          When the Hygenhund is around cats, supervision is needed, as this breed has a high prey drive. 

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          Hygen Hound and dogs

          Very good around other dogs, especially when socialised together.

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          Hygen Hound and children

          The Hygenhund is a loyal and protective playmate around children. 

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          Hygen Hound and the elderly

          This dog is more suited to an owner who will take him hunting frequently. He can be a companion pet, but isn’t a lap dog. 



          The initial purchase price for a Hygenhund puppy is between £600 to £800. In addition, monthly costs to maintain one of these dogs will be between £100 to £120 for food, vet bills, and pet insurance


          With his thick, shiny coat, the Hygenhund is fairly easy to groom. His coat will look groomed with brushing several times a week. 


          A seasonal shedder. 

          Nutrition of the Hygen Hound

          As a medium-sized working breed, this dog requires a high quality dry feed especially manufactured for active working dogs. 

          Health of the Hygen Hound

          Life expectancy

          In the main, the Hygenhund is fairly healthy. Its life expectancy is between 11 and 13 years.

          Strong / robust

          Certainly a strong dog with tremendous stamina.

          Withstand heat

          This dog will have no issues in higher temperatures.

          Withstand cold

          Very good in cooler climates, especially when hunting over many difficult terrains, in all weathers such as in his native Norway.

          Tendency to put on weight

          It’s important to monitor this dog, to ensure he doesn’t gain too much weight. This is very important once his working life comes to an end and his lifestyle is more sedentary. 

          Common illnesses

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