Istrian Short-haired Hound

Other names: Istarski Kratkodlaki Gonic

Istrian Short-haired Hound
Istrian Short-haired Hound

The Istrian Shorthaired Hound is from the peninsular of Istria, in the Balkans. They are bred for their eager attitude and hunting abilities. When in the hunting field and giving chase to a rabbit or fox, the hound will bark constantly to let his owner know of his whereabouts. This barking technique is quite melodious, yet noisier than other hunting dogs. 


Key facts about the Istrian Short-haired Hound

  • Life expectancy : Between 12 and 14 years
  • Temperament : Affectionate, Playful, Intelligent, Hunter
  • Size : Medium
  • Type of coat : Hard, Very short
  • Price : Between £600 and £900

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds


Section 1 : Scent hounds

Physical characteristics of the Istrian Short-haired Hound

Adult size

Female dog Between 18 and 23 in
Male dog Between 18 and 23 in


Female dog Between 101 and 128 lb
Male dog Between 101 and 128 lb

Coat colour

The Istrian Shorthaired Hound has a distinctive white coat that is highlighted with patches of orange or fawn.

Type of coat

Short, smooth, glossy, and hard coat.

Eye colour



The Istrian Shorthaired Hound has a narrow, long-shaped head, with a rounded skull. This dog has a slightly arched neck and a sloping back. His front legs are perfectly straight while his back legs are at a slight angle. This hound has medium-sized ears that fold over. 



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This hound is usually quite affectionate with his trainer or owner.


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The Istrian Shorthaired Hound will play enthusiastically with children. He will, in fact, form a strong bond with children of the family. 


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According to the breed standard, the Istrian Shorthaired Hound is calm and docile, yet enthusiastic and lively when hunting. 


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This dog has a high intelligence that makes him obedient and easier to train.


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As an exceptional hunter, this dog is able to track rabbits, foxes and hares with great endurance.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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Often very uncertain or wary around strangers.


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As a very quiet, obedient and gentle dog, he loves being around his owner and family. However, when in the hunting field, the Istrian Shorthaired Hound is totally independent. 

Behaviour of the Istrian Short-haired Hound

Tolerates solitude

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This dog does not like being left alone for long periods of time, preferring to spend it with his master.

Easy to train / obedience

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As very intelligent dogs, these canines are easy to train. He has a direct eagerness to please his master in all disciplines. 


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This breed has a very prominent and pronounced bay or cry when hunting, which is very sharp and persistent. 

Tendency to run away

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As a hunting dog, he needs to have good recall training in place, otherwise he may just get lost in the moment when chasing after rabbits.


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If this hound doesn’t have plenty of attention or activities to prevent him from becoming bored, he can become very vocal and possibly destructive too. 

Greedy / Gluttony

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Providing he is given a diet to meet his energy levels, this dog is not a glutton.

Guard dog

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The Istrian Shorthaired Hound makes a decent watchdog. He will bark loudly when alerted to anything suspicious. 

First dog

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It is preferable that an experienced owner takes on this breed. These dogs need a lot of exercise and a firm hand. 


Istrian Short-haired Hound in a flat

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As a high-energy, working dog breed, the Istrian Shorthaired Hound isn’t the best choice to adapt to living in an apartment. He ideally needs a large house with plenty of outdoor space for exercise and to expend his boundless energies. 

Need for exercise / Sporty

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This hunting dog has huge stamina. He needs to be given a long walk daily and be able to get outside and roam freely around the garden. Various types of exercise will prevent him from becoming easily bored. 

Travelling / easy to transport

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This dog will be happy to travel in the rear of a vehicle, especially if he’s on the way to the hunting field. 


Istrian Short-haired Hound and cats

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Although he can be socialised from an early age to get along with felines, his hunting instinct to chase cats can arise. 

Istrian Short-haired Hound and dogs

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The Istrian Shorthaired Hound will get along happily with other dogs in his environment. However, he will never back down from a confrontation with another dog.

Istrian Short-haired Hound and children

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This dog breed is generally kept solely for hunting purposes and as such, can be quite wary around children. 

Istrian Short-haired Hound and the elderly

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This working dog has high energy levels and may tend to bark quite a lot, so are not the best choice of pet for an elderly person. 


The initial purchase cost to buy an Istrian Shorthaired Hound will be between £600 to £900. In addition, a budget of between £80 to £120 will cover his food costs, veterinary bills, and pet insurance. 


The grooming needs of the Istrian Shorthaired Hound are quite relaxed, with only occasional brushing needed. As he has drooping ears, you will need to inspect and clean them weekly to prevent any infection. 


Moderate shedding.

Nutrition of the Istrian Short-haired Hound

As a working dog with high energy, this breed needs to be offered a high-nutrient feed, especially during the hunting season. 

Health of the Istrian Short-haired Hound

Life expectancy

A fairly healthy breed, although some issues may arise with field injuries, hip dysplasia and ear infections. The average life expectancy is between 12 and 14 years.

Strong / robust

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The Istrian Shorthaired Hound is a powerful breed, with strong legs. His boundless stamina and great constitution allows him to follow a scent over many, difficult terrains. 

Withstand heat

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No problems arise in warmer weather.

Withstand cold

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This breed is able to sustain working in very cold weather conditions without issues.

Tendency to put on weight

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Providing that this dog is well exercised and fed a high-quality diet, he will not gain weight too easily.

Common illnesses

Good to know

The Istrian Shorthaired Hound is an enthusiastic and lively hunting dog, with a noble appearance. Many dog lovers are not aware that this breed actually exists, yet, it has been around for centuries. As a scent hound, he uses his nose to sniff out and hunt his prey, rather than his sight, as with many other working dog breeds.

Origins and history

Although there is not much documented around the heritage of the Istrian Shorthaired Hound, it is thought that frescos depicting a similar-looking breed were found dating back as far as the 15th century. It is understood to have stemmed from a mix of European scent dogs and dogs traded from the ancient civilisation of Phoenicians, on the Mediterranean coast. Throughout their history, the Istrian Shorthaired Hound has been respected for their prized hunting skills. 


Aegon, Aerys, Brienne, Kayla

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