Small Swiss Hound

Other names: Petit chien courant suisse, Schweizerischer Niederlaufhund

Small Swiss Hound

Lively, alert, bold and confident, the Small Swiss Hound is a classic example of a big dog in a small package. Originally bred for hunting, they have a fantastic sense of smell and are extremely active, holding a significant need for exercise.

They can be stubborn, determined and independent, so definitely need an experienced and firm hand. However, paired with the right owner, they’re loving, affectionate and loyal family pets who love a good cuddle.

Key facts about the Small Swiss Hound

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Origins and history

The Small Swiss Hound originates from a taller dog called the Swiss Hound and the well-known, super short Basset Hound. They were selectively bred for hunting private areas of land in Switzerland. They’re still used for hunting today and are rarely kept as a companion dog.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds


Section 1 : Scent hounds

Physical characteristics of the Small Swiss Hound

  • Small Swiss Hound
    Small Swiss Hound

    Adult size

    Female : Between 13 and 16 in

    Male : Between 14 and 17 in


    Female : Between 22 and 44 lb

    Male : Between 22 and 44 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    This is a small breed - not in personality, just size! The body is long and rather rectangular looking. They’re short with a medium tail, straight back, broad chest and straight legs.

    The Small Swiss Hound has a long head, wide, dark nostrils, oval, expressive eyes and a moderate stop. The ears are super floppy and rather cute, hanging down by the sides of the face.

    Good to know

    Adolph Hitler himself was once an owner to a Small Swiss Hound.


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      The Small Swiss Hound loves their family and can be extremely affectionate - expect plenty of cuddles! They’re not overly needy, though - they give just the right amount of affection.

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      The Small Swiss Hound is known to be a cheerful, fun-loving and playful dog who will happily get involved in family games and play sports.

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      Generally, the Schweizerischer Niederlaufhund is gentle and friendly, but they can become bouncy, hyperactive and restless if under-stimulated. Giving them plenty of exercise and consistent training can help to combat these sorts of problems.

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      The Small Swiss Hound is a smart, intelligent breed which understands things with ease - if it wasn’t for their typical hound stubbornness, they’d be easily trainable.

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      This breed does have a fairly high prey drive and will chase smaller animals such as rabbits. He is agile, enduring, and can work in the most difficult terrain.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      This breed is fairly friendly, though won’t necessarily shower strangers with attention at first. After a little time getting to know each other, they can be very warm and affectionate.

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      The Schweizerischer Niederlaufhund is known for its ability to hunt independently with minimal direction from its owner. He still needs regular contact with members of his social group to flourish, though.

      Behaviour of the Small Swiss Hound

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        Tolerates solitude

        Despite their independent streak, this breed develops strong bonds with their owner. They can learn to spend time alone from time to time, but make sure to provide plenty of toys to keep them busy.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        Sweet and docile, this little dog is very attached to his master and is therefore keen to make him happy: which greatly facilitates his education. The main priorities in training this dog are socialisation, and getting him to walk on the leash without trying to shoot off.

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        Barking is a common problem in the Small Swiss Hound, who, as hunters, were bred to bay. Training and providing enough exercise can minimize this problem, but they still have a particularly loud bark.

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        Tendency to run away

        Due to their high prey drive and hunting instincts, the Small Swiss Hound may run away at a moment’s notice. A secure, fenced garden is essential.

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        With plenty of exercise, attention and mental stimulation, the Small Swiss Hound is unlikely to be destructive. However, owners commonly underestimate their exercise requirements and consequently notice chewing, barking and bad behaviour.

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        Treats are always a welcome reward for good behaviour.

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        Guard dog

        The Small Swiss Hound isn’t an ideal watchdog as they’re not overly protective. They may bark to alert their owner but offer no further protection.

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        First dog

        This dog is suitable for beginners who are prepared to give him the exercise he needs.

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          Small Swiss Hound in a flat

          The Small Swiss Hound is extremely active and needs space to roam and expel their energy. Flats aren’t ideal - they’re likely to become bored and, consequently, destructive.

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          Bred to hunt across rocky, varied terrain for hours on end with no time for rest, the Small Swiss Hound loves nothing more than being active. They need substantial amounts of exercise in order to thrive and behave well - we’d say at least two hours of vigorous exercise a day is a good starting point.

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          This is a relatively small breed, so should be easy to transport. However, due to their high activity needs, you’ll need regular walking breaks when travelling long distances.


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            Small Swiss Hound and cats

            Despite his highly developed hunting instinct, he can easily coexist with a cat if he is raised by his side.

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            Small Swiss Hound and dogs

            Most Small Swiss Hounds would actually prefer to live with other dogs - they’re very sociable around canines.

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            Small Swiss Hound and children

            This breed copes well in an extremely active family environment and is normally fantastic around children. Socialisation from a young age can help them grow into the friendly, warm dogs they’re capable of being.

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            Small Swiss Hound and the elderly

            The Small Swiss Hound is simply too energetic and lively to live with an elderly person.



            We do not have enough data to set an average price. 

            Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £70 to £100 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.


            One of the best things about the Small Swiss Hound is their easy-care coats. They’ll simply need a weekly brush and a few baths a year to keep in tip-top condition. 

            If they get dirty, a wipe down with a cloth is sufficient as too many baths can dry out their skin. It’s also important to check this breed’s ears regularly as food and dirt often get trapped.


            The Small Swiss Hound sheds minimally.

            Nutrition of the Small Swiss Hound

            Due to their active nature, the Small Swiss Hound needs a high-quality dog food which is formulated specifically for active breeds. One meal a day is enough, preferably in the evening after sufficient exercise.

            Health of the Small Swiss Hound

            Life expectancy

            On average, the Small Swiss Hound lives for 13 years, but often lives longer.

            Strong / robust

            Despite their fairly small size, the Small Swiss Hound is a fairly sturdy, strong and tough dog.

            Withstand heat

            With its single, short coat, this breed will tolerate warmer weather. As always, though, they should still be given water and access to shade during hot spells.

            Withstand cold

            The Small Swiss Hound is a hardy and resilient dog. However, their coat isn’t waterproof and doesn’t offer much protection, so they shouldn’t be kept outside in cold or wet weather.

            Tendency to put on weight

            If this breed gets the required amount of exercise, they’ll have no problem retaining a healthy weight.

            Common illnesses

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