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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

    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.


    • 66%


      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.

    • 66%


      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.

    • 66%


      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.

    • 100%


      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.

    • 66%


      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

      • 66%

        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.

      • 100%

        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.

      • 100%


        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.

      • 100%