Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Hamiltonstovare
Average Cost to keep/care for a Hamiltonstovare
The Hamiltonstovare hails from Sweden where they have always been highly prized for their hunting and abilities. They share a common ancestry with English Foxhounds, Harriers and other German hounds all of which were used to create this handsome dog. They were bred to hunt alone rather than in packs although they are often seen working in pairs. Hamiltons are very smart looking dogs and they are known to be intelligent, however, they are the sort of hound that needs to be kept busy for them to be truly happy dogs which means they are a great choice for people who lead active, outdoor lives and who live in a country environment.
The Hamiltonstovare is native to Sweden where they were originally bred during the 19th century by Count Adolf Hamilton who was one of the founders of the Swedish Kennel Club. He used Foxhounds, Harriers and several German hounds which included the Holsteiner, the Curland Hound and the Heidebracker to create the Hamilton. He wanted a hound that would work alone or with one other dog rather than a dog that would need to work in a pack and he wanted to create one that would be able to flush out prey for their handlers with the greatest of ease. The result of his endeavours led to the dogs we see today.
Over time and through careful selective breeding, the Hamiltonstovare was to become one of the healthier hound breeds around and a dog that boasts a superb hunting instinct. This is just one of the reasons why these handsome gundogs remain so highly prized in their native Sweden and elsewhere in the world including here in the UK. However, they are less well known with people who are looking to share their homes with a canine companion although they do make great family pets and companion dogs, but only if these high energy dogs are given the right amount of daily exercise and a ton of mental stimulation.
Height at the withers: Males 53 - 61 cm, Females 49 - 57 cm
Average weight: Males 23 - 27 kg, Females 23 - 27 kg
The Hamiltonstovare is a very handsome dog that's instantly recognisable thanks to their charming “hound-like” looks. They resemble English Foxhounds which were used to create the breed and they boast having a tremendous amount of presence which adds to their overall appeal. They have quite long, rectangular heads which are slightly arched. Their skulls are moderately broad with occiputs not being too prominent, but stops are well defined. They have nicely formed jowls that are not overly heavy and their muzzles are quite long, rectangular and large. A Hamilton's nose is always black with dogs having well developed large nostrils.
They are eyes are dark in colour with dogs always having a calm, intelligent expression in them. Ears are set quite high and drop down with dogs only holding them slightly raised when alert. The Hamilton has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. They have powerful, long necks that merge smoothly into the shoulders with the skin on their necks being nice and supple.
Shoulders are well laid back and muscular with dogs having straight, well-muscled front legs. They have deep chests and straight powerful backs with strong muscular and broad loins. Ribs are quite well sprung with dogs showing a slight tuck up which adds to their athletic appearance. They have powerful, strong back legs and their feet are short with dogs having firm pads and strong nails. Tails are set low being thicker at the base before tapering to the tip. Dogs hold their tails either straight or slightly curved.
When it comes to their coat, the Hamiltonstovare boasts having a double coat that consists of a short, close and soft undercoat which is typically that much thicker during the colder winter months and an extremely weather resistant top coat that lies close to the body. The hair on the underside of a dog's tail is longer and they have a lot of hair growing between their paw pads. The accepted breed colour is as follows:
The Hamiltonstovare is an even-tempered dog and one that makes a wonderful companion, but only as long as they are given the right amount of exercise and enough mental stimulation for them to be well-rounded characters. Their instinct to hunt remains exceptionally strong, even in a home environment and as such they do a lot better living with people who live in the country and who lead active, outdoor lives. Because they form strong bonds with their owners, the Hamilton does not like being left on their own for extended periods of time which could result in them developing some unwanted and destructive behaviours. As such they do better in households where one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out of the house.
These handsome dogs are not the best choice for first time owners because they need to be socialised, trained and handled by people who are familiar with the particular needs of this type of high-energy, intelligent dog and one that boasts such a high prey drive. They have a tremendous amount of stamina and will happily follow their noses for hours if allowed. As such, they need to be given a tremendous amount of daily exercise which has to include indulging these dogs in the thing they do best - namely hunting.
They tend to be a little wary of people they do not know, but rarely would a Hamilton show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards a stranger, preferring to keep their distance until they get to know a person. With this said, the Hamilton is known to be a trustworthy and reliable dog by nature which is why they do make good family pets in households where the children are slightly older and therefore know how to behave around dogs.
They are known to be quite social dogs and having been bred to work in pairs, as long as a Hamilton has been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs. It cannot be stressed strongly enough the importance of socialising a Hamilton puppy as early as possible so they grow up to be more confident and trustworthy mature dogs.
A Hamiltonstovare's training has to start early and it has to be consistent throughout a dog's life so they understand what is expected of them. Like many other hound breeds, they are sensitive by nature and as such, a Hamilton does not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or heavier handed training. They do answer well to positive reinforcement and it's important to pay particular attention to the "recall" command because a Hamilton's strong hunting instinct.
The key to successfully training a Hamiltonstovare is to keep training sessions short and interesting so dogs remain focussed on what is being asked of them. It's also essential to gently curb their strong hunting instinct rather than to try and prevent one of these handsome dogs from doing what comes so naturally to them. In short, it's best to enrol a Hamilton into activities that involve tracking and scenting so they get to use their skills and indulge this breed’s strong desire to follow their noses.
Hamilton's are never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance which in short means they need to know who is the alpha dog in a household. If allowed, a Hamilton would quickly take on this role which can make them that much harder to manage and live with.
Hamiltons are known to love people and they thrive in a family environment. They are gentle characters by nature and in particular when they are around children. However, they can be a little boisterous which means they are not the best choice for families where the children are still young and any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure things stay calm and nobody gets knocked over, albeit by accident.
Having been bred to work with other dogs, the Hamilton is known to be good around them more especially if they have been properly socialised from a young enough age. If they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together. However, a Hamilton would think nothing of chasing any other cats they come across. Because of their strong hunting instincts, care has to be taken when a Hamilton is anywhere near smaller animals and pets because they may well see them as prey so any contact is best avoided.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Hamiltonstovare is between 10 and 13 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Hamiltons are known to be healthy and they don’t seem to be affected by the hereditary and congenital disorders that afflict many other pure breeds. However, the conditions that are known to affect the breed are as follows:
As with any other breed, Hamiltons need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
The Hamiltonstovare boasts having a double coat which consists of a soft, dense undercoat and a harsher, extremely weather resistant topcoat and their undercoat tends to grow a lot thicker during the colder winter months than the rest of the year. However, these handsome dogs are low maintenance on the grooming front and only really need to be brushed on a weekly basis to remove dead and loose hair. Wiping a dog's coat over with a chamois leather helps keep a nice sheen on it too.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
The Hamilton is a high energy, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. As such, they need a minimum of 2 hour's exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Hamilton would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which includes digging and chewing anything they can find.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these energetic dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Hamiltonstovare puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Hamilton puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be fed a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Because Hamiltons have been known to suffer from bloat, it is really important for them to be fed twice a day instead of just one larger meal a day. It's also a good idea to invest in a stand for their feed bowls which makes it easier for these large dogs to eat comfortably without having to stretch their necks down to reach their food. Dogs should never be exercised just before or just after they have eaten either because this puts them more at risk of suffering from gastric torsion.
If you are looking to buy a Hamiltonstovare, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Hamiltonstovare in northern England would be £53.79 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £108.01 a month (quote as of July 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Hamilton and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1200 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Hamiltonstovare would be between £100 to £170 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.
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