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The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound

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 Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound

The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound is a medium sized purebred from Germany bred to be a great scent hound and tracker and used very successfully in the Bavarian mountains, by gamekeepers and hunters, for years. It is also called the Bavarian Mountain Hound or the Bayerischer Gebirgsschwei, abbreviated to BMS or BMH. It was developed to be a leash trailing dog that could handle the mountainous terrain and climate and able to track wounded game. It is popular in that region still today as a hunting dog and as a companion, and very recently started to draw the attention of fanciers elsewhere.

The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound at A Glance
Name Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound
Other names Bavarian Mountain Hound, Bayerischer Gebirgsschwei
Nicknames BMS or BMH
Origin Germany
Average size Medium
Average weight 44 to 55 pounds
Average height 17 to 20 inches
Life span 10 to 14 years
Coat type Short, glossy, coarse
Hypoallergenic No
Color Fawn, black, tan, red, brindle, biscuit
Popularity Not yet a fully registered member of the AKC
Intelligence Average to above average
Tolerance to heat Very good – can handle most climates
Tolerance to cold Very good to excellent
Shedding Average to heavy – will hair around the home that needs daily clean up
Drooling Low to moderate – not especially prone to slobber or drool but may be a little
Obesity Average – measure its food and make sure it is well exercised
Grooming/brushing Moderate – brush once or twice a week
Barking Occasional – some barking will happen but its not constant
Exercise needs Very active – need active and committed owners
Trainability Moderately hard – experienced owners needed
Friendliness Very friendly with socialization
Good first dog Good but best with experienced owners
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Good with socialization
Good with other pets Good but needs socialization as has high prey drive
Good with strangers Moderate - need socialization – wary at first can even be shy
Good apartment dog Moderate – needs a yard or land to explore on
Handles alone time well Low – can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods
Health issues Quite healthy but a few issues can include hip dysplasia, eye problems and epilepsy
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $260 a year for dog treats and a good quality dry dog food
Miscellaneous expenses $255 a year for basic training, license, toys and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $1000 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $800
Rescue organizations None breed specific look to local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported
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The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound's Beginnings

The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound came about sometime in the 1870s and developed in the early 20th century in Germany by crossing the Hanover Hound and the Bavarian Hound. Its ancestors are the Bracken, original hunters used for trailing and tracking. The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound was specifically developed to be able to find and follow the trail left behind by wounded game. Since medieval times hunters considered it to be bad form to let an animal who had been injured suffer and perhaps take a long time to die. Some dogs were developed all over Europe who were able to pick up the scent of a blood trail and track the animal so it could be killed by the hunters with it.

Hunting was the domain back then of the nobles as was developing a dog to hunt with. From one country to another and the different regions within them, different hounds and hunting dogs were developed to meet their needs. In the Bavarian Mountain region there were the Hanovers and the Bavarians. By the 1870s the German nobility were greatly reduced in wealth, belongings and power but many still had large dog packs to hunt with. One breeder, Baron Karl-Bebenburg Reichenhall was a Bavarian noble and loved to hunt large game and deer. On times when he only grazed or wounded his game the Baron wanted a dog able to chase after the fleeing animal. Blood trackers were kept on the leash so that the hunters could stay close with them and the Baron wanted some in his pack.

At first he used some Hanoverian Hounds, a breed considered to be the best at blood tracking since the late 1700s. But this was not the best developed dog for the terrain the Baron was hunting on being too large and heavy. The Baron crossed them with some other breeds from Bavaria and other regions close by (there is some discussion about the exact breeds used) and in the end came up with the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound, a dog a lot like the Hanoverian Hound but more suited to the terrain being sure footed, smaller and lighter. It quickly became a very popular dog in its region and in neighboring ones too.

New Lease on Life

In 1912 a breed club was formed for the dog in Munich called the Klub für Bayrische Gebirgsschweißhunde and later it spread to Germany's neighbors Hungary and Austria. Despite both world wars having a very negative impact on dog breeding in general and causing several breeds to become extinct, the Bavarian Mountain Hound survived. In 1959 it was recognized by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale). Today it is a well known breed still in Germany but apart from some European countries is not well known elsewhere. It remains kept mostly as a working dog still today when many other such dogs have become more companion dogs. However it can be a companion dog too! It is only just very recently that other countries like the US have taken notice of it and realized what a great breed it is. More breeders in the US are working on increasing awareness of it and improving its popularity.

The Dog You See Today

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The BMS is a medium sized dog weighing 44 to 55 pounds and standing 17 to 20 inches tall. It is an athletic and muscular looking dog and while it is not as heavy as most other scenthounds it is still well built with a wide chest, long bodies and rears that are a little raised. Its topline then slopes a little upwards. The tail is set high and is medium length carried hanging down or level. The neck is medium length, strong and has a little dewlap. It looks a lot like other German scenthounds in particular the Hanoverian Hound. The coat is glossy, short and coarse though around the head and ears it is softer and it is longer around the stomach, legs and tail. Most commonly they are in some kind of fawn color or shade and then have black masks, but some can have a brindle coat. White chest markings is permitted in the UKC standards. It is close fitting and in some cases they can be born with a solid color like black which while not accepted in show dogs is fine for a hunting dog or companion.

Bavarian Mountain Scent Hounds have elongated heads with broad skulls that are domed. Its jaws are strong and it has a wide muzzle and curved nose that is black or dark red with wide nostrils. While its head is in proportion to the rest of it, compared to other scenthounds it is on the small side. Its eyes are medium sized and vary in shades of brown and its ears are set high, medium to long sized and hang down. They are wider at the bottom and also rounded and hang close to the face.

The Inner Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound

Temperament

The BMS is a calm, quiet dog around the home when it is getting enough activity and stimulation. It needs experienced owners preferably and is very affectionate, known to often give their owners kisses and be very devoted and loyal to them. Owners need to be committed and if it is being used as a hunting dog it needs to be used regularly as such not rarely. It has a lot of energy and zest for life and is very spirited once outside and doing something. It needs to be kept busy and when it is in between jobs it will want to be close to you and the family. It should be included in family activities and not left alone for long periods or else it could develop separation anxiety. This can then lead to it being destructive, loud, anxious and hard to live with.

While it is a friendly and social dog it is wary and aloof with strangers until it gets to know them. Without good socialization that can develop into shyness and reacting fearfully. As calm and easy going as it is when in the home, when it is out on the hunt it is very focused, brave, committed and persistent even if hunting over hard terrain. Also because of its use out hunting it has been bred to be vocal. The close bonds it forms means re-homing is harder for this breed than most, so keep that in mind before you bring one home. It is not an aggressive breed and is not good as a guard dog, but it will alert you to strangers approaching. It is wary and even reserved with strangers and socialization is important to stop that from turning it to being too shy.

Living with a Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound

What will training look like?

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Training the BMS takes experience, confidence and patience as it is not an easy task. This breed is intelligent and can solve problems well, that is not the problem. The issue is in fact that it is stubborn and has its own ideas about how things should be done, and indeed whether it should do what you want it to do at all. It can develop selective hearing and takes a dedicated trainer to get through its hard head! Trainers need to be firm, in control at all times, consistent and start from an early age. Be positive, use praise and treats, rewards and encouragement. Avoid being harsh, scolding or physical punishments as this just makes it fear you. As well as starting training early owners need to make sure socialization is also started as soon as you bring it home. Introduce it to different places, people, sounds, situation and animals so it learns to adjust to them, and in the case of strangers stay at an acceptable stage of wary!

How active is the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound?

There is no doubt that this breed needs active owners as it is an active dog and it needs a lot of physical exercise as well as opportunities for mental stimulation, jobs to do and to stay busy. Expect and be able and happy to give it up to 2 hours a day or even more. It will not be content and calm indoors if it does not get that level of commitment. Without this level of activity it can be destructive, hyper active, excitable, loud and hard to live with. It can join you for jogs and hikes but also needs lots of safe off leash opportunities to run free. Take it to a dog park or even better have land it can do this on. Remember that if out walking it always keep it leashed as it will go after scents no matter how good your training was. Make sure your yard is well fenced so that it cannot get out after something too.

Caring for the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound

Grooming needs

There is not a lot of extra grooming or maintenance to do with the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound, its coat is easy to care for with a brush one or twice a week, and then very occasional bathing just when needed. Do not bathe too often as in most dogs that can cause dry skin problems as it damages the natural oils they need for their coat and skin. It does shed, an average to heavy amount though so there will be hair around the home to clean up daily and that brushing will help control some of the shedding too.

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Its ears should be checked once a week for signs of infection like irritation, sensitivity, redness or swelling. They should also be cleaned weekly to prevent those infections, having long ears means it can be more prone to them. To clean them do not actually insert anything into the ear, just use an ear cleanser and cotton ball or a damp cloth and wipe the areas you can reach easily. Its teeth need to be brushed at least two to three times a week and its nails should be clipped if they get too long. Some dogs wear them down naturally with a higher level of activity and that might be the case for this breed, however in case it is not make sure you use a proper dog nail clipper and do not cut into the quick of the nail where there are blood vessels and nerves. That will hurt the dog and cause bleeding. Have someone show you how or look it up online, or have your vet or a groomer do it for you.

Feeding Time

The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound will likely eat about 2 to 3 cups of a good quality dry dog food each day, and it should be split into at least two meals to prevent problems with Bloat. Make sure it also has access to water at all times, and that you change the water regularly. How much one dog eats compared to another can vary depending on its rate of metabolism, level of activity, health, size and age.

How is the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound with children and other animals?

With socialization this can be a very good dog to have around children, it likes to run around and be energetic, play and get up to adventures together, and it is also affectionate and loving. Make sure children are taught how to play nicely with dogs and how to touch with care so that there is no ear pulling or tail pulling. Unlike a lot of hounds that are good with other dogs, this one needs very good training and socialization otherwise there can be aggression and dominance issues. Socialization is also essential for getting along with other pets. It has a high prey drive after all, so raising it with other pets can help too but keep in mind while some can adapt and learn to accept other pets, some never do.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The life span of this breed is about 10 to 14 years and it is quite a hardy and healthy dog breed apart from a growing problem with hip and elbow dysplasia, which has arisen due to poor breeding practices. Other issues can include eye problems, epilepsy, ear infections and mange.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dog attacks against people that caused bodily harm over the last 35 years in Canada and the US, there is no specific mention of this dog. It is not commonly found in these places though so is very unlikely to be mentioned. It is not an aggressive breed towards people usually, more so towards strange dogs and animals if not well socialized. As long as you train, socialize and give it lots of exercise or regularly use it to track with, it is less likely to be involved in anything like this.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

The price of a Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound puppy is going to be around $800 for a regular but decent breeder, if you can find one. For more experienced breeders or if you are looking to raise a top show dog then that price will be a lot higher. It is important to make sure you research and look for a trustworthy breeder, avoid puppy mills, pet stores and backyard breeders. If a purebred is not completely necessary and you are just looking for a companion dog consider checking out your local shelters and rescues. There are plenty of great dogs hoping for someone to come take them home, adoption rates include some medical needs and run from $50 to $400.

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Once you have found the right dog for you there are some initial costs to take care of for things like medical needs and items for the home. You should get it to a vet for a good physical exam as soon as it is home. The vet can also have it spayed or neutered, blood tested, dewormed, vaccinated and micro chipped. These will cost around $290. Things you need for the dog include a collar and leash, crate, carrier and food bowls. These will cost about $240.

There are also ongoing costs to be prepared for when you are a responsible pet owner. Your dog will need regular health care, feeding, training, entertaining and licensing. You can expect to spend about $485 a year for pet insurance and basic health care like check ups, shots and tick and flea prevention. $260 a year should cover dog treats and a decent quality dry dog food. $255 a year should cover the license, miscellaneous items, toys and basic training costs. This gives an estimated yearly cost of $1000.

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  • The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound is not usually kept as just a companion dog. In most cases it continues to be used as a working dog and then acts as a companion after a good hunt. It needs experienced and active owners and a good amount of work, exercise and stimulation to be happy and content. It is loyal and affectionate and can be a great dog for people willing to put in the commitment to take proper care of it.

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