Let's talk Istrian Shorthaired Hounds

The Istrian Shorthaired Hound was originally bred as a hunting dog but today they adapt to family life well. Apartments are not their favourite for two reasons: The Istrian Shorthaired Hound is a moderate barker, and they are too energetic. The breed will be most content when they have access to an enclosed outdoor space to run around in. As long as they get plenty of exercise, the breed will be calm indoors. Are you an outdoorsy type? If so, the Istrian Shorthaired Hound may be the breed for you!

Official name: Istrian Shorthaired Hound

Other names: Istarski Kradkodlaki Gonic

Origins: Croatia

Black and white portrait of an Istrian Shorthaired Hound
 Drooling tendencies:  Very low Warm weather?  High
 Shedding level:   Suited to apartment living?   Very low
 Energy level (high, low, moderate) *: Moderate Family pet? *
 Very high
 Compatibility with other pets:  Very low Can stay alone? *  Very low

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Illustration of a Istrian Shorthaired Hound
48 - 53 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
16 - 18 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
47 - 51 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
16 - 18 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age:  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age:  2 to 12 months
 Adult age:  1 to 7 years
 Mature age:  7 to 10 years
 Senior age:  From 10 years

Istrian Shorthaired Hound curled up on a purple cushion


Get to know the Istrian Shorthaired Hound

All you need to know about the breed

The highly active Istrian Shorthaired Hound was bred as a hunting dog, and their devoted temperament translates into an affectionate canine companion. Their hard-working approach to the task in hand means they are relatively straightforward to train, although their high energy requires an active style of owner, who can keep up with them.

Istrian Shorthaired Hounds are pack dogs, so they will be content to share their living space with other canines. The company will keep them from developing any separation anxiety from their human(s), which can lead to destructive behaviour.

Hunting origins means an active prey drive. The Istrian Shorthaired Hound is far from being aggressive, but cats, hamsters, guineapigs and the like will be too tempting in the same household. For the same reason, keep your Istrian Shorthaired Hound on-leash when out for your daily walk or hike as their sensitive nose will have them off in no time.

This athletic breed is best suited to an active owner who lives close to nature and will be happy to devote a few hours each day exercising outdoors. If you are the adventurer type, life with an Istrian Shorthaired Hound will certainly keep you on your toes.

Istrian Shorthaired Hound stood looking over their shoulder on wet ground


2 facts about Istrian Shorthaired Hounds

1. Second best

The Istrian Short-Haired Hound is not a disobedient dog by nature, but their talent for trailing a scent means they can become, well, distracted. It is important to keep them on-leash when out for walks, to prevent them from running off and ending up in unknown territory.

2. A whole lotta history

The Istrian Short-Haired Hound ancestry goes as far back as the 15th century, so they carry the title of oldest hunting dog breed (in the Balkans). Although they have evolved into a gentle canine companion for families, in their homeland, the Istrian Short-Haired Hound is most popular for their sporting skills.


History of the breed

The Istrian Shorthaired Hound hails from the peninsula of Istria and has been claimed by Croatia as a breed. Experts assert that the breed dates as far back as the 1300s (and perhaps even further) based on historical artistic and literary evidence. If true, this would make them the oldest hound breed of the Balkan region.

Canine ancestors are believed to include both the Posavac Hound and the Istrian Coarse-Haired Hound. They have always been bred to hunt and although the breed has evolved to be gentle and affectionate family dogs, they are still predominantly used for their scent skills and agility in their native country.

The FCI (the Fédération Cynologique Internationale) recognised the Istrian Shorthaired Hound in 1949, although the breed standard was not determined until 1973. The United Kennel Club recognised the breed in 2006, placing them in the scenthound group.

Black and white portrait of an Istrian Shorthaired Hound


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Istrian Shorthaired Hounds

1. Body

Body is sturdy and of medium size proportions.

2. Tail

Tail is long with a slight upward curve.

3. Coat

A short, dense coat, with a glossy sheen.

Istrian Shorthaired Hound sat in long, dry grass


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Istrian Shorthaired Hound
Istrian Shorthaired Hound laying down in a fenced-in field


Caring for your Istrian Shorthaired Hound

Grooming, training and exercise tips

When it comes to grooming an Istrian Shorthaired Hound, a daily brushing is ideal to keep their glossy coat clean and healthy. Baths only need to be occasional. Nails should be trimmed regularly, to prevent any damage or discomfort, and teeth brushed often.
To stay in their best shape and feel most content, the Istrian Shorthaired Hound requires daily exercise of between one to three hours. Trailing a scent is their ideal activity but they’ll also enjoy long walks or jogs in a wooded area, and chasing after balls.
The keen nose of an Istrian Shorthaired Hound will often distract them. But due to their intelligence, and lack of disobedience, training them should not be too difficult. Confidence and patience will be required, yes, but they take their tasks seriously. Any food-based rewards should always be counted as part of their daily kibble portion.


All about Istrian Shorthaired Hounds

While they’re certainly not aggressive dogs, Istrian Shorthaired Hounds were originally bred to be hunting dogs. They therefore require a particular owner who can meet their high exercise needs for them to be at their most loyal and affectionate. The Istrian Shorthaired Hound makes a great playmate for children once trained, but some may find the breed too boisterous for a household with small children.

Other canines, yes! The breed is used to being active in packs and will greatly appreciate the company of other canines—they would be lonely and perhaps even anxious without it. But unfortunately, smaller household pets such as cats, guineapigs and hamsters will simply activate their prey drive.



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/