Let's talk Smålandsstövare Dogs

Perhaps their unusual name has contributed to these scent hounds being largely unknown outside their native Sweden – though they are even rare there – but they deserve wider recognition for their unparalleled sense of smell and adaptability. Don't let this dog's sleek black coat, tanned markings and noble look fool you into thinking they're a smaller version of a Rottweiler or Berger de Beauce. Though the Smålandsstövare breed forms strong attachments and is protective of their owners, their gentle and playful nature make them a wonderful addition to a family with kids, once trained.

Official name: Smålandsstövare

Other names: Smaland Hound

Origins: Sweden

Black and white portrait of a Smalandsstovare
Drooling tendencies Low Warm weather? Medium
Shedding level Medium Suited to apartment living? Very low
*Energy Level moderate *Friendly pet? Very high
Compatibility with other pets High *Can stay alone? Low

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

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

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

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Illustration of a Smalandsstovare
46 - 54 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
15 - 20 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
42 - 52 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
15 - 20 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


Get to know the Smålandsstövare

All you need to know about the breed

A patient and harmonious dog, the Smålandsstövare displays boundless devotion and affection for their owner. Initially bred to hunt, they are wary of strangers and can be quite territorial. Their protective nature makes them excellent watch dogs, as they would never fail to announce the arrival of unwanted visitors. Smålandsstövare dogs are highly intelligent and are blessed with extraordinary enthusiasm and bundles of energy, yet they can be calm, laid-back and unobtrusive at home with their human family. However, the Smålandsstövare can also become a bit of a ‘talker’ if they are left alone too long so make sure they have plenty of social interaction and toys to keep them occupied.

Smålandsstövare dogs are most content when they get both mental and physical stimulation, and they’re capable of learning impressive tricks. The Smålandsstövare needs room to roam and doesn't do well in small apartments, as they can become a bit destructive if not given enough exercise. As with all scent hounds, make sure your yard has a strong, solid fence, as the urge to follow the nose can lead them astray. And, as a dog with a strong prey drive, smaller critter housemates would be discouraged. With these small constraints, the Smålandsstövare makes for a superb companion.


2 facts about Smålandsstövare dogs

1. A rare breed

This breed can be difficult to find. Though the Smålandsstövare is recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, they are still extremely rare, even in their native Sweden, with fewer than 100 puppies registered each year.

2. A sting in the tail

The Smålandsstövare is the only scent hound with a naturally short tail. Initially, both long and short tails were allowed under the regulations, but in the early 20th century, Baron Fredrik von Essen started breeding short-tailed Smålandsstövare dogs, which then became a trait for the entire breed.


History of the breed

The Smålandsstövare is thought to be the oldest scent hound breed in Sweden, and are also the smallest hounds in their native country. Taking its name from the southern province of Sweden, this breed's origins can be traced all the way back to the 16th century, when European spitz hounds similar to this breed were bred in Poland, Germany and the Baltic regions. These hounds were brought to Småland by returning officers, after the Great Wars that took place between 1611 and 1718. Once there, they, along with local spitz dogs and English hounds, became the foundation of the Smålandsstövare, a favourite of the Swedish farmer who couldn't afford more than one dog, and so appreciated their hardiness, versatility and ability to multitask.

By the early 20th century, however, the breed was virtually extinct. Enthusiasts fought to restore it, with the first official standard adopted by the Swedish Kennel Club in 1921. The first of the breed to be registered was a dog named Skoj – meaning Fun.

They are recognised by the American Rare Breed Association, Continental Kennel Club and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. The UK Kennel Club recognised the Smålandsstövare as the Smaland Hound in 2006.

Black and white portrait of a Smalandsstovare


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Smålandsstövare dogs

1. Body

Muscular, stocky, square-like compact body.

2. Head

Almond-shaped brown eyes, rounded flat-hanging ears.

3. Coat

Short, harsh and close fitting black and brown coat.

Smalandsstovare stood on a rock


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Smålandsstövare
Smalandsstovare bounding over grass


Caring for your Smålandsstövare

Grooming, training and exercise tips

With the Smålandsstövare’s dense undercoat, weekly brushing is recommended, in order to ensure they stay shiny and healthy – up the frequency to daily brushes during their seasonal shedding periods. There's no need to bathe your Smålandsstövare unless they've played in a mud puddle (more common than one would think). Having ears that hang naturally down, the breed needs more care and attention in that area. Excess moisture can hide in the flaps and cause an infection to develop. Check and clean them if necessary, drying thoroughly, at least once per week. Nails should be trimmed regularly and teeth brushed often – preferably daily – to avoid dental problems. Smålandsstövare dogs are in their element when they get to run, play and use their nose to follow whatever scent grabs their interest. For that reason, you might want to keep them on-leash! Training your Smålandsstövare should be pretty easy, and they respond well to positive reinforcement. They are not generally pack dogs so prefer to be alone than to play in a pack. To bond and keep both owner and dog engaged when training, give them scenting tasks, such as finding certain objects. Treats should be taken out of their daily kibble rations to keep their weight stable.


All about Smålandsstövare dogs

Despite not being a pack dog, with the right training and early socialising your Smålandsstövare will get along well with other canines. However, it’s very much in their nature to chase, so they’re perhaps not the best match if your household is also home to cats or other little furry friends.

Though the Smålandsstövare isn’t suited to small apartments, they are not high maintenance. Space-wise, if you have a yard or a garden, and they get enough exercise each day, they’ll be content. Their grooming needs are pretty low, and they are often laid-back and unobtrusive at home with their human family. However, like all pets, they shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time.



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/