The Estonian Hound is a sturdily built midsize dog with deep brown eyes, dropped ears, and a bit of the “hound dog” look (as though it feels sorry for something it’s done). There’s nothing to feel bad about, however — this is a robust, good-natured dog that is prized in the field.
The skin is tight, and its thick tail is always tipped in white. Its short coat can be blackish-brown or tan with black and red patches, with white sometimes appearing on its body or head.
The Estonian Hound is laid-back, as many hounds are, as long as they get enough exercise. They are quiet in the house except for occasional yowls of joy and almost always well-mannered, but be prepared for an enthusiastic greeting when you return home.
This breed is pleasant and very family-oriented, good with kids and other pets. It thrives on a routine and stability, so if you or your family travel often, the Estonian Hound is not for you.
As with every dog, exercise is important, but since this breed was developed to make long hunting trips over varying terrain, it needs at least a good hour of walking a day.
Grooming an Estonian Hound means an occasional bath and brushing. They tend to be average shedders.
The Estonian Hound’s keen nose is prized, but can also get it into difficulty. When hiking, keep your dog on a long lead or ensure it is easily voice-controlled, as it may catch a scent and take off.
The Estonian Hound can suffer from separation anxiety because it is so human-oriented. This can be remedied with patience and training. This breed should receive obedience training as early as possible to avoid a tendency to timidity.
This is a very healthy dog with no major health issues. However, the Estonian Hound can be susceptible to allergies and sinus infections. Losing its sense of smell during these times may make your dog uncomfortable and antsy.
The Estonian Hound is the only breed native to Estonia. It was started in the early 20th century from a mix of hounds, including English foxhounds, Russian-Polish hounds, Finnish hounds and, later, Swiss hounds and the Beagle. It emerged following a 1930s law making it illegal to breed any hounds over seventeen inches. The breed has increased in size since then, but this was a turning point for the development of the standard of the breed, which was approved in 1954.
Today, the Estonian Hound is still used for hunting but is more often seen as a companion dog.