According to Swedish and Norwegian Kennel Club breed descriptions, the Dunker breeds history started in 19th century, when Captain Wilhelm Conrad Dunker crossed various scent hounds used in Norway back in the days and the Russian Harlequin Hound. The purpose of the breeding was to develop a new proficient hunter, that could easily hunt in rugged Norwegian terrain and that could withstand lower Norwegian temperatures easily. And the breed quickly became relatively popular among Scandinavian hunters.
As you already know, the main utilization of the Dunker is hunting. But to be more specific, they are mainly bred to hunt hare by scent. It is pretty independent hunter, who should easily find hare on its own by sniffing and following the scent. The Dunker truly is very reliable hunter, and it is very passionate and determined hunter. They just love it. They also have great stamina, high prey drive and they can easily adapt to harsh terrain and climate. Overall, this is extremely good dog for hunting in Scandinavia.
3) Norwegian Harehounds
The population of Dunker is not huge and one of the reason is the large variety of different hare hunting dogs in Norway. Not only that there are several imported foreign breeds, you can also find different hare hunting breeds developed in Norway. There are three distinct, although quite similar, hare hunting breeds in Norway and they are the Dunker Hound, Halden Hound and Hygen Hound. If you will be interested in the other two dog breeds, i made separate videos about them and i am giving you links in description.
The Dunker is characterized as an excellent combination of skilled hunter, but also loving and loyal companion dog. These dogs are surprisingly laid back and pretty relaxed and they love attention from their family. They do create very strong bond with its owners, they are very affectionate, they get along with other people, kids or other dogs, especially if socialized together from the puppyhood. Of course, because of their hunting instincts, they are not best suited for families with other small household pets. Dunkers are definitely excellent companion dogs.
The fact that Dunkers are calm and relaxed when they are at home does not mean that they are coach potatoes, not at all. Especially if they are not hunting, they need quite a lot of outdoor exercise to stay healthy and happy. These dogs were bred for endurance on the hunt, which means they will always be ready for any outdoor adventure, long hikes, jogs, walks, just anything. Regular playtime and fun training sessions are also great way how to exercise these dogs not only physically but also mentally.
The Dunker is a medium sized dog breed with athletic body and strong legs. The average height is between 18-22 inch which is 45-56 cm and weight is usually between 11-18 kg, which is 25-39 lbs. Females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
In the second half of the 20th century, the popularity of Dunker decreased a lot. The first significant decrease was a direct consequence of the second world war. The low demand for these dogs made it hard to maintain high quality breeding. Luckily after the war, the interest for hunting dogs, and thus for Dunker as well increased a lot and up to 1970s, their popularity was raising once again. That changed again in 1970s, when many other hunting dogs were imported to Norway, for example the Finnish Harehounds and many others. That caused another decline in the numbers of Dunker. Because the population was quite low, a lot of inbreeding happened, which could potentionally lead to serious damage in the breed. That is why in 1980s it was officially authorized to cross Dunkers with some other breeds in order to remain the breed healthy, which was succesfull. Even today, the breed is not very popular and their population is relatively small, but on the other hand, the Dunker is not on the verge of extinction and the breed remained fairly healthy. You can find this breed almost exclusively in Norway and its neighboring countries.
The Dunkers coat is very dense, straight and hard. On a photo, the coat might look short, but it should never be too short. The coat is very practical for lower Norwegian temperatures. The most desirable coat colors are black or blue marbled with pale fawn and white markings.
Speaking of the coat, it is important to mention the grooming and maintenance as well and it is no hard task with this breed! These dogs do shed quite a lot, which is why regular brushing is definitely recommended to minimize the shedding. Regular brushing will also remove any dirt from the coat and it will redistribute natural oils all over it. No other grooming is required. Just like with other dogs, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
The Dunker is usually healthy dog breed. Because of their origin, they can posses the merle gene, which is why they can be prone to deafness or blindness, but it is not that common in Dunkers. Other health concerns are the same as with other similar breeds and they include some joint and bone problems like hip dysplasia, allergies or infections. The average lifespan of the Norwegian Hound is somewhere around 13 or 14 years.