Dunker

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25-39 lbs
18-21"
Norway
Norwegian Hound, Norwegian Dunker, Dunker Dog, Norwegian Rabbit Hound, Norwegian Scenthound
The Dunker is a medium-sized scent hound that can trace its roots back to 19th century Norway. Like many single-region hunting dogs, they are mild-mannered and affectionate animals, priming them for an eventual transition into that of companions. But unlike many others, such as the Beagle, who made their way into the hearts of millions, the Dunker's small numbers have not only kept them uncommon in their country of origin, but kept them virtually unknown in most other parts of the world. While they have been noted to be exceptionally good at following both orders and their noses, making them ideal hunters, nearly 75% of the breed is documented to have deafness in at least one, if not both ears, which could account for their limited numbers. Regardless, they are known to be loving, playful dogs that are particularly easy-going, which is also what makes them subpar watch and guard dogs, as they generally resort to being aloof or showing a lack of interest around strangers. They generally do quite well with both other dogs and even children if trained and socialized early on, but because of their sometimes stubborn nature and potential hearing issues, take a bit more experienced owner to train them.
Purpose
Hunting, Companion
Date of Origin
19th Century
Ancestry
Russian Harlequin Hound, Norwegian Scent Hounds

Dunker Health

Average Size
Male Dunker size stats
Height: 19-22 inches Weight: 25-39 lbs
Female Dunker size stats
Height: 18-21 inches Weight: 25-39 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Deafness
Minor Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Obesity
  • Ear Infections
  • Eye Problems
  • Demodectic Mange
Occasional Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination
  • Ear Examination
  • Hearing Tests

Dunker Breed History

Despite being a fairly unknown breed, the Dunker has a simple history. It was developed by Norwegian author and military officer Captain Wilhelm Conrad Dunker who resolved to develop a new breed of scent hound, one that would not only be a proficient hunter, but one that could weather the frigid and rugged conditions of Norway, which at the time was one of the least developed countries in Europe. Dunker crossbred established Norwegian scent hounds with Russian Harlequin Hounds, an ideal combination that would double down on superior endurance, scent hunting, hardiness and even-temperament. While he produced the traits he desired, he also produced a dog with a distinct coat, one whose blue marbled and speckled coat stood out against most others. The breed quickly became popular with hunters but their numbers quickly depleted after WW II largely due to the German occupation, which all but halted much of the breeding taking place. Interest again grew after the war, but in the 1970s, many other hunting dogs were imported into Norway and many hunters ended up preferring the new breeds. With their popularity dwindling into the 1980s, many breeders resorted to inbreeding, which likely had a large impact on the high rate of deafness in the breed as a whole. While rights were granted to breed others into the line to prevent further endangerment, their numbers have stayed limited and largely reserved to Norway and other Scandinavian countries. Despite the few that exist (less than 200 registered annually), they were recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1996.

Dunker Breed Appearance

The Dunker is a medium-sized dog, standing just under two feet tall at the withers and generally weighing between 25 and 40 pounds. They have an athletic build but don't boast a huge frame, keeping them trim, swift, and light-footed, even with their strong legs. Their coats are highly-distinct, being either black or the more desirable blue, especially if particularly well-marbled, and show highlights of tan or fawn as well as white. Their skulls are slightly domed with a rectangular muzzle just over the same length as the skull itself and are capped with a black, nose with wide nostrils and paired with medium length folded ears. Their eyes show the most variance in terms of color, and although they are most commonly dark, have been seen with a rare blue. They have a straight top line, straight front legs and a slight angle in their back legs. Their tails start thick and taper slowly and are carried straight.
Eye Color Possibilities
blue Dunker eyes
Blue
hazel Dunker eyes
Hazel
brown Dunker eyes
Brown
amber Dunker eyes
Amber
Nose Color Possibilities
black Dunker nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
white Dunker coat
White
fawn Dunker coat
Fawn
blue Dunker coat
Blue
black Dunker coat
Black
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Dunker straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Dunker Breed Maintenance

Dunkers fall somewhere between low and average maintenance. They are considered above average shedders and need brushing multiple times a week (preferably with a bristle brush) to keep their coats (and the owner's home) as clean as possible, but otherwise need little else. They are not a smelly breed inherently and unless they get into something, need only a very occasional bath and only with dog-specific shampoo, as anything else or too-frequent bathing could disrupt their natural oils. If they are used as hunting dogs, frequent hunts should help to naturally wear down their nails, but if they are adopted as a companion, their nails need to be monitored more closely and trimmed when necessary to prevent cracking and breaking. Their teeth should be brushed regularly, at least once a week if possible.
Brushes for Dunker
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Dunker requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Dunker Temperament

While trained to be efficient and intrepid hunters, Dunkers are exceptionally affectionate dogs that appreciate giving and receiving lots of attention. They are surprisingly laid-back and relaxed when not on the hunt but their indifference to strangers does make them ineffective guarding or watchdogs. They do, however, tend to be barkers and will frequently alert anyone nearby if there is something to chase that is out of reach, so living in a space that allows for this behavior and early training are both undoubtedly helpful. Even without training or socialization but especially so with, Dunkers generally get along well with other dogs, new people and even small children but because of their hunting instincts, can easily become troublesome around other small non-canine animals. Partially because this breed has a high potential to develop some level of deafness in one or both ears, but mostly because they are independent and strong-minded, Dunkers can be an uphill battle to train and generally take a firm, experienced owner to assert themselves and maintain authority. They are also high energy dogs and take a good amount of exercise to keep them on their best behavior and may become loud or restless if not provided ample activities to participate in.

Dunker Activity Requirements

Dunkers are considered medium to high energy dogs that need frequent and consistent exercise. Since they were bred with the endurance of hunters, it takes quite a bit to fully tire them out, which means long walks, jogs, or runs around the dog park are indispensable tools for most owners. Playing fetch, frisbee, or any type of training that makes them both run and gauge a target are especially good ways to exercise them both mentally and physically and will go a long way in keeping them happy, healthy and behaving in an appropriate way in or out of the house. It is recommended that they get at least 45 to 60 minutes of thorough exercise a day.
Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
14 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Dunker Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
Daily Cost
$1 - $1.5
Monthly Cost
$30 - $45

Dunker Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Dunker size stats at six months
Height: 14 inches Weight: 22 lbs
Female Dunker size stats at six months
Height: 13 inches Weight: 22 lbs
12 Months
Male Dunker size stats at 12 months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 27 lbs
Female Dunker size stats at 12 months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 27 lbs
18 Months
Male Dunker size stats at 18 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 32 lbs
Female Dunker size stats at 18 months
Height: 19 inches Weight: 32 lbs

Dunker Owner Experiences

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