Estonian Hound

30-40 lbs
Gontchaja Estonskaja, Estonian Scenthound

The Estonian Hound has great stamina and energy, an excellent nose, and they have a high prey drive. This hound is a hardy dog, able to withstand extremely cold conditions. Happy and playful, the Estonian Hound has a sweet temperament and calm nature if socialized well. They can be a bit aloof with strangers, but the dog is polite about their feelings. The hound is opinionated;  meaning they bark frequently and also howl and bay very loudly. Training will reduce this trait, but it will never be completely overcome. A country estate or a large house and yard is important for this dog, as well as understanding neighbors. The Estonian Hound relates well to children particularly if they if socialized well as puppies. They form strong close bonds with children, and are surprisingly tolerant to rough play and display an affectionate and gentle nature. The Estonian gets on well with other dogs as they have been bred to hunt in packs. Raising the Estonian Hound with other animals produces a tolerant dog, although rabbits are too close to being their prey to be comfortable to have around.

purpose Purpose
Hunting, Companion
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Beagles, Swiss Hounds, Local Hounds

Estonian Hound Health

Average Size
Male Estonian Hound size stats
Height: 17-21 inches Weight: 32-45 lbs
Female Estonian Hound size stats
Height: 17-21 inches Weight: 30-40 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Joint Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Ear Infections
  • Skin Allergies
  • Eye Problems
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Demodectic Mange
Occasional Tests
  • Ear Examination
  • Skin Evaluation
  • Full Physical Examination
  • Complete Ophthalmologic Examination
  • Skin Scraping Test for Allergies
  • Skin Scrapings and Biopsies

Estonian Hound Breed History

Estonia was still a part of the USSR in 1947 when it was declared by the Ministry of Agriculture and Economy that all regions needed to have a local hunting breed of dog. This order was to replace the larger dogs that were used to hunt at the time, although the true reason was never really clear. One reason may have been to limit hunting as the large game in the empire had declined. Before 1947 the big game population in Estonia had been dropping rapidly. Therefore it seemed that dropping the dog size would make it harder to catch game, allowing time for a revival of the wild species. Hunters were limited to the smaller game such as foxes and rabbits. Estonia didn't have an existing dog that was suitable. It was essential to bring in dogs from outside to create a new breed and hence the Estonian Hound was born. The Dachshund, Beagle and Schweizer Laufhunds became the base of the breed. They were proven hunters, and they were adaptable to the cold temperatures. By experimenting with crossing smaller local dogs with the imported breeds, a new dog was born. By 1954 a written standard for the Estonian Hound was approved by the USSR Government. This standard acknowledged that the dog had great stamina, an outstanding ability to hunt, and could withstand the cold climate. With the hound's lovely nature, they quickly became very popular. Because the dog was smaller in size, more families could afford to feed and care for them. After Estonia declared its independence, the new Government declared the Estonian Hound to be the official national dog breed. This dog remains a firm favorite in its home country of Estonia, yet is rare outside of the country and not recognized by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club.

Estonian Hound Breed Appearance

The Estonian Hound has a muscular strong body with fine bone structure, slender legs, and an elegant appearance. They are a medium sized dog, with their short coat fitting their body tightly, giving them a tailored look. This hound has the typical long floppy ears, a long tail, and well defined long muzzle and black nose, which makes them a great hunter with their ability to follow a scent. The breed looks similar to the Beagle although larger, and the Estonian has the same colorations and facial expressions. They are longer than they are tall, with short legs which are strong but not stocky. The Estonian Hound build is well proportioned, with the head being supported by a strong neck. This is one hound that doesn't drool as it has tight dry lips and a scissors bite. Their expressive eyes are almond in shape and are a deep brown, almost glowing amber in color. Their nose is what makes them so valuable as they have an incredible ability to pick up a trail and follow it with a determined focus. The nose is usually black, but some have a dark brown coloring. The most common coat colors are tan, black, yellow, brown, red, and some white. The Estonian Hound  is often tri-colored. 

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Estonian Hound eyes
amber Estonian Hound eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Estonian Hound nose
Coat Color Possibilities
pied Estonian Hound coat
white Estonian Hound coat
black Estonian Hound coat
brown Estonian Hound coat
red Estonian Hound coat
fawn Estonian Hound coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Estonian Hound straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Estonian Hound Breed Maintenance

Maintenance can be moderate to high for the Estonian Hound. While they have a tight fitting short coat, it does shed quite a lot at certain times of the year and will need constant brushing to remove hair from the floor, the furniture and your clothes. They will need daily brushing to ensure the coat doesn't get everywhere at these times, but when not shedding you can drop back to every second or third day. This hound doesn't need professional grooming, and will often suffice with a rub down with a clean, soft cloth after they have been outside. Keep bathing to an 'as needed' basis, for those times when they have been through the mud and a wipe down won't cut it. Using a special dog shampoo will help protect the dog's skin and will maintain the natural oils which protect the dog when out in rough weather. Because they have long floppy ears, it is vital to check inside, wipe out gently, and dry thoroughly to prevent infection in this area. Teeth are another area where they need assistance, and a good brushing every two to three days is essential. Apart from that, the Estonian Hound needs a regular toe nail clip, and they will be looking their usual immaculate selves.

Brushes for Estonian Hound
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Estonian Hound requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Estonian Hound Temperament

The Estonian Hound is a happy dog, especially when well socialized and taught the family rules. They have a calm, sweet temperament and get on well with all family members, even the little ones. They can be quite tolerant of rough play, even a bit of tail or ear pulling, but still, teach young ones to respect the dog. This hound doesn't like being alone. They like human company and can get a bit down if left at home alone. Being on their own can lead to boredom, which in turn can turn into destructive behavior as the dog feels anxious and ignored. At home, you will have a willing buddy snuggle up to you on the couch, as they are very affectionate and will become devoted. While they will be polite to visitors, they are more aloof than other types of hounds. They are very alert, and your dog will warn you of approaching visitors. If you have socialized your dog well, they will warn you, then watch from afar as you deal with new people. The  Estonian Hound can be quite vocal, so this is where training to halt barking on command will come into its own. Their baying can be very loud, so once or twice is more than enough and then for the sake of the neighbors, the dog should be commanded to be quiet. Other than that, they are a great animal, a good friend, ideal for families that hike or run, and a calm yet loving dog that has a good nature and elegant appearance.

Estonian Hound Activity Requirements

The Estonian Hound  is a very active dog, originally bred for a working life. This hound likes to be busy and will need two long walks a day. They also require a secure yard to move around in, doing things that dogs like to do such as patrol the fence line, check out who has been around, and to have time to play with the family. As a working dog, they can track  a scent for many hours without tiring. While they rarely need training in how to hunt as they are so instinctive, this pooch will need training in how to behave and be an obedient dog. This hound has a streak of independence and can be quite stubborn, so they need a strong owner who has leadership and patience skills. The Estonian Hound is also quite a barker so make sure your training includes stopping the bark on command. As these dogs have been bred to be relentless and ignore everything else when working on a trail, you may struggle with the command to return to you. It would be wise to keep this dog on a leash when out walking or they may disappear after a scent trail. There can be a battle of wills, but kindness, patience and leadership skills will win out and are worth the battle. Home life includes inclusion in games, and plenty of socializing to make this a well rounded dog. 

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
14 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
90 minutes
activity minutes

Estonian Hound Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00
food bag monthly cost

Estonian Hound Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Estonian Hound size stats at six months
Height: 10.5 inches Weight: 11.0 lbs
Female Estonian Hound size stats at six months
Height: 9.0 inches Weight: 9.0 lbs
12 Months
Male Estonian Hound size stats at 12 months
Height: 14.0 inches Weight: 22.5 lbs
Female Estonian Hound size stats at 12 months
Height: 13.5 inches Weight: 21.0 lbs
18 Months
Male Estonian Hound size stats at 18 months
Height: 16.0 inches Weight: 36.0 lbs
Female Estonian Hound size stats at 18 months
Height: 16.0 inches Weight: 35.0 lbs

Estonian Hound Owner Experiences

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