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Is A Bavarian Mountain Hound The Dog For You?
I had never heard of a Bavarian Mountain Dog until my partner, Anton, broached the subject of getting one. We already had two black Labradors, a terrier and two cats. As far as I’m concerned, our animal family was complete.
All of our animals worked. The two Labradors worked with Anton during bird season to retrieve pheasants, woodcocks, snipes and ducks. The burrow was catching all the rats around our farm and the cats were catching mice and leaving their headless bodies on our front step. Anton, however, felt there was room for one more animal in our pack; a Bavarian Mountain Dog to help track live and injured deer during deer season. Similar to a Beagle in size but reddish brown in color with a black face, it has a short coat and weighs around 70 pounds when fully grown. Hunters use this breed when stalking deer to shoot or when wounding a deer but it is still able to run. They are bred to track deer through the mountains of Bavaria and can track a wounded deer for miles.
I took a lot of persuading. The animals we already had were expensive and very tough, yet rewarding. Bavarian Mountain Hounds are relatively new to Ireland so it was hard to find others to ask about the breed. I researched as much as I could online and even though I couldn’t find anything objectionable about them, I still haven’t been sold. As this is a rare breed in Ireland we knew if we wanted one we would have to put ourselves on a waiting list. Anton made some preliminary calls and to his disappointment found that there were only a handful of breeders in Ireland and their puppies were all booked for that year. I was relieved because it meant I had more time to make sure it was the right breed for us. I had a few specific breed concerns. First, we live in a rural community and I had read that they were unreliable if they picked up an odor. We often let our dogs run free around our house and I was afraid that a Bavarian Mountain Dog would run too far, or worse, chase the neighboring sheep.
We moved on with our lives and put the dog out of our minds. A few weeks passed when a breeder from Northern Ireland got in touch with Anton. He had been disappointed with someone who had booked a male pup and wanted to know if we would be interested. We discussed it for a few days and Anton had long conversations with the breeder and finally we decided to go. The pup was eight weeks old when we decided we wanted him. The breeder recommended that we name him now and get him back when he was sixteen weeks old, that way he could do preliminary training with him. He also invited Anton for a day to go hunting so he could see the mother and father working. We were both happy with this arrangement and decided to call our new addition Riley.
A few weeks later, Anton made the long trip to Northern Ireland to pick up Riley. He met his mother Heidi and father Alfie and spent time with the breeder learning about our new pet. When they got home, I met Riley at the door and fell in love instantly. Lanky and shy at first, he followed me into the living room and crawled into my lap.
Riley was definitely not what I expected from the breed. All the research I did before bringing it home was helpful, but I had so much more to learn. He was adorable, like all puppies, with his big dark face and long clumsy legs. We kept him by our side for the first few days as we had with all our puppies. Unlike our other puppies, Riley was very calm and not prone to the random bursts of excitement that we had experienced with Labradors and terriers. He loved our company and unlike the mad Beagle-type dog I expected, he was lazy and loved lounging by the fire. At night he went to his pen in our shed next to the other dogs and didn’t cry or bark. It was a far cry from the separation anxiety that all of our other dogs had experienced and in short, I couldn’t believe our luck.
Our first glimpse of the breed’s negative traits came days after bringing Riley home. He was so calm and didn’t seem to suffer from anxiety about being in the paddock at night, so we didn’t think to leave him alone in our living room while we went shopping. We drew our curtains so the cats couldn’t tease him at the window and set off on our short trip. It was a big mistake. When we got home, I immediately noticed that the curtains were now open. On closer inspection, they weren’t open. They had been torn in two. Yes, our wonderful calm and placid pup was actually a normal pup after all.
Riley is almost a year old now and the Bavarian Mountain Hound is my favorite dog breed. He is loyal, intelligent and a fantastic hunting companion for Anton. They have tracked many deer together this season and although he is lazy and enjoys lounging by the fire at home, when hunting he is dedicated and committed and can go for miles. As he demonstrated by destroying my beautiful curtains, he hates being alone and is very destructive when left alone indoors for any length of time. As I write this, he is curled up next to me, his head on my shoulder. He is fiercely loyal and affectionate to his owners, as is typical of the breed. He gets along well with other dogs, but he definitely sees himself as more human than dog and seeks human rather than canine companionship. His hunting instinct means that poor cats are chased if they cross his path, but he is gentle and affectionate with children. He is not a guard dog, where Labradors and terriers will bark the house if they hear someone outside, he will barely raise his head from the bed.
If you’re considering adding a Bavarian Mountain Dog to your family, there are a few things you should seriously consider. Do you have an interest in hunting? These dogs are motivated by scent and it is in their nature to hunt. They value tracking above all other forms of play and exercise. Do you have a lot of time to spend with your dog on a daily basis? This breed adores its owners and gets upset when it can’t be with them. Can you commit to loving and caring for a dog for about fourteen years? If you can answer yes to these questions and decide to adopt a Bavarian Mountain Dog, you will find yourself a loyal and loving companion for years to come. Adding Riley to our family was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made, I hope this article helps you make the right decision for your pet family.
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