A Hound Happiest Hunting

Jessica Freni with Cynthia Drake


The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound is a striking medium sized hound (17-20.5″ and 37-66#) originating in Germany. The breed is currently in FSS status in AKC. I spoke to Cynthia Drake, Oak Hill Kennel. Cynthia was instrumental and very involved in bringing this [the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound] and two additional breeds, the Porcelaine and Hanoverian hounds to FSS “for the sole purpose of establishing breed information and studbook.”

In 1996, The United Kennel Club recognized the breed for registration. Oak Hill Kennel was the first to register Bavarian Mountain Hounds with UKC, and attain Champion titles in the United States. Through our efforts, in December of 2016 The AKC FSS accepted the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound into it’s registration. Again, Oak Hill Kennel was the first to register five AKC FSS Bavarian Mountain Scent Hounds in the United States. (Oakhill Kennel website,  https://www.oakhillkennel-deer.com/history-and-health-2)

The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound (Bayerischer Gebirgsschweisshund) is an increasingly popular hunting dog in the United States for its ability to track wounded game and exceptional “cold nose” skills. A growing choice for game wardens and forest workers valuing the “cold nose” abilities,

This ability allows it to follow a wounded animal by detecting small amounts of blood and bodily fluids, scent found on glands of the hoof and leg, and small amounts of bone and tissue left at the hit site. The Bavarian’s sense of smell is so acute that the breed can distinguish between the injured animal and others of it’s kind  in the field. (Oakhill Kennel website)

Living with a Bavarian Mountain Scenthound is living with an intense, highly active, intelligent, high drive dog with a high prey drive. This is a breed that enjoys being outdoors and having a job, ideally an outlet suitable to its keen abilities. Otherwise, without adequate high, sturdy fencing (not underground electric fencing) and daily exercise/simulation the breed is at risk of escape and being destructive. Though intelligent, the BMH can be stubborn to train and a challenge to housebreak. An unsuitable home for a Bavarian Mountain Scent hound is one looking for a couch potato!

While the Bavarian Mountain Scenthound is a seriously skilled tracking dog, it is not ideally a kennel dog as it is also a sensitive breed which forms very strong bonds with their owners. According to Cynthia, “The Bavarian Mountain Scenthound can be extremely devoted. It is not uncommon to have your dog crave being by your side at all times. Our male dogs sleep with us in bed at night. This closeness aids in building a working relationship for future tasks in the field.”

First and foremost this is a Specialist Tracking Breed, that some would say is suited ONLY for the most active and dedicated wounded game tracking home. And although I agree that this breed is that, I strongly disagree that they should NOT to be used for other purposes. I regard this breed highly suited for Police work, SAR, Man Trailing, Medical Alert/Therapy/Service, Hunting, Show, and Companionship.

 Those considering the addition of a Bavarian Mountain Scenthound should know that though this is a generally healthy and long- lived breed, there are considerations regarding health and temperament. The Bavarian Mountain Scenthound needs early, positive socializing or may be prone to anti- social, reserves with strangers or fear based behaviors as adults. Average life expectancy is 12-15 and this is a fairly healthy breed with primary concerns being idiopathic epilepsy and hip dysplasia (Idiopathic Epilepsy remains difficult to diagnose and currently there is no test or cure available). Other American breeders have also reported instances of Addison’s disease.

In a word of closing from Mrs.Drake, recently retired from breeding, “I gathered most of my information from trips I made to Germany and Poland. I met with reputable breeders and spokespersons for the breed…I want to make something quite clear to you.  This is NOT a breed for everyone.  This is a working breed with a limited pool of potential owners. And with any new or beautiful or interesting breed that is paraded in front of eager puppy buyers wanting something rare or different – my greatest fear is this breed will inevitably fall into the wrong hands, be mass produced, end up on some puppymill internet site, and eventually in animal shelters or rescues.”