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Is A Bavarian Mountain Hound The Dog For You?
I had never heard of a Bavarian Mountain Hound before my partner, Anton, broached the subject of getting one. We already had two black labradors, a terrier and two cats. As far as I was concerned, our animal family was complete.
All our animals worked. The two Labradors worked with Anton during bird season to take pheasants, grouse, grouse and duck. The terrier would catch any rats around our farmhouse and the cats caught mice and left their headless bodies on our front step. Anton, however, felt that there was room for one more animal in our group; Bavarian Mountain Hound to help him 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 approximately 70 lbs. when fully grown. Hunters use this breed when tracking deer to shoot or when they injure a deer but it is still able to run. They are bred to track deer across mountains in Bavaria and can track an injured deer for miles.
I took a lot of persuading. The animals we already had were expensive and very hard, albeit rewarding, work. Bavarian Mountain Greyhounds are relatively new to Ireland so it was difficult to find other people to ask about the breed. I researched as much as I could online and while I didn’t find anything objectionable about them, I still wasn’t sold. As they are a rare breed in Ireland, we knew that if we wanted one, we would have to go 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 this was the race for us. I had some specific concerns about the breed. First, we live in a rural community and I read that they are unreliable from lead if they smell. We let our dogs run free around our home often and I was worried that a Bavarian Mountain Dog would run too far, or worse, chase neighboring sheep.
We went about our lives and put the dog out of our minds. A few weeks passed when a breeder from Northern Ireland contacted Anton. He was left by someone who ordered a male puppy 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 for it. The puppy was eight weeks old when we decided we wanted him. The breeder recommended that we name him now and pick him up when he was sixteen weeks old so he could do some preliminary training with him. He also invited Anton up for a day to do some hunting so he could see the mother and father at work. We were both happy with this arrangement and decided to name our new addition Riley.
A few weeks later, Anton made the long trek to Northern Ireland to collect Riley. He met his mother Heidi and his father Alfie and spent some time with the breeder learning about our new pet. When they got home, I met Riley at the door and instantly fell in love. Anxious and shy at first, he followed me into the living room and crawled up onto my lap.
Riley was definitely not what I expected the breed to be. All the research I did before we brought him home was helpful, but I had so much more to learn. He was adorable, like all puppies, with his big dark face and long awkward legs. We kept him by our sides for the first few days as we did with all our puppies. Unlike our other puppies, Riley was very calm and not prone to the random bursts of excitement that we experienced with the Labradors and terriers. He loved our company and unlike the crazy Beagle type dog I was expecting, 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 our other dogs experienced and in short, I couldn’t believe our luck.
Our first insight into the negative traits of the breed was a few days after we brought Riley home. He was so calm and didn’t seem to suffer from anxiety from being in the pen at night, so we thought nothing of leaving him alone in our living room while we went to do our shopping. We drew our curtains so the cats couldn’t tease him at the window and left on our short trip. This was a big mistake. When we got home, I immediately noticed that the curtains were now open. On closer inspection, they were not open. They were torn in half. Yes, our wonderful, calm, quiet, puppy was actually a normal puppy 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 wonderful hunting companion to Anton. They have tracked many deer together this season and while he is lazy and loves to lounge by the fire at home, when hunting, he is dedicated and committed and can go for miles. As he proved by destroying my beautiful curtains, he hates being alone and is very destructive when left inside alone for any length of time. As I write this, he curls up next to me with his head on my shoulder. He is very loyal and loving to his owners, as is typical of the breed. He gets along with the other dogs but he definitely sees himself as more of a human than a dog and seeks human companionship over a dog. His hunting instinct means the poor cats are chased if they cross his path, but he is gentle and loving with children. He is not a guard dog, where the labradors and terriers will bark the house down if they hear someone outside, he will barely lift his head from the bed.
If you are 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 scented and it is in their nature to hunt. They enjoy tracking above all other forms of play and exercise. Do you have a lot of time to spend with the dog every day? This breed adores its owners and gets very upset when they cannot 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 ever made, I hope this article helps you make the right decision for your animal family.
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