The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound (Bayerischer Gebirgsschweisshund), is classified as a specialist breed for the use in tracking wounded game. This breed has an exceptional “cold nose” tracking ability. 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.
This tracking ability was of great need in the 1600’s when hunting techniques and equipment were very rustic. The German hunting philosophy demanded the hunter harvest every animal injured. In the lower elevations and rolling foothills, the hound of choice was the Hannoverscher Schweisshund or Hanoverian Hound. This hound was of heavy bone and substance, medium length ear, and strong sense of blood tracking.
As hunting equipment improved in the 19th Century, and game animals were harvested in the mountainous regions, a lighter more agile hound was required. In the 1870’s Baron Karg-Bebenburg, Reichenhall crossed the Hanoverian hound with smaller Alpine hound breeds or Bracken, to develop the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound. There is some confusion as to which Alpine breeds were used in the breeding program, however it is widely accepted that the Tyrolean Bracke, Alpine Dachsbracke, and Austrian Black and Tan Hound may have played a part.
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. In January of 2017, The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound Society of America was formed to address the growing need for a professional breed club dedicated to the future protection and promotion of the breed.
The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound is a relatively health problem free breed. Unfortunately, due to inbreeding and restrictive breeding programs fostered by some breed clubs, Idiopathic Epilepsy and Hip Dysplasia remain the significant disease conditions seen today. To a much lesser degree there have been reports of kidney failure, cancer, eye disease, and heart abnormalities. The informed buyer should expect the breeder to perform health tests prior to breeding and be aware of heritable diseases in the pedigrees of parents. Oak Hill Kennel is the only breeder in the United States, that we are aware of, that conducts 6 OFA health screening tests on breeding pairs and eye CERF exams on puppies prior to sale. Idiopathic Epilepsy remains difficult to diagnose and currently there is no test or cure available.