Berner Niederlaufhund

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Berner Niederlaufhund
Gonczy bernenski pl1.jpg
Nicknames Small Bernese Hound
Country of origin Switzerland
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Berner Niederlaufhund (known in the United States as the Small Bernese Hound) is a scent hound standing around 15 to 23 inches, which originated in Switzerland. It is a medium dog that is very powerful, and was used to hunt big game. The Berner Niederlaufhund is considered a "Hunting Dog in the Most Specific Meaning of the Word."[1] The Berner Niederlaufhund is considered by many hunters[who?] to be the best hunting dog in the world. It is a tri-colored hound, but one in every 20 or more dogs has a rough coat.

Franz Rudolf Frisching in the uniform of an officer of the Bernese Huntsmen Corps with his Berner Laufhund, painted by Jean Preudhomme in 1785


Around the 1900 the hunting activities were restricted to districts and since the hound used till then were too fast for this limited areas it was decided to establish a new type of hound. Using selected specimens of the medium sized Swiss Laufhund a smaller hunting dog was created. On July 1, 1905 the Swiss Niederlaufhund-Club (SNLC) was founded.[2]


The Swiss Niederlaufhund is an excellent hunting dog used to find and follow a scent even through difficult ground. He hunts really independently. This dog is also often used to pursue and find wounded animals.[3]

FCI classification[edit]

Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds 1. Scent Hounds 2. Scent Hounds hunted on leash 3. Related Breeds


These dogs‘ height lies between 35 and 43 cm for the males and 33 and 40 for the females. They appear to be square but are a little longer than they are tall and well-structured. The head is well clearly shaped and noble with a friendly and alert expression. The chest. The legs are strong with a robust structure. At a calm pace they carry the tail low, when they run it is a bit lifted. There are four different color variations: the Berner Niederlaufhund, the Jura Niederlaufhund, the Luzerner Niederlaufhund and the Schwyzer Niederlaufhund. The coat can be short and smooth or a bit longer and stiff depending on the type.[4]

Berner Niederlaufhund[edit]

This type is bred short-haired and wire-haired and always tri-colored. : white, black and maroon. The base color is white with big black spots. Some little spots are allowed. Over the eyes and on the cheeks these dogs have maroon-colored spots. A black mantle is allowed. The skin is black pigmented under the dark coat and marbled under the white coat. [5]

Jura Niederlaufhund[edit]

This type usually has a smooth coat. A deep black color with some maroon colored spots over the eyes, on the cheeks, chest and legs is preferred. A maroon base color with a black mantle is also allowed. White spots are tolerated only on the chest if they are not too big. The skin is dark pigmented under the black coat and paler under the spots.[6]

Luzerner Niederlaufhund[edit]

This type has a smooth, short coat. The base color is white, white and gray mottled or white and black mottled. Some bigger black spots or mantle are allowed. Marooned colored spots over the eyes and on the cheeks can appeare. The skin is dark pigmented under the black coat and paler under the mottled coat.[7]

Schwyzer Niederlaufhund[edit]

This type has a smooth coat. The base color is white with reddish colored spots. Some smaller spots and a mantle are allowed. The skin is dark grey colored under the reddish coat and marbled under the white coat.[8]


The Niederlaufhunde have a great sense of smell, they are fast and agile and passionate hunters which keep good track of the sent they are supposed to follow. Their voice is pleasant. These dogs are friendly and courageous and never aggressive. Some specimens are calmer than others.[9]

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