The Hygen Hound: Everything You Need to Know

The Hygen Hound is a Norwegian breed developed in the nineteenth century and best known for its endurance and exceptional hunting skills. 

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the Hygen Hound, from its origins and physical traits to its personality and health.

History and Origin of the Hygen Hound

The Breed’s Norwegian Roots

The Hygen Hound originated in Norway. They were developed by Hans Fredrik Hygen, who had a passion for hunting and dogs. Hygen began breeding hounds in the 19th century with the goal of creating one that was well-suited for hunting in the Norwegian countryside.

The Norwegian countryside is marked by rugged terrains with rocky mountains, dense forests, and icy rivers. It is also notorious for its harsh weather conditions, with long, cold winters and short, cool summers.

The Role of Hans Fredrik Hygen

Hygen wanted a breed that could withstand these challenging conditions and still perform well in the hunt. His breeding program was highly selective, with an emphasis on developing a dog that was agile, fast, and had a strong sense of smell. 

Hagen carefully chose the best dogs from his litters to breed, and he kept detailed records of each dog’s performance in the field. Over time, he was successful in producing a breed of hound that was perfectly adapted to the Norwegian countryside.

Hygen spent countless hours working with his dogs, and he was always looking for ways to improve the breed. He was known for his kindness towards his dogs, and he treated them like members of his own family.

Physical Characteristics of the Hygen Hound

The Hygen Hound is a fascinating medium-sized breed with a muscular build and long, lean body that allows it to run through the rugged Norwegian terrain with ease.

Size and Weight 

The Hygen Hound is between 19 and 24 inches tall at the shoulders and weighs around 44 to 55 pounds. Males are typically taller, heavier, and more muscular than females. 

Coat and Colors

The Hygen Hound has a thick and shiny coat that is insulating and protects the dog from the hostile Norwegian climate. The coat comes in several colors, including yellow and red, chestnut, and black with bright chestnut colors. Some dogs have white markings. 

Distinct Features

The Hygen Hound’s long ears are set low on the head and hang down to the shoulders, making the dog easily recognizable. The ears are not only a distinctive feature but also serve a functional purpose – they help pick up scents from the ground. 

Temperament and Personality Traits

The Hygen Hound is a great family pet and is highly loyal to its owner. Its temperament is a mix of independence and affection, making it a great companion for those who enjoy spending time outdoors.

Intelligence and Trainability

The Hygen Hound is a highly intelligent breed that is quick to learn and eager to please. They are known to have a great memory and can easily remember commands and tricks that they have learned.

This makes them a great choice for those who enjoy training their dogs and teaching them new things. However, some breed members can also be quite stubborn and strong-willed. This means that they may require a bit more patience and persistence when it comes to training.

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

The Hygen Hound loves to stay active and requires plenty of exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. They were originally bred as hunting dogs and have a natural instinct to run, explore and chase scents.

Owners should ensure that their Hygen Hound gets plenty of opportunities to exercise. This can include daily walks, runs, hikes, and playtime in a fenced-in yard. It is also important to provide mental stimulation through interactive toys. 

Socialization and Interaction with Other Animals

The Hygen Hound is a social breed that thrives on human and animal interaction. They make great family pets and are known to be great with children. However, it is important to note that they do have an inherent chasing instinct due to their hunting background.

Early socialization is key when it comes to ensuring that a Hygen Hound grows up to be a well-adjusted and friendly dog. They should be exposed to a variety of people, pets, and environments from a young age to help them feel comfortable in different situations. 

Health and Lifespan of the Hygen Hound

Common Health Issues

The Hygen Hound is prone to several health issues, such as: 

  • Hip Dysplasia: A condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and other mobility issues
  • Ear Infections: Caused by a build-up of wax, dirt, and moisture in the ear canal, infections can be painful and uncomfortable 

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

Preventative care is key to keeping your Hygen Hound healthy and happy. This includes regular veterinary checkups, vaccinations, and parasite prevention. Your vet can also provide advice on nutrition and exercise, which are important factors in maintaining your dog’s overall health.

Expected Lifespan

With proper care and attention, Hygen Hounds can live up to 12 to 14 years. This is a relatively long lifespan for a dog, and it’s a testament to the breed’s good health and resilience. 


Overall, the Hygen Hound is an excellent breed for anyone looking for an intelligent, loyal, and loving companion. By keeping up with its needs, you can ensure your dog lives a healthy and happy life.

If interested in a Hygen Hound, research the breed carefully, find a reputable breeder, and keep in mind that the breed is relatively rare, and getting a pup may take some time. 

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