Breed History

History of the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound

Bayerischer Gebirgsschweisshund

The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound is classified as a specialist breed for 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 from glands in 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 its kind in the field.

This tracking ability was of great need in the 1600s when hunting techniques and equipment were very rustic. The German hunting philosophy demanded the hunter harvest every animal injured. In thelower elevations and rolling foothills, the hound of choice was the Hannoverscher Schweisshund or Hanoverian Scenthound. This hound was of heavy bone and substance, medium length of 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 1870s, Baron Karg-Bebenburg Reichenhall crossed the Hanoverian Scenthound 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. In December 2016, the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound was recognized by the AKC in the Foundation Stock Service program. In January 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. Members are encouraged to follow a guideline of health testing prior to breeding to ensure healthy generations.


The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound is a relatively healthy breed. Unfortunately, due to inbreeding and restrictive breeding programs fostered by certain European breed clubs and breeders, idiopathic epilepsy and hip dysplasia remain the significant disease conditions seen today. Idiopathic epilepsy remains difficult to diagnose as there are no accurate tests available. Currently there are only a few treatment options for epilepsy, however there is no cure. To a 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 their breeding stock.

Living with a Bavarian

First and foremost, this is a specialist tracking breed used in locating wounded game. This breed was developed to work and enjoys being outside in a hunting atmosphere. There are other highly skilled tasks that this breed has become known for, primarily in law enforcement scent work, search and rescue, man-trailing, medical alert, therapy, medical service and hunting. This breed is equally at home in the show ring, in sporting events, obedience, trials rally, agility and as a loving, devoted companion.

As with any high energy, highly intelligent dog breed, you will discover that Bavarian Mountain Scent Hounds are a force to be reckoned with. Left without something to expend their energy on, they will find ways to get in trouble. This breed is capable of climbing fences, digging holes and destroying anything deemed of value (shoes, electrical wires, furniture). They crave attention from their owners, even if it’s negative attention in the form of punishment. It is therefore extremely important that this breed be given a job, exercised daily and mentally stimulated. Sitting in a kennel or crate all day will NOT work for the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound. This breed can be house-trained with diligence, making it an acceptable house dog for many. This may not be the best breed for apartment-dwellers unless there is plenty of daily exercise in the form of outdoor activities.

It is vitally important that this breed be socialized and leash-trained during its puppy development period. Puppies destined for wounded game or any form of scent-tracking should be started as young as 6 weeks in trailing fresh materials. The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound responds best to gentle positive reinforcement training methods; harsh punishment is to be avoided at all costs.

This breed has a high prey drive, therefore it might not be suited to homes with small animals unless it has been trained to accept them during their puppyhood. Children are well tolerated by this breed, ages 3 years of age or older.

Properly cared for, this breed can live well beyond 15 years of age. Many are lost each year due to hunting accidents, running off leash, car accidents and disease. It is recommended that you fit your dog with a name collar and have it microchipped as a puppy so that you can regain your lost pet should it wander off. Most hunters fit their dogs with GPS tracking collars in the event they become separated in the forest.

Breed Standards

Click below for more information on the Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound breed standards: