The Balkan Hound’s name was changed to the Serbian Hound in 1996 by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (International Kennel Club.) However, there are many people who stubbornly prefer the original name.
The Balkan Hound’s name was changed to the Serbian Hound in 1996 by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (International Kennel Club.) However, there are many people who stubbornly prefer the original name. Other names include the Serbischer Laufhund, the Sabueso Serbio and the Srpski Gonic. Some people claim that the Balkan Hound is more of a type than a breed because the area has been so ravaged by wars that purity of bloodline takes a back seat to survival.
But no matter what name they are called or if their blood is “pure” or not, Balkan hounds are intelligent, graceful, resourceful animals that (even after all of the horrors of war) still is very friendly towards people. Legends abound that these dogs would purposefully trip buried land mines in order to save the lives of children. It is difficult to find Balkan or Serbian hounds anywhere other than Serbia.
This dog resembles a black and tan foxhound, although some Balkan hounds may have white on their chests as well. They are built like typical hounds with long straight tails, floppy ears, a long nose and long yet well-muscled legs. The chest is deep with the belly often tucked up, although not as extreme as a greyhound’s belly. Looking at their profile, their backs usually have an arch (or graceful hump.) Their noses are almost always black. Their eyes are often dark and oval-shaped. Their cheeks are flat.
This is a medium sized dog averaging about 20 inches high at the top of the shoulders, although males can grow up to 22 inches. Both females and males can weigh about 45 pounds. This is an all-around dog, but specifically bred for hunting. The Balkan hound has short hair. Don’t bathe a Balkan hound too often or he will lose his coat’s natural luster.
It is unknown how hounds got to Serbia, perhaps with Phoenician traders, but the Balkan hound type is thought to have been established by the eleventh century. The earliest writing about the breed dates from about 1005, written a mysterious dog-loving man called Frank Laska, who wrote about a number of hounds in the area. It wasn’t until 1924, after the advent of dog shows, when a breed standard was written down and was finally accepted by the FCI a year later.
Balkan hounds know when to turn on the speed and aggression to bring down game but when to switch it off when they are around people. The earliest breed standard noted that any mean dogs or overly shy were not recommended to get any ribbons. Like any other hound, Balkan hounds need regular exercise and a fenced in yard or they will become hyperactive and prone to wander.
Dogs: Eyewitness Companions. Dr, Bruce Fogle. DK Publishing; 2006.
United Kennel Club. “Serbian Hound.” 2009.
eHow. “The History of the Balkan Hound.” Katie Pugh.