Bernese Basset, Schweizerischer Niederlaufhund, Small Swiss Hound
The Berner Niederlaufhund is one of four varieties of Small Swiss Hounds, the other three being the Jura, Luzerner, and Schwyzer. The title ‘Niederlaufhund’ means ‘short-legged scenthound’, and due to their size they are sometimes referred to as dachbrackes or bassets. Each variety specializes in its own hunting grounds, the Berner being used to track small game in mountain valleys. The Berner Niederlaufhund is also the only Swiss Hound (of both sizes) that has a smooth and wire haired variety.
Berner Niederlaufhund Standards
- FCI (Group 6)
- UKC (Scenthound)
- 18-33 lbs
- small scenthound
- ears are long, pendulous, carried folded
- tail is long, reaches at least the hock
- smooth coat is short and close fitting
- rough coat is harsh with a slight beard
- tricolor (white, black, and tan)
History of the Berner Niederlaufhund
All of the Small Swiss Hounds were the result of specialized breeding programs to reduce the size of their larger cousins. In the early 20th century a new system of hunting preserves was created in different parts of Switzerland that reduced the size of their hunting grounds. The larger dogs were deemed too fast for this type of hunting and so in an effort to “improve” the hunt their legs were gradually shortened. The Berner Niederlaufhund is most commonly found in the Swiss Alpine region around the capital of Berne.