Darandeida sur la Gelgia

Sunset over Julia.



In German we have the saying: Jagd ohne Hund ist Schund.

That roughly translates to: hunting without a dog is trash.

Today this mostly means that every hunter should have easy and fast access to a local tracking hound to find wounded game if he needs to. Not every hunter has the time and ressources to keep and train a blood tracking hound (what we call Schweisshund in German), nor does everyone want such a dog.

We have groups of hunters with specially trained dogs for this task, who will search for wounded game if a hunter doesn’t kill it on spot.

This is Ayla, a Bavarian Mountain Hound and working Schweisshund demonstrating her abilities at the hunting fair. Here she is getting her harness on, the sign that work starts now.

Her handler lets her find the starting point of the track on her own. She is worked on a loose leash, so that the handler doesn’t influence the dog even if the handler knows the track, as is the case in training situation.

Getting close..

…and found! In this task she was asked to follow a track of sprayed deer blood which led to a deer coat.

Isn’t she a beautiful dog?

The Kalihund


In the mountains of Savognin
lives the Kalihund.

It runs wild across the snow,
in search of dummies
and mice and foxes.

It comes from the barbarous lands from beyond tibet
where no dog of europe could dare to tread.
It quests in the world between wild and tame.

Part wolf.
Part jackal.
Part pariah hound.

No person can call the Kalihund a breed
for it lies beyond it, above it, and outside of it.
The dogs of village, temple, forest, mountain, and plain
which came from the wild wolf of yore
course through the veins of this gray Kalihund.

It is a creature both unique and free,
spirited and dashing,
but not yet tame.

Kali’s C-BARQ scores

Some days ago I filled out the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ) from the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society of the University of Pennsylvania. Atlhough mainly directed at people working with dogs (such as vets, breeders, shelters, researchers, etc.), it is also open for owners of pet dogs for a limited period. According to the website, it is

currently the only behavioral assessment instrument of its kind to be extensively tested for reliability and validity on large samples of dogs of many breeds. The current version consists of 101 questions describing the different ways in which dogs typically respond to common events, situations, and stimuli in their environment.

And these are Kali’s scores:


101 is probably a lot if you’re talking about dalmatians, but it isn’t much if those are the question to evaluate complex dog behaviour.

As you can see, Kali has no score for familiar dog aggression. This is because the questions to this segment were focused on the reactions towards other dogs in the same household (Kali is the only dog here) and towards other dogs visiting your household (we never have visiting dogs because of the cats, who are afraid).

Kali has never shown aggression towards familiar dogs, it’s the strangers she has issues with – as visible above. Both bars for dog-directed aggression and dog-directed fear are yellow and higher than average – some concern. That was to be expected.

This is what C-BARQ has to say about the coloured bars:

Bildschirmfoto 2015-02-22 um 14.59.21

Kali’s reactivity towards other dogs is a problem, and we’re working on this with management and training. I think we’ve come quite far already, altough stranger dogs running towards her directly will always be an issue.

She also got a high yellow bar for chasing. See this post for an example. Training her recall and getting used to the usual neighbourhood cats has helped a lot, but we’ll have to keep that up, or it might become an orange bar…

The questionnaire is supposed to have both a follow-up & a reassessment, we’ll see what the next results will be…


At the hunting fair they also showed everyone interested how to gut a chamois.

This female chamois was shot the day before (out of season) because she had infectious keratoconjunctivitis, what we call chamois blindness. It’s a highly infectious eye disease that affects sheep, goats, chamois & ibex and results in blindness and ultimately death. The pathogen which causes chamois blindness is especially common in sheep and it can cause epidemics in wildlife when infected sheep spend a summer high up in the Alps, where chamois and sheep graze in the same places.

What infectious keratoconjunctivitis can look like in different animals:

Chamois blindness in chamois & ibex.

Infected eyes in ibex, sheep and chamois.

I have seen how to gut game before, and have done it myself in vetschool and when I got whole animals for dog food. But I never saw it on a pregnant animal.

Chamois mate in late november and the kids are then born in May or early June. This chamois was shot in the first week of February. So that puts this embryo at around 10 weeks old.

Swiss Hounds

At a recent hunting fair they had a presentation of different breeds used for hunting around here. We saw some beautiful dogs, especially a nice variety of our Swiss Hounds.

The Swiss hound comes in 4 colours and both the normal-legged type and a short-legged type which was created by crossing in Dachsbracken and Dachshunds.

These are Lucerne dogs, called Luzerner Laufhunde in German.

And these lovely black and tan dogs with the long ears are Jura hounds, Jura Laufhunde in German.

A very nice Schwyzer Hound.

And the last colour variety is the Bernese Hound, called Berner Laufhund:

Unfortunately they only had Bernese hounds of the short-legged type at the fair we call these Berner Niederlaufhunde. Aren’t they awesome little dogs? Unlike Basset hounds who are also a short-legged type of hound, these don’t have excess skin. They also have tight lips and clean eyes. They are not exagerated dogs, but useful hunting partners.

And the last two of these are indeed very special. They are wirehaired, a variety which is quite rare today.