16 Hygenhund Temperament Traits: Easy to Train, Hard to Tame



The Hygenhund temperament is loyal and obedient toward family members but can be aggressive toward strangers.

In the right hands, the Hygenhund (or Hygen Hound) can be a wonderful family pet. But he also can be possessive with potential aggression tendencies.

Early socialization and strict training are critical for this breed. He is not a good choice for an inexperienced dog owner.

If you’re not willing or able to commit a lot of time and effort to bring out the best in the Hygenhund, this breed isn’t right for you.

If you do have what it takes, the Hygenhund will reward your efforts with loving devotion.

Hygenhund Temperament and Personality

1. Intelligent

This is a very smart breed. He is highly trainable and learns quickly.

2. Eager to Please

The Hygenhund temperament is obedient and eager to please his family members.

3. Loving

This dog is affectionate and loving to his human family and others he knows well.

4. Loyal

He is devoted to his humans and forms very strong bonds with them. The interactive nature of training creates even stronger bonds.

5. Lively

The Hygenhund temperament is cheerful and lively. He has a happy, engaging personality.

6. Gentle

This breed has a sweet, gentle disposition and is good with kids. He is playful and will love wearing them out for you for naps or bedtime.

The Hygenhund is usually protective of “his own” kids. However, even with early and consistent socialization, he may not be safe to be unsupervised around children he doesn’t know well.

7. Energetic

The Hygenhund is a prized hunter. He is a distance runner with great endurance. Not surprisingly, he has a very high exercise need.

8. Social

The Hygenhund is very sociable. He needs a lot of attention from his family. If left alone for too long, he will treat you to some unwanted Hygenhund behaviors.

He can be destructive, can chew, and he barks a lot when he is bored or lonely.

9. Protective

The Hygenhund is a good watchdog or guard dog. This can a good thing if you’re looking for one. If you’re not, he will need to be trained early.

This breed is very territorial. He can be overprotective of his family and property, and this may be hard to change.

10. Hard-working

The Hygenhund has an intense work ethic. In fact, if he had his way, he would always be working. Keeping him busy is one of the keys to success with a Hygenhund.

11. Athletic

This is a lean, muscular dog who has been bred for the harsh terrain of Norway. You may need strong fences to keep him contained.

12. Hardy

The Hygenhund is a tough dog. Not only can he hunt on rough terrain, but he can also tolerate the cold Norwegian climate.

13. Stranger-aggressive

The Hygenhund temperament is suspicious when it comes to strangers. He does not like to be approached or touched by people he doesn’t know. And he can be aggressive about it.

Early socialization and firm training are not optional with this breed.

14. Dominant

Hygenhunds can be aggressive toward other dogs as well as strangers. They have been known to bite. This dog needs a very firm leader to teach him that the human is in charge.

Again, he needs a home with an experienced dog trainer.

15. High Prey Drive

The Hygenhund temperament is not trustworthy around cats or other small animals. After all, he is a hunter of all sorts of prey.

16. Possessive

This dog can be very possessive of his food, toys, and family. Again, socialization is critically important to address this behavior from the very beginning.

Hygenhund History

In the late 1930s, Norwegian Hans Fredrik Hygen set out to create a hunting dog. He wanted a hardy breed that could tolerate any terrain and the cold Arctic climate.

He started with German Holsteiner Hounds. From there, accounts differ. Most historians seem to believe that he used the Bloodhound, Basset Hound, English Pointer, and Beagle to create his new breed.

Others say he used Scandinavian hounds.

Either way, Hygen had to have been pleased with the result of his efforts. The Hygenhund is, indeed, an exceptionally hardy hunting dog with great endurance.

He also is an enthusiastic worker who loves his job. He is able to track all types of game through any conditions.

By accident or design, the Hygenhund turned out to be a great watchdog as well. The Hygenhund temperament also makes him a wonderful family dog (with proper training).

In its early days, the Hygenhund was a favorite hunting dog in Norway. By the 1900s, however, he began to lose favor.

The Hygenhund traits of possessiveness and potential aggression nearly caused his extinction.

Norwegian Hygenhund breeders are now working on restoring the dog’s reputation. They are selectively breeding to improve the Hygenhund traits of aggression and overprotectiveness.

The breed is still extremely rare outside of Norway. However, it is recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and the United Kennel Club (UKC).

Hygenhund Training

The Hygenhund is a very smart breed that learns quickly and easily. He is eager to please and will likely find obedience training a bonding activity.

However, don’t that lull you into thinking he’s a pushover. Even if he is completely obedient with you, he needs a very firm trainer.

Otherwise, you may have problems with his tendency to be aggressive with others.

You will need to establish respect for your leadership from the very beginning. He will learn best with a gentle but stern approach.

This is a delicate balance that’s not easy to achieve. It’s one of the reasons that this breed is not suited for someone who has no dog training experience.

Socialization is equally important with the Hygenhund. You will need to expose him to many different situations, people (especially children), dogs, and other animals.

Children need to be taught to treat the dog with respect. Children (or anyone) that the dog doesn’t know must not be allowed to try to pet him.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your Hygenhund dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

Hygenhund Appearance

General Appearance

The Hygenhund is a medium-sized dog with a compact, rectangular build and muscular legs. His coat is thick and shiny. The texture is straight.

The head is triangular in shape with a broad skull. His ears are wide and pendulous. The eyes are dark. He has a long, strong neck and a medium-sized muzzle.

He carries his tail high and straight.

Common Hygenhund colors are brown, black, red, and yellow. He can have white or tan markings.

Hygenhund Size

Hygenhund weight averages 44-55 pounds. The average Hygenhund height is 44-55 pounds. There is no real size difference between males and females.

Hygenhund Health Issues

The Hygenhund is usually a very health breed. Like all breeds, though, there a few conditions that he may be prone to.

  • Von Willebrand’s disease. This is a blood-clotting disorder that causes uncontrollable bleeding. It can be fatal if bleeding can’t be stopped. Luckily, the Hygenhund is not one of the breeds known to have the most severe form of the disease.
  • Hip dysplasia. This is a fairly common musculoskeletal condition that all larger breeds and working dogs are prone to. It’s a dislocation of the ball-and-socket joint of the hip. It can cause lameness, arthritis, and loss of function.
  • Bloat. This doesn’t sound so horrible, but it’s actually a medical emergency. It is also called gastric dilatation, gastric torsion, or volvulus. It’s a twisting of your dog’s stomach that creates a blockage. You should know the symptoms and call your vet right away if you notice any.

Helpful Dog Health Resource:

Note: Our Health is #1 Priority. It should be no different for your dog. But you need to help him. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is the answer. This handy guide will help you recognize the symptoms of the health problems above. Get the knowledge to stay ahead of these terrible issues that can rob your lovely dog from vigor and life. Help your friend make it to 15 yrs+ without pain and suffering.

Hygenhund Lifespan

The life expectancy of the Hygenhund is 12-15 years.

Caring for the Hygenhund

Hygenhund Grooming

The Hygenhund has a dense coat that’s designed to be protective in the frigid climate of Norway. It needs to be brushed three or four times a week.

This is important to distribute the protective natural oils in his coat. It has the added benefit of keeping his coat shiny.

The Hygenhund is a seasonal shedder, so twice a year he may need more frequent brushing.

He should not be bathed often. This, again, is to retain the weatherproofing oils of his coat. If he does need a bath, be sure to use a mild shampoo made for dogs.

Hygenhund Diet

The Hygenhund should do well on any high-quality commercial food. However, he is high-energy dog. If he works and/or plays hard, you may want to consider a food formulated for active dogs.

If you go that route, you will need to keep an eye on his weight to be sure he’s burning the extra calories.

Hygenhund Exercise

This hunting breed needs vigorous exercise, much more than a walk or two a day. He is an athletic dog who needs a lot of space and room to run free.

The Hygenhund needs to be in a rural area. Ideally, he would have a place to run off leash each day.

This dog is not suited for apartment or city life. Here is a list of dogs that are apartment friendly.

The Hygenhund is also a very intelligent dog. He needs mental stimulation as much as he needs physical exercise.

If you will not be hunting your Hygenhund, you will probably need to find another way to exercise him. The Hygenhund is an athletic dog who would do well with organized dog sports.

Time spent training and competing in events such as agility or flyball would offer both physical and mental stimulation.

It would also be a powerful bonding opportunity. This dog thrives on interaction with his family.

Finding a Hygenhund

Buying a Hygenhund from a Breeder

Although Hygenhunds are very popular in Norway, it is a rare breed even there. Only 30 to 50 Hygenhund puppies are registered each year.

There is a good reason for this. As discussed earlier, Hygenhund breeders are working hard to eliminate the potential for aggression in the breed.

But they are working with some tough restrictions meant to preserve the breed’s positive qualities. The breed standard states that other breeds may not be used to reconstruct the Hygenhund.

Breeders often use this method to rebuild breeds that are near extinction. Hygenhund breeders are not allowed to do this. They are limited to the small gene pool they already have.

What all of this means to you is that to find a Hygenhund puppy, you may have to connect with someone who already owns one. We weren’t able to find any breeders online at the time of this writing.

However, you might try an Internet search of Hygen Hound user groups and forums. These exist for nearly every breed worldwide. Facebook would be a good channel to start with.

YouTube would be another possibility. Dog lovers and dog breeders often post videos of their dogs and may publish contact information along with them. You would then be able to ask for help finding a good breeder.

The good news is that the UKC recognized this breed in 2006. In time the American Kennel Club (AKC) may follow and the breed will make its way to North America. It will then be easier to find a Hygenhund puppy.

Hygenhund Rescue/Adoption

Sadly, you are very unlikely to find a Hygenhund for adoption or rescue. With so few puppies born each year—and all of those in Norway—they are still very rare.

Is the Hygenhund the Right Breed for You?

The Hygenhund is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde. He has so many marvelous qualities that he’s worth considering when you’re ready to adopt.

However, he also comes with a certain amount of risk because of his potential to be overprotective and aggressive.

You should not consider this breed unless you are experienced with training dogs.

You would have to be committed to properly socializing your Hygenhund. Even then, you may always need to be vigilant around strangers and children.

You would also need to ensure that this very high-energy dog had enough exercise and stimulation to keep him busy.

That’s a lot of commitment. But to the family that can handle it, the rewards could be great. He is a loyal, affectionate, and fun-loving family dog and an excellent hunter.

The Hygenhund temperament would ensure that life would never be boring.