Hunting with unleashed dogs

Hunting with unleashed dogs has been taking place in Sweden for a very long time. That is due to the country being sparsely populated, relatively good availability of wild animals and the population’s dependency on hunting for their survival.

Location: Nation wide

Hällristning med beväpnade människor i sällskap av hundar.

Photo: Bror Jakobsson, Bohusläns museum (CC BY-NC-ND).

Hunting with unleashed dogs primarily occurs in the forested parts of Sweden and is still practised all over the country.

The tradition has also resulted in a group of dog breeds – Swedish foxhounds, which are used for hunting small game. Today, anyone who meet the formal requirements has the right to hunt.

Hundrasen Hamiltonstövare är en svensk hundras som är lämplig för jakt på småvilt. Foto: Lotta Bengtsson/Svenska Kennelklubben.

Photo: Lotta Bengtsson/Svenska Kennelklubben.

This form of hunting has changed over the years along with the physical geographical changes to the Swedish landscape and is today primarily country pursuit and leisure activity that has some significance to the local community among those interested in hunting in the countryside. There is now less interest in some of the dog breeds used for hunting with unleashed dogs.

A number of linked factors have had a negative impact on the practice, not least climate change, which have led to the populations of several domestic species such as moose having decreased. Another factor at play is the discussion around different forms of hunting. The tradition is now passed on primarily through education. A hunting licence has been mandatory since 1985 and getting one involves learning about hunting with unleashed dogs.