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Finnish Hound


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Jari Fors - Finnish Hound
Interview by Sabine Middelhaufe

Since march 2010 Jari Fors, well known show judge and for 5 years elected “Best Breeder of Finland” with his Alapörkän Kennel , is also president of the Finnish Hound Club, so who better to ask about this fascinating breed then him?

Since when are you interested in this breed and why did you choose it in the beginning?

I was born in a family, where there were always hunting dogs, Finnish Hounds and Finnish Spitz. When I was 15 years old and started to hunt alone, in my home was a then in Finland very famous Finnish Hound male, the Finnish Working Champion Jallu. At that time there was a very good hare population in our area and I shot them a lot. It was that dog, Jallu, who won my heart for the Finnish Hound.

Would you explain the characteristics of the breed for which a potential owner (sportsman) might prefer this breed to others?

The Finnish Hound is bred to drive hare and fox in Finland’s ascetic and snowy lanscape. His unfailing eagerness to hunt during several consecutive days up to 5 – 10 hours per day, his audible barking with several tunes and his ingenious ability to solve the hare’s or foxes complicated misleading
trials are the best qualities of a Finnish Hound.

Above: Jari Fors with three of his Finnish Hounds. Titlephoto:Alapörkän Liinu

In your opinion, is there any specific characteristic of the breed that sportsmen nowadays don't appreciate enough?

A Finnish hunter certainly appreciates the characteristics of a Finnish Hound, especially his great eagerness to hunt, but at the same time the dog’s calmness and manageability at home. But there are also negative qualities such as shyness, some skin and heart problems and cancers very common today.

Which characteristics does a „good“ representative of the breed absolutely need to have?

A top quality Finnish Hound must have the following features:
calm and friendliness, ease when travelling (car, train, boat, plane), excellent eagerness to hunt, excellent ability to drive the game, at least very good barking and finally obedience.

Alapörkän Liinu (b. 6.4.2008) In dogshows she has won a certificate as Best Female and in hunting trials four times 1. place

How do you see the situation of the breed in your country, and if you had the power, is there something you would like to change in the present day way of breeding?

The Finnish Hound has for a long time been the most popular breed in Finland. During the best years in the 1980s and 1990s more than 5000 dogs were registered each year. Nowadays the registrations have leveled at around 2000 – 2300 per year. Compared with others the Finnish Hound is still by far the most popular hunting dog in Finland. In the other Nordic countries he has climbed to be the most popular hound, too.
There has been a lot of so called in- and line breeding in Finnish Hounds though. With that kind of breeding good results have been achieved concerning the hunting abilities, but at the same it has generated deseases and problems in temperament. Today one tends to use out breeding as much as possible to keep the breed healthy and with proper temperament.

In your opinion, are the breed and it's characteristics known well enough to potential owners (sportsmen) or is more information and promotion needed?

The Finnish Hound is very well known in his native country and other Nordic countries. The Finnish Hound Association is the biggest breed club in Finland and it has handled the marketing to the kennel world very well.

Six year old Alapörkän Bella who is Finnish and Norwegian Working Trial Champion and Finnish Champion.

Do you personally find it important to partecipate in dog shows, working trials and club events?

It is very important indeed to participate in dog shows and Hound trials, because with the information gathered there we get the best knowledge of the dog’s breeding qualities. For instance, I myself do not sell puppies to people who do not take their dogs to such events. Diverse club meetings and so called hound days are absolutely fitting occasions. You usually get new informations about dog breeding there and the current situation of the breed. And the best, people with the same interests can make acquaintance with each other.

According to your judgement, for what kind of hunting and for which species of game is the breed particularly qualified?

As I already mentioned earlier, the Finnish Hound is bred as a driving dog for hare and fox, but he also likes to chase a bobcat and some dogs even like to drive the wolf. Driving an even-toed ungulate is forbidden for a Finnish Hound, but because of the strong keenness for hunting it has not been totally rooted out of the breed.

And, last question: what advice would you give someone who wants to use this breed for hunting for the first time?

If you are going to hunt with a Finnish Hound for the first time, do not go alone, but join an experienced enthusiast of the breed. Thus you get the best picture of how you should act with the Hound in the forest. If the hunting day is a success, I believe, you will always remember the tough work of the Finnish Hound, the intense barking with several tunes and the exciting happenings, when you feel the driving of a hare or a fox is approaching your shooting station. You will understand, why the Finnish Hound is said to be the best hound in the world!

Liinu's in profile.

All photos (c) Jari Fors

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