Burrowing dogs: description of breeds, features of keeping and education

Historically, one of the first uses of dogs in human life was hunting. And until now, it remains an important specialization of these animals. Those pets that are able to get animals hiding in the ground deserve special attention.


Burrowing dogs stand out even in relation to other hunting breeds. The definition itself shows what their specialization is. It consists in searching for wild animals and capturing them directly in the shelter.

Usually a dog going into a hole is in good health. But even they may be characterized by certain diseases, their list is determined by a particular breed.

Burrowing dogs most often suffer from:

  • spinal deformities;
  • malfunctions of the heart and blood vessels;
  • visual and auditory disorders.

The main prey of burrowing dogs are:

  • raccoon dogs;
  • foxes;
  • otters;
  • badgers.

The strategy of action in a dog is not always the same. Usually, after entering the hole, she needs to bark at the victim and grab it. In other cases, potential prey is driven outside, where it is already in a trap or at gunpoint.

But there is another approach – forcing the animal to hide in a snout. Further, the hunters can only dig, and the barking of the pet acts as a guide.

After special training, burrowing dogs can be used both in land and water hunting. Some breeds are even suitable for:

  • work on wild boars and elks;
  • supply of shot birds;
  • search for beavers;
  • checking beaver huts.

But still, their main scope of application has a decisive influence on the nature of norniks. These animals should be exceptionally brave and show viciousness towards wild animals. An important feature is a certain level of independence (after all, in a hole you can’t count on the help of the owners and even their tips). However, this independence should not turn into a loss of control.

And even the most courageous, persistent dog will lose a deadly fight with prey if it relies only on its own character and will to win. A mandatory requirement for them is a strong physique and solid physical development.. The dog must also be hardy. The animal must be unpretentious and endure any weather conditions (including not only negative temperatures, but also wind, rain, fog, high humidity). Hunting often takes place in autumn and winter, so weather resistance is critical. It, in turn, depends on the condition of the hairline.

But even if the pet is quite reliable, that’s not all. He needs to have excellent vision, smell and hearing in order to quickly find prey. A burrowing dog must instantly adapt to urban and rural life, to long hikes – it will have to change between modes more than once in a matter of hours.

Another essential feature is suitability for long trips on cars and trains, motorcycles and motor boats. But you will have to carefully select a pet, because even among formally suitable breeds there are too many “sofa” individuals.

Popular breeds

Although the “range” of norniks is expanding, the main varieties of these dogs have remained unchanged for several decades. The very first described dog will be dachshund. Although it has been bred for about 400 years, the popularity of this animal is not declining. Its characteristics were only further honed by long-term use. The hunting instincts of the breed are even hypertrophied.

Standardized dachshunds are heavier than 7 kg, sometimes reaching up to 15 kg. The height of such animals can reach 0.23 m. They are characterized by a powerful, dense exterior. The anterior part of the body clearly outweighs – the chest is much wider than the pelvis. The shortened paws are still quite strong and have a curved landing.

This last property is not accidental: with any other structure of the paws, jumping out of holes would be very difficult.

The muzzle, like the entire body of the dachshund, is elongated. The ears are usually hanging, and their tips are rounded. There are also long-haired dachshunds, which differ from the standard only in the length of the hair. As for rabbit dachshunds, they almost completely correspond to larger individuals, but at the same time they are significantly smaller and lighter – a maximum of 5 kg.

Any of the branches of this breed perfectly manifests itself when kept at home. All of them are unpretentious. At the same time, they are able to instantly switch from the “sofa” to the “field” mode. Dachshunds understand commands instantly and are easy to learn.

They will execute only those orders that seem appropriate to them at the moment. No punishments help here: animals are proud, independent and even obstinate. Dachshunds are considered excellent partners. But in their descriptions it is invariably noted that loneliness is not well tolerated by such pets, rivalry with other pets is also not perceived very well.

To train such a dog is very difficult, it will take considerable patience. Owners must treat their animals with respect.

At the same time, untimely training and its late start can lead to self-will and attempts to subdue the owner.

In second place after taxes are deservedly yagd terriers. In their descriptions, a combination of dexterity and courage is invariably noted. Such dogs will perfectly cope not only with small prey underground, but also with birds and even individual artiodactyls. Jagdterriers have been used since the beginning of the 20th century, and this time was enough for them to securely win the hearts of hunters.

The advantage of this breed is the exterior, which is maximally oriented to burrow hunting:

  • dry, medium-sized body;
  • weight on average 10 kg;
  • strongly developed muscles;
  • powerful limbs;
  • elongated muzzle;
  • wool divided into two layers;
  • powerful undercoat.

As for character, the Jagd Terrier has an amazing combination of courage and aggressive behavior. The breed is very focused and knows how to behave purposefully. Fear of such a pet is practically unknown. Therefore, yagd terriers penetrate into the holes of animals without hesitation, motivated only by the desire to realize their own potential.

But for the same reasons, training such terriers is very difficult. Stubbornness and severity make them try to consistently win a dominant position in the home “flock”.

A good alternative to yagd terriers are cairn terriers. They have a combination of powerful hunting instincts and good looks. The height of an adult dog is 0.28 m, and the weight is approximately 6-7 kg. A feature of the cores is wool, which seems to be disheveled in appearance.

It is appropriate to complete the review of the breeds on fox terriers. As it is easy to guess from their name, this species was purposefully bred for fox hunting. Animals are very compact: their growth is not more than 0.38 m, while their maximum weight reaches 8 kg. Fox Terriers are divided into long-haired and smooth-haired varieties, both of them are characterized by endurance and impressive courage.

How to choose a puppy?

To begin with, you should clarify for yourself which properties of rocks are advantages, and which are obvious disadvantages. A very bad trait is the desire to enter holes without the permission of the owners. The size of the pet should not be too small – many problems can arise because of it. But moving slowly through thick tall grass is often an advantage.

Thanks to him, the hunters manage to get to the place where the pet drives the animal out of the hole, and successfully shoot or use a trap.

These moments are characteristic of any breed. The choice between individual varieties should be made taking into account:

  • different manner of action of animals;
  • unequal temperament;
  • features of behavior;
  • the appearance of the animal.

If the necessity of the first three points is logically clear even to non-professionals in hunting, then the last one needs an explanation. The appearance of a pet that is inappropriate for the owner’s aesthetic tastes will only cause irritation. No matter how hard a person tries to keep such negative emotions in himself, they will invariably be expressed in relations with a four-legged assistant. Therefore, the effectiveness of educational work will be much lower than we would like. And the necessary trust will not be achieved.

But it’s not just about the nuances of character and psychology. Welsh Terriers and Rough-Coated Fox Terriers are wonderful dogs in their own right.

However, they need trimming at least once every six months. With the rapid growth of wool, it will be required already 1 time in 4 months. Dachshunds with long hair will need to be combed daily.

Another subtlety is that very long and very short coats are equally bad at hunting. In the first case, the animal will continuously get dirty, in the second, there is a high risk of hypothermia. In order to avoid mistakes, it is imperative to consult with professionals from canine centers.

The rarity of some animals affects not only their price. Sometimes it is impossible to find a certain breed in some area for any money. As for animals for keeping in outdoor enclosures, then the choice is clear – only a terrier will do. Dachshund cannot be grown in an aviary even in the most southern regions of the country.

Recommendations regarding the sex of the animal are contradictory, and most breeders, as well as hunters, have their own opinion on this matter. “Men” are determined and not too inclined to compromise. They are characterized by the desire to take leadership positions in any “pack”. Another important feature of such pets is increased viciousness (which is very good for an animal that hunts burrowing creatures).

Usually there is also a stronger physique and increased endurance. Because of this combination of qualities, there are often complaints about the pugnacious nature of dogs and quarrelsomeness.

Quite a few owners note that on the street, male norniki seem completely uncontrollable and lose all desire to obey. To run away somewhere for the slightest reason (and sometimes without any reason visible to people) is a common thing for them. But still, such dogs in capable hands are a real treasure. On the hunt, they show all their best qualities:

  • physical endurance;
  • the ability to experience serious emotional stress;
  • ability to work throughout the season (if there are no injuries).

As for the females, they are distinguished by greater softness and plasticity of behavior. It is much easier to get the desired action from them. Such animals immediately recognize a leader in a person, and very gross mistakes must be made in order for such obedience to be lost.

However, we must remember that during 2 out of 12 months they are unsuitable for hunting. Therefore, we must carefully think about all these points and set a clear priority.

You should also consider:

  • the origin of the puppy (its pedigree);
  • reputation of catteries or breeders;
  • the results that the animal shows when working in artificial burrows;
  • the presence of physical defects;
  • compliance with external requirements of the standard.

Content Rules

If the pet is sufficiently resistant to cold, then it can also be placed in an aviary. This room should not be located near drain pits, garbage dumps, toilets. It is best to put the booth on the sunny side, under a canopy where the dogs can hide from the sunlight. In the city, of course, the four-legged must walk strictly in the collar. But on the hunt itself, this is unacceptable – there have repeatedly been cases when tragic incidents occurred because of it.

In most cases, burrowing pets are kept at home or in an apartment. There they should immediately be given a permanent place where the beast can rest. As a place for leisure, they usually use small wooden frames covered with fabric, or low trestle beds with legs.

The hunting burrow is obliged to eat fully; both meat and vegetables should always be introduced into the diet. The maximum amount of salt for them is 20 g per day.

When choosing collars, you need to focus on:

  • subjective comfort;
  • no broken threads and protruding parts;
  • the presence of an expansion under the throat (it relieves pressure during sharp throws);
  • ease of cleaning from dirt;
  • adaptation to different temperatures;
  • the possibility of precise adjustment to the neck of the animal.

Other accessories that might come in handy are call whistles and dog chair covers. An important condition in the selection is always the ease and convenience of the purchased items. The range of toys is determined by how the animal’s leisure time is organized and how actively it will take place.

Be sure to think about the safety of accessories in every possible situation. Leashes should be of moderate length – it is the most practical.

Education and training

Serious questions among hunters are often associated with the age when it is required to start training a dog. There is no universal answer to this question. Even experienced specialists always point out that the puppy should get used to the changed situation, and only then should classes begin. You should not immediately take the dog to the training grounds. First, a full-fledged home preparation in moral and physical terms should be made.

At first, puppies in a new home show a nervous disposition. And this is practically normal. In this case to calm the pet, take the usual rugs or their parts from sellers. A familiar smell will allow the animal to stabilize the psyche faster.

As soon as the nornik begins to whine for the first time, it is required to immediately pay attention to him (by playing or simply by affectionate treatment). Games with burrowing dogs should contain as many active elements as possible. The animals themselves must be allowed to feel like winners. But you still have to make sure they don’t overwork. Building stamina in outdoor activities will help a lot later on the hunt.

It is required to accustom the pet to actions in the dark (using the same game elements). Imitation of a hole at home is simple – a trench is dug, which is covered with boards. Experts advise to bring such a structure as close as possible to the usual natural landscape in the area where it is planned to hunt.

You will also have to train your dog to act in the water. To do this, they walk with her after the rains – puddles are ideal for overcoming hydrophobia.

One of the best training techniques is this:

  • the pet is tied;
  • dig a hole;
  • put your favorite toy there and fall asleep;
  • let the dog go
  • encourage her, thereby stimulating her to dig up a valuable item as soon as possible.

Training at the bait stations should begin no earlier than 8 months. The first grafting is done in an artificial burrow where the fox is located. You can take a more experienced burrow as a partner, but always of the same breed and the same sex, preferably of a close age. Training should be carried out systematically, and only then can a good result be achieved.

See below for how the burrow hunt goes.