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Top 13 Small Hound Breeds that Stay Small for Hunting Games

Hunting has been a big part of human culture for thousands of years. By the side of a hunter, there has always been a dog. Hunting does not always require large hounds.

Hounds for hunting games need a precise sense of smell, and they should be athletic. That said, are there small dogs that fit this description? Are there any small hounds that you can get for hunting games?

In this article, we have listed 13 of the small buddies that would be a perfect specimen for hunting games. We will highlight some of their characteristics to help you make an informed choice. Read on.

What are Small Hound Breeds?

In general, a hound should have a certain build. They should have a height of around 21 inches. That can be characterized as a standard-sized hound. Fortunately, some do not necessarily grow to that size.

The hounds on this article are smaller than the standard size. However, they have perfect instincts to qualify them as hound breeds. Some of these include:

  • Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
  • Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
  • Drever
  • Dachshund
  • Basenji
  • Basset Fauve de Bretagne
  • Beagle
  • Pocket Beagle
  • Taiwan Dog
  • Whippet
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Basset Hound
  • Cocker Spaniel

Top 13 Small Hound Breeds that Stay Small / You Can Keep as Pets

These are small hounds that will not let you down when it comes to hunting games. Let’s look at their characteristics.

Small Hound BreedSizeAppearanceCost
Dachshund9 InchesBlack Brown$1300 – $4000
Pocket Beagle12 InchesBlack, tan, cream, white, brown, red$1000
Portuguese Podengo Pequeno12 InchesDark, medium, or light yellow, fawn.$900 – $1300
Basset Hound14 InchesWhite, brown$700 – $1000
Basset Artesien Normand14 InchesFawn and white$1200 – $1500
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen15 InchesWhite, red$1200 – $1600
Basset Fauve de Bretagne15 InchesRed wheaten, wheaten, fawn$1300 – $1500
Beagle15 InchesBlack saddle, white legs, belly, chest, and tail tip.$500 – $800
Italian Greyhound15 InchesFawn, blue, cream, black.$1000 – $1500
Drever16 InchesWhite, brown.$300 – $600
Basenji16 InchesChestnut red, black stripes, black.$1500 – $2000
Taiwan Dog16 InchesWhite, black, brindle coat, fawn.$300 – $2000.
Whippet18 InchesFawn, red, white, black, cream.$1000 – $1500.
size, appearance, and price comparison of different small hound breeds


Portuguese Podengo Pequeno

Portuguese Podengo Pequeno breed of small hound
A beautiful Portuguese Podengo Pequeno hound breed

This breed is extremely intelligent and willing to please.

The breed comes from the southern border of Portugal. There are three separate breeds with different size classes. The adult of the miniature size will grow to around 12 inches in height. 

The Pequeno is among the most lively breeds on this list, mainly why it will not rest on your couch for long hours. It will spend its time looking for prey or something to chase. Nevertheless, it will not be aggressive with your kids. In fact, it is quite friendly with kids. 

When it comes to taking care of your pup, constant vet checkups are important. Also, an hour of walks done daily will be great for your dog’s health.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

This dog is charming yet strong-headed.

It is among the smaller hounds from France that were developed a couple of years ago. This specific breed goes back to around the 16th century. The adult grows to a height of around 15 inches with a weight of about 40 pounds.

You will always appreciate how happy this breed is and how much it enjoys being around people. His level of enthusiasm and playfulness makes him a perfect pet for households with children. The hound is always energetic, ready to start a chase anytime a chance presents itself

If you live in an apartment, this breed might be just right for you. However, you need to give it daily exercises.


This is an energetic breed that loves to play.

This is a purebred dog from Sweden. Its name stands for the hunter and is mainly appreciated for his ability to hunt. It started being popular mostly around 1910. An adult grows to around 16 inches.

This dog has a high energy level and loves playing around, making it a great companion and play buddy for children. He is strongly driven by the search for prey, and your dog will always be trying to hunt.

You should provide regular vet checkups, and you should not overfeed your dog to avoid weight gain.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen and Drever small hound breeds
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen and Drever breed of small hound


A Dachshund is highly playful, especially at home.

This pup was referred to as the badger dog in Germany mainly because it was primarily used in hunting badgers. Documentation finds that the dog dates back to around the 15th century.

Official documentation, however, puts it at around the 16th century. A full-sized male will grow to a height of around 9 inches and weigh about 16 pounds.

This breed is vivacious, courageous, and clever, with perfect instincts for hunting. But at the same time, he can be stubborn, which is honestly another name for perseverance. Regardless, they are entertaining, and they love cuddling. This is a breed that you would allow your kids to play with without the need for supervision.

The dog loves playing around with other dogs, and they love to dig and hunt. You can give them a walk of 20 minutes daily to keep them in shape.

Basset Hound

A basset hound is a great family friend that loves kids.

This breed may be a descendant of the St. Hubert Hound, the ancestor of the Bloodhound. The dog breed was first mentioned in books in 1585. This breed only grows to a height of 14 inches. However, its weight is around 65 pounds, which is quite heavy.

This dog is sharp-tempered and is laid back. This is the reason why he will get along with anyone, including animals and kids. However, you will notice extreme excitement when he notices a scent trail to follow.

This breed dog is always calm, which makes it a perfect dog to live in apartments. They might not be suited to live outdoors with extreme cold or heat. A long meandering walk with extreme sniffing time is something they enjoy.


Basenji breed of small hound
Basenji is a hound breed that doesn’t bark. Yet they are smart with a keen eyesight

A basenji is extremely intelligent and independent.

When it comes to domesticated dogs, these might be the oldest breeds. It does not bark a lot, which is the reason why it has been preferred for hunting with humans for a long time.

It is from the Congo region, where it was discovered around the 19th century. A male might grow to around 17 inches of height.

Basenji is recognized as a hound mainly since it is independent and intelligent, but more than that, it is alert and quite affectionate. However, this breed might chase anything that moves.

To be honest, he may also be a bit disobedient at times. He can be great with kids.

Daily exercise is important mainly because this is a hunting dog. Daily walks and other types of exercise might be necessary.

Basset Fauve de Bretagnes

Basset Fauve De Bretagnes hound breed
Basset Fauve De Bretagnes hound breed

Although this breed is friendly, it will always protect you.

The breed was created in France from a larger breed of the same type. It has been used in hunting for a very long time by the French. The dog grows to a maximum of 15 inches in height and a weight of around 35 pounds.

This is a dog for every small game hunter mainly because it is energetic despite the size. Although he might be stubborn, a gentle owner will always get through to him, and he will follow the owner’s orders. The breed is also quite friendly with everyone except strangers.

These dogs might not get extra weight gain, but regular exercise is vital to remain in shape.


A beagle is happiest when following a certain scent trail.

It is not sure where the name came from. However, the current beagle developed the contemporary appearance in the 19th century.

However, there is Greek documentation that puts them back to 400 B.C. An adult beagle will grow to around 15 inches and will weigh about 30 pounds.

This breed is sweet, funny, and gentle. They will often be naughty, but it does not mean that they will make you unhappy. You should expose them to people very early in their ages. That way, they will be friendly to other people, dogs, and kids as well.

You need to fence your backyard. Otherwise, you should supervise the dog because an interesting scent trail may cause them to wander away; a common occurrence with beagles.

A beagle small hound
A beagle small hound

Pocket Beagle

The pocket beagle is fun-loving and merry.

This breed was developed around the 19th century, similar to the regular-sized beagle. It does not grow so tall. It only grows to around 12 inches of height. An adult can weigh about 15 pounds.

This dog is sweet and gentle. It might require that you expose them to some new sounds and experiences when it is still a little pup to improve hunting skills. This dog is a great companion for humans, whether adults or children.

This is a scenthound. That means that he is very curious when it comes to scents, and there is a great chance that he might follow a certain scent without your knowledge. Therefore, make sure to always supervise him when outdoors. Otherwise, make sure he is on a leash.

Taiwan Dog

The Taiwan dog is extremely loyal to a single owner.

Some people believe that these dogs were present on the Taiwan island more than 10,000 years ago. An adult Taiwan dog might grow to around 16 inches, even though some might grow to about 20 inches. In regards to weight, they will go to approximately 40 pounds.

Since this hound breed is quite old, it has a lot of experience and wisdom in its DNA, perfect for following trails. They are loyal to a single owner but are extremely careful when it comes to strangers. They might be affectionate with everyone but would only die for a single-family member.

Regular vet checkups are important. These dogs have very high energy levels, which is why around 2 ½ hours of exercise would be good for them.


the whippet and Italian Greyhound hound dogs
the whippet and Italian Greyhound hound dogs

This breed is obedient and can be your best friend.

Natively from Northern England, Whippet is not a very old hound. The documentation says that this breed was bred in the 1700s. A fully adult Whippet grows to around 18 inches of height when fully grown.

Whippet is quite gentle and friendly, and at the same time, very quiet and amiable.

You might notice that he loves chasing moving things, which is the main reason why you need a fenced backyard or simply put him on a leash. The puppies have a playful and curious nature, making them great fun for kids.

A whippet appreciates a good nap and cuddles time, and it might be a bit lazy when it gets the perfect sleeping spot. Luckily, 30-minute walks might just be enough for the dog to remain healthy.

Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is a loving, affectionate, and gentle dog.

This breed is quite old. It has been around for a very long time. The miniature version was around in artifacts that are 2000 years old. This breed can grow to a maximum of 15 inches and can grow to 10 pounds.

This dog is alert, playful, smart, and extremely sensitive to sound and smell. It will always be great with children because it is affectionate nature and it loves snuggling and will stay by your side at all times.

This is not mainly an outdoor breed. You should keep them inside, especially when there is bad weather. You should walk your dog a couple of times a day to keep him in good shape.

Basset Artesian Normand

Basset Artesian Normand small hound breed
Basset Artesian Normand

This breed is energetic, cheerful, and very intelligent.

The breed came to be, around the 1800s. French breeders started the breed for hunting. An adult-sized dog will grow to around 14 inches, which is relatively small.

The breed is popular for being gentle and affectionate. But more than that, it is friendly and quite tolerant with children, making it among the best pets for a household. You might note that a juicy scent will capture all of his attention even when playing games. 

Although the dog is mostly calm, you must make sure it maintains great health. You can do that by providing it with around one and a half hours of walking daily.

Small Hounds vs. Large Hounds – Which is Better?

Hounds are originally hunting dogs and have been playing that role for a very long time. They are very good at it. There is a range of dogs that use different senses to hunt.

However, the difference is not only in the method they use to hunt. Hounds are also different in size. So, what is the difference between small and large hounds? What are their main advantages and disadvantages?

Pros of Large Hounds

Large hounds can easily take down any size of prey. But, some prey could be too large and can hurt smaller breeds of hounds.

Compared to smaller breeds, a large hound is faster. The legs of a large hound are far apart and they are long. Their single step can be able to chase after even the fastest prey. A small hound, such as a Drever, might not always have the best chances.

Apart from hunting, they will guard your family well. After you are done with hunting games, you can come home with your dog and either put him on a leash or go in the house with him.

In case of any danger, a large hound will easily protect you. It is an intimidating dog, and intruders will think twice before coming into your house.

You do not have to worry about hurting your hound when you are playing. A large hound allows you to use all your strength when you are playing. Imagine playing a game such as tug of war without worrying about hurting each other.

Cons of Large Hounds

Giant hounds are strong, but they might be oblivious of their strength. Although the hound would not hurt you intentionally when playing or training, the excess weight might be a problem in case an accident happens.

A large hound might not be the best house pet. People will be scared and visitors might be scared off.

Pros of Small Hounds

Small hounds are usually great with families. They are great family friends that are laid back and never too violent.

When you are hunting with a small hound, a small game will not escape. A smaller hound will be able to maneuver easily, and the small game will not get rid of the small hound with ease.

Smaller hounds will not require much maintenance and care compared to their larger brethren.

They mostly make great indoor pets. They are calm, and most of them will be able to play with kids without hurting them.

Cons of Small Hounds

They might be overpowered by larger prey, mainly because they are small and do not have much strength.

Smaller breeds of hounds can be intimidated with ease, even by intruders.

The best dog for you will depend on what you need. You might require a dog that will do a better job hunting smaller prey such as badgers, birds, or even rabbits. With that in mind, the best dog for you depends on what you require.

Are all Hunting Dogs Good to Keep in Houses as Pets?

You must bond with your hunting dog to have the best hunting experience without being wounded by your dog.

The best way to do that would be to have him inside the house where you spend most of the time. In there, he will learn a lot about you. This includes your likes and dislikes.

The hound will be able to learn how the family lives, and he will figure out his place in the pack. So, you must train him to behave properly inside the house.

Apart from hound dogs, you can keep any other species of hunting dog in your house as a pet if you want to.

Wrapping Up

Hunting game is one of man’s oldest hobbies. Hounds have always been by our sides while we go hunting. Luckily, there are different sizes for everyone’s needs.

Our list has provided some of the best breeds in the market. They have different strengths and weaknesses. Make sure to choose wisely. 

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