For those who judge the Hamiltonstovare around the world. The information provided will hopefully put items into context of the Hamilton's original purpose as an individual hunter of hare and fox. This is based on the original Swedish standard, which has been approved by the FCI.
You should be able to tell at a glance if this dog has the impression that they could spend a day hunting in northern Europe. You should also be able to clearly see a difference between males and females. The males are taller, usually have more muscle tone, and a more defined head. Females should be more refined with a shorter stature, slightly less muscle tone and tighter head piece. Hamiltons are a tricolored dog, no other colors are permitted.
Rectangular body, should be longer than they are tall.
Friendly and even tempered, they need to have the temperament that allows them to work all day and spend the evenings with every member of the family. Hamiltonstovare should view the show ring as a job and should not be overly excited except with young puppies.
Should be longish
Slightly arched and moderately broad. The outline of the head should not have an overly pronounced arch, like those of some other scent hounds
Should be well defined but not too pronounced. The angle formed should be slightly more than a 90º angle, but never an exact right angle..
Should have full black pigmentation, with large open nostrils. As a scent hound, they rely heavily on their nose.
Long and strong, almost rectangular in shape. The bridge of the nose should be straight and parallel to the skull. The distance from the occiput and the stop should equal the distance from the stop to the tip of the nose.
Upper lips should be rather thin, tight and nicely rounded, not too overly hanging. Males should have more pronounced lips than females.
Scissors bite, teeth should be strong and well developed.
Dark Brown with a calm expression. Any other eye color should be faulted.
Set fairly high, when drawn forward not to reach half way along the muzzle. Should only be slightly raised when alert. Soft ear leather that hangs flat, with fore-edge that does not fold out.
Long, powerful and set well into the shoulders. Skin on neck should be supple and close fitting. Males should have a well defined arch to the upper line of the neck.
To sum up, the Hamilton head and neck should indicate power and steadiness. A judge should make sure to check for full pigmentation of the nose, the length of the ear, and the length of the occiput to stop and the stop to the tip of the nose. Another feature that is not mentioned in the FCI standard that judges should check for is, pigmentation around the eyes as it should match the nose. Hamiltonstovare are a dry mouth breed.
Should be well defined
Level and powerful
Muscular and slightly arched
Slightly inclined, long and broad
Deep, long, well developed, reaching the elbows. Ribs moderately sprung.
Underline and belly:
Only a slight tuck up
To sum up, this section of the Hamilton is what helps support what they were bred to do. They need to have the chest capacity to run and bark while hunting. The chest should denote flexibility as this breed needs to be able to negotiate over varying terrain. A judge should make sure to check that the loin has a slight arch and that the chest reaches the elbows. A chest that does not reach the elbows is to be severely faulted as the dog does not have the chest capacity to perform its natural ability.
Set in line with back. Straight or slightly curved in sabre fashion. Fairly wide at base and tapering towards tip. In length it reaches hock. When the dog moves, tail preferably not carried above the level of the back.
This is a breed defining characteristic. The Hamilton should never have the tail-set or carriage of a Beagle or a Foxhound. Their tail serves a different purpose, the Hamilton tail is used to maintain balance and flexibility at speed, not as a means of identification.
Strong bone in harmony with the general appearance of the dog. When viewed from front, forelegs appear straight and parallel.
Shoulder long, muscular and well laid back. Closely attached to body.
Upper arm long and forming a right angle to the shoulder.
Close to body and not visible under rib cage.
Springy and forming a slight angle to forearm.
Oval in shape with well knuckled, tight toes.
Height at withers
Males: 53-61 cm; ideal size 57 cm (22,5 ins.).
Bitches: 49-57 cm; ideal size 53 cm (21 ins.).
To sum up, their front angulation will dictate how much reach the dog has in motion. This breed should be well balanced in angulation and not over exaggerated. As the old saying goes “no hoof, no horse”, this applies strongly with the Hamilton. The oval shape should not mean that the dog has a flat foot. If the dog has a flat foot it would not be able to hunt all day. The Hamilton foot is like the cleat of a soccer player, the nails provide grip, the tight toes provide strength and flexibility, the oval shape increases surface area so the dog does not sink into snow or mud.
Strong and parallel when viewed from behind.
Muscles well developed ; thighs broad when viewed from the side.
Short, lean and straight.
Like front feet, dewclaws undesirable.
The rear should be the power in the driving motion of the gait. It should be well muscled and moderately angled. An over angulated rear will not help sustain the dog in a constant steady motion while hunting. Usually the rear feet of the Hamilton tend to be slightly tighter than the front, as with the front feet, preference should never be given to a dog with flat feet.
Parallel, strong and long-reaching
The Hamilton in motion should denote strength and endurance. The motion stays parallel and only slightly converges under the body with speed. The feet seen from the front should make two separate lines, never single tracking or crossing. From the rear, the pads of the feet should be visible, continuing to make two separate lines, never single tracking or crossing. The side gait should be fluid and long reaching. They should cover the most amount of space with the least amount of effort.
Harsh, not too short, lying very close to body. On head, ears and front of legs coat should be very short and smooth. Under tail and on back of thighs top coat quite long but not forming a fringe.
Tricolor. Upper side of neck, back, sides of trunk and upper side of tail black. Head, ears and legs, as well as the side of neck, trunk and tail tan. Tan can range from golden tint to a rich, deep reddish-brown. Blaze on upper part of muzzle ; under- and upper side of neck, breast, tip of tail and lower part of legs together with feet white.
The Hamilton coat should be able to protect the dog from the elements. Any evidence of extensive trimming or thinning to emphasize certain parts should be deeply discouraged. Hamiltons are a markings breed that is also a working hound. Slight deviation of markings on a well built dog is permissible. In the judging scenario of a well marked dog that is poorly built and a better built dog but markings slightly off, the preference should go to the better built dog. Markings do change with age but only the tan and black, never the white. Puppies and young adults have more black than adults. The markings serve a purpose while working. While the dog is hunting in the snow, the dark markings are used to tell the hunter where the dog is and to differentiate them from their quarry or fox and hare. The white markings are used to identify Hamiltons in the woods during summer and fall seasons.
The breed does have some eliminating faults, size being one of them. So if in doubt, measure. Any dog that is over or under is a disqualification, not just over. Another eliminating fault is the bite, a pronounced over or undershot bite. Aloofness is also an eliminating fault, so pet them, make sure they don't back away.
Hamiltons aren't typically bouncy and excitable when working. They view the show ring as a job. So they have a tendency to be serious and stubborn when showing. Some dogs will free bait, some won't. This is just the nature of the breed. A majority of show dogs in English speaking countries are only a few generations away from hunting stock, as their drive to hunt is very high. So if you wish to see expression, feel free to make noises as they should respond.