German Wachtelhunds are quite common in this country, abroad they are considered valuable rarities. For example, in the United States, there are only about 100 specimens of the breed, which is in great demand among hunters and foresters. They should live with a hobby or professional hunters, but once the work is done, they fit in wonderfully with family life.
Characteristics of the German Wachtelhund
The German Spaniel is medium-sized and exhibits many typical traits of a scavenger dog. The medium-length fur waves were more on the ears than on the body. Compared to other spaniels, they are quite robustly built. At the withers, males reach a height of between 48 and 54 cm, females are 45 to 52 cm tall and are slightly narrower. The ideal weight is between 18 and 25 kilograms, depending on size and gender.
These characteristics play a role in breeding
- As with all scavenger dogs, the skull is flat, with a barely pronounced stop but well-defined eyebrows. It is lengthened by the wide and straight bridge of the nose. The cheeks are token and the zygomatic arches do not protrude.
- A so-called Ramsnose is desired, so the bridge of the nose should slope slightly upwards towards the tip and end in a large nose. According to the FCI breed standard, the lips should fit tightly, but they are much looser than in spitz-type dogs.
- No bare skin can be seen on the lids around the slightly slanted eyes. The iris should be colored as dark as possible, but amber eyes also occur.
- The hanging ears are very broad and are not thick or lobed. Long, wavy hair reaches past the ends.
- The extremely well-muscled neck is at an obtuse angle to the body. No throat skin or dewlap is formed. The withers are very strong and merge into the short back without sagging. The chest is oval when viewed from the front.
- Forelegs are straight with spoon-shaped paws and very strong pads. The hindquarters are muscular and well angulated.
- At rest, the tail is raised halfway, lengthening the topline. It is only worn over the back when excited. It is not too long and well-feathered.
A taboo: docked tail
Tail docking is recommended in the FCI breed standard for countries where the practice is allowed. Fortunately, Germany is not one of them. Docking the tip of the rod or the entire rod is strictly forbidden here.
Sturdy hunters with shiny brown curls
- The hair grows very dense all over the body with a soft undercoat. In some places the fur curls more than in others.
- A wavy jabot, i.e. a small bib of curls, often forms on the neck.
- In places, the hair may also have astrakhan curls or straight sections. The face and the front of the legs are covered with fairly short hair. Wavy pants form on the backs of the legs, ears, and tail.
Brown, red-brown, or rather brown? Colors in the Spaniel
There are only two shades of color, which leave little room for maneuver. Colors other than white, brown, or red are not permitted. The two beats are:
- Unicolored brown, more rarely also red. White or moldy markings may appear on the chest and paws.
- Brown or red roan with large unicolored patches and mostly unicolored heads.
The History of the Water-Loving Hunting Dogs
In Germany, private hunting was permitted and common until the beginning of the 20th century. Search dogs have been used in this country for centuries and were not selected for breeding based on their appearance. It was not until the late 19th century that Bavarian breeders crossed select German roamers with water-loving spaniels to create a versatile hunting dog that could perform well in the cool German climate. In the 1920s, the German hunter Rudolf Frieß introduced the separate breeding of solid and roan coat variants.
Close relatives from the UK
If you look at British Spaniels, you can immediately see that they share common ancestors with German Spaniels:
- The Sussex Spaniel is a little smaller and more of a family dog than a hunting dog.
- English Cocker Spaniels were created later by crossing different dark Spaniel breeds.
- The fur of the Field Spaniel is distributed in the same way as the German Spaniel, but they are usually a little smaller and more heavily curled.
The German Spaniel abroad
Internationally, the eager and friendly breed is very popular with amateur hunters and families. A real German Spaniel is a rarity in the USA and therefore very expensive. They can bait big and small game, track and retrieve shot birds as Gundogs or hunt independently. In Canada, reliable hunting helpers are even used for bear hunting. In Germany, they are still popular hunting companions on deer hunts.
Hunting Dog or Family Dog?
Although the breed is known to fit in well with family life, it is important for them to be able to indulge their hunting instincts on a daily basis. As a matter of principle, some breeders only give their dogs to hunters with a hunting license, since hunting companionship comes closest to their nature. Most dogs come from working lines and have parents who have passed various proficiency tests and are well trained. This also rubs off on the puppies – the Spaniel wants to hunt and needs adequate compensation when it cannot or is not allowed to hunt.
A hunter of many talents
- He is intelligent and quickly understands tasks assigned to him.
- The Wachtelhund gets along very well with conspecifics. It is not territorial but will bark when newcomers enter its territory.
- The breed is considered child-friendly and has a high irritation threshold.
- When hunting and playing, the Spaniel is very courageous, almost cocky! As a bodyguard, he is only suitable to a limited extent.
- He likes to jump into puddles, ponds, and lakes. Even rainy weather cannot stop him from outdoor activities.
Life happens outside
As classic house dogs, the family-friendly four-legged friends should only live as pensioners, despite their compatibility, if their performance and hunting instinct are decreasing. Spaniels like to spend as much time outdoors as possible and need an interesting environment to explore that only the countryside can offer them.