German Hound (Deutsche Bracke)

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red to yellow with black saddle or blanket and white markings
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • great companion                                     
  • excellent hunter
  • loves children
  • versatile                      
  • requires a lot of daily exercises
  • doesn't suit for living in a small apartment
  • doesn't suit for a family with small children
  • independent-minded

The German Hound is a multipurpose hunting dog with its homeland in Germany. This even-tempered and cheerful breed is oftentimes kept solely for companionship. Despite its pleasant demeanour it remains rather unknown outside its native country.


First depictions of the German Hound appeared in different written sources and pictures in the XVIII century. It’s said that German breeders required several years of intense experimenting to create this fabulous dog. Their initial goal was to produce a hound, which would be able to perform multiple tasks and operate under wide variety of conditions. Its exact origin can’t be traced due to the absence of records of this breeding work. Nevertheless it’s speculated that the Beagle, the English Pointer, and various Foxhound breeds were used in its creation. Lately the Greyhound and the Bloodhound might also have been added to the mix. The German Hound was most commonly seen in Olpe, which is situated in the Northern region of Westphalia. That’s why it’s also referred as the Olpe Hound or the Westphalian Bracke.

The German Hound is a member of the Foxhound family and it’s notable for incredible efficiency in relation to tracking down preys. This work-driven dog perfectly adapts for varying weather conditions and difficult terrains and capable of pursuing its prey resolutely and unfailingly for hours on end. It was generally used to hunt hares, fox and wild boars in the German highlands. It possesses very sensitive nose, which makes it highly useful in tracing shot animals’ trails. Its sonorous and loud bark allows it to pinpoint the exact location of the wounded prey. Hunters usually applied the Deutsche Bracke in pairs or small packs, though it frequently served as a single hunting dog.

At the beginning of the XX century several types of hounds existed in Germany. Sadly enough but almost all of them went extinct during this century, with the exception for the German Hound. The organised breeding of this dog has begun in 1896 but its written standard was developed only in 1955. In the same year the breed’s standard was also drawn up in its native Olpe. Initially the dog’s population was mostly confined to the regions of Sauerland and Westphalia but presently among all breeds existing in above-mentioned regions, the Deutsche Bracke is the only Bracke, which attained recognition in the whole Germany. Nowadays it gained a regional popularity as a working and companion dog, but it can be barely observed outside its place of origin.

The German Hound is a robust and tough hunting dog with numerous talents. It strongly depends on people it loves and seeks their leadership and guidance. It intensely attaches to its family and manifests incredible loyalty to it. The dog tends to treat children with outmost carefulness and tenderness but it certainly requires proper training in this respect. This energetic breed is ill-suited for families with toddlers since it can unintentionally knock them down while playing.

On the whole the Deutsche Hound acts indifferently and warily when it meets a stranger. Nevertheless it’s rather open to new acquaintances and it willingly interacts with people it knows. This dog is alert and attentive enough to warn its master about the approach of an intruder. This makes it quite qualified for the job of a watchdog. This breed also can perform guarding duties but its friendliness makes it a rather bad choice for this role.
The German Hound is generally friendly with other dogs since it was widely used for pack hunting in the past. However some individual specimens may exhibit strong desire to dominate, which usually leads to cruel fights for the alpha status between two unfamiliar dogs. This purports that it must always be kept leashed and some specimens need to be even muzzled while walking. This dog has long hunting history and therefore it poses visible danger for all non-canine animals. At the same time it usually has few issues with a home cat with which it has been living since its puppyhood.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• eye problems;
• cryptorchidism;
• sensitivity to anaesthesia;
• gastric torsion.

The German Hound needs minimal maintenance. Its short and sleek coat should be brushed on a regular basis in order to get rid of old and dead hairs. Its master should check the dog’s ears for signs of debris and grime especially after each hunting trip. If the dog is assigned to hunting it’s essential to maintain its claws rather long because it is a common practice for a hunting dog. This breed doesn’t require to be bathed frequently as its coat repels dirt and water.

The Deutsche Bracke will need some efforts from its owner when it comes to training. It should receive only very basic training to become an excellent and versatile hunting dog. Nonetheless it’s very independent-minded and will submit to commands only of a confident and imposing handler.

As a hound the Deutsche Bracke can be easily distracted by some captivating smell so it will be impossible to turn its attention back to training. The breed responds only to positive reinforcement and abundant tasty treats. It’s totally unacceptable to treat the dog harshly or otherwise unfairly while working with it since it doesn’t bring desirable results.

The German Hound is an extremely athletic and lively dog and should be treated as such. It demands prodigious amount of physical activity to remain fit and happy. Working specimens should receive regular opportunities to practice their hunting skills to be effective in this role.

Anyway this dog will be grateful for a chance to run and roam in a securely fenced area. It tends to become overexcited, nervous, destructive and unmanageable without appropriate amount of exercise. The Deutsche Bracke does much better in the countryside and it accommodates poorly to a life in a small apartment.