German Hunting Terrier (Deutscher Jagdterrier)

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black, dark brown or greyish black, with fawn (yellow red)
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons

  • excellent and versatile hunter

  • great watchdog

  • devoted friend

  • easy to groom

  • independent and stubborn

  • chases other animals

  • doesn’t like strange people

  • requires a great amount of physical and mental stimulation


The German Hunting Terrier (Jagdterrier) appeared as a result of careful breeding program of the German dog’s specialists in the early XX century. It was intended to be a multifunctional hunter, which could work equally effective both above and below the ground. This energetic and lively dog can become an indispensable companion for a hunting-fancier but won’t make a perfect choice as a solely family pet.


The German Hunting Terrier owes its creation partially to the Germany’s obsession with the idea of perfection and purity of everything that concerned the German nation. The dog was the part of much greater plan of re-establishing presumably disappeared German species of animals and getting rid of any western influences.

The work of creating a pureblood German hunting dog has been primarily done by three enthusiasts of hunting with Fox Terriers namely Walter Zangenberg, Carl Erick Grunewald, and Rudolph Friess. They strived to bring back excellent hunting skills into the Fox Terrier’s nature since at that point much of its hunting drive was sacrificed for the sake of the outer appearance for the conformation events.

The history of the German Hunting Terrier began after World War I when Zangenderg was granted a litter of almost black Fox Terriers. The litter included two female and one male and these dogs formed a fundament for the future breeding experiments of three avid hunters. Between two World Wars Walter Zangenberg, Carl Erick Grunewald, and Rudolph Friess worked intensely to hone and perfect the overall look and hunting capabilities of the German Hunting Terrier. It’s a well-established fact that they repeatedly crossed the Fox Terrier with the Old English Terrier. It’s also suggested that the Welsh Terrier also played a certain role in creation of the breed.

After ten years of tries and errors three breeders managed to develop a nearly ideal hunting dog. Among its virtues there were an acute scent and vision, capability to pursuit prey barking, absence of fear of water, high retrieving skills and willingness to oblige its master. Despite its small size the resulting dog was endowed with sufficient ferociousness and hunting drive to make it almost a universal hunter.

The Second World War had terrible consequences not only for Germany, but it was also highly detrimental for the population of the German Hunting Terrier in its native country. Nevertheless this problem was timely addressed by German breeders and nowadays the breed enjoys a wide-spread popularity among hunters in its homeland.

The German Hunting Terrier made its way to the United States as early as in 1938. However up until recently it has been quite a rare breed in this country. In the last decade the dog earned much more recognition among American hunters for its versatility, quick-wittedness and eagerness to please its master.

The breed was granted complete approval of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1968. The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognised the German Hunting Terrier in 1993.


The German Hunting Terrier is a relentless and intrepid hunter in the first place so it developed the traits, which are typical for any hunting dog. The breed is generally human friendly and treats its master and his family with outmost devotion and affection. This frisky animal will make up a splendid friend for a child but they both should be timely taught to respect each other’s boundaries.

As a rule the German Hunting Terrier displays a great deal of aloofness in front of unfamiliar people. The breed requires obligatory socialisation with strange people and situations in order to prevent possible aggressive issues. It tends to be very vigilant and can be trained into an excellent watchdog, which is capable of warning its master about probable intruder with its sharp bark. It will become an average guard dog due to its small size but the German Hunting Terrier is brave enough to defend the master’s property at the cost of its life.

The breed had extensive experience of cooperating with other dogs so it usually accepts the company of other canines and treats them decently and politely. Undoubtedly it should be exposed to their presence since the puppyhood to guarantee the absence of aggressive issues. The German Hunting Terrier was designed to be a perfect hunter and the essential component of this dog’s profession is a powerful hunting drive. That’s way the breed presents a mortal danger for all kinds of small animals including a home cat.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· canine hip dysplasia;

· patellar luxation;

· von Willebrand’s disease;

· anemia;

· cryptorchidism.


The German Hunting Terrier needs minimal attendance, which usually consists of brushing and infrequent baths. The coat of the dog should be brushed only once a week in order to get rid of dead hair and to keep it smooth and shiny.

Cleaning procedure can be boiled down to rubbing the dogs’ fur with a wet cloth since its coat is dirt-repelling. Actually it’s not recommended to bathe the German Hunting Terrier too often since water washes off natural oil from its skin.


The combination of willingness to please and high intelligence implies that the German Hunting Terrier is a rather trainable breed. But it’s not quite a fair statement because the breed possesses stubborn and authoritative demeanour. It’s highly advisable to hire a professional handler who has already worked with this breed.

The owner should immediately establish a trustful and respectful relationship with the dog in order to overcome its natural stubbornness. The German Hunting Terrier doesn’t tolerate rough treatment and corrective methods of training and reacts to them with open disobedience and defiance. The trainer should resort to positive reinforcement and gentle persuasion to achieve optimal results.


The German Hunting Terrier requires a great deal of the commitment on the part of its master to fully satisfy its need in physical activity. The preferable form of exercise for the dog is naturally hunting but two hour of vigorous daily walk will be sufficient to keep the dog healthy and happy.

The breed should be led on a leash at all times but it certainly craves an opportunity to surf freely in the territory with a high fence. The German Hunting Terrier is not the best option for a person with busy or unstable work schedule, which won’t be able to invest enough time in walking and playing with the dog.