German Spaniel (Deutscher Wachtelhund)

Country of origin:
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brown, brown roan
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • great gun dog
  • works well in the water
  • great stamina
  • doesn't suit family with small children
  • chases other animals
  • doesn't suit for a city dweller

The German Spaniel is a multifunctional hunting dog with lively and sociable individuality. As its name suggests the dog was invented and developed in Germany and it’s valued there as an exceptionally good gundog. This breed is an independent thinker and requires strong leadership.

In the 80s of the XIX century the team of German hunters intended to restore the Stober, an ancient spaniel-type breed, which was known in this country as far back as 1719. This dog had multiple hunting skills and was able to track scent as effectively as the Bloodhound. So the breeders combed Germany for remaining specimens and detected several purebred Stobers in Bavaria. They crossed them with other types of Spaniels, which were especially endowed in hunting. It’s believed that one of these breeds was the Springer Spaniel but it remains a mystery, who were the rest of them. The resulting dog was named the Wachtelhund, which means «quail dog». The breed was officially recognised in 1903 and given its current name, the German Spaniel.

The German Spaniel is truly versatile hunting dog that is capable of scenting, tracking and retrieving various types of game. It also can work on different kind of terrain including land and swampy areas. In Germany it’s eligible to keep the dog only for hunters and gamekeepers so it can’t be sold to public. In the late 60s and early 70s of the XX century the breed was imported to the United States but it didn’t acquire much popularity there. Nowadays there are roughly 100 dogs in the USA and Canada.

The German Spaniel was approved by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1992. Four years later the United Kennel Club (UKC) granted its full recognition to the breed.

The German Spaniel has a buoyant and amicable personality and likes spending quality time with its human family. The breed tends to form a tight bond with its master and craves to always be by his side. In the casual life it’s an expressive and affectionate creature that loves to play for an hour on end. The well-socialised dog gets along with children but it doesn’t have much patience to tolerate the rough game. As a matter of fact the German Spaniel is too exuberant for a toddler.

The dog seems to be universally friendly so it usually meets the strangers by wagging its tail and trying to give them a kiss. That’s why it can hardly be turned into a reasonable guard dog. The breed is rather vigilant and attentive so it will make an outstanding watchdog, which is capable to timely notify the master about the approach of the unwelcomed guest.

The German Spaniel prefers to work alone so it didn’t have much experience with other dogs in the past. Nevertheless with proper socialisation and training it will manifest insignificant level of aggressiveness towards other canines. The breed will happily co-exist with minimum one other dog but the more the merrier. The German Spaniel represents a significant danger for stray animals since its powerful hunting drive can take it over at any moment. As a rule the dog won’t harass home cat provided they have been introduced to each other in the early age. However there is still no guarantee to that.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• degenerative disk disease;
• ears problems;
• eye problems;
• gastric torsion.

The German Spaniel is considered to be a low maintenance breed. Its coat of medium length requires regular brushing to keep it smooth and neat. The dog should be bathed only occasionally preferably once in two months. The German Spaniel sheds in average amount and during shedding seasons it’s going to need more diligent brushing.

The dog is prone to ear infection so the master should frequently inspect and clean them. After hunting the Spaniel’s eyes require a thorough cleaning in order to get rid of dirt or debris. The hair between the toes should be carefully trimmed and it’s exceedingly important during the winter season.

The German Spaniel is a fairly trainable dog because of its cleverness and willingness to oblige. Actually, this dog likes to learn new things and it can be easily taught basic tricks and commands. As far as more advanced training concerns this breed is able to grasp almost everything the handler wants it to teach.

As it goes with every hunting dog the German Spaniel is an excellent problem solver and has tendency to rely heavily on its own decisions. Therefore it’s crucial that the trainer has strong and authoritative individuality to impose its rules and training regimen. The best motive for this breed is a kind word and tasty treats and it’s sensitive to abusive techniques meaning it usually becomes self-contained and intimidated when treated that way.

As a hard-working hunting dog the German Spaniel is able to endure endless hours of strenuous physical activity. That’s why it naturally has high exercise requirements and should be walked for at least an hour every single day. An excellent exercise for the breed is swimming and it will gratefully accept this type of activity under virtually any weather condition.

This dog is an infamous cat chaser so the leash is a must while walking with it. Despite its sociable and friendly nature the German Spaniel is more suitable for the rural surroundings and may suffer from the lack of physical outlet living in a big city.