The Deutscher Wachtelhund has a scenting and blood tracking ability comparable to a Bloodhound and can track 40-hour-old wounded game. On a fresh game trail, it must vocalize to inform hunters of its location. They are a versatile breed, virtually unknown to the German non-hunting public, and are only owned by hunters, gamekeepers, and professional hunters in Germany.
The Deutscher Wachtelhund is a medium-sized, long-haired, very muscular gun dog with a noble head and strong bone. Their keen hunting desire and ability make them an ideal dog for hunters and because of their innate love of water, they are often used to hunt waterfowl. The Deutscher Wachtelhund’s name, German quail dog, relates to its ability as an upland bird flusher and is also known as the German Spaniel.
In the 1880s, a group of German hunters decided to recreate the Stober, a versatile breed mentioned as far back in German history as 1719. The Stober was known to have the scent following ability similar to that of a bloodhound. The Germans obtained remnants of that breed found in Bavaria and bred them with other sporting spaniels that had a proven passion for hunting. They produced the Wachtelhund (pronounced ‘Valk-tel-hund’) and the breed was officially recognized in 1903. The German Wachtelhund club is called the Verein fur Deutsche Wachtelhund (VDW). In Germany, only gamekeepers and hunters own this breed, they are not sold to the non-hunting public.
Several Wachtelhunds were brought to the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but were only bred once or twice, producing a total of 17 dogs. None were registered in North America.
In Canada, several individuals, guides and hunting outfitters have owned Wachtelhunds for the past twenty years or so and utilized them as flushers, retrievers and to track and hold wounded black bear at bay. In 1993 and 1994, Dave Pepe imported a pair of Wachtelhunds to the United States and bred them four times producing 38 pups. Since then, several other dogs have been imported and numerous breedings have occurred. Today, there are approximately 100 to 150 dogs in the US and Canada.
Temperament: friendly / versatile / determined
Height: 18-21 inches
Weight: 40-55 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
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In general, the Wachtelhund is a healthy dog with few genetic problems. Working with a responsible breeder, prospective owners can gain the education they need to learn about specific health concerns within the breed.
The German Spaniel’s coat is short and fine on the head and long on the body, where it is strong, thick, wavy or curly, with enough undercoat to provide protection. It is also well feathered. Beyond regular weekly grooming, the occasional bath will keep your dog clean and looking their best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet. Their strong, fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
Options for exercise include play time in the backyard, preferably fenced, or taken for walks several times a day. Exercise can also come in the form of indoor activities, like hide-and-seek, chasing a ball rolled along the floor, or teaching them new tricks. Certain outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, retrieving balls or flying discs can provide a good outlet for expending energy. Training for dog sports like agility, obedience and rally can also be a great way to give your dog exercise. The German Spaniel is a hunting breed and, therefore, does best with at least a moderate amount of space to run, play, and sniff.
It would do well with early socialization and a training program that utilizes positive reinforcement.
You are going to want to feed your Deutscher Wachtelhund a formula that will cater to his unique digestive needs throughout the various phases of his life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and extra-large breeds. The German Spaniel is a medium-sized breed. What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.