The German Spaniel temperament is one of the sweetest you will find in a family dog. She is loyal and lovable and is good with children.
However, this breed is also a driven hunting dog who has a need to be busy. She also has one of the strongest prey drives you’ll find in a dog.
You may fall in love with her for her sweet and friendly disposition. But she is not the best choice for an inexperienced dog owner.
She does best in a hunting household or with a very active family.
The German Spaniel Temperament
The German Spaniel is a smart dog who learns quickly but can offer a bit of a challenge in training.
Like many intelligent dogs, the German Spaniel can be quite independent. As a hunting dog, she has to rely on her own decision-making at times in the field.
The German Spaniel temperament is enthusiastic and outgoing.
She has a docile nature and is a good family dog if she gets enough exercise. She is very good with kids.
The German Spaniel temperament can be quite sensitive. She will not respond well to harsh training methods.
The German Spaniel temperament is friendly to nearly everyone. She has a lovely disposition.
As a hunter, the German Spaniel has little fear. She faces boars in Germany and black bears in Canada.
The German Spaniel temperament is not shy or aggressive. She has a rather noble bearing.
The German Spaniel temperament is happy to obey with good training. She can have a bit of a mind of her own so she needs a firm but gentle leader.
She is very loving to her family and enjoys spending time with them. She does better living in the home than in a kennel or outdoors.
The German Spaniel temperament is loyal to her people. She wants to be by their sides.
She is a persistent and tenacious hunter.
The German Spaniel has a lot of energy. She is not hyperactive, but she needs a fair amount of exercise daily.
The German Spaniel temperament is attentive. She is aware of what is going on in her environment.
She gets along well with people and children. She can do really well with other dogs in the home.
This breed does not like being alone for long periods. She will do best with a family where someone is home during the day.
The German Spaniel temperament is able to adapt from hunting to life as a home and family dog. If she doesn’t get enough exercise, though, she may be restless and bored in the house.
As a hunter, the German Spaniel is skilled at hunting, tracking, and retrieving on land or in water.
As a home companion, she does very well resting at home as long she gets enough exercise overall.
Strong Prey Drive
The German Spaniel has an extremely high prey drive. She isn’t a good choice for homes with smaller pets.
She will also need to be contained or she will run off to chase small animals.
The German Spaniel loves her job and isn’t fond of taking breaks. If she’s not hunting, she will need another form of physical and mental stimulation.
If she has grown up with a cat, she will get along fine with it. Otherwise, she will see cats as prey and delight in chasing them.
You won’t want to trust her with other small animals.
They are very hard workers who love to hunt. The German Spaniel are strong dogs with great endurance and versatility. They will happily spend all day in the field.
German Spaniel History
The German Spaniel originated in Germany, where it is called the Deutscher Wachtelhund (or German quail dog).
The Germans created this breed from the Stoeberer, a hunting dog known in Germany as far back as the early 18th century. (The Stoeberer is now extinct.)
The Stoeberer was said to have a nose for scent work as good as the Bloodhound. The Germans found some of the few remaining Stoeberers and crossed them with sporting spaniels and water dogs to create the Deutscher Wachtelhund.
In Germany today, most German Spaniel breeders will not sell this dog to non-hunting families.
The German Spaniel is a rare breed outside of Germany. They were introduced in the United States as recently as the late 1950s or early 1960s. There are still not many German Spaniels in the US today and only slightly more in Canada.
In Germany, the German Spaniel is still primarily a hunting dog. They are excellent flushers, trackers, and retrievers. They even track and hold wounded bears.
German Spaniel Training
The German Spaniel is an intelligent breed. She is a fast learner, but she can have a mind of her own. This may make her a little harder to train than other family dogs.
She will need a firm, consistent, but gentle hand in training. Positive reinforcement methods work best for her.
If you are planning to keep a German Spaniel as a pet or family dog, she will need early training to control her exceptional prey drive.
That training will need to be consistent and continued throughout her life. She needs to know that she is not the leader of the pack.
She also needs a lot of mental stimulation. She is also likely to get into trouble if she is bored.
If you are planning to hunt a German Spaniel, she will need a very firm and consistent but gentle leader.
Either way, whether hunting or companion dog, it is critical that she learn the recall and heel commands early because of the instinct to chase.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your German Spaniel
German Spaniel Appearance
The German Spaniel is a medium-sized breed with a muscular build. Her coat is long, wavy, and feathered. It is longest on the backs of her legs and on her tail. The hair is curlier on her ears, her neck, and the base of her tail.
She has a thick, dense undercoat, which protects her from water and weather.
She carries her tail straight down when she’s resting. It curls upward when she’s excited.
The German Spaniel has a broad head and muzzle. She has Spaniel-type ears, long and dropped with curly fringe. She has dark brown eyes and a dark nose.
The German Spaniel Size
German Spaniel weight is 40-60 pounds. German Spaniel height is 18-21 inches.
The German Spaniel Colors
German Spaniel colors are brown with white ticking (called Schimmel) or solid brown, red and white, or solid red. They can have white markings on the chest or legs.
German Spaniel Must-Knows
The German Spaniel life expectancy is 12-14 years.
German Spaniel Hunting
The German Spaniel is a versatile gundog that hunts both birds and mammals. She is skilled at hunting in terrain as diverse as forests, lakes, and rivers.
She has an exceptional sense of smell and uses this to blood track wounded animals, including bears.
Like many intelligent dogs, she has an independent streak, which she often needs when she’s on the job.
If you are not planning to hunt your German Spaniel, you will probably want to control this. She will need early firm and consistent training if you want her to obedient.
German Spaniel Health Issues
Overall, the German Spaniel is a very healthy breed. Because there are no “show lines” of this breed, she has not been overbred for conformation. This means that she has very few breed-specific concerns.
All breeds are predisposed to some conditions, though. The following are conditions you will need to watch for in the German Spaniel:
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Caring for the German Spaniel
German Spaniel Grooming
The German Spaniel sheds year round and needs weekly brushing. She will shed more heavily twice a year when she molts and will need brushing more often at those times.
She needs only an occasional bath. Of course, she will also need regular nail clipping, tooth brushing, and ear cleaning.
German Spaniel Diet
If your German Spaniel is a home companion and not a working dog, she should do well on any high-quality food.
However, If you keep her active with outdoor family activities (which is recommended for this breed), you may want to choose an active formula.
If you are hunting your German Spaniel, she may need a high-performance food. This should contain an appropriate blend of fat, protein, and carbohydrates.
If you’re not sure what to feed your German Spaniel, ask your vet for a recommendation.
German Spaniel Exercise
The German Spaniel is an active breed that needs a lot of exercises. She enjoys indoor activities, but she also needs room to run and play.
The German Spaniel loves to swim and enjoys hiking and she is also a very good candidate for organized canine sports.
Finding a German Spaniel
German Spaniel Breeders
Finding a German Spaniel for sale may take patience. This is a rare breed outside of Germany.
At the time of this writing, there were an estimated 100 to 150 German Spaniels in all of North America.
The breed club Deutscher Wachtelhund of North America (DWNA) is one possible source for a German Spaniel puppy. They import German Spaniel puppies from Germany.
If you choose to go this route, the German Spaniel price is about $1050 to $1250 plus the cost of shipping from Germany.
Expect to be put on a waiting list. Wait time would probably be a few months depending upon litter availability.
If you decide to go this route, there is one more thing you need to know. The DWNA asks their purchasers to sign an agreement that they will make their German Spaniel available for breeding.
The DWNA is working hard to increase German Spaniel numbers in the US in a responsible manner. Their goal is to breed a new generation of healthy dogs with intact German Spaniel traits.
They have strict breeding requirements to preserve the genetic soundness of the breed. Any healthy puppy imported from reputable German breeders is valuable for this purpose.
German Spaniel Rescue or Adoption
Finding a German Spaniel for adoption may be difficult. They are still rare outside of Germany. If you are fortunate enough to find one, it will likely be an adult dog.
There are many advantages to adopting an adult dog. It’s likely that someone else has already done the early training. It may be housebroken.
When you adopt a dog from a rescue or shelter, they make sure the dog is spayed or neutered. You won’t have to deal with that expense.
It will be up to date with its immunizations. It will likely have at least basic obedience training.
The cost will also be less than buying a puppy from a breeder. Adopting from a shelter or rescue usually costs somewhere between $75 and $200.
An Internet search at the time of this writing doesn’t turn up any German Spaniel rescues.
However, if you would like to rescue a German Spaniel, you might try contacting the (DWNA). They would likely be your best bet for rescue information.
Another option would be the United Kennel Club (UKC). (The UKC recognizes this breed, but the American Kennel Club (AKC) does not.)
At the time of this writing, the UKC had no listings for German Spaniel breeders or rescues, but that can change at any time. It would certainly be worth checking out.
Is the German Spaniel the Right Breed for You?
The German Spaniel is a wonderful dog. With the proper training, it makes a loving home companion.
However, with its high prey drive and apparent need to hunt, it may not be the best choice for a non-hunting home.
If you have an active outdoor life, though, she could be a good fit for your family. You would need to commit to seeing that she gets an hour or two of vigorous exercise every day.
If you can give this lively and lovable dog the physical and mental stimulation she needs, you are likely to fall in love with the German Spaniel temperament. She’s a sweetheart of a dog.