"All About the German Hound (Deutsche Bracke)
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"All About the German Hound (Deutsche Bracke)

You would be forgiven for never having heard of a German Hound because although these charming and very elegant small hounds are highly prized in Germany and many other European countries, the breed is much less well known in the UK. As such anyone wanting to share a home with an energetic, intelligent German Hound could have trouble finding a breeder and would need to go on a waiting list for the pleasure of doing so.

A little background history

The German Hound is also often referred to as a Deutsche Bracke and they are native to a particular region of Germany called Westphalia. These scenthounds were specifically bred to work alongside hunters to track down large and small game in all sorts of weathers and over challenging terrains. The breed is an ancient one that has an interesting lineage in that Greyhounds and Bloodhounds (St. Hubert's Hounds) as well as other Celtic hounds may have been used to create them.

Over the centuries, Bracke-type hounds were developed in many regions in Germany and as such, there are several different types"" of them around. The Deutschen Bracken Club was finally formed in 1896 all of Bracke-type dogs were incorporated eventually all of them were classed together in 1900 although each region kept their ""prefix"".

In more recent times, the Deutsche Bracke is still frequently seen in the field working alongside man hunting deer, fox and rabbits with dogs oftn being kept on leads and used as a single dog rather than in packs. The breed is recognised by the German Kennel Club (Deutsche Hundewesen) and various other International Breed Associations although they are not recognised by the Kennel Club in the UK.

Appearance

As previously mentioned, the German Hound is a small scenthound with dogs standing at anything from 40 to 53 cm at the withers. Their overall appearance is of a noble, proud hound with long, droopy ears and narrow, long tails. They have rather narrow heads and nicely balanced, rectangular bodies which goes a long way in adding to the breed's elegance.

They have quite bristly, close-lying coats which are typically tricolour with a charming black mantle and white markings that are referred to as Bracken marks. They have white muzzles, legs chests, collars and the tip of their tails is white too. Dogs often have a nice white blaze on their faces which adds to their charming looks.

Temperament

The German Hound is a renowned scenting dog, they are playful, energetic and thrive in a home environment as much as they do when working in the field. Friendly, outgoing and extremely amenable, the German Hound learns new things quickly and enjoy being trained which makes it such a pleasure to share a home with one of these hounds.

They become totally devoted and loyal to their families which often sees a German Hound being very protective of the people they love which includes the children. They can be quite vocal by nature which is a trait that is deeply embedded in a German Hounds psyche because they needed to have a loud ""voice"" when out in the field. As such, this needs to be gently corrected when dogs are still young before it becomes a real problem.

German Hounds are not the best choice for first time owners and are better suited to people who are familiar with the breed's specific needs. They are quite independent by nature and can be wilful at times, but in the right environment and with the correct amount of socialisation and training, the German Hound is a pleasure to have around.

Because they form such strong ties with their owners, they do better living in households where someone stays at home when everyone else is out so that dogs never spend too much time on their own. German Hounds are intelligent and get easily bored if not given enough mental stimulation and daily exercise. This can lead to dogs developing all sorts of unwanted and destructive behaviours around the home. They are also known to be very good escape artists and like nothing better than to go off roaming on their own if ever they get the chance.

Shedding

The German Spaniel sheds a lot which they do steadily throughout the year only more so when their summer and winter coats start to grow through which like in other breeds is typically during the spring and then again in the autumn.

Training

German Hounds are intelligent scenthounds and they learn new things quickly. Being so amenable means they are easy to train although this ideally needs to be done by people who are familiar with their needs. The reason being that German Hounds tend to have a mind of their own and need to be handled and trained with a firm, yet gentle hand. Training sessions should be interesting and short so that a dog remains focused on what is being asked of them otherwise boredom sets in which can make training a German Hound a lot more challenging.

Exercise

German Hounds are high-energy scenthounds and as such they need to be given a tremendous amount of daily exercise combined with lots of mental stimulation. They need a minimum of 2 hours exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible so they can really express themselves, but this should only be attempted in safe environments and when dogs answer well to the ""recall"" command.

Children and Pets

Loyal, affectionate and protective, the German Hound thrives in a family environment and are known to be great around older children becoming firm friends and playmates. Providing a dog has been well socialised from a young enough age, they are also known to get on and enjoy being around other dogs. If they have grown up with family cats in a home, they tolerate and get on well with them. However, they would see other cats, smaller animals and pets as prey and as such care should be taken when they encounter them.

What about health issues?

The German Hound is known to be a healthy and robust breed, but they can suffer from a few hereditary and acquired health concerns which is why careful breeding is so important. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most are as follows:

  • Bloat
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye issues
  • Retained testicle
  • Sensitivity to anaesthesia

Life expectancy

The average life span of a German Hound is between 10 and 12 years when correctly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.

Finding a German Hound

Although very popular in their native Germany, the German Hound is not often seen in other countries of the world. As such finding a breeder can prove challenging and it's important to only contact reputable, well established breeders who take great care in choosing their stud dogs.

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