Which breeds are actually among the most popular hunting dog breeds in German-speaking countries? We have compiled the 10 best-hunting companions for you. However, many of these breeds are also held in high esteem away from the forest and woad.
For a professional hunter, hunting dogs are often the most important tool in the performance of their duty. The duty of the hunter is strictly regulated by law in German-speaking countries such as Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. In addition to the actual hunt, it also includes other important tasks. These include conservation measures, nature and biotope protection, the preservation of natural habitats, strict compliance with official shooting plans, and the prevention of accidents involving wildlife and mowing deaths.
Professional hunters inevitably spend a lot of time alone in the open countryside and in the deep forest. Therefore, a useful dog when hunting is not only an indispensable means to an end but also a friend for life and often the only company. But not every breed of dog is equally well suited to the tasks of a hunting dog. Even if they are descended from the talented predator wolf.
In addition, each gun dog breed specializes in a certain aspect of the hunt (pointing, chasing, retrieving, tracking, etc.). So there is no perfect all-rounder, just as there is no one best hunting dog breed. That’s why we’ve rounded up the 10 most popular hunting dog breeds here!
The Large Munsterlander is one of the long-haired German pointing dog breeds that were bred and heavily promoted in the Munster region and in southern Lower Saxony. Not to be confused with the Small Munsterlander, which descended from another lineage. As docile and passionate hunting dogs, these four-legged friends feel most comfortable in their original job. Good Hunting! As pure family dogs, they can quickly become bored if they are not used appropriately.
The Large Munsterlander Pointer (usually just called “Big Munsterlander”) occupies a special position among the pointing dog breeds originating in Germany. It is the only breed for which the color black is a must. For all other German pointers, for which the color black is mandatory is allowed, there are also other colors, such as brown or brown mold.
The ancestors of the Large Munsterlander, like many other hunting dog breeds today, were the white-and-white fowl and hunting dogs, which can be seen in many historical paintings of the last centuries. Even then there were the smaller, feathered quail-type scavenger dogs and the larger so-called “chicken dogs”. The Large Munsterlander still carries a good portion of Bracken blood and counts some Spanish and English pointing dog breeds among its ancestors. Because of the external appearance, some people also suspect it, the Epagneul bleu de Picardie from France, which has been known since the 16th century, was also crossed.
However, the Large Munsterlander is most closely related to the German Longhaired Pointer, which was one of the hunting dog breeds whose breed characteristics were first defined at the Hanover Dog Show in 1879. Initially, the black and white variant of the German Longhaired Pointer was also listed in the studbook. However, these dogs were not well received by friends of the breed, as they suggested crossbreeding with other breeds. There is no question today that black and white English Setters were crossed in the middle of the 19th century. It was made to improve performance as a “field dog”. In 1908 the black and white variant was removed from the standard of the German Longhaired Pointer and the animals were excluded from breeding. As a result, the “Association for the pure breeding of the black and white Large Munsterlander” in Haltern in Munsterland, Germany. Since the dogs were initially found mainly in the Münsterland and in Lower Saxony and were used there for hunting small game, they were given the official name “Großer Münsterländer Vorstehhund”. In 1922, the “black and white” were then recognized as an independent breed by the delegates’ commission, and systematic breeding of the Large Munsterlander began, based on 83 dogs. Today, this breed can be found in most European countries and also in North America.
Large Munsterlander Is Not The Typical Field Dog
The Large Munsterlander has a pronounced game sharpness. It not only points reliably but is also suitable for rummaging around in the forest, as well as for lost searches and the welding work after the shot. In contrast to its ancestors, who moved at a moderate trot when searching, the Large Munsterlander is a little faster today. The capacity for pointing and for the transverse search are wolfed down in the Large Munsterlander. If properly managed, he does an excellent and fast job in the field. This quality combined with its calmness has led to the fact that more and more falconers have discovered this breed for themselves and use it for hunting under the bird of prey. However, the dog is not the typical field dog. Due to the close bond, he forms with his handler and his other inherited qualities, he prefers to work in dense undergrowth under the gun.
The following text was added to the breed standard a few years ago to underline the hunting suitability and use of the Large Munsterlander: “According to its hunting purpose as a versatile hunting dog, the ‘Big Munsterlander’ must have all the qualities required of it and for all work in the field, be useful in the forest and in the water in relation to performance before and after the shot.” One focus of the hunting work is that before the shot. The fine nose is always in use, whereby the Large Munsterlander prefers to search with a lower than with a high nose. That’s how it cuts For example, he usually does better in the subject “Hare Track” than in the subject “Pointing”. Of course, the dogs can also be used for tracking and welding work due to their deep nose and their will to find. It doesn’t matter whether it is in dense undergrowth or in the Reed rummages – the long, dense coat of hair protects the GrMü from thorns or sharp-edged reeds, as well as w ie from wet and cold. Great importance is also attached to water work during breeding. The Large Munsterlander is said to be suitable for water work both before and after the shot. He must therefore be fond of water and have a certain will to persevere.
In the meantime, more and more dogs of this breed are also used for driven hunts in the forest. Therefore, they must have a very good sense of direction and a certain game sharpness, combined with a good ability to track. Above all, the lighter colors, i.e. the dogs with a lot of white, are particularly popular with these hunts, as their appearance makes them easier to spot in the forest and in the thicket. Today, the Large Munsterlander certainly focuses on forest and water work. Large Munsterlanders should be tracked or sight loud. Mute or noisy dogs are excluded from breeding. The sound is just like the game sharpness an essential breeding requirement.
Hunting and family dog
The Large Munsterlander is not only a versatile hunting dog but also has an attractive appearance and a friendly nature, which has given it a special group of enthusiasts. He is lively without being nervous, easy to handle, and reliable. His friendly nature also makes him a pleasant family dog. Even hunters who have not yet had any experience with leading a hunting dog (first-time handlers) should get along well with a Large Munsterlander. Since breeding is mainly based on fitness for use, almost all dogs of this breed are only given to hunters and are therefore used for hunting. In contrast to most other hunting dog breeds, the Large Munsterlander was rarely kept in a kennel, but almost always in the house. This has developed a very close bond with his family and a certain vigilance. Appearance The Large Munsterlander should have a strong, muscular physique, resulting in a sleek overall picture with a dry outline and an aristocratic appearance. The elongated head with a short stop and a pronounced chin musculature should appear noble. The nose must be black and the lips must not hang over. When it comes to eye color, the darker the better.
The long and dense fur should not be curly or protruding, otherwise, it could be a hindrance when used for hunting. Typical is the long feathering on the back of the front and hind legs. But a long flagging is also desired on the rod. The hair is short and close-lying on the head, only on the ears it is long or has good fringes. Due to this nature, the fur requires regular care to avoid matting.
The Weimaraner is a versatile hunting dog. He has a well-developed talent for pointing (= indicating the direction of the prey by a certain body positioning). It was carefully bred, especially in Weimar and Thuringia, and is most easily recognized by its trademark mouse-grey to silvery shimmering coat and light-colored eyes.
Essence and temperament
In addition to its beauty, elegance, and noble appearance, the Weimaraner has a special character:
- He is a sovereign, strong-willed, very attentive, and intelligent dog.
- He loves challenges and loves to work.
- Among the hunting dogs, Weimaraners enjoy a special position due to their performance and pronounced predator sharpness.
- With good training, Weimaraners develop a very strong, almost affectionate bond with their owners, which above all allows for good hunting work.
UNFINISHED: Weimaraners can be suspicious of strangers and have a strong territorial demeanor. It’s best not to underestimate the protective instinct this breed can develop.
As a hunting dog, the Weimaraner has a temperament that is not always easy to manage. If you want to get your silver-grey four-legged friend’s natural hunting instinct under control, you should consider the following:
- Your Weimi needs a sensitive and knowledgeable upbringing, which you pair with appropriate care, effort, and consistency.
- You have to appear early on as a permanent reference person and convey to your dog in a loving way which behaviors are desirable and which are not.
- In order to prevent future conflicts with other dogs or animals as far as possible, you should socialize your Weimaraner at an early stage.
- Continuously fulfill the tireless urge to move and the intelligence of your furry friend with a sufficient physical and mental workload.
The family dog, a dog for beginners, or rather a hunting dog?
If you don’t want to use your Weimaraner as a hunting dog, you need to keep his passion for hunting under control. Long runs and lots of sporting activities together should be on your agenda. Challenge your dog with dog sports such as dummy training or jogging together. The breed is not suitable for beginners because you should already have a certain amount of experience with dogs in order to meet the requirements and needs of a Weimaraner.
Above all, Weimaraners are hunting dogs that show their special qualities in working after the shot. The dogs are particularly capable of locating wounded and lost game, which applies equally to waterfowl and wildfowl. He is also a reliable helper when used as a rescue dog.
Weimaraners have a decidedly high level of territorial behavior that makes them excellent protection and guard dogs. Provided that you keep your loyal and affectionate four-legged friend busy enough, the Weimaraner is also suitable as a family dog.
Origin and history
There are many theories about the origin of the Weimaraner. It is known that at the beginning of the 19th century it was held at the court of Grand Duke Karl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach in Weimar. Already in the 12th century in France at the time of Louis IX. there is said to have been a dog with similar attributes, although researchers could not prove a direct relationship.
According to another theory, the Weimaraner is said to have its origins in the St. Hubertus dog, or to come from a cross with Arabian greyhounds. It is also possible that he descended from the short-haired German pointer. There is evidence of his breeding from around the year 1890. In 1897, the “Weimaraner Club”, a forerunner of today’s German breed club, was the first club founded for pure breeding of the silver-grey Weimaraner.
The standards specify the following mandatory breed characteristics for Weimaraners:
- The size of the males varies between 59 and 70 cm, that of the bitches between 57 and 65 cm.
- Males weigh between 30 and 40 kg and females between 25 and 35 kg.
- The muscular dog’s back is flat and not overbuilt at the back.
- The loin is broad and straight to slightly arched.
- The Weimaraner’s coat is silver, fawn, or mouse gray or a transitional variant of these colors. The head and ears are usually a little lighter and only a small amount of white markings are permissible on the chest and toes.
- The skull of the Weimis has good proportions and a depression in the middle of the forehead.
- The dog’s nose is large and protrudes above the lower jaw.
- The Weimaraner’s ears are wide, long, and high, and lie flat against the head.
- His eyes shine with dark or light amber tones that convey an intelligent expression.
- The coat of the short-haired specimen is short, strong, very dense, and smooth, with little or no undercoat.
Breeders are often not reputable
Since the specifications of the Weimaraner Club are very strict and they only provide Weimaraners for hunting work, it is complicated to get a purebred Weimaraner for non-hunting purposes.
Many hobby breeders have discovered this gap in the market and accordingly sell Weimaraners to people who are not hunters. However, since these practices are not part of the official breeding association, many dubious dealers get involved. Therefore, be careful when purchasing a Weimaraner and, above all, make sure that your dealer has already examined the health of the dog/puppy you want and tested its character.
On the other hand, you can also try your local animal shelters. Adopting a Weimaraner in need presents many challenges, but if you feel up to the task, you are promoting the welfare of a dog who is likely to be in great need; and that’s worth a lot.
With its golden coat color, the Magyar Vizsla is well camouflaged in crop fields and on steppes and meadows. When used for hunting, he is a good scent hound and tracker who likes to retrieve. Because of his philanthropy and affection, he is also often kept purely as a family dog – with sufficient activity, of course.
Breed characteristics and appearance
What does a Hungarian Vizsla look like?
The Magyar Vizsla is a hunting dog. Also known as the Hungarian Shorthaired Pointer. He is a very elegant, athletic, medium-sized dog without any exaggeration in his physical characteristics. He is a versatile, typical pointing dog, but also has traits of a greyhound. The official FCI standard describes the Magyar Vizsla:
Versatile hunting dog, which must be useful in the field, in the forest, and in the water, with the following typical characteristics: a pronounced sense of smell, firm pointing, excellent retrieval behavior, and determined following of the swimming track with great joy in the water. It tolerates both difficult terrain and extreme weather conditions. … Because of his easy-going nature and adaptability, he is also easy to keep in the apartment.
A Vizsla’s coat is short and dense. It should feel rough and hard. It should cover the whole body; the belly is slightly hairy. Magyar Vizsla has no undercoat. The ears are relatively large and drooping. The Vizsla’s puppies have blue eyes, while those of adults are usually yellow to brown. With regard to coat colors, the standard prescribes:
Different shades of bread are yellow. The curtains can be a little darker, otherwise, the color is uniform. Red, brownish, or lightened shades are undesirable.
With a hound, however, performance is paramount, subtleties of coat color are basically irrelevant. The allowed but very rare wire-haired variety of the Vizslas probably goes back to a crossing with German Wirehaired Pointer almost 100 years ago.
How big is a Hungarian Vizsla?
The males have a height at the withers of 58 to 64 centimeters and the females 54 to 60 cm.
How old does a Hungarian Vizsla get?
Magyar Vizslas from reputable breeding have a long life expectancy and can live up to 12 to 15 years with the best constitution.
What characteristics does a Magyar Vizsla have?
First and foremost, one should keep in mind that the Magyar Vizsla is a hunting dog. He is a versatile gun dog with an emphasis on pointing. It is sight-loud, meaning it barks when it sees prey and rare tracks. When hunting, he works in a goal-oriented and highly professional manner. Nevertheless, a Magyar Vizsla can be very fond of children and family-friendly. However, this should not be misunderstood. Because family-friendly does not automatically mean a family dog. Rather, he is an outspoken working dog. In the hands of a knowledgeable guide, the Hungarian Pointing Dog is a useful helper when hunting, and only then as a second job is it also a family dog - and a very good one at that. The Magyar Vizsla is therefore not recommended as a beginner’s dog without further ado. In addition, he has a very sensitive nature for hunting dogs. Dog handlers absolutely must have dog understanding, seek a close bond with them and steer and guide them sensitively on this basis. The Viszla is not a kennel dog and also needs personal contact with its master and mistress outside of its work. He needs consistent, expert upbringing and training in order to steer his high level of intelligence, his keen senses, and his pronounced willingness to perform in the right direction. Otherwise, you will not be able to take him for a walk off leash, as he would rush after the game at the slightest stimulus, to name just one of the potential problems. Assuming such a natural environment, the Magyar Vizsla is a sensitive, empathetic friend of the family and children, a great companion even outside of hunting or sporting work, and in any case a wonderful experience of the partnership between man and dog.
Where does the Magyar Vizsla originally come from?
The Magyar Vizsla is a Hungarian pointing dog. It comes in the well-known short-haired variety and a rare rough-haired or wiry-haired variety. Hungary has produced a number of significant dog breeds. In addition to the shepherd dogs, three hunting dog breeds should be mentioned here, such as the hound and sighthound Magyar Agar. The smaller Magyar Vizsla is by far the best-known Hungarian hunting dog in Germany. Even in ancient times, a special behavior of certain hunting dogs was used in a targeted manner: when they have tracked down a game, such as a bird or rabbit, they lie down quietly and point their snout or also a front leg in the direction of their prey. That’s called pointing, and after that a whole group of special hunting dogs is called. But pointing dogs today can do more than just pointing. Like the Vizsla, they are usually excellent hunters and trackers, in short, they find the pheasant or hare first. Then they are good fetchers. Like the Vizsla, they often like to work in the water. Pointing dogs are usually the Swiss Army knife of a lonely huntsman. The Magyar Vizsla has a very old history. Since 1500, his ancestors have been named and illustrated. Some of his ancestors probably came to Europe with the Magyars around 900. Here they mixed with native Pannonian hounds and later with those of the Turkish occupiers. The yellow-brown coat color is thought to come from Turkish hunting dogs. The old Magyar Vizsla have been systematically bred since the 17th century. They were coveted and valued throughout Europe. Then modern British pointers like the pointer challenged them for that spot. Around 1880 the breeding of the Hungarian pointer collapsed. In November 1916, a call to save the Yellow Vizsla was circulated. From 1920 his breeding was revived. In 1936 he was officially recognized by the FCI. At the end of World War II and after the failure of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, there was another slump, as many Hungarians did not want their dogs to fall into the hands of the Russians. In Germany, in 1977 the Association of Hungarian Pointers was founded, which still represents the Magyar Vizsla in the VDH (Association for German Dogs) and JGHV (Hunting Dog Association). For a long time, this dog was known only to insiders. A good 200 puppies are born at the Hungarian Pointing Dog Association each year.
Originally from Great Britain, the beagle is now seen more as a family dog. Its function as a pack hunter is rather secondary. Nevertheless, the cheerful and intelligent dog still has a strong hunting instinct and also a certain stubbornness that can make training a challenge. Unlike its peers, the Beagle is built rather small and compact.
What does a Beagle look like?
The Beagle is a compact, small to a medium-sized hunting dog. He belongs to the group of small hounds. The Beagle is a pack dog for scavenging and par force hunting. You usually see him eagerly looking for tracks with his nose just above the ground. The standard describes it as:
robust, compact dog, gives the impression of quality without being coarse.
Weight is not specified. It is usually around 10 to 18 kg and depends on the size and type of the dog. A strong bone structure is typical of the breed, as is a pronounced musculature, although this should not give a rough impression. The head is adorned on both sides by low-set hangings (floppy ears) and sits on a moderately long neck. The dark eyes captivate with a very gentle expression. A short, tight back and well-sprung ribs, leaving plenty of room for the heart and lungs, are characteristic of the breed. The gait of the Beagle is characterized by drive and space. The thick tail is densely haired, has a white tip, and is carried happily upright. The short, dense coat is a good protection against all kinds of weather. Tri-colored Beagles are the most common. Their coat of hair shows black and light to reddish brown patches in any arrangement. Around a third of the beagles bred in Germany are two-tone, in which case the black is completely absent and the brown varies from red to lemon-colored. That is the description of his appearance.
How big is a beagle?
Beagles are hardy dogs with a square build and a height of 33 to 40 centimeters.
How old does a beagle get?
According to the American Kennel Club, the life expectancy of a Beagle is 10 to 15 years.
What characteristics does a Beagle have?
Beagles embody good humor, are cheerful, gentle, and highly adaptable. Her personality is made for life as a well-loved family dog. The standard describes the character of the beagle:
A happy dog whose main purpose is to hunt, especially rabbits, following the scent, fearless, extremely lively, with tenacity and determination. Bright, intelligent and balanced. Kind and bright, with no signs of aggressiveness or timidity.
Beagles are also known to be stubborn and stubborn. That’s hardly surprising. For centuries, this quality was one of its trump cards for survival. Only with a good portion of stubbornness and perseverance could he follow the trail of the game through dense undergrowth. However, you should not confuse his stubbornness with a lack of learning ability. The Beagle needs a clear message and a sensitive but consistent hand from you. Then education is not a problem. A frustrated, lonely Beagle who is bored can become a problem. In extreme cases, he can tear an apartment apart out of boredom. He would love to spend time in nature with his master and mistress every day. However, this promises wonderful experiences that are good for body and soul. Combined with his cheerful nature, his high stress tolerance and largely lacking aggressiveness, he reliably ensures deceleration. When walking, however, you should keep in mind that the Beagle is a hunting dog. If his fine nose picks up the trail of a hare or rabbit, he suddenly becomes restless. Fast retrieval is the order of the day, otherwise he’ll say goodbye to us for the next few hours. Then he’s on the trail with his nose all the way down and forgets everything else. Today it is rarely used as a hunting dog. But the association Jagd-Beagle keeps this tradition alive. If you are interested in a beagle, you are advised to watch the beagles “hunt” in the pack. Splendid. These heart and soul hunting dogs make amazing companions and family dogs. Beagles are also considered to be particularly child-friendly. This shows once again his high social skills. They are also easily manageable by a dedicated beginner.
With its elongated body shape and short legs, the German dachshund or dachshund has long been a real icon. In fact, the breed, called “sausage dog” in English, was bred specifically to hunt foxes and badgers. The Dachshund is very good at penetrating their low burrows.
As nimble, intelligent, and somewhat stubborn furry friends, they need loving and consistent leadership. The dachshund comes in short-haired, long-haired, and wire-haired variants.
History and origin
The dachshund was originally bred for hunting underground and was first mentioned in the Middle Ages. He is descended from short-legged Bracken. This short-legged dog is recognized as one of the most versatile gundog breeds. He is a master of his class when chasing on the tracks, rummaging around, and tracking by blood. The dachshund owes its name because its task was to penetrate fox and badger dens and drive the animals out of their burrows. The short-haired dachshund is probably the oldest breed, wire-haired dachshunds and long-haired dachshunds were added later. The dog breed has been bred to come in three different sizes and three different coat types for several decades.
Essence and temperament
The Dachshund is agile, friendly, and has an even temperament. They are very docile and intelligent animals, but sometimes want to assert their stubbornness. As a hunter, the breed has nerves of steel when it comes to luring prey from hiding. He is persistent, lively, and has a fine nose. Although he is now often kept as a family dog, one should not forget that hunter’s blood still runs in his veins. Unlike other breeds, their ability to bond is less intense. His overconfidence sometimes means that he can act rashly when dealing with other dogs – this can lead to confrontations. The little dachshund is a good companion in many areas of life because it is very adaptable. However, this breed also needs appropriate training and employment.
English Springer Spaniels
The English Springer Spaniel goes back to what is probably the oldest type of hunting dog in Great Britain. He has a very distinctive talent as a scavenger and retriever.
As such, he is supposed to drive the game in front of the hunters’ guns and bring the prey he has killed back to his owners. Because of this, he loves outdoor exercise and is usually very attached to a single caregiver.
English springer spaniel temperament
Be everyone’s darling? The English Springer Spaniel has no increased interest in this – even if his friendly and innocent look suggests otherwise. Although he usually gets along well with people and other members of his species due to his good nature, his pronounced stubbornness sometimes just gets in his way. This pedigree dog only shows a natural “will to please” towards its closest reference person.
One-man dog with a passion for hunting
The English Springer Spaniel can thus be described as a typical one-man dog. Even if he loves to play with the children of the family and enjoys going for a walk with other family members, his world is only complete again when “master” or “mistress” is with him again. He rarely leaves his “pack leader”‘s side and eagerly tries to please him. Despite its innate hunting instinct, the Springer Spaniel can be described as easy to handle, which also makes it interesting for beginners.
Master of retrieval
As a scavenger dog whose job it was to find and flush out rabbits and partridges centuries ago, the English Springer Spaniel still wants a meaningful job today that challenges them both mentally and physically. However, his willingness to work closely with his caregiver and listen to his commands usually makes training and parenting fairly easy. He especially enjoys retrieving – both on land and on water. But the water-loving spaniel is also still excellently suited for hunting. As a versatile hunting dog, today it is mainly used for work after the shot.
Loyal, spirited – and always in a good mood
The temperamental English Springer Spaniel, who is willing to work, is accordingly busy and calm, and balanced within its own four walls. His friendly, carefree nature and his need for closeness make him a pleasant and extremely loyal companion who can easily be taken anywhere. There is no need to fear aggressive or even nervous behavior with this dog. When he was young, his temperament and his exuberant manner got the best of him. But the good mood he spreads is guaranteed to be contagious.
German Wirehaired Pointer
The German Wirehaired Pointer was perfected as the ideal pointing dog and specializes in this activity. But not only that, he also convinces with his talent in other disciplines. He is the result of crosses between Pudelpointer, Griffon Korthals, German Stichelhaar and German Shorthaired Pointer – a noble and trusting fellow with high physical performance and temperament. Within a few years, he became one of the most popular hunting dogs in Germany.
German longhaired pointer
Representatives of this breed of hunting dog are descendants of the hawk and guard dogs that were already used for hunting in the Middle Ages. It is particularly widespread in Northern Germany and is closely related to the Large Munsterlander (see above!).
Since one could not agree on a coat color, the breeding split. On the one hand, there is the brown variant, the German Longhaired Pointer. On the other hand, the black and white variant, the Large Munsterlander, was created.
Labrador retrievers, which are very fond of swimming retrievers, have become increasingly popular as family dogs in recent years. It’s easy to forget that they were originally used exclusively as hunting dogs. Even today, however, they have retained their joy in water and retrieving. Due to their high level of sensitivity and erudition, they are also often used as therapy, guide, and rescue dogs
The Irish (Red or Red and White) Setter emerged from the English Setter and Pointer and first established itself as the Irish Red and White Setter before the purely red Irish Red Setter split off again. He is a pointing dog with an excellent sense of smell, bred and trained specifically for snipe hunting in swampy areas. Like many (former) hunting dogs, the Irish Setter needs a lot of exercises, preferably two to three hours a day.