German Retriever Dog

As its name indicates, the German retriever ( eutscher wachtelhund in German or German spaniel in English) is a dog breed native to Germany, where it was historically trained to work as a retriever or lift dog. For many decades, it has been considered that these dogs were developed by and for hunters, however, their physical characteristics and versatile character can make them a great companion dog, as long as they have access to an adequate education and socialization process.

If you are looking for the best friend to accompany you in your daily life, we invite you to continue reading this AnimalWised file, where we talk much more about the history and behavior of the German Retriever , as well as the essential care to provide it with an excellent quality of life. life. Shall we start

Origin of the German retriever or German spaniel

Although there are previous mentions of dogs similar in appearance to the German retriever, the creation of the breed itself is usually attributed to a group of hunters who, in the mid-1880s , set out to recreate the stober, an ancient breed of German dog. which had been known since at least the 1700s and which had achieved much recognition in German lands for showing an olfactory ability to follow trails/smells very similar to that of the bloodhound or Saint Hubert dog .

To fulfill their purpose, the hunters went in search of some remaining specimens of said breed found in Bavaria, which were selectively crossed with other spaniel dogs with extensive experience in sport hunting. In this way, the first specimens known as wachtelhund arose and were officially recognized in 1903. Today, the German retriever, or German spaniel, is recognized by practically all international canine federations, even by the International Cynological Federation (FCI) which It includes it in section 2 of Group 8, where hunting retriever dogs and hunting retriever dogs with a working test are found.

Unlike the most popular German dog breeds , such as the German Shepherd, Doberman or Rottweiler (among many others), German Retrievers did not become as popular around the world. This is mainly because, in their homeland, these dogs are not usually available to the general public , as they are developed almost exclusively to accompany professional gamekeepers and experienced hunters, especially those who are members of the German Wachtelhund Club. (officially named Verein fur Deutsche Wachtelhund ). However, some individuals were taken to the United States and Canada starting in the 1950s and 1960s, where native litters were generated and it is estimated that, currently, there are around 150 specimens registered in the two countries.

Characteristics of the German retriever or German spaniel

We are talking about a medium-sized dog , with highly developed muscles and strong bones, whose body is longer than it is tall and the rump is slightly descending. According to the FCI standard, the ratio of body length to height at withers of the German Retriever is 1.2:1, while the ratio of chest height to height at withers is 0. 5: 1. It measures between 45 and 58 cm and weighs between 18 and 25 kg, with the males being larger.

The head of the German retriever is made up of a flattened and moderately wide skull , and a slightly marked naso-frontal depression. The snout is slightly rounded downwards, but never pointed or shorter than the skull, and highlights a wide nasal shank along its entire length. The nose is large and dark, with very open windows and preferably without depigmentation.

Also in the facial region, we find medium or dark brown eyes , which are placed a little obliquely and are neither prominent nor sunken. The eyelids are well adjusted to the eyeball and their edges have eyebrows. In turn, the ears of the German Retriever are flattened (neither thick nor fleshy), set wide and high, and hang close behind the eyes without twisting.

Finally, the German spaniel, when at rest, carries its tail as a continuation of the top line straight or downward, but usually raises it slightly and moves it happily when it enters a state of excitement.

German Retriever Colors

The coat of the German Retriever is strong , close to the skin and is made up mostly of wavy hairs (although some individuals may exhibit a curlier coat), which become slightly straighter in certain regions of the body, mainly on the ears and the characteristic fringes on the back of its limbs and tail. A dense undercoat is observed.

Regarding the colors of the German Retriever, the standard defines the following two varieties as acceptable:

  • Uniform brown or possibly red color , which is frequently combined with white splashes or markings on the fingers and chest.
  • Roan brown color or eventually roan red . The basic color is formed by brown or red hairs mixed densely with white, and most individuals have a brown or red head with plates or a coat over the entire back. However, this variety also includes spotted German retrievers with white basic color and large brown or red plates, as well as individuals with the so-called “tiger” color, where the white basic color is dotted, mottled or exhibits brown tufts. or red.

It is important to highlight that the presence of other colors or patterns in the coat does not determine its beauty, much less its personality and behavior. Therefore, if you have adopted a puppy or adult German Retriever that does not meet all the rules to be considered pure, you will still be able to have a companion of notable elegance and loyalty.

What is the German Retriever puppy like?

An interesting fact is that the characteristic fringes of the German spaniel develop as the dog grows, which is why they are barely visible in puppies. In addition, the coat that covers the entire body is noticeably smoother and less voluminous when it is a puppy, since the undercoat develops with age.

The most important thing is to keep in mind that childhood is a critical period for the optimal physical, cognitive and social development of all dogs, whether or not they have a defined breed. In this sense, to prevent your German Retriever puppy from having learning or behavioral problems throughout his life, the first step is to make sure that he can remain with his mother and his siblings until he completes his breeding period. weaning.

Character of the German retriever or German spaniel

It is a friendly, versatile and lively dog ​​whose development of physical, cognitive and sensory skills has historically been related to optimizing its performance on hunting trips, and mainly in the search for tracks and the recovery of wild animals (in especially birds of prey) hunted by their owners. In fact, the FCI highlights the following temperament traits of the German Retriever:

  • He appears willing and confident in the search for traces or clues.
  • Its olfactory abilities are very fine.
  • It reliably has a continuous bark.
  • It has a pronounced taste for water and the role of collector/retriever.
  • Shows preference for hunting independently, extensively and under control.
  • It has great adaptability to different surfaces.

Furthermore, the German Retriever is a very self-confident dog , so behavioral problems associated with insecurity, excessive fear and mainly aggression are usually clear signs of problems in socialization and/or systematic exposure to scolding, physical punishment or other types of animal abuse.

Care of the German Retriever or German Spaniel

On a daily basis, a German Retriever requires the essential care that any dog ​​should receive. Likewise, there are some special care specific to the breed. Therefore, when caring for a German spaniel you should base yourself on the following guidelines:

  • Complete and balanced diet that fully meets the nutritional requirements of each stage of your life.
  • Physical exercise : the German Retriever is quite energetic and a good physical activity routine is essential to work his entire body and allow him to maintain a more stable behavior. We recommend that, beyond taking at least three walks a day , you evaluate the benefits of starting him in a dog sport.
  • Mental stimulation : a dog that leads a sedentary routine in an impoverished environment becomes much more prone to the development of stress symptoms and behavioral problems associated with destructiveness, separation anxiety and also aggression. To prevent all this, we strongly advise that you invest in environmental enrichment . Furthermore, considering the German Wachtelhund ‘s strong taste for searching for tracks, it may be an excellent idea to start him searching or searching for dogs , which will allow him to deploy his olfactory skills and intelligence without the need to involve him in hunting activities.
  • Hair hygiene and maintenance : The German Retriever’s beautiful coat will need regular brushing (at least once or twice a week) to stay shiny and healthy, preventing the accumulation of dead hairs and impurities on its skin (keep in mind that the frequency of brushing may increase during shedding periods). At the same time, baths can be reserved for occasions when your best friend is really dirty and needs deeper hygiene to eliminate dirt and/or bad odors from his body. Keep in mind that bathing your dog more than necessary can contribute to the wearing down of the natural layer of fat that covers and protects his body, leaving him more vulnerable to a number of diseases. And whenever you want to bathe your dog at home , remember to use products suitable for canine use. On the other hand, it is necessary to carry out adequate ear hygiene.
  • Preventive medicine : it should include the application of the essential vaccines provided in the dog calendar , periodic deworming against internal and external parasites and at least one or two annual visits to the veterinarian to check the health of your furry dog.
  • Freedom of expression : it is one of the basic freedoms of animal welfare and consists, fundamentally, of allowing your dog to be what it is: a dog. This means letting him express himself and act like a dog, without subjecting him to any humanization practice or systematic repression of his instinctive behaviors or physiological needs. In this sense, it is essential that you are aware that it is your responsibility, as a guardian, to teach your best friend what it means to “behave well” before reprimanding him for “behaving badly”, as well as to choose the most beneficial and safe methods when it comes to to transmit the behaviors that you consider appropriate.

Education of the German retriever or German spaniel

Complementing the care of a German Retriever, it is necessary to take his education very seriously from the beginning, since this will be the basis of your best friend’s behavior on a daily basis and his ability to relate positively to a variety of individuals, environments and stimuli. In this sense, the ideal is that their educational process begins upon arrival at home , and preferably during their first months of life (although the same rule applies if you adopt an adult dog). To help you, at AnimalWised we explain how to start training a puppy and share some Tips for training adopted adult dogs .

During this same period, and preferably before the third or fourth month of life, it is highly recommended to start socializing the German Retriever puppy to encourage the assimilation of a greater number of resources to manage its own emotions and a greater diversity of friendly species. . For safety reasons, it is not recommended to take unvaccinated puppies outside, but we can begin to socialize them by introducing them to other dogs and animals that we know are healthy, vaccinated and dewormed within our home or in a safe environment, as well as people. who do not belong to their family nucleus. Once the vaccination schedule for puppies is completed and the first deworming has been done, you can begin walks in the street, squares, parks and other outdoor places so that your companion has the opportunity to continue interacting with a greater variety of individuals. , environments and stimuli.

This will also be the perfect time to teach your puppy to eliminate outside and begin introducing him to some basic obedience commands to stimulate his intelligence and encourage more reliable behavior inside and outside the home. Here we enter more properly into the field of dog training, which is not the same as education, but is equally beneficial for the physical, cognitive and social development of the German retriever. And if you would like to train your dog at home (and we recommend that you do), remember to follow a progressive logic when teaching him , always starting with simpler commands and working on them one by one until your furry friend is able to reproduce them in a simple way. fluid way. In this sense, it is also important to pay attention to the duration of the training sessions, which should last 10 to 15 minutes so as not to be exhausting for your dog, as well as the environment where you choose to carry them out, since an excess of stimuli It will reduce your ability to concentrate and focus. For more tips, be sure to read our article 5 dog training tricks that every tutor should know .

Health of the German retriever or German spaniel

When they receive all the care that we have seen in the previous sections, German Retrievers become resistant dogs with a great capacity for adaptation, whose life expectancy is around 12 years , and can reach 14 years in optimal conditions.

Given its selective breeding and the careful work carried out by breeders with the purpose of preventing serious hereditary pathologies, today, the German spaniel still does not present a high genetic predisposition to most of the diseases that affect the most widespread dog breeds in the world. everyone. However, a moderate incidence of hip and elbow dysplasia , as well as patellar dislocation , is reported , mainly in elderly individuals or those who have been exposed to very intense physical activities.

And like several spaniel dog breeds, German Retrievers have a certain propensity for epilepsy .

Where to adopt a German Retriever?

At ExpertoAnimal, we do not in any way encourage the buying and selling of pets or their breeding for commercial purposes, since abandonment is a sad reality that brings serious complications for public health and condemns thousands of animals to survive in extremely precarious conditions. .

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