Other names: Deutscher Wachtelhund, German Quail Dog
The German Spaniel was developed around 1890. It was bred to be a hunting dog and is closely related to an old German breed called the Stoeberer, which translates as “rummager.” Although it remains fairly unknown outside of Germany, it was recognised by the UK Kennel Club in 1996. It has that classic spaniel look - short, compact body with long, pendulous ears. An extremely friendly and social dog, they make excellent family pets. A perfect companion for younger children.
Key facts about the German Spaniel
Origins and history
A German breeder named Frederick Roberth has been credited for developing the German Spaniel. He developed it by crossing water dogs and sporting spaniels with an ancient German breed called the Stoeberer. The Stoeberer was thought to have as good of a nose as the Bloodhound, which explains the German Spaniels excellent tracking abilities. It was first registered by the German Kennel Club in 1901. In the 1960s, a handful were exported to Northern America and Canada, where they still work alongside professional hunters and gamekeepers.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 8 - Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs
Section 2 : Flushing Dogs
Physical characteristics of the German Spaniel
Female : Between 18 and 20 in
Male : Between 19 and 21 in
Female : Between 40 and 55 lb
Male : Between 40 and 55 lb
Variations of brown, red, and roan. Can have white markings on the chest and/or legs.
Type of coat
Close fitting undercoat. Long, silky topcoat. Wavy, especially around the belly and legs.
Medium sized. Long-haired. Muscular frame. Classic spaniel look. Long pendulous ears. Soft, friendly expression.
Good to know
The German Spaniel is a sensitive dog. They must be reared gently, with a strong emphasis on rewarding good behaviour rather than punishing “bad” behaviour. Because of their placid natures, they can easily get overwhelmed by bigger and more aggressive dogs.
Teaching the recall command is essential. This dog likes to explore. If they pick up on an interesting scent, they can follow it for hours.
These dogs love people and will show affection to pretty much anyone. A very loving and kind-hearted dog that loves human contact.
Extremely playful. They love playing fetch and catch. The puppies have extremely high energy levels and will play for hours on end.
Puppies and younger spaniels are very excitable, but this tends to calm down as they start to mature. A well-developed German Spaniel is a calm and relaxed animal.
A smart dog. They’re capable of understanding basic obedience commands and some will respond to advanced training techniques.
These dogs were bred to track and hunt. They were mainly used as retrieving dogs, fetching game and water birds for their masters.
Fearful / wary of strangers
This dog loves people, and that includes strangers. A curious, highly social dog that wants to make friends with everyone they meet.
The German Spaniel relies on human contact and interaction. They enjoy structure, routine, and a sense of belonging. Very dependent on their owners.
Behaviour of the German Spaniel
This dog doesn’t tolerate solitude, They need lots of human company. Leaving them alone for long periods of time will make this dog feel unhappy, and even depressed.
Easy to train / obedience
Very easy to train, even for the novice dog handler. Responds really well to reward-based training methods based around positive praise.
Generally quiet, but has a tendency to bark when they get over excited. Will also bark at any unusual or unexpected noises, like a knock on the front door.