German Spaniel

Other names: Deutscher Wachtelhund, German Quail Dog

German Spaniel

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

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Hunter

Size :

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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

FCI Group

Group 8 - Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs


Section 2 : Flushing Dogs

Physical characteristics of the German Spaniel

Adult size

Female : Between 18 and 20 in

Male : Between 19 and 21 in


Female : Between 40 and 55 lb

Male : Between 40 and 55 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



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.


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    These dogs love people and will show affection to pretty much anyone. A very loving and kind-hearted dog that loves human contact.

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    Extremely playful. They love playing fetch and catch. The puppies have extremely high energy levels and will play for hours on end. 

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    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. 

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    A smart dog. They’re capable of understanding basic obedience commands and some will respond to advanced training techniques. 

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    These dogs were bred to track and hunt. They were mainly used as retrieving dogs, fetching game and water birds for their masters. 

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    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.

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    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

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      Tolerates solitude

      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. 

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      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. 

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      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. 

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      Tendency to run away

      These dogs really love their owners and will rarely run away. However, they are very sensitive to loud noises, especially fireworks. This can cause a fight or flight reflex, so make sure you keep an eye on them during bonfire night and news years eve. 

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      A gentle and mild mannered animal that should never display any destructive behaviour. 

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      Greedy / Gluttony

      Spaniels definitely have their greedy side. This dog will keep eating for as long as you let it, or until it’s sick! Restricting their food intake is really important.

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      Guard dog

      A relaxed and docile breed, especially during the late evenings. Not the best choice for a watchdog.

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      First dog

      One of the very best choices for a first-time owner. The German Spaniel is gentle, soft-natured, and naturally obedient.  

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        German Spaniel in a flat

         A flat is not an ideal environment for these dogs. However, if they get enough exercise and company, the German Spaniel can be very happy in a flat. 

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        Need for exercise / Sporty

        60-90 mins of exercise every day. Like any other Gundog, they need plenty of opportunities to run free and explore.  

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        Travelling / easy to transport

        This calm, docile dog is easy to transport.They’re very comfortable on short car journeys, although long trips need to be planned out carefully when travelling with any dog. 


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          German Spaniel and cats

          Although they’re natural trackers, German Spaniels can get on well with cats. In fact, if introduced from an early age, they can strike up an unlikely friendship with your kitty. 

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          German Spaniel and dogs

          Will rarely display any aggressive or competitive behaviour. A placid, soft breed that enjoys making new “doggy” friends.

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          German Spaniel and children

          A perfect choice for families with children. The German Spaniel is a kind-hearted animal that has a real affection for younger children

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          German Spaniel and the elderly

          Elderly dog lovers will adore the German Spaniel. This medium sized dog is easy to handle and has  a natural respect for its owner. 



          The initial cost of a German Spaniel puppy is between £900 to £1,100. The average cost to keep one of these dogs (including vet bills, insurance, and food) is between £70 to £80 a month.


          Despite its dense coat, this breed is fairly easy to groom. A quick brush every few days will keep it in good shape.


          Heavy shedders

          Nutrition of the German Spaniel

          2 cups of high-quality dog food.

          Health of the German Spaniel

          Life expectancy

          A very healthy, well-bred dog with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. 

          Strong / robust

          A strong, well-balanced dog. Robust frame. Bred to track game through rugged countryside and dense forest.

          Withstand heat

          Due to their heavy shedding, the German Spaniel is quite comfortable during the summer months. 

          Withstand cold

          They have a thick, double-layered coat that provides protection against the cold, the rain, and the wind. 

          Tendency to put on weight

          This dog has a huge appetite and will eat much more than it needs. Keep their food intake within the recommended amounts. 

          Common illnesses

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