German Spaniel – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
The German Spaniel is commonly a brown dog of active nature. These dogs are affectionate, playful, and fond of other dogs. Read on to learn more about this breed.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
18 to 21 inches
40 to 55 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 14 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

German Spaniel, also known as Deutscher Wachtelhund is a medium-sized dog of chocolate-like appearance. This is one of the rarest purebred dogs alive. Originally from Germany, this rare dog is slowly but surely making its way to the top.

They are highly versatile, intelligent, and affectionate. These traits are qualities that you want to see in any dog breed. In fact, dog lovers know that versatile dogs are great companions and are always ready to fit any job role and perform their best.

They go by many names, but German Spaniel and Deutscher Wachtelhund are the most used names.

These dogs are natural hunters, which means that they love their freedom. They aren’t best suited for small homes, or homes without a big yard. They can be found in city areas, but a place between busy city streets and rural areas is what would fit them the most.

As an affectionate and friendly breed, they will easily fit into any household or family of different sizes.

Although they love moving freely, they still love spending long hours with their humans. This means that if you know for sure that you don’t have a dog, then you should think about another pet.

This dog will demand your time, energy, and love. If neglected, they may suffer from separation anxiety. As such, German Spaniels may show destructive behavior. This is something that you don’t want to see in any dog.

Separation anxiety is a manageable condition, that is time-consuming and often emotionally draining. That being said, make sure that you have enough time for a dog, or that your entire family is on the same page with you when it comes to dog ownership. Check the information below to learn if German Spaniel is your next dog!

Quick Facts

Real name: German Spaniel
Other names: Deutscher Wachtelhund
Origin: Germany
Breed type: Sporting Dogs
Weight: 40 to 55 pounds
Height: 18 to 21 inches
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Litter Size: Around 8 puppies
Color: Commonlu brown
Coat: Mostly wavy

German Spaniel History

The German Spaniel is a purebred dog. As such, it means that there are records of the breed’s history and overall development. The history of this breed dates back to the 1800s if not earlier, since dogs of this type were documented in many pieces of literature.

It’s known among dog lovers that hunters are continually perfecting their dogs. For centuries, hunters were the ones responsible for making a specific breed better.

This hunting dog wouldn’t exist without the desire of German hunters to recreate the Stober – a popular German versatile breed from the 1700s. This breed was known for having a strong scent, which was something much appreciated within the hunting circles.

Next to great scent ability in dogs, hunters wanted to see a real passion for hunting.

As result, the Wachtelhund was created. The versatile German Spaniel was officially recognized in 1903, making him a relatively new breed. In Germany, this breed cannot be found outside the hunting circles.

In fact, these dogs are never sold outside to the non-hunting areas. Is there an official club of the breed? Yes, the German Wachtelhund club is called the Verein fur Deutsche Wachtelhund (VDW).

In the 1950s, the German Spaniels were brought to the States, and for a period of a decade, only 17 dogs were produced. In North America, none were registered. As for Canada, a few individuals have owned the German Spaniels.

Things changed a bit in more modern history, thanks to Dave Pepe. Dave imported a pair of German Spaniels during 1993 and 1994 and bred them, which resulted in creating 38 puppies. The popularity of the breed grew and they are more present today, although those numbers are still far from being extremely high. Across the States and Canada, around 150 German Spaniels can be found.

German Spaniel Physical Appearance

The German Spaniel is a dog of medium size and agile movement. They are always long-haired dogs with muscular bodies.

Their size may vary a bit, especially between males and females, but there are still some standards when it comes to size. They are commonly medium to large, having up to 55 pounds and between 18 to 21 inches.

They may be medium in size, but they are heavy. Their coat is usually wavy, curly, or straight, with a thick undercoat.

They usually have two coat colors, solid brown or brown mold. They have floppy ears, set toward the ground, meaning you should learn to clean dog’s ears and to check them regularly for build-up wax.

German Spaniel Personality

German Spaniel was bred to be a hunting dog. As such, certain traits are easy to recognize, as other hunting dogs share them as well. For example, like other hunting dogs, they will be extremely active, outgoing, and true outdoor lovers.

On top of that, they’re great around humans. During hunting time, they will be assertive and watchful, while at home they will expect cuddles. They do the best with experienced dog owners, and they will prefer a firm, but gentle hand leading them.

A confident owner will do the best with this breed. These versatile dogs are super-friendly toward everyone, but that won’t stop them from barking when a stranger approaches.

As mentioned earlier,r they will stick to their humans and create a strong bond. Again: if left alone, frequently and for a long time, they are most likely to develop separation anxiety.

Do they have a strong prey drive, since they are hunting dogs? Yes, you can expect them to demonstrate actions like high prey drive. Make sure that walks are always on a leash. Otherwise, you won’t be able to catch him.

Off-leash walks usually lead to dogs being lost or injured. This is why microchipping is so important to keep your dog on the right track.

German Spaniel Training

With hunting and active dogs, training should be well-planned. Before your German Spaniel arrives you should provide enough toys, and treats to make training sessions more enjoyable.

To get the maximum from this breed, you should make training sessions consistent, short, and fun. Energetic dogs are easily bored and repetitive actions will get the worst out of them.

If you need help with training think about hiring a professional dog trainer. Puppy classes can do wonders for connection with your dog.

German Spaniel Grooming

If you are not a fan of grooming or regular brushing, you are in luck, because the German Spaniel’s coat is short and smooth.

With the right grooming tools, you shouldn’t have any problems with brushing his coat, or with grooming overall. Weekly grooming is what will keep your German Spaniel’s appearance in order.

The occasional bath is fine as long as you use dog-friendly shampoo. Ears, eyes, and gums should be checked regularly. Learn how to clean a dog’s ear and provide monthly nail trimming or grinding.

German Spaniel Health

German Spaniels are considered to be healthy dogs. Breeders did an amazing job of keeping this breed strong, fit, and genetically superb.

Since they are extremely rare it’s easy for breeders to communicate with each other and fix any conditions before it becomes a regular occurrence. This is why working with only responsible dog breeders is the most important step when getting a puppy.

This way you will know for sure how healthy your dog is.

You will also get all the needed documentation on the breed and get inputs on the dog’s future health concerns. Expect a breeder to ask you a long line of questions.

At least this is something that serious breeders will do. Their goal is to make sure that you are the best fit for their dog. Although this is a purebred dog usually reserved for hunting circles, you should still check your local shelter.

You might be surprised to learn just how many purebred dogs end up in shelters. Plus, when you are adopting you will pay less and usually get an equally healthy dog.

German Spaniel Nutrition

If you want your German Spaniel to reach deep senior years, you should mind his nutrition. Everything starts with that first bite. This is similar to human nutrition.

What you put in your body will reflect eventually. So, to keep your Fido in the shape you should thrive to provide the best food and feeding schedule.

Always provide food that’s fitted for your dog’s age and physical activity level. There is not much use in feeding your adult dog with a formula designed for puppies.

Of course, if your German Spaniel is a senior dog, you should provide food that’s suitable for his senior years. For seniors, food is usually created to support overall joint health.

Find the best food possible for medium-sized dogs and learn how to read dog food labels. This is the only way to know for sure what your Fido is getting.

Keep fresh and clean water on the easy reach, and all the time. This is something that is extremely important during those heavy summer days when dogs are more prone to heatstroke or any other condition that could create stress in them.

Quick Checklist Of German Spaniel Supplies

Getting a dog is always an exciting period. People get so lost in the excitement of welcoming their furry member, that they may forget some of the most crucial items.

Here are the most important things on have on hand before your German Spaniel arrives:

  • Food bowl
  • Water bowl
  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Grooming tools
  • Dog carrier
  • Training crate
  • Dog bed
  • Puppy leash

These are just mandatory necessities. Once your German Spaniel arrives you should provide the following:

  • Make sure that you stick to vaccination schedule
  • Have suitable leash
  • As soon as its possible, microchip your dog
  • Provide an ID tag as well

Is German Spaniel For You?

Are you an experienced dog owner? If yes, this is a breed to consider having. They are active dogs who thrive on proper care and duties.

Keeping him happy, healthy, and the fit isn’t a mission impossible but is definitely something that any owner should have in mind. However, if you have experience as a dog and you are ready for a decade (or longer) commitment then this breed might be the right for you.

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