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The Deutsch Drahthaar is a large sized purebred from Germany bred to be a hunting dog, open able to deal with water, forests and field game. It has a life span of 12 to 14 years and is also known as the Deutscher Drahthaariger and Vorstehhund. There is some debate too about it being the same as a German Wirehaired Pointer or GWP. As well as being a reliable and enduring hunting dog it is also a good companion in the home at the end of the day. Its name translates as German Wirehair.
|Deutsch Drahthaar at a Glance|
|Other names||Deutscher Drahthaariger, Vorstehhund, German Wirehaired Pointer|
|Average weight||60 to 70 pounds|
|Average height||22 to 26 inches|
|Life span||12 to 14 years|
|Coat type||Medium, wiry, water-repellent, harsh|
|Color||Black, brown, white and grey|
|Popularity||Not a registered member of the AKC (GWP ranked 68th by AKC)|
|Tolerance to heat||Very good – can handle hot weather but not extreme heat|
|Tolerance to cold||Good – can handle cooler temperatures|
|Shedding||Low to moderate – may be some loose hair but not a lot|
|Drooling||Low to moderate|
|Obesity||Average – can overeat if given the opportunity, measure its food and exercise it well|
|Grooming/brushing||Easy to groom – brush once to twice a week|
|Barking||Occasional – some barking but should not be constant|
|Exercise needs||Very active – has a lot of energy and needs active owners|
|Trainability||Moderately easy with some experience|
|Friendliness||Good to very good – some can be more social than others|
|Good first dog||Good but best with experienced owners|
|Good family pet||Very good with socialization|
|Good with children||Good with socialization|
|Good with other dogs||Good with socialization|
|Good with other pets||Good with socialization but can have high prey drive|
|Good with strangers||Moderate – wary around strangers so socialization is essential|
|Good apartment dog||Low – needs space and a yard|
|Handles alone time well||Low – does not like being left alone for long periods|
|Health issues||Good, just a few health issues including hip dysplasia, cancer, ear infections and eye problems|
|Medical expenses||$485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance|
|Food expenses||$270 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats|
|Miscellaneous expenses||$ 550 a year for toys, basic training, miscellaneous items, grooming and license|
|Average annual expenses||$1305 a year as a starting figure|
|Cost to purchase||$1,000|
|Rescue organizations||Drahthaar Addiction, Gun Dog Directory Rescues, National German Wirehaired Pointer Rescue, check local rescues and shelters|
|Biting Statistics||None reported “|
The Deutsch Drahthaar’s Beginnings
The Deutsch Drahthaar was developed in Germany in the late 1800s. At the time for many years hunting had been the privilege of the rich and nobility who were able to afford keeping kennels, breeding dogs and paying people to manage it all for them. During and after the Industrial Revolution when the new middle class emerged they wanted to hunt but did not have the resources. For a time kennels and breeding knowledge were lost and it was perceived by some that there was less respect for the whole thing.
Then a group of breeders decided to deal with these issues while creating a hunting dog that was more versatile, one able to hunt with human hunters in water, forests and fields. They crossed the best short haired and coarse haired hunting dogs which included breeds like the Deutsch-Kurzhaar, the Stichelhaar, Griffon and the Pudelpointer. In 1902 the VDD (Verein Deutsch-Drahthaar) was started and its focus was that breeding of the dog be focused on versatility in its performance not looks. To achieve that dogs had to undergo strict testing to be registered. (This is still their focus today). Their motto became ‘Through Performance to Type.
The DD was developed to be a hardworking and driven dog with good endurance. It uses its nose to track its game, will point it out to the hunter who will shoot it, and then will retrieve the game and bring it back to the master whether on land, in the cover of a forest or in water. It was also bred to track wounded game even in difficult conditions.
New Lease on Life
There is some debate amongst some about whether the Deutsch Drahthaar is just a German Wirehaired Pointer but in fact while there are some similarities, they are two different dogs. The GWP in fact came about from the DD and the strict tests they are put through. In the 1920s the DD came to the US where it was called the German Wirehaired Pointer and was recognized as such in 1959. But there grew to be a big difference in how strict the tests were between the VDD and in the US and too much emphasis placed on looks. Some GWP breeders will incorrectly refer to their dogs as Drahthaar. In order to truly be a Deitsh Drathaar though the dog most have passed the VDD’s tests. It is worth mentioning here that they cannot be bred in the UK as the VDD will not register them. In Germany today the VDD is still going strong and the DD is Germany’s most popular hunting dog, with over 3000 puppies being registered each year.
The Dog You See Today
The Deutsch Drahthaar is a large dog weighing 60 to 70 pounds and standing 22 to 26 inches tall. It is slightly longer in the body than it is tall and it is muscular and strong. The legs are straight, powerful and muscled, its neck is slender and strong and the chest is wide and deep. Its dewclaws are removed usually and the tail is high set and in places where it is not illegal is docked to 2/5 of its natural length for the purpose of preventing hunting injuries. Its coat is wiry, tight and coarse usually at a length of 2 to 4 cm though sometimes a bit longer. It is weather-resistant and common colors are black, white and brown. It has longer hair on the face creating a beard and eyebrows. The undercoat is more dense in the colder months and thinner when it is warm.
Its head is wide with a medium to long and fairly wide muzzle. The nose is dark brown and the teeth meet in a scissor bite that is strong so it can retrieve game. The ears are set fairly high on the head and hang down close tot he head and are rounded. Its eyes tend to be brown though yellow does happen and are oval shaped and medium sized.
The Inner Deutsch Drahthaar
The Drahthaar is a great hunting dog, it has endurance, intelligence, commitment, drive and is a hard worker. But it can also be a great companion at the end of the day, calm, loyal, protective and even affectionate. It can adjust to different living situations and is not aggressive for no reason. However its protectiveness means should there be a real threat it would act. The strict VDD breeding rules means dogs with unwarranted aggression are not allowed to remain in the breeding program. It likes to have jobs and a role to play though and needs owners who are confident and firm with it. Meek owners will find them willful.
With strangers it tends to be aloof at first so socialization is very important. It is alert and makes a good watchdog, it will bark to let you know if there is an intruder. That barking in general is an occasional thing, it should not be constant with this breed. It is energetic and lively but will be happy to chill as long as it gets enough action and stimulation in the day. It is can be a friendly dog with good socialization. Without enough to do in the day it can become bored, destructive and hard to live with. It does not like to be left alone for long periods.
Living with a Deutsch Drahthaar
What will training look like?
For people who can be firm and have experience the DD should be moderately easy to train, but for others it can be willful so can be moderately hard. As mentioned it is essential the dog knows and accepts you as the dominant pack leader. Be consistent, when you set rules you stick to them and be positive in how you encourage it. Offer treats to motivate and praise it. Stay calm and patient and keep training sessions interesting. Early socialization is important too, your Deutsch Drahthaar will be happier and more trustworthy when it knows how to deal with different people, places, animals, sounds and situations.
How active is the Deutsch Drahthaar?
The Deutsch Drahthaar is definitely a very active and lively dog and needs owners who are active too so that there is no disconnect between what the dog needs and what it gets. It loves to do what it was bred for, it loves retrieving, pointing and tracking. It is intelligent and it needs jobs to do. It has a lot of endurance so can be active for longer periods and it is versatile and enthusiastic. It also needs enough mental stimulation too. If it does not get enough activity it gets bored and high strung and then there can be behavioral problems. It is not suited to apartment living as it needs at least a large yard if not more land to play on, explore and somewhere safe to go off leash for a run. It loves to swim, can join you for jogs or hikes and if not taken out to hunt should get two long brisk walks a day at least, along with some physical play and such.
Caring for the Deutsch Drahthaar
The DD can shed but usually in low amounts as being a wire coated dog it needs to be stripped by a professional several times a year. This may be a dog suited to allergy sufferers but if that is a priority always check with a visit first. There should be less hair then around the home and you can brush once or twice a week. This will remove any debris, move its oils around and keep the coat in better condition. Only bathe when it really needs one so that you do not damage the oils and for the same reason a dog shampoo should be the only thing used to clean its coat.
When its nails are too long, (clicking on the floor is a good sign) they need to be trimmed if it is not wearing them down naturally with its outdoor activities. This is something to be done by someone with knowledge as its nails have blood vessels and nerves in them, and cutting them will hurt it and cause a lot of bleeding. You also need to check its ears for infection and wipe them clean with a dog ear cleanser or damp cloth, once a week. Then with a canine toothbrush and toothpaste brush its teeth at least two to three times a week.
The Drahthaar needs be fed around 3 to 4 cups of a good or better quality dry dog food a day, split into two meals. How much exactly can vary though as things change between dogs in terms of their metabolism, size, health, activity level and age. Make sure it also has access to water at all times and that it is kept as fresh as possible. Its beard means there are likely to be water drips and food crumbs on the floor.
How is the Deutsch Drahthaar with children and other animals?
The DD can be good with children if it has firm handling, great socialization and it does help when it has been raised with them. How affectionate they are can vary between dogs and some do not want the children messing around with their belongings. Supervise toddlers as they may get knocked over, and they need to be stopped when they pull at ears and things. Also make sure to educate the children about how to safely touch it and play with it, and make sure the dog understands that even the human children are above it in the pack. With other pets and other dogs socialization is again important. It can be friendly to non-canine pets if it has been raised and taught that way, but its hunting instincts means strange small animals are seen as prey.
What Might Go Wrong?
The DD has a life span of about 12 to 14 years but there are some issues it can be prone to such as cancer, eye problems, joint dysplasia and ear infections.
When looking for mention of the DD in 35 years of reports of dogs causing bodily harm in attacks in Canada and the US, there is no mention of them. Any dog can have an off day though, and Drahthaar are rare in these places too. It is so important to get a dog that suits your knowledge, commitment level and activity level. You will need to make sure it is well socialized, trained, exercised and giving the attention it requires. These things can minimize the chances of your dog being involved in an attack, though never completely eliminate them.
Your Pup’s Price Tag
A real Deutsch Drahthaar puppy (not a GWP) will cost at least $1000 though that is likely to be a lot more and then you have transportation costs to consider. If you are wanting to get one from a top breeder, highly sought after, not only can you expect stricter expectations from that breeder and a waiting list, but the price is likey to triple at least. There is also the option of giving a dog from a shelter or rescue a new chance at a forever home. Prices or adoption fees are less, likely between $50 to $400 plus certain medical concerns are usually taken care of. Be prepared for a mixed dog though as that is far more likely than finding a purebred DD. Please try to avoid badoptions like backyard breeders, pet shops or personal ads from backyard breeders as there are risks and these are not places you want to keep in business.
When you have chosen your dog you will need to take care of some of its needs in terms of medical concerns and items needed. At home it will a number of items like a crate, food bowls, collar and leash, carrier and such. These costs will be around $200. Then those medical needs that have to be taken care of includes a vet examination, blood tests, deworming, vaccinations, spaying or neutering and micro chipping. These will cost about $300.
Other information you need to have are things like its annual costs a. Having a Drahthaar means paying $270 a year at least for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats. Then another $485 a year for basic medical care like shots, flea prevention and checks and then pet insurance. Then $550 a year for grooming, license, toys, basic training and other miscellaneous items. This gives an estimated annual cost of $1305.
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The Deutsch Drahthaar is a very active and energetic dog so it needs owners that are active and able to keep it busy either hunting, or with other work or with great walks and play every day. It is a dog strictly bred to working standards so if it is just a companion you want consider the GWP. Socialization is essential and it is best with experienced and confident owners. In the right home it is calm, dependable and loyal.
Featured Image Credit: Al_Er, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
- The Deutsch Drahthaar’s Beginnings
- New Lease on Life
- The Dog You See Today
- The Inner Deutsch Drahthaar
- Living with a Deutsch Drahthaar
- Caring for the Deutsch Drahthaar
- How is the Deutsch Drahthaar with children and other animals?
- What Might Go Wrong?
- Your Pup’s Price Tag