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Westphalian Dachsbracke

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021
The Westphalian Dachsbracke is a medium sized purebred from Germany bred to be a hunting dog. It is a scenthound so it uses scent to track its game, and it is a low to the ground hunter so its main game are animals that go to ground such as the fox. The Westphalian part of its name indicates the region of Germany it comes from, Westphalia. Its looks are similar to the Swedish Drever because it was used to develop it. As well as being a good hunter it makes a good companion too. It has a life span of 10 to 12 years and other names are Westphalian Hound or the German name Westfälische Dachsbracke.
The Westphalian Dachsbracke at a Glance
Name Westphalian Dachsbracke
Other names Westphalian Hound, Westfälische Dachsbracke
Nicknames WD
Origin Germany
Average size Medium
Average weight 30 to 35 pounds
Average height 12 to 15 inches
Life span 10 to 12 years
Coat type Short, coarse, dense
Hypoallergenic No
Color Red to yellow, black and white markings
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence Above average
Tolerance to heat Good to very good
Tolerance to cold Very good
Shedding Above average to heavy – will be a lot of hair around the home to clean up
Drooling Moderate – not especially prone to slobber or drool
Obesity Above average – take care with its diet and exercise as obesity leads to back problems
Grooming/brushing Above average – brush at least every other day
Barking Occasional to frequent – may need training to stop it on command
Exercise needs Quite active – needs to be with an active owner happy to be out with it
Trainability Moderately easy
Friendliness Very good with socialization
Good first dog Good to very good though experience does help
Good family pet Very good
Good with children Very good with socialization but young ones need watching so they do not hurt its back
Good with other dogs Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with other pets Good but needs socialization as does have high prey drive
Good with strangers Good but wary so socialization is important
Good apartment dog Moderate – while size is good, it does bark and it needs a yard ideally
Handles alone time well Moderate – not for long periods
Health issues Quite healthy but a few issues can include ear infections, back problems, hunting injuries and eye problems
Medical expenses $460 a year for basic health needs and insurance or emergency savings
Food expenses $145 a year for treats and a decent dry dog food
Miscellaneous expenses $210 a year for license, basic training, miscellaneous items and toys
Average annual expenses $815 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $800
Rescue organizations None breed specific, check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Westphalian Dachsbracke’s Beginnings

The Westphalian Dachsbracke’s ancestors can be found in old paintings from Europe and is known to have been around since the 17th century and was first mentioned as being a type of German Hound in the late 19th century. It was developed as a scenthound to hunt a variety of small game like hare and fox and also to hunt larger game like deer and boar. It was especially designed to be able to hunt on mountainous terrain and as well as being a scenthound could also be a bloodhound, able to track wounded prey from the blood trail it left.

As explained the first part of its name comes from where it is from and the Dachsbracke come from the German word Dach meaning badger or short legged hunting dog. The bracke part of the name comes from the Bracken dog they were bred down from, by crossing it with the Dachshund. Bracke is also a term the Germans used for scenthounds. It was developed because hunters needed a dog that was shorter and could push thorugh brush and get into burrows and caves to flush out the prey hiding in them. It had to have a lot of stamina, be brave and be strong. In 1910 a standard for the breed was drawn up and in 1935 it was recognized by the German Kennel Club (Verband fur das Deutsche Hundewesen).

New Lease on Life

While it may have recognition in Europe the only major English speaking major kennel club that recognizes it is the UKC. The popularity of the Drever has meant the Westphalian Dachsbracke is now less popular and so less common. It is rare even in Germany though it is revered there, but elsewhere it is hardly known. It is also recognized by the FCI. Today it is more likely to be seen as a huntign dog in parts of the alpines but is also valued as a good companion too.

The Dog You See Today

This breed is a medium sized weighing 30 to 35 pounds and standing 12 to 15 inches tall. It is a low to the ground dog like the Dachshund with short legs and a moderately long body giving it a rectangular shape. It is a sturdy dog with a long and thick neck that has some skin that is loose but there should be no dewlaps. The tail is thick at the base and set high and is long and held in a saber position. Compared to the Dachshund it has a more narrow chest and its legs are a bit longer. Its coat is short, coarse and dense and comes usually tri-colored with red to yellow colors and black and white markings.

The Westphalian Dachsbracke has a narrow head that is also long with a long muzzle that has a bridge that arches slightly to the nose. The nose itself is dark colored but with a flesh colored stripe in the middle. Its ears are medium in length and drop down. They are broader at the base and then round off at their tips. Its eyes are friendly and dark.

The Inner Westphalian Dachsbracke


The Westphalian Dachsbracke was developed to be a hunting dog so it is of course energetic, smart, lively and alert. It also has some great qualities that make it a great companion too. It is friendly and social, playful and outgoing and when exercised enough is balanced and even in temperament. As it needs a good amount of physical activity if it does not get it, it becomes bored, destructive and hard to live with. Otherwise this is a charming dog that is affectionate with its family and initially wary with strangers and so needs good socialization.

Out hunting this dog is fearless, committed, talented and joyful. It does have an independent mind though which as a companion translates to times when it can be stubborn and strong willed. In between those moments it is sweet, easy going and usually bonds very closely to its family. It should be included in family activities it is patient and is not aggressive towards people. It is not a good guard dog but it is alert and can be a good watchdog, it will bark to let you know if there is an intruder.

Living with a Westphalian Dachsbracke

What will training look like?

These dogs usually respond well to training but they can be stubborn and so need a firm and consistent hand, experience certainly helps. Make it clear you are the pack leader and always are, be confident but also be positive, fair and offer it praise, encouragement, treats and rewards to motivate it. Start the training from a young age and also start its socialization then too. Socializing your dog is important. It teaches it how to react appropriately to different sounds, people, places, animals and so on and it becomes a happier, more confident and more trustworthy dog.

How active is the Westphalian Dachsbracke?

Having been bred to be active and hunt this dog needs a fair amount of exercise each day along with good mental stimulation too. It has a lot of energy to burn and a lot of stamina. It is best in a rural setting but can adjust to semi rural or even city life if they get enough time out somewhere like a dog park, and have a yard to play in. Owners need to ideally use it to hunt with, but if not you need to be active yourself and happy to have couple of long walks a day along with play time with it. It should have somewhere it can run off leash safely. Without enough challenge physically and mentally it is a hard dog to live with.

Caring for the Westphalian Dachsbracke

Grooming needs

The Westphalian Dachsbracke has an easy coat to look after, it is short so easy to brush and rub down as needed. However it does shed a fair amount so brushing should be done at least ever other day if you want to keep the loose hair down. It is not a dog that needs professional grooming and should only be given a bath when it really needs one. Using a moist cloth to wipe it down can be used as an alternative to bathing to avoid damaging its natural oils. When you do give it a proper bath be sure to use a shampoo made for dogs not people.

Its nails will need to be trimmed when they grow too, this is something you can do yourself if you wish, just be sure not to cut too far down. In dog nails there are nerves and blood vessels so going into them will hurt it and cause bleeding. Some dogs wear them down with their activity, choose proper dog nail scissors or clippers. Check the ears for infections weekly and also clean them either by wiping with a cloth that is dampened or with a dog ear cleanser. Then its teeth should be brushed two to three times a week with a canine toothbrush and toothpaste.

Feeding Time

This breed will eat about 1½ to 2 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals. The amount changes depending on its metabolism, activity, age, health and size. It also needs water and this should be changed for fresh regularly.

How is the Westphalian Dachsbracke with children and other animals?

The Westphalian Dachsbracke is good with children with socialization and raising them together certainly helps too. It is playful with them so they make great playmates and can help each other burn off some of that extra energy they both have. Its patience means it can put up with a fair bit of mischief but it is best to supervise it around small children to make sure they do not injure its back. It is very important that they are taught how to safely play and touch them. It gets on well with other dogs but tends to see small animals and pets as game and even with good socialization may not be able to ignore that instinct to chase them.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

It has a life span of 10 to 12 years and is fairly healthy though some issues include back problems, obesity, eye problems, ear infections and hunting injuries.

Biting Statistics

Reports that cover 35 years of attacks against people doing bodily harm in North America do not mention the Westphalian Dachsbracke. It is not a people aggressive dog but as it is extremely uncommon in these countries having it appear on such data would be very unlikely. Still all owners need to accept the fact that the nicest and sweetest of dogs can have off days, be teased or drawn into events they would normally not be involved in. To make sure your dog is less likely to have such days train it well, socialize it well, give it the exercise and stimulation you need and the level of attention it needs.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

The Westphalian Dachsbracke puppy will cost about $800 from a respectable breeder but more for a top breeder. It is important at this stage to take some time to find a breeder that can be trusted and avoid options like random online ads, backyard breeders, puppy mills or pet stores. If you are willing to take in a mixed breed or do not have to be set on a puppy another option is adoption from a shelter or rescue. Adoption fees are about $50 to $400.

When you have found the right breeder and have a dog or puppy coming home there are some items you will need for it like a crate, carrier, collar and leash, bowls and so on for about $200. When it is home there are also initial health costs at about $270 for things like a physical exam, spaying or neutering, shots, blood tests, deworming or chipping.

There are also continuing annual costs to factor in. You can expect to spend bout $460 a year for emergency savings or insurance along with basic health care like flea prevention, checks ups and vaccinations. The miscellaneous items, basic training, license and toys will then be about $210 a year. Food that is a good quality and dog treats will likely be about $145 a year. This gives an estimated annual starting cost of $815.


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The Westphalian Dachsbracke is a hard working and enthusiastic scenthound that loves to do what it was developed to do. It has a playful and happy temperament, can be gentle and patient when it gets enough activity and stimulation. It is hardy but care should taken with its back as injuries happen. It does shed a fair amount too so while it is easy to brush it needs to be done often. It is best with owners who are experienced, active and in a home with a yard. With that and socialization it is loyal, loving, social and a great family dog.

Featured image credit: Walencienne, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

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.

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