Spartan Dogs - German Jagd Terrier 

Category: Dogs, Working Dogs, Terriers, Germany, Europe, Hunting Dog

German Jagd Terrier / German Hunting Terrier
Names German Jagd Terrier, Jagdterrier, Deutscher Jagdterrier, German Hunting Terrier, German Hunt Terrier
Origins Germany
Tasks Hunting Dog
Height 33-40.5 cm / 30.5-38 cm
Weight 7.5-10 kg / 7-9.5 kg
Lifespan 13-15 years
Registry FCI, UKC, ARBA, JKC
Group Terriers

The German Jagd Terrier (aka Jagdterrier, Deutscher Jagdterrier or German Hunting Terrier) is a small, durable dog, early starting to work, dark, not bright coloured, with coarse hairs not requiring special trimming, not demanding of conditions of keeping, convenient for transportation in the airplane and to take backpacking as well. This is the Jagd Terrier, the youngest hunting breed (Jagd is German for hunt), which is particularly popular today among no-nonsense hunters worldwide.

The German Jagd Terrier History

In the beginning of the 20th Century, German hunters were enthused with the Fox terrier and Welsh terrier. They were used not only in burrow hunting for foxes and badgers, but also for wild boars, deers and hares. The colorful and pretty look of these dogs attracted the attention of not only hunters. Many dog fanciers kept them just as a companion dog.

This led to the deterioration of the hunting qualities of these breeds. Scenting ability, endurance, persistence, hearing and vision were affected. Uncompromised factors of real importance, guaranteeing that a hunting breed that are attractive only for hunters. Two German dog breeders, Zangenberg and Chekk, made their task for the first time to create a working dog, the appearance of which would be not peculiar, but which would possess practical and functional qualities and would not become a fancy show dog. In 1923, four puppies with dark color were obtained as a result of crossing the Fox terrier and the coarse-haired English terrier. In 1932 a successful crossing with the Old English terrier took place and subsequently in 1933, blood of the Welsh terrier was added. By the 1940s, the breed of the German Hunting Terrier had been basically completed. The dogs had all the qualities which breeders wanted to see; hunting drive, aggressiveness, scent and vision, the capability to chase with barking, not afraid of water, inclination for retrieving the game and to be controllable. As to the not so pretty look of the small, dark terriers, it encouraged only hunters to buy them.

Through going back to the Old Foxterrier and the Black and Tan Wire Terrier and through endless effort the breeders in Europe developed the German Jagd Terrier - Jagd meaning to hunt in German and Terrier to name his type, one meaning to hunt under-ground. Open trailing was a characteristic uncommon in the foundation of the breed and has only been perfected in the last 20 years. The foundation of the Jagd Terrier was primarily two terrier breeds from the United Kingdom, originally brought to Germany as ratters. Fox Terriers selected for their gameness were the dominant breed used. Add to that Welsh Terriers for dark color and handling ease, tempered by almost fanatic culling for 80 plus years, and you have the contemporary German Hunt Terrier.

After World War II, in Germany, only a few Jagd Terriers remained. Careful work in the restoration of the population began, the restoration of the breed. For this purpose an attempt to cross Jagd Terriers with Lakeland terriers was made. However, this experiment appeared not to be successful and was rejected. In 1951, 32 puppies from 9 litters were obtained and in 1952 there were already 75 puppies. In 1952, 79 dogs participated in the first field test. In 1956 there were 144 puppies obtained. After a short time, the breed became well-known. The following fact is evidence of this.

In 1965, in the International Dog Show in Brno, Czechoslovakia, an international contest in burrow hunting dogs was conducted, among which 29 Jagd Terriers participated. Despite the fact that their number was not great, by quantity and results achieved, they surpassed all the other burrow hunting breeds participating in the contest. This included 26 Fox terriers and 8 Welsh terriers.

Because the number of existing Jagd Terriers was not great, the restoration of the breed was conducted by inbreeding and selection was made in favor of working qualities. As a result of the inbreeding, different genetic faults began to appear; hair quality, wrong bites, size increase and dogs with incomplete teeth appeared. Since 1937, in Germany, complex analysis of hereditary faults was conducted. This analysis was important, because the Jagd Terrier is a versatile hunting dog and, therefore, selection by any character alone would create a dangerous bias at the expense of other qualities of the breed. Thus, in 1968-1973 in the linebreeding of Jagd Terriers, dogs with great working qualities were obtained. However, in their lower jaw, some teeth were missing, which was a real danger for the breed. Sometimes dogs selected by their scenting ability only had excellent scent but were reluctant to take a track. Only a complex approach creates a correct basis for selection and permits one to evaluate most objectively, parents by all their characteristics. This would include hunting qualities and hereditary faults, hair quality and body conformation.

German Jagd Terrier Appearance

Body: the breed conformation standard is liberal, though practical. The dog has a robust, durable, sturdy structure, well-developed muscles, elastic and tight skin. The tail should be cropped at 2/3 its length when puppies are five days old. The tail may be used as a handle when helping the dog to pull the game out of the burrow.

Head: a well balanced functional head.

Height at Withers: the height at the withers for males is 33 centimeters (13 inches) to about 40.5 centimeters (16 inches). Bitches are around 30.5 centimeters (12 inches) high to about 38 centimeters (15 inches). A German Hunt Terrier cannot be higher than 40 centimetres (roughly 16") at the shoulders, simply because a larger dog cannot enter the fox and badger burrows. Another important reason for maintaining a small stature is to insure their safety on wild boar hunts. The boars used their tusks like bayonets. A larger heavier canine body gives resistance against razor sharp tusks, making the body easily penetrated and disembowelled, while a lighter Jagd Terrier is merely flipped in the air by a boar's snout and comes down fighting.

Weight: the weight of males is around 7.5 and 10 kg and for bitches, this is around 7 to 9.5 kg depending on their size.

Coat: by their hair, Jagd Terriers are divided into two kinds, the wire-haired and smooth-haired. Hairs are straight, coarse and dense. In the wire-haired, hair on the body and legs is longer than in the smooth variety, but in the latter one, hair is never as short as in the smooth Fox Terrier. The wire-haired Jagd Terrier should have a beard, the smooth one does not have it. Smooth haired Jagd Terriers are more common that wire-haired, but hair length is immaterial to hunters, and dogs of both coat types are interbred freely.

Colors: dark colors such as black, black and gray or dark brown; with red, yellow, tan or light colors on eyebrows, chest, legs and under tail. The white colour of the early English Fox Terriers was bred out by crosses to the darker Welsh Terrier. The black and tan coloration is much more difficult for wild game to see, thus preferred by hunters. Labeled as: terriers darker complex.

German Jagd Terrier Temperament

Character: the German Jagd Terrier is, in appearance, tense, determined and fearless. The breed is hardy.

Social Build:the Jagd Terrier makes an impression of somewhat intense attention, alertness and fearlessness. The Jagd Terrier is an intelligent canine, thus he is active and outgoing. He is ever watchful and an excellent and affectionate companion for children. He is mistrusting of strangers.

German Jagd Terrier Socially

Care: the coarse hairs do not require special trimming, the dogs are not demanding on conditions of keeping. He is a hardy dog and unmindful of injuries obtained from counter-attack of marauding game. The owner should check for injuries as the dog will always give signs on its own account and if needed take proper care.


Activity: He needs a lot of activity.

Usability: Jagd Terriers can be used in professional hunting and hunting sport. Jagd Terriers work with great enthusiasm on any kind of game and in any weather conditions.

Bred for reasons of hunting, his abilities would amaze anyone; the Jagd Terrier if trained may be hunted on all marauding game, fox, squirrel, fowl and ducks. He will retrieve anything he can carry. His manner of hunting fowl is by flushing and retrieving. Marauding game represents an excellent chance for seek and kill. He has been used successfully on Wild Boar; the Jagd manoeuvres, from any opportune angle, to the side of the Boar and grabs the ear, hanging on and in this manner slowing and hindering the boar. Also, he is a "blood" hound and retriever of small game. He has been used in bloodhound work tracking wounded game, given the scent 36 hours after the track was made. He will retrieve from land or water.

He serves in hunting as a fighting dog under and above ground, as a trailing and flushing dog above ground and in water.

Because he is small, it helps in getting permits in the city, it is easier to keep in the house and also makes it easy to travel in a car.

German Jagd Terrier Quotes / Trivia

A hunter's motto for the Jagd Terrier breed is: "A Jagd Terrier's beauty comes through their usefulness."


A typical boar hunter begins with hunters locating a herd's stamping grounds by tracks in the snow. Stalkers surround a large timber tract and close in on the herd. Hunters are stationed in strategic locations throughout the woods. The most experienced Jagd Terriers are loosed to track and locate the herd. Once the strike is made, more terriers are released to assist in putting the herd at bay. A total of eight to ten dogs are used. With the herd at bay and ready to fight the Jagd Terriers aggressively pursue the hogs. The porkers quickly discover it is best to scatter that to stand and fight. The scattered hogs are pursued by the terriers in their various directions throughout the woods, thus increasing the chance of more hunters getting a shot. It is not unusual for six to eight hunters in the group to have their shot at a boar. The wild boar cannot be hunted and killed indiscriminately, however. Officials of the various German forestry departments keeps tabs on the wildlife and scrupulously assure that the valance of nature is weighted in favor of the wild boar. The German hunters work closely with forestry officials in a spirit of cooperation, all striving for abundant wildlife and wide-ranging habitat.

Fox, badgers and weasels go to ground in Germany just as they do in other parts of the world. The Jagd Terrier is bred to chase and pursue them underground. This tradition is deeply ingrained in the antiquity of the hunt. In centuries past, every kennel of staghounds in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms as did the latter foxhound packs of England, had its strain of kennel terriers.

Always a sporting dog in England and a part of a country squire's sporting establishment, the breeding of terriers had been a source of pride for centuries. Kept around hound kennels and horse stables, those little dogs assured that the rats and other vermin were always in check. Taken along on hunts with hounds, the terriers were able to rout the fox from a den. Something large hounds were unable to do. Terriers with sterling working qualities were such a source of pride to an early-day hunters as were his high-bred running hounds.

Since hunting with deerhounds and foxhounds in early England was more or less the dominion of the well-to-do, terriers were often "the hound of the common man." Although terriers had humble beginnings, I have indicated they were later developed for service in support of hound packs and to keep vermin under control around kennels of the wealthy. But it was the poor farmers who originally put many a nondescript terrier on the track of tricky henhouse pests or crop pillagers and surfaced the need for such a useful canine type. Finally, many variation of the original "earth-dog" emerged. Over 40 terrier breeds are acknowledged today and probably as many more have faded off into the timeworn mists of extinction.

Field Tests

Rigorous and complicated field tests were devised early on during the breed's conception to determine which Jagd Terriers were good enough to be used as breeders. Today, as then, a panel of three discriminating Judges still evacuates each dog submitted for consideration. Each dog must pass the test before the Deutscher Jagd Terrier Club e.v. will qualify them as brood stock (this includes both male and female terriers). Almost a hundred years of this diligent selection has resulted in a very game breed; one which is reliable on the hunt.

The examination course tests a Jagd Terrier's bravery in underground fox dens, quickness at fetching downed game, blood trailing ability, desire to work in water and willingness to retrieve game from water. Trainers work with their dogs from summer through fall in preparation for the test. A terrier that passes with an impressive score has a monetary value of ,000.00. Test scores are published and stud dogs are assessed based on scores earned by their progeny. The researching benefit of publishing progeny scores is not unlike the P.D.A. information offered by U.K.C.

German breeding rules have been officially enforced since 1926. Considering the strict selection adhered to for early foundation stock prior to 1926 and the fact that only hunters have owned these dogs since one can imagine the gameness and courage of today's Jagd Terriers.

According to European rules, the following requirements are used in field tests of the Jagd Terrier. In work with the badger or fox, he must kill the animal in the den and pull it outside. In wild boar hunting, he must be able to find the animal, chase and stop it by biting from behind. The Jagd Terrier must chase a hare or rabbit in full voice.

In duck hunting, the dog should be able to work in water overgrown with vegetation, find the shot bird and retrieve it from deep water.

For over 40 years the German Jagd Terriers has been developed in Germany exclusively for hunting. Many other things have entered into this breeding to make the Jagd Terrier a valuable asset to any hunter's household. The Jagd had been developed through the years as a small hardy fearless dog. A selective breeding program has been followed, using only proven Field Champions as breeding stock and by keeping, at the most, 6 puppies per litter. Thus eliminating all weaklings and nourishing to the full extent to strong. In breeding the Jagds proven in field work it was also required that they pass conformation test.

Revived and evolved Black & Tan Terrier

It is interesting to note the black and tan coloration of Jagd Terriers strive for by German breeders has gone full circle. As stated, tri-coloured English Fox Terriers were the foundation rock from which the German terrier was developed. Way back in history, a predecessor of the Fox Terrier was called the Black & Tan Terrier. Unfortunately, as Black & Tans backed out of the vermin den with the varmint-rogue in tow, the terrier's posterior was often mistaken for the vermin itself by both hound and hunter. Many a game terrier was killed in error by too anxious a hound pack or hunter. Thus, early English breeders developed white or tri-coloured terriers from the Black & Tans to avoid such unfortunate incidents. The Germans, not using hounds, wanted to reinstate the camouflage benefit of dark coated terriers. The Welsh Terrier, also a descendant of the old time rough-coated Black & Tan Terriers, still maintained this desired coat colour and were used by the pioneer German breeders to regain this desirable colour characteristics and re-established a grizzly black coat on the Jagd Terrier.

In our opinion, what the German breeders essentially have done with the Jagd Terrier is to recreate the original Black & Tan Terriers of yore. Those old time Black & Tans became extinct but were the sound foundation of almost every breed of European vermin dogs. The Fox Terrier and Welsh Terrier both descended from the early, and now extinct, English Black & Tan Terrier.

The German Hunt Terrier is one of the few terriers still used in practical pursuits. The breed is rarely kept as a pet and is rigidly culled by experienced huntsman. Studying the history of the Jagd Terrier is an intriguing lesson to one interested in breeding better working dogs.

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