Hunting dog

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A Labrador Retriever with a retrieved pochard

A hunting dog is a dog that is used by humans - nowadays the hunter - in the broadest sense as an assistant in the hunt . The term “hunting dog” covers a group of domestic dog breeds that are used in various hunting areas. The modern hunting dogs are divided into rifle dogs , pointing dogs , retrieval dogs , sweat dogs , earth dogs and hunting dogs , with some breeds being bred for diverse abilities and used for versatile hunting (field, forest and water work). Historically, the term hunting dog referred exclusively to the hunting dogs ( bracken ).

Dogs led for hunting are also referred to as working dogs . When working “after the shot”, the dog is indispensable for the hunter. Driving a hunting dog is therefore a prerequisite for proper hunting. The use of hunting dogs is prescribed on various occasions in the hunting laws of the German federal states. It must in Lower Saxony the person entitled to hunt a useful for the hunting district, have tested hound available.

The modern working hunting dog

Systematics of the hunting dog breeds

The classification of hunting dogs, which is common in today's hunting, is historically determined and is functionally based on their original areas of use. As a result, the hunting dogs are divided into browsing dogs, pointing dogs, sweat dogs, earth dogs, hunting dogs (bracken and pack dogs ) and retrieval dogs .

Old names also indicate a hunting specialization that is not necessarily breed-related. Examples of this are the wild bottom, water and bird dogs. For some breeds, the original target game species can be deduced from the name, for example the Dachshund , Foxhound and Harrier (English hare " brown hare "). In addition to the intended use for hunting, the country of origin and hair variety (wire -haired , long-haired , short-haired ) are further classification criteria .

The working hunting dog in Germany

In the consciousness of today's hunters, the basic ethical idea of ​​hunting and animal welfare is very important. The dog is an indispensable helper in the search for game that has been shot or has been involved in an accident (“ search for ”). Represented by many hunters, the motto "Hunting without a dog is trash" is reflected in the following lines by Alexander Schmook :

Whoever wants to be one of the hunters,
does not
allow any game to be tortured to death , does not hunt through the vastness alone,
leads the good dog aside!

The attitude of hunters, which is becoming more and more natural, to commit themselves to keeping a good hunting dog, finally found a legal basis. Hunting forms such as driven, search and driven hunts as well as searches may only be carried out with "usable", tested dogs. As an umbrella organization for the German hunting dog industry, the Jagdgebrauchshundverband (JGHV) makes a significant contribution to providing the hunters with usable hunting dogs by organizing testing, breeding and training. The regulations for the fitness test of hunting dogs differ from one another in the individual federal states, also which dogs are admitted to tests and who is allowed to take the tests are not uniformly regulated.

Only pure-bred dogs with a pedigree are admitted to the tests of the breed clubs . In the facility tests - the youth search (VJP) and the autumn breeding test (HZP) - the natural disposition of the dog and the breeding value of the parent animals are determined. The basic hunting characteristics of the young dog should already be developed due to careful "training", but not yet covered by the influence of the dog handler. In addition to the Association Usage Examination (VGP) as a "master's examination", there are a number of special exams for special breeds or special areas of hunting (e.g. the association welding test ).

When a hunting dog breed is recognized, the JGHV applies strict standards of usability and versatility for hunting.

Hunting areas of application


Bracken and greyhounds in the forest, French tapestry (15th century)

The classic high seat hunting and stalking of the individual hunter is increasingly being supplemented by movement hunts of entire groups of hunters. Moved hunts include driven hunts and alarm hunts (rummage hunt , driven hunt ). On the driven hunt, the game is made highly volatile by the drivers and dogs. During the alarm hunts, the game is "moved" by dogs and possible drivers. H. made to leave his regularly used whereabouts and cover in the area. Rummaging dogs are used for these types of hunting.

The Browse is part of the work of hunting dog before the shot. He searches for the game independently, then hunts it with the sound of a trail or track and brings the game in front of the hunter's rifle . There are two different types of hunting. The dog handlers send the "rifle dogs" out of fixed locations so that they can search the docks and the undergrowth independently. Alternatively, the handlers move with the dogs on the leash on the area to be hunted, let go of the dogs and send them to certain areas. The suitability of the breeds for rummaging in the forest varies depending on the target game species. For roe are small and slow hunting, it sure goes loud and preferred "sticky" races at the track, while for wild boars are used, according to hunting, wild sharp and courageous dogs (German Jagdterrier, quail, dachshunds, Bracken). The fast continental pointing dogs, which hunt only over a short distance, are not particularly suitable for driven hunts.

When Brackieren is the traditional way, hares and foxes using Bracken to hunt. They find the game searching freely on its trail, scare it up (“sting”) and hunt it until the game that is true to its location returns to Sasse or Bau, where it is expected by the local hunter. Although the "brackade", which was popular in North Rhine-Westphalia for a long time, ensured the survival of some bracken breeds, it is only practiced in Scandinavia and South Tyrol today.

When bushing, the hound searches bushes and undergrowth on the hunt for game birds and hares. He works "under the shotgun" and therefore in the direct sphere of action of the hunter. In contrast to rummaging, breeds are used here that only hunt “briefly” and do not hunt loudly (e.g. the pointing dogs).

Open field

Prominent Pudelpointer

The use of pointing dogs in the field is called search . In front of the shooter, they search broad and systematic fields (beet fields , stubble fields ) with high noses for small game. After a successful search, the dog stands in front of it so that the hunter can shoot the fleeing game. The protrusion is a kind of inhibition of prey grasping when approaching the game. This is genetically anchored and is also observed in wild canids and felids . The dog "freezes in motion" and remains tense as soon as it has caught the scent of the small game in cover with its nose. The protrusion can be expressed by lifting a foreleg, tense posture or by pointing the nose in the direction of the game (hence the term "pointer" from English to "point"). A special variant of the standing is the "presence" of the setter breeds (English originally setting dogs "sitting dogs"). The pointing dog only shakes the game on command of the hunter who is ready to fire, i. that is, he "stands by". If the prey moves away from the protruding dog, he follows it carefully and tense (“pulls”).

When retrieving (from Latin apportare "to carry ") the dog picks up small game that has been shot and carries it back to its handler . The Retrievers (Engl. Have been bred for this task retrieve "retrieve"). Wounded spring or ground game examined the dog to , kill it if necessary and brings it automatically to the hunter back.

The continental Vorstehrassen Deutsch Lang -, Kurz -, Draht - und Stichelhaar , Kleiner and Großer Münsterländer , Weimaraner , Pudelpointer , Griffon , Magyar Vizsla and Epagneul Breton are considered all-rounders for field work . They embody the ideal of the “fully functional dog” propagated by the two hunting cynologists Sigismund Freiherr von Zedlitz and Neukirch and Carl Rehfus at the end of the 19th century. Specialists in search and pointing are the pointer and the English setter breeds, but they have weaknesses in the search. The races Golden Retriever , Labrador Retriever and Flat-coated Retriever are masters in retrieving .

Welding work

"Solo", lead dog type of the target dog of the Sollinger breed, L. Beckmann (1894)

“Welding work” is the search for bleeding (“welding”) hoofed game injured by a gunshot or accident. The use of a usable dog is mandatory here for reasons of animal welfare . Good welding work is highly valued by the German hunters. Traditionally, it is carried out on a "sweat strap" (at least 10 m long leather strap). The tasks of the dog include working out the wound trail, finding the wound bed and "positioning" the game after the chase. If necessary, the dog indicates dead game either by "barking dead" or "citing dead" - i. e. he calls the hunter by barking or by conspicuous behavior such as z. B. bringing objects (" Bringselverweiser ") to draw attention to the dead game. Since the bloodhound should conduct searches as regularly as possible in the course of its extensive training, the owners of such dogs are often organized in bloodhound stations .

If through human fault
a creature gets into trouble
and a painful suffering, tolerance,
threatens a wounded savage,
if the spirit high level
and man's art is not enough,
the dog follows the anxious call,
his nose manages it easily!

Bloodhounds in the true sense of the word are the breeds Bavarian Mountain Welding Dog , Hanoverian Bloodhound and the Alpine Dachsbracke ( FCI Group 6, Section 2 ). Also dachshund , more brackish breeds , Terrier and Flushing Dogs can be trained to the welding work.


Areas of application for waterhunting are waters with pronounced reed belts, such as ponds, oxbow lakes of rivers and inland lakes. Depending on tradition and geographic conditions, the forms of hunting for water game differ. The tasks of the hunting dog are divided into the work before and after the shot. The former includes the independent digging of cover-rich waters as well as finding and shooing the birds. To do this, large distances sometimes have to be covered by swimming. After the shot, the game is retrieved from deep water and "landed". If ducks are shot unable to fly, the animals' swimming tracks in the water must be followed in order to find the game again.

In addition to the continental pointing dogs used in field work, the old sturgeon breeds Cocker Spaniel , Springer Spaniel and the Wachtelhund are suitable for this task. The retrievers belong to the water-loving retriever specialists.

Under the earth

Dachshunds, drawn by F. Specht (1772)

The construction hunt is used to hunt foxes , badgers, raccoons and raccoon dogs . The construction dog “falls asleep” (slips into the den), follows the trail of the game and barks to indicate that it has found (“caught”) it. The aim of the construction hunt is to either drive the predatory game out of the burrow in front of the hunter's shotgun ("blow up") or to make it loud (standing loud) until the hunters have dug up the dog and game. In order to catch the fleeing fox that may have already been shot, a large hunting dog (e.g. German pointing dogs) is sometimes brought along. The necessity of construction hunts is now considered controversial for animal welfare reasons (in 2006 only five to ten percent of all foxes killed were hunted during construction hunts in Switzerland). The German Jagdterrier , Teckel , Jack Russell or Parson Russell Terrier as well as fox terriers from performance breeding are suitable for hunting underground .

Chase and pack hunt

hunt: drag hunts are organized with the Lower Saxony pack, which is based in Dorfmark .

The baiting and the hunt on wild today in Germany to Federal Hunting Law banned §§ 19-22a. The coursing with hounds was popular since the Middle Ages. Originally, greyhounds and hounds were used as a mixture. An exception to this was the hunt for wild boar , which was carried out on the one hand with finders and on the other hand with powerful saupackers . In the late modern period, especially in Great Britain , hound breeds specialized in fox ( foxhound ) and hare ( harrier , beagle ) emerged. Usually the game was killed by the pack at the end and then torn apart. This practice has been replaced in Germany and England by drag hunts , in which no live game is hunted and in which the dogs are enjoyed at the end of the hunt at the curré with beef tripe carried along.

In some Mediterranean countries (Spain, Portugal) as well as in Ireland, Russia and the west of the USA, hare baiting is practiced with greyhounds (e.g. Galgo Español , Kritos Ichnilatis ), which is prohibited in some European countries. In England, fox hunting and rabbit baiting were restricted by the controversial Hunting Act 2004 .

Requirements for the usable hunting dog

“The dog that can be used for hunting has to fulfill the tasks assigned to it in the hunting business due to its nature, its sensory capabilities and its physical condition. The ability to socialize, calm, work pleasure and obedience as well as toughness in use should characterize its nature and be a prerequisite for the proof of the hunting usability. The systems of the senses and physical characteristics promoted by the breeding selection - shaped by strength and endurance - must correspond to the later use. This is a prerequisite for useful hunting. It is the responsibility of the hunters to meet the requirements of the legislature and, in the interests of animal welfare, to hunt only with tested hunting dogs that meet these basic requirements. "

- Preface to the "Lower Saxony Guidelines on the Usability of Hunting Dogs" (1992)

Xenophon already described the characteristics and defects of dogs that are unsuitable for hunting. He blamed their “nature” and not incorrect instruction for this and finally stated: “It is a special art to choose and teach the right dogs.” ()

The exterior is defined in the respective breed standards . The hunting performance breeders are responsible for the character and the basic hunting characteristics. The exterior (constitution, color, hair type) varies depending on the type of hunting, the target game and the hunting landscape. Traditionally, the hunt and pack dogs as well as the descendants of the old bird dog breeds are three-colored or spotted , while the dogs of the solo-hunted (raised) hunter are hardly noticeable in color.

All hunting dogs should be able to distinguish themselves through dosed game sharpness , i.e. H. Characterized by aggressiveness or courageous behavior towards the game, resistance to firing and compatibility with conspecifics.

  • In addition to independent, free hunting, the special requirements placed on the useful hunt dog include a reliably sounding track and track sound, sense of direction and thorn resistance.
  • The useful field dog is characterized by a strong will to search and find (hunting instinct) and a search characterized by perseverance, speed and planning. On game retrieval, he shows track will and track safety . In addition to being able to retrieve, he is characterized by obedience and manageability by the dog handler.
  • In addition to the pronounced joy of water and retrieval, the useful water dog needs hunting passion and tracking joy, endurance and a suitable physical constitution.
  • The useful bloodhound is characterized by a calm and balanced nature. He has a fine sense of smell , hunts loudly with a deep nose and has a pronounced will to track.
  • A stable character and the joy of sleeping characterize the useful construction dog .

Examples of vices and mistakes in hunting dogs are "jumping in" (lack of staying power), "bouncing" (running after the dog too early) and "running over" (overlooking the game when looking) in the pointing dog. A construction dog can be "overly sharp" (kills the game in the burrow) or a "distance barker" (stays too far away from the animal). "Cutters" eat the hunted or retrieved piece. "Crushers" damage game by holding too much pressure during retrieval. A “gravedigger” buries the hunted piece instead of retrieving it.

Basic training ("familiarization")

Many hunting properties of the hunting dog (hunting instinct, protruding, track volume, game sharpness) are already available as systems and are further promoted through suitable training ("familiarization"). Other skills, however must Dressage be learned (Retrieving, Totverbellen, Totverweisen). The hunting training of the dog begins today already in the puppy age and is usually finished with two years. Obedience training is mandatory for all breeds, but its intensity varies according to the area of ​​hunting.

Historical evidence for the training of pointing dogs speaks of the fact that they had to be trained with breeding and prank . In 1738 Johann Elias Riedinger also mentions the "strictest breeding" and the "special diligence" in the training of pointing dogs.

Although the methods of classic parforce dressage are meanwhile rejected, the training is based on a certain degree of hardship and coercion despite modern learning psychological findings (positive and negative reinforcement ). The use of electrical stimulation devices ( Teletakt ) is very controversial, at least in Germany (following a decision by the Federal Administrative Court in February 2006, the use of such devices violates current animal welfare law) and Austria. Proponents see it as a tool for training from a distance with "unteachable" dogs.

In addition to a test of suitability for hunting for specific game, the training also includes work on the hare track and on “dragging” (trail drawn with dead game, at the end of which the carcass lies) as well as retrieval exercises with dummies . The bloodhound is incorporated into various types of artificially created tracks (dab or drip tracks, track shoe tracks, cold healthy tracks of a single piece). The training of the construction dog begins early with the puppies getting used to pipe systems. Later on, exercises take place in the clubs' artificial structures (sleeping systems), which are often staffed with a tame fox.

The examination and promotion of game sharpness by using live game (duck, hare, predatory game including cats) as part of the training is considered essential in hunting circles in order to achieve a quick "animal welfare-friendly choking" of the game by the hunting dog. However, this practice is met with widespread opposition in animal rights groups and is already prohibited by law in some European countries (Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ireland).

Hazard in use

The particular dangers for the dog on the hunt result from its areas of application. They are based on environmental factors such as thorns and branches, defensive or wounded game, the hunter himself or incompatible conspecifics. Typical trauma in hunting dogs are falls, lacerations or stab wounds, bite wounds or gunshot wounds . Since the dog always goes head first when hunting (especially in construction hunts), the eyes, head and neck are particularly prone to injuries .

In addition to skin injuries of varying degrees, the body and extremities are also at great risk. This is especially true for confrontations with wild boars, whose razor-sharp canines (tusks of the boar) tear gaping wounds. Since the re-spread of wolves in Central and Northern Europe, hunting dogs run the risk of being attacked and killed by wolves while browsing. The German Hunting Association has therefore published a guide for hunt leaders and dog handlers on dog work in wolf areas.

Recently there have been protective vests to reduce dangers. Most injuries require thorough disinfection and first aid, as well as further treatment by the veterinarian .

Hunting customs

JF de Troy; Death of a Deer
(18th Century)

The order in which the game was divided was clearly defined as early as the Middle Ages. The dogs as hunting helpers were entitled to part of the innards as prey. Alternatively, they were fed pieces of bread that had previously been dipped into the bowels of the game. Even with the celebrated today Curée (so-called. "Hunter Law") of the pack of dogs after completion is riding hunting a rumen accused.

During the welding work, the dog handler receives a fresh "break" (broken branch) after the search has been successfully completed; half of it is attached to the dog's collar.

Numerous terms related to the hunting dog exist in the hunter language . These include "Blendling" ( mixed breed ), "buckle" (loosen the leash), "wolf" (innate), "neck" (collar or strap), "uncouple" (leash) etc. There are additional terms especially for bracken hunters, so traditional hunting cries ( hang up den rogue! = “Fox dead!”) and hate calls are used when hunting with bracken .

The blowing of hunting signals on the horn served the hunters and dog handlers for orientation. Traditionally, the bracken hunters still use the " Sauerland crescent ". Various hunting signals exist regionally. The horn calls are still indispensable for guiding the dogs when hunting bracken. Important signals are “set out to hunt”, “dogs loose”, “game dead”, “collect” and “uncouple”.

Hound breeds outside Europe

The Indian dogs of North America (e.g. Chinook ) were used universally as draft animals , guards, meat suppliers and hunting dogs. The English colonists brought their packs of hunting dogs with them to the American continent (e.g. George Washington ). As a result of the selection for the “new” game and terrain, new dog types such as the raccoon dog ( Coonhound ) emerged in addition to the American variants of old breeds . Today, crossbreeds such as the Plott Hound are also used for hunting.

The Eskimo sled dogs (e.g. Greenland Dog , Alaskan Malamute ) show a strong hunting passion. They were used as helpers in the bear, seal and reindeer hunt.

Hound with the Khoi Khoi , from:
David Livingstone : Missionary travels and researches in South Africa (1857)

In the Asian steppe regions, greyhounds were traditionally used for hunting ( Afghans , Saluki , Borzoi ). Today in Russia own brackish lofts ( Russian bracken ) and the Laiki are used as hunting dogs. From the group of Asian lace there are several breeds specialized in hunting (e.g. Kai-Inu , Shikoku , Hokkaido Ken ). The Thai Ridgeback is also known as a good hunting dog . In India u. a. the Mudhol Hound (caravan dog) used for hunting.

The greyhounds ( Sloughi , Azawakh ) were the traditional hunting dog breeds among the Bedouins of Africa. Some African tribes had good dogs for hunting, the dogs of the Khoi Khoi were famous . The Rhodesian Ridgeback emerged from their intermingling with the European races of the settlers . It was used for lion hunting and shows suitability for welding work.

Historically, the use of dogs in hunting in South America only played a subordinate role. In some primitive peoples, however, dogs can still be found today as primitive hunting helpers.


Historical usage groups

Although breeding within breed types was known as early as Xenophon (426–355 BC), in earlier centuries hunting dogs were not classified according to race-specific, defined phenotypes , but according to performance and hunting purpose (see above). The main historical groups include:

Johann Georg de Hamilton , Deer baiting (1710)
Hunting / hunting dogs
As hounds, they tired the hunted game through their perseverance. Quick and powerful, they rushed the wild loudly after it based on his track had tracked down and drove it to the hunter (cattle dogs). The hound represents the basic type of "hunting dogs". Depending on the hunting area landscape, there were regionally strongly varying forms of hound ( Haidbracke , Steinbracke, Holzbracke). Gaston Phoebus already described them as having "strong, straight legs, not too long, a good and wide nose, a long snout, thick lips and a large, broad head" . The fur color varied, the height was approx. 50 cm shoulder measurement. They resembled the lead and sweat dogs, but were lighter in weight and had shorter ears. The weight is assumed to be approx. 25 kg.
Used in hunted hunts since the time of the Pharaohs , the greyhounds as silent sight hunters quickly caught up with game (hares, foxes, deer), caught them and held them until the hunter caught them. Two variants are known to exist from the early Middle Ages to modern times. Light Greyhound blows were next to the falconry for hare coursing used ( Veltrusy leporarius ), the heavy variants were used for hunting boars and red deer ( Veltrusy porcarius ). The Irish greyhounds were known as good "wolf-hounders" in modern times. According to Gaston Phoebus, the greyhounds had a tall, slender figure, long lean legs, a long head with a long snout and long ribs . They existed with long and short hair in many different hues. The estimated weight was between approx. 20 and 30 kg, depending on the species.
Parforce dogs
Although the 17th / 18th Century the culmination of Parforcejagd figured hunting with dogs parforce already the Normans was known. Their task was to chase the game on hunts on horseback until it was exhausted and could be caught by the hunters. According to their target game, they were divided into deer dogs ( Canes cerviciis ), dogs for fallow deer hunting ( Canes damariciis ), fox dogs ( Canes vulperettis ) and hare dogs ( Canes herethioris ). They were considered tall, strong and very obedient. Led by the "head dog" (a dog with a particularly good nose), they always hunted in the large pack and freely between the horses. With a special sound - the chasing sound - they indicated that they were behind the hunted game. Their weight was around 40 kg. Even today the pack dogs are still used for riding hunts.
Lead dog work, woodcut from
Jacques Du Fouilloux, La vénerie (1561)
Guide dogs / sniffer dogs
Guide and detection dogs have been used since Charlemagne and were bred in their pure form until the 19th century. The lead dog (also known as "Lymer", "Limier" or "forest man") is regarded as the most distinguished Jagdhundeart and served, depending on the training, the "pre-search" on precious, Dam - or wild boar . Originally it was only a special form of dressage for the hound, in which a dog with an extremely fine nose was used that was suitable for strap work. Later the dogs of the tribe bred in the Ardennes Monastery of St. Hubert were preferred for dog work. Always working on the lead rope, they searched with deep noses, never made a sound and stayed on the "cold trail" (older wilderness trail) they had found without being distracted by another. They had an excellent nose and were considered calm, obedient and balanced. Historical descriptions call a strong, stocky dog ​​of medium size, with pronounced long ears and lips , a thick head and an erect tail . There were many color variants of this mostly short-haired dog type, the weight was between approx. 25 and 30 kg.
The task of the bloodhound was to search for shot, "sweaty" (i.e. bleeding ) game. The first indications of the use of the bloodhound can be found in the Naturalis historia of Cajus Plinius Secundus . In the Middle Ages, bracken or specially trained lead dogs were used for this task. Derived from the old leader dog breeds and very similar to them in appearance, the bloodhounds emerged as specialists in tracing at the end of the 18th century. They were preferably kept at the Jägerhöfe . From the outside, they were described as stocky, with a thick head, strong snout, long ears and broad nose. Dark colors dominated, the estimated weight was around 25 kg.
Hunting dog armor from the 17th century, in the armory of the Wartburg
Boar Hunt, Dutch Engraving
(16th Century)
Pig dogs were used to hunt wild boar between around 800 and 1800. Depending on their function, a distinction was made between “ Saufinder ”, “ Saurüden ” and “Saupackern”. The finders were small, agile dogs that tracked down the wild boar, drove them out and barked. The big, strong males and packers were characterized by agility and pronounced game-like sharpness . Outwardly similar to the shepherd and shepherd dogs, they were often recruited from these groups because of the high rate of loss due to cost reasons (so-called “sow” and “male sheep”). They put the game and pulled it down until the hunter came with the pike (" boar pen "). The packers often wore armor to protect against injury . The small and large " bear-biters " were particularly fiery dogs . Great Danes imported from England were used especially for wild boar hunting in Germany in the 16th century .
Chicken / rummaging / pointing dogs
Used since the early Middle Ages, the rifle dogs were originally only used to locate small and flying game when hunting. Later they were also used as helpers catching game birds in nets (chicken dogs). In the further course they also developed the "protruding", i. In other words, the dogs looked for small game and feathered game just before the hunter and showed the hunter any game they found by pointing without startling it. Her tasks also included finding game that had been shot and retrieving it . Some species have also been used in water hunting. Typical for the dogs of this group was the tracking down and searching of the game with a high nose. The basic type was represented by the old spaniel breeds . They were described as stocky, medium-sized, with a short, strong head, strong teeth, drooping ears and an upright tail. The color varied, tri-colored and spotted dogs were common. The estimated weight was around 15–20 kg.
In use from around 800 onwards, the so-called "Dachshunds", "Hyrax" and "Stranglers" were used to either drive badgers and foxes out of the burrow or to keep them there. In the 16th and 17th centuries, all dogs were almost used for the hunt under the ground, if they had the physical conditions to were wild sharp and willing schloffen (in construction slipped). The Erdhunde were as schlieferle , lochhündle or badgers referred. They have been described as lively, brave, persistent, and unobedient. They were small in appearance, with short curved legs, and long bodies and heads. One assumes dwarfed bracken variants. Their smooth fur was black, yellow, or gray. Based on today's dachshunds , their weight is estimated at around 10 kg. Bassets were used in France .

Historical development

Primeval and early times

Neolithic cave painting from Spain

It can be assumed that the dog could be used as a hunting helper at an early stage of domestication. The hunting style of Neolithic dogs corresponded to the hunting behavior of wolves . The dogs were not used to track down the prey, but were used to kill the game. B. to drive to death. Hunting dogs were used in the tundra landscapes of the Ice Age to compensate for the slower speed of the human hunter. The primitive forms of hunting did not require any special training, but represented a chain of actions that ended with the devouring of the prey. If the hunters reached the game too late, they were left behind. The aggression loss compared to the people in the prey making is regarded as an important criterion of demarcation of the early dogs against the Wolf. At the latest in the Mesolithic / Epipalaeolithic (10,000–6,000 BC) a number of different dog types emerged, which formed the basis for the development of the later land races. This includes variants of the domestic dog that prevail under certain environmental conditions and the claims and uses defined by humans.

Old high cultures

Ancient Egyptian tomb painting: above hyenas and jackals, below dogs of the greyhound type ( Tesem ) and forerunners of the bracke

In the beginning, the hunt in Egypt was still used to acquire food. The hunter-nomadic stratum of early Egyptian history had wolfhound-like animals with upright ears and bushy tails. With the introduction of slavery in the advanced civilizations , hunting turned into a leisure activity and the practice of martial virtues for the warrior class and the privileged ruling classes . Hunting weapons were arrow / arc , Speer , boomerang , Lasso and network (bird net, fishing net ). Greyhound-like hunted sight-hunters who hunted smaller game independently served as hunting helpers on driven hunts. They were called " Tesems ". Limestone reliefs from a grave near Saqqara in Memphis show how wild cattle , ibex and antelopes are grabbed by the throats and legs of large, slender dogs . In addition to the hunt dogs, there were specialists for search hunting ( bracken- like dogs) and for “packing”. There are also indications of dogs similar to dachshunds , but which probably served as lap dogs .

In Mesopotamia , around 3500 BC. Invented the script . The oldest characters included u. a. that for the "hunting dog". Only slightly later than the greyhounds and hunting dogs (3000 BC), very large, powerful dogs with drooping ears are depicted on seals in Mesopotamia . These so-called mastiff types ( Molossians ) were used not only as guard and attack dogs but also for hunting lions and wild boars , a form of hunting that was used for the pleasure and self-expression of the rulers. Hunting pictures from the time of Assurbanipal (668-631 v. Chr.) Also show heavy dogs from Molosserdoggentyp when hunting lions and wild cattle. The use of these dogs later found its climax in arena fighting against bears , lions and donkeys .

Hunting scenes from Egyptian and Etruscan times depict antelope and lion hunts, during which the chariot is accompanied by greyhounds. In the 4th century BC Chr. Hunt on horseback was already known, as the scene of a Scythian hunter in the company of Borzoi -like dogs shows.

Ancient and early Middle Ages

Roman floor mosaic, various hunting techniques with dogs (3rd century)

In antiquity , hunting was not a privilege of the nobles, but was open to every free one . In addition to the acquisition of food, it served primarily for physical exercise and training as preparation for the fight and for the cultivation of male virtues. Hunting weapons were spear or javelin , possibly even networks. Hunting with long-range weapons was considered unsporting and frowned upon. The inseparable connection between dog and hunting in classical Greece is reflected in the name for hunting (on foot): "kyngesion" = "what happens to the dog". Only in the Hellenistic era did the hunt for sow and deer on horseback gain in importance.

The hunting dog in Greece was mainly due to imports from ancient Egyptian hounds and bracken . Xenophon mentions the Castorian dogs by name and is probably referring to Assyrian Molossian mastiffs or Theban hounds. The existence of its own hound types has also been documented: Xenophon was known among other things as the "Kreter", a breed that is characterized by its particular bravery and wildness. In addition, "fox dogs" are also mentioned. Three centuries later, the "Spartans", hounding dogs with aptitude for welding, are also mentioned in Seneca's work Hippolyt.

Roman relief (Cologne), wild boar versus hunting dog

In Rome , hunting was seen as a minor matter, but working with the pack of dogs was particularly valued. Bracken-like hunting dogs were widespread and came to Rome from Egypt and the Gallic provinces. In addition to the Molossians, Cretans and Spartans, Seneca mentions hounding dogs who hunt silently.

The most famous hunting dog (bracke) of antiquity was probably the Gallic " Segusier ". This cultivated form is considered to be the progenitor of today's bracken and has also been used successfully to track down people. Flavius ​​Arrian describes the extraordinary hunting skills of the Celtic dog breeds in his work " Cynegeticus " in the 2nd century AD . The Segusian hound, which he also described as small and ugly, was therefore characterized by a particularly fine nose, deliberate search and slow but passionate hunting with a "light neck". The Germanic “contract”, on the other hand, was a large, greyhound-like type with beautiful fur, which was equally suitable for hunting and retrieving. While the Celts predominantly hunted the hare, the Germanic peoples loved aurochs and bears. Well-known types of use were therefore hound dogs, sniffer dogs and packers. Bone finds suggest another, smaller breed that was used for earth and construction hunts and was found exclusively in Germania. The forerunners of today's Teckel are consequently the oldest detectable German dog breed .

From the early Middle Ages, hunting dogs were increasingly linguistically divided into usage groups. The Germanic legal collections from the 5th to 9th centuries mention up to seven types of hunting dogs, the classification of which was based solely on the intended use. The Lex Baiuvariorum (7th century) names the leithunt , triphunt , spurihunt , winthunt and hapuhunt .

Middle Ages and early modern times

Manessian song manuscript , fol. 7r, Konradin von Hohenstaufen on a falcon hunt, accompanied by hunting dogs

The development of hunting history in England and continental Europe diverged from the Middle Ages. While hunting in continental Europe was reserved exclusively for the king and the nobility, in England, however, a hunting law developed that was linked to property ownership. Under the Danish King Canute the Great (1016), all nobles and landowners had hunting rights - the only exception was the ban forests . The hunting dogs were mainly used to drive the game away from the hunters.

With the conquest by the Normans in 1066, England was brought into line with continental Europe. The popular Norman hunting method was the “parforce” hunt: Here the stag was found on a leash by the lead dog and tracked down, then the pack dogs were released and placed on the deer trail. After a hunt on horseback, the deer was finally caught by the dogs and killed by the hunters. For this form of hunting in some new breeds were introduced: the Alaunts , a grim white variety of Danes (derived from the war dogs of the Alans from the 4th century) and the "Talbots", a slow Brackenart deep voice.

Great dane-like dogs were also used to hunt defensive game such as bears, wild boars and wolves. To get an easier hit, they were often crossed with greyhounds and running dogs. "Schlieffenhündle" were used for earth and construction hunts as early as the early Middle Ages. For hunting down game birds , e.g. B. for the hunt , the bird or hawk dog was used. These dogs already showed pointing behavior when hunting.

Two types of bird hunting with a dog and a net: on the left method in England, on the right a variant in mainland Europe

Game-specific differences existed with regard to hunting methods: beasts of venery included red deer , hare , bear and wolf; they were pursued outside the royal forests with the parforce hunt. The beasts of chase ( fallow deer , roe deer , marten and fox ), on the other hand, were searched for and hunted with the pack. With the decline in the large game population, the Norman parforce hunt was replaced by the enclosure hunt. Rabbit baiting and fox hunting were very popular. The decisive criterion was now the "ringing" of the hunting dogs ( hound music ). The Tudors put their packs together from dogs whose voices were tonally coordinated. The main sport was to set the pack on the trail of a previously shot stag and then to listen to it - to recognize the dogs by the sound of their voice and to follow the hunt exclusively by ear.

In England, the sporting type of bird hunting with pointing dogs , the setting dogs , began to develop. These lay down when they were reported, captivating the game with their eyes so that the hunters could throw the nets over the dog and prey (“tyrassing”). Falcons or kites prevented the flying game from ascending. On the continent, on the other hand, the pointing dogs indicated the stolen game and then, on command, carefully drove them forward into the hunters' towing nets.

Modern times to the 18th century

Lucas Cranach the Elder , Deer Hunt by Elector Frederick the Wise (1529)

On the European continent, hunting began in the 15th century from sporting hunting to amusing the nobility, which lasted until the 18th century. Deer were kept almost exclusively in game enclosures . The hunt took place as a parforce hunt or stalking individual, specific deer. The courtly hunts were held as costume balls in which the game was driven through alleys made of cloth walls painted with picturesque hunting scenes (forerunners of the gate hunt ) or over obstacles and into bodies of water in order to enable massive kills. In this context, hunting dogs were mainly used for driving. Already in the late Middle Ages (for example in the Puech to the pasture ) the training of lead dogs received special attention.

With the development of firearms with a simultaneous decline in the wild game populations, game shooting flourished. The pointing and rummaging dogs continued to gain in importance, but their range of tasks expanded to include the retrieving of shot game, especially from the water or from thickets. All in all, at the beginning of the modern era, the hunting dog should be generally useful and hunt down every species of game that was detected. In his animal book (1563) , Conrad Gessner gives an overview of the known "breeds" of hunting dogs in the 16th century . He describes the greyhound , leader dog , running dog , track dog , bloodhound . In addition to the work of the pointing dogs and "hole dogs", he was also familiar with the spaniel , the greyhound , the water dog, as well as bird and quail dogs.

Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo,
Hunting in the Tabladillo in Aranjuez (around 1635)

The fall of the nobles during the French Revolution also meant the end of many breeds of hunting dogs. With the loss of breeding work for centuries, France lost its leadership position in hunting dog breeding .

In the 18th century the idea of ​​using a different dog for each type of hunting began in England. The universally usable thrown pack from the Tudor period disappeared, as well as game shooting displaced falcon picking and bird hunting with nets. The squire  - a country nobleman with his own hunting rights - experienced a golden era in England. The main disciplines of sport hunting amusements were game shooting using pointers , hunting with newly bred [foxhound] breeds, hare hunting on horseback with greyhounds and otter hunting with otters and other water dogs. As passionate hunters, many of the Squires bred their own hunting dog variants, so that in addition to the hunted game and terrain-specialized dogs, local strokes were created.

19th century

John Leech , English hunting cartoon (1850)

The establishment of a fox dog studbook in 1800 led to significant breeding advances in terms of nose performance and speed, so that by the end of the 19th century the fox hunt with the pack only took about 40 minutes. Between 1815 and 1870, during the heyday of the foxhunt, there were 101 packs of foxhounds; with 138 harrier packs, rabbit baiting was still very popular.

Flugwild was still "behind pointers", i. H. looking, shot. The hunting dog of this time was expected to lead, retrieve (also from water and thicket), search terrain and find game. Differences between pointers and setters hardly existed anymore and the pointing dogs had reached an exemplary level of training in 1832. The first test for pointing dogs took place in Southill near Bedford in 1865 .

New methods of game shooting resulted in an increasing demand for good retrieval dogs. The targeted breeding of special breeds ( retrievers ) began in the mid-19th century on the basis of imported St. John dogs .

Due to changes in the landscape, the rabbit baiting slowly turned into coursing . The National Coursing Club was established in 1858 . With the establishment of precise rules, competition between dogs took the place of the original rabbit-catching and the use of greyhounds in racing was encouraged by the desire of the British to bet . The emergence of pure breeding according to the studbook , breed standards and exhibitions meant that pure- bred dogs were no longer exclusively bred by nobles, which favored the development of breed diversity (e.g. in terriers).


After the royal hunting privilege had fallen, in France at the beginning of the 19th century the hunt was carried out by landowners who had an " equipage " (hunting facility). This could include a dozen dogs of different breeds or a splendid pack of bracken and was instructed by mounted ( "valets de chiens a cheval" ) or unridden ( "valets de chiens a pied" ) dog handlers. The honorary title of "Wolf Lieutenant" ( lieutenant de louveterie ) was associated with leading a small pack of dogs, which, in addition to hunting wolfs, could also be committed to hunting boars. Due to the landscape (thicket and dense forest), the French hounds, in contrast to the English, hunted not only as a pack, but also individually. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870) many dog ​​breeding lines and much knowledge of hunting cynology were lost in France.


In Germany there were four types of pointing dogs at the end of the 18th century: the Weimarschen , Solmsschen , Württembergschen and Auerbachschen . At the end of the 1930s, more and more English breeds were introduced and existing strains were “spoiled” with them, so that the old pointing dogs disappeared after the 48 revolution.

The now hunting authorized German citizens wanted a allround -Jagdhund that both wild-finding project, retrieve after the shot, penetrate thickets, make water work, follow the Rotfährte, draw her piece, it barking or could lead the hunter. The English Gordon Setter was initially used for this. At the end of the 19th century " Anglomania " was abandoned in the hunting dog sector and the old continental breeds were able to prevail again, albeit often mixed. In 1879 one began to breed the German Shorthaired Pointer from the remnants of the old German pointing dog . Baron Sigismund von Zedlitz and Neukirch (also known as "Hegewald") is considered a great pioneer of the German hunting dog industry , whose declared aim was to combine versatility with highly developed field work. His commitment was the creation of German working dogs based on down-to-earth strokes. He also had an influence on a more varied orientation of performance breeding, testing and hunting applications. As desired, the German hunting dog developed in the direction of “multi-purpose dogs”.


Hunting Party in England (1962)

The two world wars marked a massive turning point in English and French hunting dog breeding, which came to a complete standstill during this time. Most of the packs of dogs were killed because of food shortages and some old breeds of dogs were almost wiped out. The badly damaged breeds, in which a re-establishment of the breed after the war was hardly possible, included the dog from Poitou , the Norman dog , the Briquet d'Artois , the Griffon Nivernais , the old Vendéen dog , the Saintongeois , the Basset bleu de Gascogne , the Pindray , the Ceris and the Persac dog . With the help of English blood, some packs were soon replenished, but pack hunting lost its importance due to the greatly reduced game population.

In England, after the end of the war, German Shorthaired Pointer dogs were imported, which were finally recognized by the Kennel Club as gun dogs in addition to pointers, setters, spaniels and retrievers in a fourth category ("head retriever") . The development of the English hunting dogs was back to the "all-rounder". Hunting with packs still exists in England, but - due to changes in the landscape - the trend today is moving away from fast, large dogs to small, slow-hunting dogs from the time of Elizabeth I (e.g. Basset packs) . "Bloodless" riding hunts are still popular today in France and Germany.

In order to preserve and promote the hunting characteristics of the hunting dog breeds, a separation into "working dogs" and "show dogs" took place in many European countries . In Germany, too, most of the working dogs come from hunting performance breeds. At many breeding associations (bracken, bloodhounds), puppies are now only given in the hands of hunters.

Social importance

Courtly hunting party with dogs (1510)

As hunting companions of the rulers in the advanced cultures on lion and antelope hunts, they certainly already held an outstanding position. Good hunting dogs were therefore often part of the tribute payments to the pharaoh. In Celtic society, after a successful hunt, the hunting dog was the focus, it was decorated, celebrated and rewarded with meat. In his function as the companion of the Celtic hunting goddess Epona, he also had symbolic and mythological significance. Early references to the social esteem of the hunting dog can be found in the Germanic tribal rights, where high fines were imposed for the theft or killing of such an animal ( Germanic tribal laws ).

In the Middle Ages, a strict separation of the "pure-bred" valuable hunting dogs from the dogs of the farmers and shepherds was made in order to prevent mixing. The loss of a good hunting dog was valued as much as that of a human hunting helper. In order to protect their own hunting dogs, shepherds and farmers' dogs were preferred for hunting defensive game.

Often the hunting dogs lived closely with their noble masters. As a token of mutual respect, they were traded as royal gifts between monarchs . Just like their owners, they were considered “noble”: the name Bloodhound does not go back to a particular “blood thirst” of this breed, but to its “pure blood”. As a status symbol of the nobility, the common people in many European countries were forbidden from keeping their own hunting dogs until the 18th and 19th centuries.

Today the hunting dogs are valued as working dogs only by the hunters. Many hunting dog breeds are also very popular as family and exhibition dogs (dachshunds, retrievers, setters).

Historical attitude

With the increasing importance of hunting for the nobility, the number of hunting dogs kept also increased. Due to the early state organization of hunting dog keeping in Germany, a lot of literature on keeping, feeding and care has been handed down today . The historical hunting dogs including their use and training are also described in the hunting textbooks . B. in Gaston Phoebus or in Flemmings Der teutsche Jäger .

Treatment of a Sick Hunting Dog, from Petrus de Crescentiis, New Feldt and Akerbaw (1538)

In England in the early Middle Ages, hunting dogs were kept separate and looked after and fed by selected serfs . In Germany, too, the hunting dogs were no longer kept at court with Charlemagne , but distributed among subjects who received compensation for them. From this custom, the so-called “dog laying” developed from the 12th century - the obligation to raise, keep or feed stately hunting dogs. At first the monasteries were burdened with it, which had to provide dogs and hunters for hunting for the nobility. After the introduction of state sovereignty , hunting dogs were also kept in the hunters' houses and yards. Of historical interest is u. a. the “Rüdenhof” in Vienna (built at the end of the 12th century), in which 300–400 pack dogs were kept at times. Professional groups such as farmers, shepherds, knackers , executioners , butchers, millers and Meier were entrusted with the food supply and rearing of the animals . Alternatively, a transfer fee ("laying money") had to be paid, the amount of which differed regionally.

At the beginning of the hunting season , the dogs were divided among the hunters and forest officials, who had to be available at all times to take part in the stately hunts. Only the lead dogs and later also the bloodhounds always stayed with the hunter, who was solely responsible for their keeping and difficult training. The overview of the stately dogs was provided by lists in which both the persons obliged to lay dogs and the hunting dogs were recorded, including their external description.

Since hunting was the privilege of the upper class , farmers and other “ordinary” people were not allowed to keep dogs suitable for hunting, or only under the strictest conditions. Since the beginning of the 17th century, these regulations included the "knocking out" of dogs near the forest. This was understood to be the attachment of a wooden stick of at least one cubit length to the dog's collar in order to restrict his freedom of movement. In some regions , dogs were even legally required to mutilate the foreleg ( expediation , i.e. (partial) amputation of the metatarsus) or the hind leg (severing the tendons) in order to make the animals unfit for hunting. Exceptions were only made for designated working dogs of certain professional groups (shepherds, butchers). Regionally, farmers were only allowed to keep certain tips that, due to their natural inertia, had hardly any hunting instinct. Pointing dogs were exclusively owned by the nobility, until 1711 even high-ranking hunting officials were forbidden to own such a dog in Germany.

The furnishing of the kennels was already described by Gaston Phoebus, but also by numerous authors of the 18th and 19th centuries. Well-insulated or heatable stalls with adequate ventilation options were demanded. The berths were strewn with straw and some were raised. The additional run on lawn or fine sand should be provided with a shadow area. Sometimes it was recommended to keep dogs in chains. Great importance was attached to cleanliness and vermin control in the stables; Separate keeping of dogs in heat , young and sick dogs and the establishment of quarantine stations was already known. The care of the dogs also included regular grooming, including bathing. Great care was devoted to the care of claws, paws and extremities, especially when overused for hunting. Pregnant bitches should be spared and no longer used for hunting.

Medieval tapestry, feeding of hunting dogs with bread as a reward after killing the animal (hunting custom)

Outside the hunting season, the dogs should be taken out at least once a day and the packs should be taken on larger tours on a regular basis in order to maintain their condition.

Young dogs should be "not pampered" and be used to the effects of the weather, but they should always be protected from moisture. Hunting training began at the earliest at 12 months and was carried out carefully so as not to overwhelm the animals physically. Training a bloodhound could take four to five years to complete.

Traditionally, the dogs were fed bread and porridge based on flour or meal . This bread was called "dog bread" and could also be given in the form of "bread soups". Meat was fed in the form of slaughter or table waste and entrails . Meat feeding is already mentioned in the capitularies of Charlemagne. She was valued for the care of sick dogs and for the care of pregnant or lactating bitches. The bones of certain animal species were also used as feed. In addition, meat and bone broths, milk or whey were fed. Particular attention was paid to the feeding of the lead dogs in order not to impair their nasal performance through "incorrect food". They should be fed twice a day, not just before the hunt and not immediately after physical exertion. Only particularly good feed should be used during the hunting season. Strict hygiene in feeding and drinking was observed.

Arts and Culture


Peter Paul Rubens , Diana with nymphs on the hunt (around 1615)

Mythological references always portray the hunting dog positively. In the human as well as in the world of gods , he embodies the faithful companion and hunting assistant. As an attribute for hunting, it is often found in connection with ancient hunting deities ( Artemis , Diana , Epona ).

The constellations Orion , Big Dog and Little Dog are sometimes interpreted as a hunter, followed by his two hunting dogs. In the constellation of the hunting dogs ( Canes Venatici ), the bear keeper leads his two hunting dogs Asterion and Chara on a leash.

The loyalty thought symbolized Argos , the dog of Odysseus . When his master returns home incognito after an absence of 20 years, only his self-drawn hunting dog recognizes him. Old, weak, and neglected, lying on the dung heap, he no longer has the strength to crawl to him. After the reunion, the faithful dog dies in peace. The 50 hunting dogs of the Greek hero Aktaion tore up their own master, who had been turned into a stag by Artemis. With howling they then looked for him all over the country and only came to rest when they saw his image in the cave of the Centaur Cheiron .

In the world of the gods, too, hunting dogs were considered a valuable gift. Among other things, Artemis got good dogs for hunting from her father Zeus ; She later asked the Greek god Pan for his best hunting dogs. The legendary golden Cretan dog - later called Laelaps - came from the Hephaestus forge and never missed its prey, was one of the gifts that Zeus gave his beloved Europe . Later it was passed on by the Cretan King Minos in return for services rendered to the king's daughter Prokris , who was enthusiastic about hunting and who finally gave it to her husband Cephalus as a gift. Turned to stone by Zeus, the latter raptured him to Olympus as a watchdog .

Sometimes the hound can also symbolize determination: as the totem animal of the great Irish hero Cuchulainn , it stands for the achievement of goals.


Specialist literature

Gaston Phoebus, Le livre de chasse , Parforce hunt for the deer (1387)

Some ancient authors (e.g. Grattius Faliscus and Silius Italicus ) already mention contemporary hunting dogs. In addition to the characteristics and appearance of various types of dogs, the hunting use, qualities, selection criteria for hunting dogs and their upbringing are also examined. ( Xenophon Kynegetikos , Seneca Hippolyt , Flavius ​​Arrian Cynegeticus ). The formula collection of Markulf (7th century) uses the term "Bracken" for the first time. In the Germanic collections of laws, the hunting dogs are summarized in usage groups and their value is determined.

In his work About Falcons, Hounds and Horses , Albertus Magnus mentions among other things the training and keeping of hunting dogs. In the treatise De arte bersandi by the knight Guicenna (13th century) stalking and the use of bracken as a bloodhound are described.

The first books entirely dedicated to hunting were the hunting books. The Livre du Roi Modus (14th century) by Henri de Ferrieres is considered to be the oldest hunting textbook in French. Based on this, Gaston Phoebus reported in Le livre de chasse (1387) on the keeping and training of the various types of hunting dogs and the common hunting methods in continental Europe in the 14th century. The game master , the English equivalent, was written by Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York , at the beginning of the 15th century .

Henri de Ferrieres, Livre du Roi Modus , Parforce hunt for hares (14th century)

The Book of St. Albans (1486) summarizes the knowledge of heraldry, hunting and fishing that is appropriate for nobles. The house father book (1583) by Petrus de Crescentiis deals in detail with dogs, their keeping and care. In Conrad Gessner's Thierbuch (1563), various areas of application for hunting dogs are described.

Johann Jacob Agricola dedicates himself in Der vorsichtige Weidmann (1678) a. a. the training of hunting dogs. Between 1682 and 1689, Johann Täntzer wrote his extensive hunting manual Der Dianen high and low hunting secrets, in which the entire science of hunting can be found in detail in three volumes; in the third part he describes the hunting dogs. Johann Elias Ridinger supplements his hunting dog illustrations in Draft of Several Animals (1738) with written explanations. From the 18th century onwards, the number of works on hunting with dogs as well as treatises on keeping, care, training and breeding increased. As the most famous example of his time, Hans Friedrich von Fleming's The Perfect German Hunter (1749) provides a comprehensive description of contemporary hunting and the “wild bottom dogs” including breeding, training and use. Today there is a wide range of specialist books on a wide variety of hunting cynological topics.


Founding legend of Klosterneuburg, miniature from the land register (1513)

Already in medieval works of the 12./13. Century such as Gottfrieds von Straßburg Tristan (mid-12th century), Wolframs von Eschenbach Versepos Titurel and the Nibelungenlied hunting dogs were mentioned. The founding legend of the Austrian Klosterneuburg tells of the hunting dogs of Margrave Leopold III. who are said to have found a precious veil of his wife that was believed to have been lost. Hunting dogs also appear in many travelogues , hunting and home stories from the last centuries. Numerous poems and memorabilia deal with the hunting dog. The poet Philipp Ludwig von Bunsen wrote in the 19th century:

He searches through the hallway,
nothing escapes his fine nose, he smells
even the smallest trace
in the high grass.
How skillful, how clever and finely he
knows how to spy out everything; To
watch his work
is divine pleasure alone.

A well-known story is Krambambuli by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach from 1883, which has also been filmed several times. Hunting dogs have also found their way into children's and youth literature : Selma Lagerlöfs Nils Holgersson , who appeared in 1906/07, reports on the loyal hunting dogs Kar and Caesar . By Alexander Schmook the novel comes Ratz, the dog ( My name Ratz ).


Numerous sayings and proverbs have arisen around the hunting dog.

  • Having to carry the dog to hunt
  • Go to the dogs
  • Be rushed with all dogs
  • Skinny as a hunting dog
  • Eat like a young hound
  • As skilled as a cow to a hunting dog
  • Not to be completely pure
  • Watch out like a shooting dog
  • No stones are thrown at hunting dogs on the day of the hunt
  • Many dogs are dead to the hare

Visual arts

St. Hubertus with his hunting dogs

Dogs appear for the first time in hunting scenes on Neolithic rock carvings and cave paintings in Spain and Sweden. The representation of the "hunting dogs" is still stylized . In the old high cultures, images of dogs appear as hunting companions for the ruling class. Mostly they are in the form of wall and monument reliefs , e.g. B. at the palace of the Assyrian ruler Ashurbanipal (668–631 BC) in Nineveh. Differences in the appearance of the animals can already be seen: one of the oldest Egyptian images, dated to 4000 BC. BC, shows a hunter with a bow and arrow leading four greyhound-like dogs on a leash. Hounds were also used as a motif on coins and seals, and to decorate pottery and weapons .

As a constant companion of hunters in antiquity, the motif of the hunting dog can be found in all areas of life at this time. Corresponding representations exist on the floor mosaics , wall and tomb paintings and on hunting sarcophagi . Extensive hunting friezes with dogs were found in an Etruscan grave (" Tomba del Cacciatore ") in Tarquinia . Hunting dogs are also often depicted on sculptures and reliefs. Ceramic and glass ware serve as a background as well as precious metal objects. The hunting dog also appears in a stylized form as a Celtic ornament .

Inseparable from the ruling class, the hunting dog served as an attribute of the aristocratic way of life in the Middle Ages . Except in typical hunting scenes such as the stain and parforce hunt, he often appears as an everyday companion of the nobility. Corresponding representations can be found on tapestries and in the richly decorated medieval manuscripts ( Manessian song manuscript , monthly pictures ) as well as in heraldry. The hunting dog is a rarity on a playing card from the Stuttgart hunting game (around 1430). The hunting literature from the late Middle Ages has preserved numerous images of hunting dogs at work. Represented together with Saint Hubertus , the hunting dog can also be found on church windows and altarpieces .

Johann Jakob Biedermann, detail from the oil painting New Worb Castle with Hunting Party (1789)

In modern times, the hunting dog appears on hunting paintings and contemporary representations of European rulers. The different types of hunting dogs now emerge clearly on copperplate engravings and book illustrations (e.g. Johann Elias Riedinger, draft of some animals , 1738). The 18th and 19th centuries also depict the hunting dog in numerous cynological works as well as in hunting and travel reports. Hunting dog motifs are now increasingly appearing as decoration of everyday objects and pieces of furniture (especially in hunting residences) and as ornaments.

In the 20th century, images of hunting dogs can be found everywhere in everyday life and in every style. In hunting circles in particular, the hunting dog is still a popular motif on hunting accessories .

Heraldry and Sphragistics

The importance of the hunting dog in heraldry should also be seen in connection with the historically anchored hunting privilege of the nobility . While the dog is traditionally a symbol of loyalty , vigilance and determination, the hunting dog usually represents the right of high hunting or denotes the office of the hereditary land jägermeister . For example, the court seal of the town of Eisighofen from 1782 depicts a rider on a stray hunt accompanied by a hunting dog.


The most frequently represented dog breed in heraldry is the hound (heraldic: the hound). It is also considered a symbol of defeated unbelief. Therefore, many noble families have a bracken as a helmet ornament in their coat of arms . The bracke as a coat of arms figure goes back to the old type, the Keltenbracke . The attributes typical of bracken - long, low-set ears and narrow skull with clearly defined occiput  - are always emphasized.

The hound is usually shown growing, black, with its tongue sticking out and a wide collar with a ring loop. However, deviations from this standard are common and reflect changing styles . The coat of arms of the city of Brackenheim varies depending on the epoch: the Bracken has different "necks" (collar, guide ring, guide rope or chain), the posture varies from standing, searching, jumping to striding with its head raised or lowered. The current coat of arms has existed in this form since 1953. The self-confident posture of the large, expressive animal is intended to symbolize the increasing importance of the city.

Famous noble families who had a "growing" bracken as a helmet ornament in their coat of arms are the Hohenzollern , the princes of Öttingen , the counts of Nesselrode , the counts of Fürstenberg , the Reuss of Plauen , those of Heussenstein , von Sax and von Schönberg .

Around 1600 many Austrian, Tyrolean and Carinthian families had a bracken as a jewel in their coat of arms . The bracken has been handed down as part of the coat of arms, especially for a large number of Bavarian, Franconian, Swabian and Rhineland noble families.


Greyhounds were also preferred to be depicted on coats of arms. Their posture is usually rising, upright or jumping, and they wear a collar with a ring loop around their necks. In Germany, the greyhound appears as a heraldic animal in the cities of Meckenbeuren , Ichenhausen and Burgwindheim .

The badges of the newly crowned King Henry VII included u. a. a white greyhound widely known as the recognition animal of the Earls of Richmond . Derived from this , the so-called "Caleygreyhound", a politically motivated chimera of white antelope , greyhound and eagle , was created as the coat of arms of the 13th Earl of Oxford ( John de Vere ), a vassal of the Lancaster royal family .


  • Konrad Andreas: Fair hunting dog training: through planned training and performance-enhancing leadership, taking into account the psyche and individuality of the dog. 7th, revised edition, BLV, Munich a. a. 1983, ISBN 3-405-11989-8 .
  • EF Bauer: Working dogs for hunting: from training to breeding. Schaper, Hannover 1976, ISBN 3-7944-0079-8 .
  • Klaus Böhme: Illustrated hunting history. Part 1: From the stone's throw of the prehistoric man to the pastures of antiquity. Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen 1991
  • Michael Brander: Hunting from prehistoric times to today . From the English by Rolf Richter. Pawlak, Herrsching 1978
  • Hegendorf, Heinrich Uhde: The working dog. Kosmos, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-440-08149-4 .
  • Bernd Krewer : Hunting with dogs. Areas of application, requirements, races, training. BLV, Munich a. a. 2004, ISBN 3-405-16651-9 .
  • Stephan Neumann: My healthy hunting dog: prevent, treat, provide first aid. Kosmos, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-440-07986-4 .
  • Johann Nussbaumer: 2000 years of hunting in Austria: Hunting history (s) in red-white-red from the roots to the present. Austrian hunting u. Fischerei-Verlag, Vienna 2000, ISBN 3-85208-027-4 .
  • Konrad Most, Franz Mueller-Darß : Training and leading the hunting dog . 2nd, completely revised edition. Kynos Verlag , Mürlenbach 1988 (260 pages), ISBN 3-924008-35-3 .
  • Sabine Müller: Keeping and feeding hunting dogs in the 17th to 19th centuries . Hanover, veterinarian Hochsch., Diss. (Mach.) 1992.
  • Hans Räber: Encyclopedia of Purebred Dogs, Volume 2 . Franckh-Kosmos, Stuttgart 2001.
  • Carl Tabel: The hunting dog: education, training and leadership. 12th revised edition. BLV, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-405-15537-1 .
  • Michael Tandler: Bracken in hunting use. 2nd Edition. Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen 2000, ISBN 3-7888-0731-8 .


  • Jagdkumpane - How the dog came to humans , Complete Media (January 2015), ISBN 978-3-8312-8154-1 , © ORF, 2013. A co-production by ORF, ARTE, WEGA Film and BMUKK.

Web links

Commons : Hound  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Jagdhund  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Hunting dogs ( memento of the original from April 12, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Game and dog: tests for hunting dogs - performance tests
  3. Lower Saxony Hunting Law (NJagdG) of March 16, 2001 - § 4 hunting dogs
  4. Hegendorf, Heinrich Uhde : The working dog . Kosmos, Stuttgart 2002. p. 12
  5. ^ Gerhard Albert: Guidelines for determining the usefulness of hunting dogs - a country comparison. ( online at ( memento from April 26, 2014 in the Internet Archive ))
  8. Video Niedersachsenmeute:
  9. The Sauerlandmeute:
  10. Böhme (1991); P. 182
  11. Dog training ( Memento from November 22, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  12. a b Räber (2001); P. 13
  13. a b Erhard Ueckermann: Kulturgut Jagd: a guide through the hunting history of North Rhine-Westphalia and hunting historical sites . Landwirtschaftsverl., Münster-Hiltrup 1994. p. 41
  14. German Hunting Association: dog work in wolf territory - Guidance for hunting guide and dog handlers
  15. Ilka Reinhardt , Gesa Kluth : Living with wolves - guidelines for dealing with a conflict-prone species in Germany . Page 101, PDF Page 102
  16. Hunting dog killed by wolf: The Chronology of Hunting Dog 2018
  17. Scandinavia commemorates its wolf victims Wild and Hund 2015
  18. Vargdödade hundar Svensk Jakt 2013
  19. ^ Räber (2001); P. 11/12 and P. 261/262
  20. Wolfgang Helck , Eberhard Otto: Small Lexicon of Egyptology. 4th, revised. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1999, p. 128
  21. Böhme (1991); P. 134
  22. Böhme (1991); Pp. 143-173
  23. Böhme (1991); P. 184
  24. Böhme (1991); Pp. 179-186
  25. Böhme (1991); Pp. 187-188
  26. Böhme (1991); Pp. 197-198
  27. Böhme (1991); Pp. 205-206
  28. Brander (1978); P. 24
  29. Brander (1978); Pp. 228-230
  30. Müller (1992); P. 26
  31. Brander (1978); P. 32
  32. Brander (1978); P. 58
  33. Brander (1978); Pp. 64-65
  34. Brander (1978); Pp. 79-81
  35. Kurt Lindner : 'Doctrine of the Work of Lead Dogs'. In: Author's Lexicon . Volume V, Col. 657-659.
  36. Brander (1978); P. 78ff
  37. Brander (1978); Pp. 74-79
  38. Brander (1978); P. 110
  39. a b Brander (1978); P. 115
  40. ^ Räber (2001); P. 678 ff.
  41. Brander (1978); P. 123
  42. Brander (1978); P. 138 ff.
  43. ^ Räber (2001); P. 518 ff
  44. Hegendorf, Heinrich Uhde: The working dog . Kosmos, Stuttgart 2002. pp. 9-10
  45. Brander (1978); P. 155
  46. Brander (1978); P. 130
  47. Brander (1978); P. 133
  48. Bernd Krewer: Hunting with dogs: areas of application, requirements, breeds, training. blv, Munich et al. 2004. p. 17 and p. 95
  49. ^ Räber (2001); Pp. 726/727
  50. Böhme (1991); P. 198
  51. Brander (1978); P. 67
  52. ^ Räber (2001); P. 277: The King of France gave Queen Elizabeth I several bloodhounds
  53. Nussbaumer (2000); P. 80: On the occasion of a meeting in the 14th century, “200 well-trained hunting dogs at the same time as the male master and the servants” passed from the property of Duke Albrecht I of Austria to King Philip IV of France
  54. a b Müller (1992); P. 16
  55. ^ Räber (2001); P. 443–445: The Jägerhöfe were built in the first half of the 17th century at many European royal courts. Their task was to preserve hunting customs, to provide training for hunters and dogs and to supply the Fürstenhof with game
  56. Nussbaumer (2000); P. 54
  57. Erhard Ueckermann: Kulturgut Jagd: a guide through the hunting history of North Rhine-Westphalia and hunting historical sites . Landwirtschaftsverl., Münster-Hiltrup 1994. p. 39
  58. Müller (1992); P. 217
  59. Müller (1992); P. 218
  60. ^ Räber (2001); P. 521
  61. Müller (1992); Pp. 228-37
  62. ^ Räber (2001); P. 445
  63. Müller (1992); Pp. 238-68
  64. A digitized version of Volume 1 is available online .
  65. L. Beckmann: Die Rassen des Hundes , o. O. 1893ff
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on October 31, 2006 .