Let's talk German Hounds

Known as the Deutsche Bracke in their native Germany, the German Hound is a smart scent dog with a lovely temperament and adorable looks. Bred originally as hunting dogs, they make great companion animals, and are usually devoted to their human families. Notable for their tri-colour fur, long floppy ears and hazel-brown eyes, they also have the classic ‘Bracken’ markings with white fur on their face, chest, legs and the tip of their tail. Rarely seen outside of Germany, you have to work hard to find one elsewhere – though you’ll certainly be well rewarded if you do.

Official name: German Hound

Other names: Deutsche Bracke, German Bracke, Olpe Bracke

Origins: Germany

Mother and baby Labrador
 Drooling tendencies

Very low

Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level Low
Suited to apartment living?  Low
 Energy Level (high, low, medium)* Medium to high Kid-friendly?* 
 Compatibility with other pets Medium
Can stay alone?* Very low

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs.
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Illustration of Deutsche Bracke
41 - 54 cm Height
16 - 18 kg Weight
41 - 54 cm Height
16 - 18 kg Weight

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age 1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years


Get to know the German Hound

All you need to know about the breed

Popular within their native Germany, but not well known elsewhere, the German Hound is a small scent dog with a big personality. Renowned for their sweet-natured and affectionate temperament, they are also intelligent and loyal. Deeply attached to their human families, the German Hound is known to be particularly good with children, once trained. However, they are best kept away from any little pets as, due to their sporting heritage, they may see them as prey.

Hailing from the small town of Olpe in Westphalia, a region of north-west Germany, the German Hound was originally bred to be a top tracking animal out in the field. Not surprisingly, therefore, the German Hound likes nothing better than lolloping around in the countryside, seeking out interesting scents. That said, they’ll be (almost as) content snuggling up next to your slippers. A mixture of both is the ideal.

In terms of their appearance, while not a large dog, the German Hound is nonetheless a very noble-looking animal. Their tri-coloured fur is generally an attractive mix of black, tan and white, and features the distinctive ‘Bracken’ markings. Then there’s those hazel-brown eyes, long, droopy ears and their appealing expression – all of which makes them hard to resist. In fact, some say they bear more than a passing resemblance to the lovable comic-strip character Fred Basset who is something of a celebrity in the world of hounds.

Close-up of Deutsche Bracke


2 facts about German Hounds

1. Heaven scent

Apart from their natural intelligence and innate tracking skills, the German Hound is notable for an impressive sense of smell. Their super-sensitive nose can pick up on even the slightest scent, and they’ll take great pleasure in sharing their finds with you by emitting a loud, triumphant bark.

2. Take a hike

One thing to bear in mind with these sporty scent hounds is that they need a lot of exercise. Although relatively small in size, the German Hound has bags of stamina, with energy levels to match, and they thrive on a busy, outdoorsy lifestyle. For this reason, they are best suited to an owner who likes to don their walking boots.


History of the breed

To understand the history of the German Hound, we have to go back to a time when Germany was home to quite a range of Bracke breeds (‘bracke’ stemming from the old German word for a coastal marsh). Eventually, however, the only surviving one of these was the Westphalia Bracke, which was crossed with the tricolour Sauerlander to produce what we now know as the Deutsche Bracke (or German Hound).

First identified in the late 1800’s, they were bred to be adept hunting animals, accompanying their masters out in the field. With a legendary sense of smell, and plenty of stamina, they were the epitome of terrific trackers. This was acknowledged when, in 1896, the Deutschen Bracken Club – encompassing all local Bracke strains – was formed in Olpe. By 1900, all varieties had been merged under the new Deutsche Bracke breed. 

Today, there are two types of Bracke dogs: our friend, the German Hound, and their descendent, the smaller Westphalian Dachsbracke, possibly crossed with a Dachshund. While very popular in their homeland, the German Hound is not currently recognised by either the British or American Kennel Clubs at the time of writing. However, as a cherished companion animal these days, it can’t be too long before they gain wider recognition.  
Deutsche Bracke in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of German Hounds

1. Head

Narrow head with long, pendulant ears and hazel-brown eyes.

2. Coat

Tri-coloured coat is mix of black, tan and white with distinctive markings.

3. Body

Deep chest, slightly arched back and long tail.


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your German Hound
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Barking up the wrong - or right - tree

While the German Hound has a lovely temperament, with traits that include being friendly and affectionate, they do have quite a loud, resonant bark. Very vocal by nature, this stems from their days out in the field when they would need to communicate with their masters. So, it’s worth bearing this in mind if you live in an apartment or have sensitive neighbours, although training can help.

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They are fairly hardy and robust dogs

With few health problems on the whole, the German Hound is normally brimming with vitality and abundant energy. Like all breeds, however, there are a few possible issues of which to be aware. These include hip dysplasia, various eye complaints and something called ‘bloat’ – a potentially life-threatening condition that is thought to be triggered by exercising too soon after a meal. The German Hound has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years.


Caring for your German Hound

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Rather long for a short-haired dog, the coat of the German Hound is dense, hard and almost bristly. Nonetheless, they are very easy to care for in terms of grooming. Your German Hound should just need a weekly brush and the occasional bath after any muddy fields. Another bonus is that German Hounds don’t tend to shed much either. Like other breeds, they should have their teeth brushed daily where possible, nails clipped as required and their long, pendulant ears checked regularly for any sign of infection or debris. Not surprisingly, given their sporting heritage, the German Hound needs a good amount of exercise and is best suited to a largely outdoor lifestyle. Ideally, they will require between one and three hours every day. As far as training your German Hound is concerned, although obedient and eager to please for the most part, they can have a slight stubborn streak at times. A calm approach, with lots of positive reinforcement, is the way to go. As with all breeds, early socialisation, with other animals and humans, is strongly recommended.

All about German Hounds

With their origins as super-sporty scent dogs, the tracking abilities of the German Hound are quite formidable. They are also resourceful and energetic with stamina levels to match. These days, however, the German Hound is becoming increasingly popular as a companion animal in their native Germany – and it can’t be too long before the rest of the world catches on too. 

Although originally bred to be working animals, the German Hound is renowned as being a very kid-friendly dog once trained. With all that excess energy to burn off, and a naturally playful nature, they appear to enjoy the hustle and bustle of a busy family home. They also thrive on any sort of games or activities so are well-suited to being with youngsters. Just be careful, as always, with any very little ones in case your German Hound – or your child! – is a little more boisterous than they intend.

Other breeds that might interest you.


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/