The idea…a breed emerges
The Deutsch-Drahthaar (DD) began with the idea of developing a breed from the existing individual hunting specialists that would be universal and could do all the practical hunting tasks. Among the ancestors of the Deutsch-Drahthaar belong the old Water Poodle and the English Pointer. At the end of the 18th Century, a robust, fully usable dog was created in Germany from the best of the existing coarse hair breeds, Pudelpointer, Stichelhaar, and Griffon, and bred with the Deutsch Kurzhaar.
The spiritual father of the Drahthaar, Freiherr Sigismund of Zedlitz and Neukirch, also called Hegewald, demanded that the primary breeding goal of the hunting dog be versatile performance ability. His thoughts became the principle of Drahthaar breeding: “through performance to standard.”
The Hegewald breeding test is known because of him. Yearly at this international fall breeding test, the strongest performing young dogs are presented from within and outside of Germany for critical comparison and to give information about the status of the Drahthaar breed.
The Drahthaar is a passionate hunting dog with industry and endurance, calm by nature, friendly in relations. As with every genuine working dog, however, he needs legitimate specialty training and guidance. Only when given sufficient activity does he feel content. Today, it is also important that the Drahthaar be a pleasant companion for other aspects of life. He is friendly and self-aware with regard to people and other breeds. The Drahthaar is gentle with children and a suitable family dog. He is no problem to keep in the kennel or the house.
Intelligence and calmness…the way to success
The Drahthaar is the most frequently used hunting dog by the hunting establishment in Germany, and that is not without reason: The versatile work range of the all-around dog demands an intelligent, mentally flexible dog. Endurance and a will to obey, as well as the ability to concentrate on work, characterize this robust fellow in the coarse jacket. When others quit, work is just beginning for him. As a dog that can be used universally for a full range of tasks and as a dog for the work after the shot, the Drahthaar is unsurpassed. He brings to the hunt many specialties.
Breed standard…through performance to standard Hunting dogs need a healthy, performance capable body and a reliable nature to fulfill their purpose. The Drahthaar is a mid-sized, dog with robust health. The shoulder height varies for the male from around 61 to 68 cm, for the female from around 57 to 64 cm. The wiry, tightly fit hair, with thick under wool, offers optimal protection from external influences such as moisture, heat and cold, as well as thorns and sharp-cornered reeds. The dark eyes with the extended eyebrow as well as the typical beard give the Drahthaar his characteristic appearance. The Deutsch-Drahthaar has a variety of colorations: brown and gray, black and gray, and brown with and without white breast spots.
Since the 17th Century...
German foresters who were in charge of maintaining the hunting grounds for the royalty, selected and bred the smallest and most tenacious Bracken to reduce the number of foxes and badgers in underground dens. The meat of the small game that was prey to these predators was favored and at that time less expensive than beef or lamb. Prior to this period, there were drawings of small dogs used in badger, fox and otter hunting, and even in hunting beavers for the medicinal castoreum (anal sac oil) but these dogs only show vague resemblance to today's Teckel.
In 1719...Johann Friedrich Freiherr von Fleming published "Der vollkommene teutsche Jäger", a book containing drawings of the "Tachs Kriecher" with crooked front legs and "Tachs Krieger" with straight legs, that exhibit more likeness. Von Fleming wrote these dogs were trailing and chasing the game while giving tongue, indicating the hidden game with diligence and zeal to the hunter, which separates these dogs from other hunting dogs.
Carl von Heppe (1751) commented in his book "Aufrichtiger Lehrprinz oder Praktische Abhandlung von dem Leithund, als dem Fundament der edlen hirschgerechten Jägeren" that there are Dachshunds with long and short legs, and others with straight and with crooked legs like seen in the Leithunde. This underlined that in those days, dogs were not selected and classified on the basis of phenotype but according to similarities in traits or functions. There were no breeds as we know now.
In his book...
"Der Hund in seinen Haupt- und Nebenrassen", Dr. H.G. Reichenbach (1836) first described the breed's external characteristics close to the modern Dachshund or Teckel. Louis Ziegler praised in "Haarwild-Jagd und die Naturgeschichte der jagdbaren Säugethiere. Zur Belehrung und Unterhaltung für Jagdfreunde" (1848) the excellent nose and versatility of the Dachshund used in hunting. Ziegler also mentioned that due to its great nose, this courageous dog has very little problems to work on a leash as a blood tracking dog. He recommends also the use of the 'mongrels' of the Schweißhunde with the Dachshunds. Apparently, at that time, the mixing of these 2 "breeds" already took place.
In 1879...The first description of the breed was written in German. The phenotype (looks) of the dogs rather than the hunting application, became slowly more important in dictating the breed. The German Dachshund Club (Deutscher Teckelklub or DTK) was founded by Klaus Graf Hahn and Major Emil Ilgner in 1888. Two years later (1890) 54 shorthair Teckels were registered in the very first German pedigree book. These dogs could be considered as the foundation for the entire breed. It was not until 1925 that the official German breed standard was published.