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Authored by Dave Pepe, November 2003
If your interested in buying a Wachtelhund, please take the time to read the Breed Description and Standards. It is important for new buyers to know the Wachtelhund standards. Buyer’s should also check the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), search records for “Wachtelhund”, to ensure the parents of the planned puppy purchase where certified free of hip dysplasia, and elbow diseases. Buyer’s should avoid buying Wachtelhunds from breeders where sire and dam are not certified free of hip or elbow disease by OFA or Penn Hip and blood lines that include identified genetic disease. This is extremely important, since there are a limited number of breeders and people having Wachtelhunds capable of being bred in North America. Breeding a dog with genetic disease and faults will quickly spread problems through our small Wachtelhund population.
The Wachtelhund is basically a healthy dog with few genetic problems. However, seven Wachtelhunds in North America have been identified as having elbow disease (DJD). All seven of these dogs are decedents of one blood line. Roughly 1/3, of our North American Wachtelhunds are related to this one blood line. DJD is a genetic disease with a recessive mode of inheritance. This means it can skip a generation or affect just one or more pups from a given litter. Therefore, Wachtelhunds from these lineages should not be bred.
Some Wachtelhund breeders now sell our Wachtelhunds with contracts prohibiting the breeding of our dogs to Wachtelhunds of those blood lines.
Buyers should asked specific questions of breeder’s of the Sire and Dam and if they exhibit any faults. Buyers should insist on contracts insuring their Wachtelhunds will meet conformation standards and be free of genetic faults.
The German VDW prohibits the breeding of dogs with the following conditions: Height under 42 cm (16 1/2 inches). Crooked or bowed legs, splayed feet. Thin skeleton or bodied dogs with short backs. Loose shoulder muscles. A prominent stop at the eye junction between muzzle and head. Teeth with an under or over bite. Loose eye lids. Loose drooling lips that do not close. Dogs having only one testicle. Wachtelhunds with black hair color, or thin silky hair.
Wachtelhund standards are defined by the Federation of Cynologique Internationale (FCI), Standard 104, dated December 1999. The FCI is a world wide organization and defines standards for all pedigree dogs. The AKC and UKC follow the standards set forth by the FCI. Wachtelhund standards have been revised several times since 1910, when they were initially established. Today, most dog books written in English show out dated size standards.
In Germany, these standards are enforced by the VDW, when judging the dogs conformation after completion of juvenile and subsequent hunt measurement tests. Dogs failing conformation judging or exhibiting faults, are not entered in the VDW breeding book, equivalent to our stud books. This effectively culls undesirable dogs out of the breeding pool. Unfortunately, we have no effective means to conduct conformation judging in North America. Therefore, not only breeders, but buyers must know and insist their Wachtelhunds will meet desired standards. The size standards are: Males, 48 to 54 cm (18 7/8 to 21 1/4 inches); Females, 45 to 52 cm (17 3/4 to 20 1/2 inches); (dogs 3/8 to 3/4 of an inch over the standard stall not be disqualified) and Weight, 20 to 30 Kg (44 to 66 lbs). One weight standard is provided for both male and female Wachtelhunds. However, since the females are expected to be smaller than the males one would expect the females to weigh in the lower half of the range and the males to weigh in the upper half of the weight range.