Broadhead Kennels

News and Record Article by Randy Mabe

Published on Monday, December 22, 2008

After owning beagles and Labrador retrievers, I was curious to learn if there was a single breed of hunting dog that would pursue fur and feathered game and had the desire to track blood trails. That may sound like an impossible quest, but after months of research I came across a breed that far exceeded my expectations.

The Deutsch Drahthaar is a well-known breed within its native Germany, but it is relatively new to the United States. The breed's unique name and distinctive appearance raised eyebrows among dog owners here, but once sportsmen became acquainted with this versatile hunter, they realized that to know the DD - as many of its owners call it - is to love it.

The Deutsch Drahthaar has a bird-dog appearance, with a slim waist, deep V-shaped chest and short tail. The male usually stands approximately 24 inches at the shoulder and weighs around 65 pounds. Females are slightly smaller. The coat is wiry and is brown-and-white or black-and-white ticked, usually with solid patches.

It has taken more than 100 years to develop today's Deutsch Drahthaar.

In May 1902 a group of breeders founded the Verein Deutsch Drahthaar (VDD) and developed a program that demanded the breeding goal of the hunting dog be "versatile performance ability." This group of breeders took the best coarse-hair breeds and cross-bred with shorthair blood. Ancestors of the Deutsch Drahthaar include the Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer, Griffon and the Deutsch-Kurzhaar.

For the hunter, this means the Deutsch Drahthaar can be trained to point quail, track furred game and retrieve furred and feathered game, complete water work for duck or goose and track blood trails of wounded game. That one dog can be trained to do all of this makes it a truly versatile hunting companion.

To ensure that the breed retains its genetic traits, breeding requirements remain strictly controlled through performance testing administered through Verein Deutsch Drahthaar/Group North America. All dogs that are part of the breeding program must complete a variety of field-testing and breed-show evaluations.

Testing includes: gun sensitivity, pointing and retrieving of downed quail, following a 400-yard dragged scent of a rabbit and retrieving the rabbit to hand, blind retrieve on water, search for and retrieval of downed duck on water, along with cooperation and obedience throughout testing. Breed-show testing includes evaluation of coat, teeth, eyes, conformation and personality traits. If the dog does not comply within the standards, it is not allowed to be part of the breeding program.

Hunting a variety of game with a single dog certainly requires ample training and much time spent afield. However, the hard work between dog and handler is rewarded with a wonderful feeling of excitement, loyalty and pride. Many Deutsch Drahthaar owners hunt quail, pheasant, duck and wild boar and blood-track wounded game - all with one dog.

The Deutsch Drahthaar has the genetics and temperament of a true versatile hunter, while making a wonderful addition to the outdoors enthusiasts' family.

Randy R. Mabe is an outdoorsman, N.C. Master Bowhunter and freelance outdoors writer who lives in Reidsville. Contact him at