A German Hunting Terrier from Russia
By: Yuri Rulin
A shot, and an injured boar got lost in thickets... a Terrier was turned loose. The boar was about to rush at the dog, but the dog evaded his strike and bit the boar from behind. This gave the hunter a chance to make another shot. This boar was 600 pounds.
A small, durable dog, early starting to work, dark, not bright colored, with coarse hairs not requiring special trimming, not demanding of conditions of keeping, convenient for transportation in the airplane and to take backpacking as well. This is the Jagdterrier, the youngest hunting breed, which is particularly popular today among hunters in Russia.
German cynologists Werner Fox and Gerhardt Maash wrote about the following steps in the history of the Jagdterrier ("German Hunting Terrier", Berlin, 1986). In the beginning of the 20th Century, German hunters were enthused with the Fox terrier and Welsh terrier. They were used not only in burrow hunting for foxes and badgers, but also for wild boars, deers and hares. The colorful and pretty look of these dogs attracted the attention of not only hunters. Many dog fanciers kept them just as a companion dog.
This led to the deterioration of the hunting qualities of these breeds. Scenting ability, endurance, persistence, hearing and vision were affected. What is really important so that a hunting breed should be attractive only for hunters? Two German dog breeders, Zangenbergand Chekk, made their task for the first time to create a working dog, the appearance of which would be not peculiar, but which would possess practical and functional qualities and would not become a fancy show dog. In 1923, in the kennel of Chekk, near Munich, four puppies with dark color were obtained as a result of crossing the Fox terrier and the coarse-haired English terrier. In 1932 a successful crossing with the Old English terrier took place and in1933, blood with the Welsh terrier was added. By the 1940s, the breed of the German Hunting Terrier had been basically completed. The dogs had all the qualities which breeders wanted to see; hunting drive, aggressiveness, scent and vision, the capability to chase with barking, not afraid of water, inclination for retrieving the game and to be controllable. As to the not so pretty look of the small, dark terriers, it encouraged only hunters to buy them.
After World War II, in Germany, only a few Jagdterriers remained. Careful work in therestoration of the population began. For this purpose an attempt to cross Jagdterriers with Lakeland terriers was made. However, this experiment appeared not to be successful and was rejected. In 1951, 32 puppies from 9 litters were obtained and in 1952 there were already 75 puppies. In 1952, 79 dogs participated in the first field test. In 1956 there were 144 puppies obtained. After a short time, the breed became well-known. The following fact is evidence of this.
In 1965, in the International Dog Show in Brno, Czechoslovakia, an international contestin burrow hunting dogs was conducted, among which 29 Jagdterries participated. Despite the fact that their number was not great, by quantity and results achieved, they surpassed all the other burrow hunting breeds participating in the contest. This included 26 Fox terriers, 12 Taxes and 8 Walsh terriers (I. Zoinel, "Breeds of Dogs in the Past and at Present," Berlin,1976).
Because the number of existing Jagdterriers was not great, the restoration of the breed was conducted by inbreeding and selection was made in favor of working qualities. As a result of the inbreeding, different genetic faults began to appear; hair quality, wrong bites, size increase and dogs with incomplete teeth appeared. Since 1937, in Germany, complex analysis of hereditary faults was conducted. This analysis was important, because the Jagdterrier is a versatile hunting dog and, therefore, selection by any character alone would create a dangerous bias at the expense of other qualities of the breed. Thus, in 1968-1973 in the line breeding of Jagdterriers, dogs with great working qualities were obtained. However, in their lower jaw, some teeth were missing, which was a real danger for the breed. Some times dogs selected by their scent only had excellent scent but were reluctant to take a track. Only a complex approach creates a correct basis for selection and permits one to evaluate most objectively, parents by all their characteristics. This would include hunting qualities and hereditary faults, hair quality and body conformation.
The Jagdterrier makes an impression of some what intense attention, alertness and fearlessness. He is robust, durable and mistrusting of strangers. The dog has a sturdy structure, well-developed muscles, elastic and tight skin. Males are 13-16 inches and females are 12-15 inches at the withers. By their hair, Jagdterriers are divided into two kinds, the wire-haired and smooth-haired. Hairs are straight, coarse and dense. In the wire-haired, hair on the body and legs is longer than in the smooth variety, but in the latter one, hair is never as short as in the smooth Taxa. The wire-haired Jagdterrier should have a beard, the smooth one does not have it. The tail should be cropped at 2/3 its length when puppies are five days old. The tail may be used as a handle when helping the dog to pull the game out of the burrow.
In Russia, Jagdterriers were imported from Germany in 1972 by scientist/cynologist A.Blistanov. In 1975, in Moscow, one dog was registered and in 1987 there were 400 registered dogs. Formerly, Jagdterriers were placed in the group of terriers, but in 1990 a resolution was accepted to distinguish the German Jagdterrier as a special group of versatile dogs. According to European rules, the following requirements are used in field tests of theJagdterrier. In work with the badger or fox, he must kill the animal in the den and pull it out side. In wild boar hunting, he must be able to find the animal, chase and stop it by biting from behind. The Jagdterrier must chase a hare or rabbit in full voice. In duck hunting, the dog should be able to work in water overgrown with vegetation, find the shot bird and retrieve it from deep water.
After coming to the USA, I bought my first dogs from Russia in 1992. They were used in hunting wild boar, deer, raccoon, squirrel, rabbit and armadillo, and they proved their high hunting drive on, new for them, American game. Hunting conditions in this area of the USA are similar to the European west. This allows the use of Jagdterriers in professional huntingand hunting sport. I am a professional hunter and in Russia, with the Jagdterriers, I killed brown bears, boars, moose, bagers, foxes, raccoon, squirrels, hares and waterfowl. I should mention that during my seven years of hunting with these dogs I never lost and injured animal. Every one of my dogs worked with great enthusiasm on any kind of game and in any weather conditions. I am sure that hunters will be grateful to this dog, which got the nickname of Fireball. I think that as a motto for the new breed, the words of German cynologists Fokke and Maashwould be fitting: "The beauty of a dog comes through their usefulness."
Note: Rulin's Lesa, Rulin's Graf and Briarcrest Little Tige all came from Yuri Rulin. We where very blessed to add them to our Knite Hunt Kennel. Yuri is considered a very dear friend of ours. We enjoyed many years hunting with Lesa, Graf and Tige. Some of our Jagdterriers still carry these bloodlines.