Jagdterrier: Get to know the Fierce Little Hunter

Last Updated on April 13, 2023

The Jagdterrier may be little, but he is one ferocious hunter. He can hunt a wide variety of animals and on different terrains.

If you’re looking for a smaller energetic dog, that is also a loyal and affectionate companion, this might be the canine for you.

What else is there about this all-around terrier? Keep on reading to find out!

Beautiful German Hunt Terrier standing in the garden

What is a Jagdterrier?

The Jagdterrier (pronounced yak-terrier) is a dog bred for hunting. With a name that translates to “hunt terrier” in German, you know he’s meant for this specific task.

So what is the origin story of this breed? It all started with a group of hunters who wanted to create the ultimate hunting dog.

The history of the Jagdterrier

In 1920, three hunters named Rudolf Frieß, Walter Zangenberg and Carl-Erich Grünewald separated from the Fox-Terrier club to develop a new breed with exceptional hunting ability

Besides hunting skills, they wanted their dog to have a black and tan appearance. Coincidentally, a man named Lutz Heck offered four Fox Terriers of those colors. These Terriers served as the foundation dogs of the breed.

The results came out looking fantastic, but it lacked the skills in hunting. So the group bred the original four dogs with older and experienced Fox Terrier hunters.

They also mixed in the Old English Wirehaired Terrier and the Welsh Terrier to improve the breed’s appearance. 

Black and Tan Jagd hunting in the woods

After years of breeding, the group was able to get the look and hunting performance they wanted. They have created a hunter’s dream dog – the Deutscher Jagdterrier or German Hunt/Hunting Terrier.

Germans loved this breed and were using them to hunt weasels, badgers, foxes, and even wild boars. Eventually, the Jagdterrier’s ability to track different types of game or animals spread throughout Europe.

Around 1951, the German Hunt Terrier became popular in the United States because of their versatility in hunting and retrieving skills.

This canine became the first hunting companion choice of boar hunters from Louisiana, Florida, and Texas. Americans also used the Jagd to track squirrels and raccoons.

Is the Jagdterrier recognized by major kennel clubs?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize the Jagd; but in 2014, they registered the breed in their Foundation Stock Service (FSS). They assigned this canine under the Terrier group with a hunting classification.

The AKC created the FSS to support the development of purebred dogs under it. These breeds can’t be AKC-registered, but some of them are allowed to compete in the club’s Companion Events.

Aside from the AKC, here are the other clubs and registries that recognize the German Hunting Terrier. 

  • Deutscher Hunting Terrier Club (since 1926)
  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (since 1968)
  • United Kennel Club (since 1993) 
  • American Hunting Terrier Association
  • Jagdterrier Registry of America 

How to spot a Deutscher Jagdterrier?

Beautiful Black and Tan Jagd sitting outside in the gardenThe Jagdterrier has a long wedge-shaped head and a rectangular muzzle. He has a firm jaw filled with big and strong teeth. 

The German Hunt Terrier will look at you with small and dark oval eyes and semi-droopy triangular ears. He has a black nose which can be brown if his coat is dominantly the same color. 

Did you know that the Jagd is said to be the greatest hound among the Terriers? His amazing nose is like a bloodhound’s and can find game (animal) way faster than the other breeds in his group.

As hunters, they have a compact stature to help them move underground. These dogs have a well-proportioned rectangular body with a strong straight back. They have a deep and narrow chest, which allows them to enter holes faster. 

Some Jagds have a docked tail with almost half of the original size removed. It must not be too long to get in their way nor too short so their owner can pull them out if they get stuck in a hole.

Like most Terriers, they have short and dense wiry hair. They have two types of coat – hard and rough or coarse and smooth.

Most Jagdterriers have a black and tan coat, but they also come in a variety of colors. You can see this pooch in black, black and gray, and dark brown.

This breed also gets brown, red, yellow, or other light-colored markings on their eyebrows, muzzle, chest, legs, or base of the tail. Sometimes they also get white spots on their chest and toes. 

How big are Jagdterriers?

The Jagdterrier is a small dog with a height of 13 to 16 inches (33 to 40 cm). A female German Hunting Terrier has a weight of 17 to 19 pounds (8 to 9 kg) while the male ones can weigh between 20 to 22 pounds (9 to 10 kg).

Their size may be perfect for smaller living conditions, but they would still prefer a place with a yard to run around in anytime. If you live in an apartment and want this dog, make sure you can provide his daily exercise needs.

Small dog for a big game

You don’t need to have multiple breeds for different types of hunting because the Jagdterrier is an all-around hunting dog. They have just the right size – not too big for underground dens, not too small for large prey. 

Even if this little hunter came face-to-face with an animal thrice his size, he would not back down. That’s why some hunters have chosen the Deutscher Jagdterrier when trapping foxes, bobcats, cougars, coyotes, wild boars, mountain lions, and bears.

Watch this Jagdterrier in action. This is just with a cat, but you can see how focused they are when their instincts and focus come together.

Multi-talented Hunting and Working Terrier

What makes the Deutscher Jagdterrier a sought out companion is their temperament.

This breed loves to work and needs to have a purpose. Not only are they excellent hunters, but they also adapt to different roles.

Different roles and terrains

Similar to other Terriers, the Jagd has a high prey drive and keen hunting instinct

Bred to hunt below ground, hunters use the Jagd to drive out underground badgers, foxes, and raccoons hiding inside quarries. Above ground, this canine is also exceptional at chasing rabbits out of thickets. 

Jagd hunting and sneaking behind a thicket

Jagdterriers are also flush and retrieval dogs on land and in water. They locate birds and then pursue them out of their hiding place so a hunter can shoot or capture it. The usual game is ducks, but most hunters prefer upland birds or non-water fowl birds. 

Another role they can fill is being a treeing dog. The German Hunting Terrier will scare animals such as weasels and squirrels to climb up trees, making it easier for hunters to shoot.

If you have a rat problem, this breed can help you out. Terriers are also used for ratting or capturing rats, especially when the rodents have mastered avoiding poison traps.

German Hunt Terriers are also excellent at locating and baying animals such as a wild boar.

Baying is when dogs track and chase after a large animal and then runs circles around it while intensely barking to keep it cornered. The hunter can then easily shoot the animal at a close distance.

Since Jagds are bay dogs, they are used in a sport called hog baying. In this event, a dog attempts to contain a hog inside a bay pen for a certain amount of time.

Another use for this canine is blood tracking wounded game. After the hunter shoots an animal, usually a deer, it still attempts to run away. To locate the soon-to-be-dead animal, the Jagdterrier will follow the trail of blood so his owner will be able to take home his prize.

The perfect companion for the active family

The Deutscher Jagdterrier is exclusively a hunting dog in Germany; but in America, they can be a hunter and a pet. 

This loyal and affectionate canine is a great addition to a family, especially one with an active lifestyle. This friendly and fun-loving dog will also get along with children. They can play tag, tug of war, soccer, and other games with your kids.

Black and Tan German Hunt Terrier tongue out while outdoors

If you have other pets, you should consider a different breed. The Deutscher Jagdterrier is a hunting dog with a high prey drive who will not get along with other dogs or cats. They prefer to be the only pet and likes getting all your attention to himself.

But you can rely on them to be a courageous guard dog. This alert hound will chase away any intruder or potential threat to your home. He also barks a lot, so you will know right away if there’s a problem.

A small dog full of energy

The German Hunt Terrier is an active dog who requires at least an hour of exercise per day. Take him out for multiple walks or a run; anything will do as long as he can spend time outdoors. If you have a backyard or access to a nearby park, you can use a ball or a disc to when playing fetch with him.

Cheerful German hunting terrier carrying a violet toy with his mouth

To mix things up, your Jagd would also love to go on a hike or for a swim. These dogs love the water, so spending a day in it for fun instead of hunting will be a nice change. 

If any outdoor activity isn’t possible due to the weather, you can still have fun indoors! Arrange a game of hide and seek or a treasure (treat) hunt with your Jagd and the whole family.

Playing is an excellent way to make sure your dog is able to release his pent up energy since he may get anxious. If he does, it could develop into unwanted behavior or become destructive. That’s why the German Hunting Terrier is a better fit for families who are active and enjoy outdoor activities.

This Jagds are intelligent dogs, which makes them easy to train. They’re known to excel in agility, obedience, and rally competitions. With these skills, no wonder they make fantastic hunting dogs!

But this canine easily gets bored and distracted, so make sure to keep your lessons short yet exciting. 

They’re also trained to herd livestock and to become a pest or varmint control dog. Is there anything this breed can’t do?

Taking care of the Jagdterrier

Jagds are sturdy dogs who can go on long hunting trips without any need for pampering.

But either as a hunter or as a pet, your German Hunting Terrier will still have minimal grooming needs. Don’t worry; it will be easy to take care of this low-maintenance dog

How to groom your Deutscher Jagdterrier

Thanks to their short and wiry hair that repels dirt, you only need to give your canine a bath when necessary – like when he comes back muddy from a hunting trip. But if he is just covered in dry dirt or dust, wiping him will do the trick.

Back and tan German hunt terrier with snowflakes on his muzzle

Whichever coat type your dog gets, you should know that this breed is not hypoallergenic. Both the smooth-coated and the broken-haired Jagd will also moderately shed once or twice a year. 

Since he is a Terrier, you will need to do a grooming technique called “stripping” or hand plucking his loose hair during the shedding process. 

Here’s a video on how to hand strip a Terrier: 

His harsh coat needs to be brushed once a week with a slicker or firm bristle brush to keep it healthy and shiny. 

For his nails, trim it once a month or every two weeks with a clipper. Shortening it will also ensure the safety of your skin and furniture.

You also need to check the Jagdterrier’s ears for any build-up of wax or debris, especially if he hunts. Clean it once a week with a damp cloth to prevent him from getting an ear infection. 

While you’re at it, don’t forget to brush his teeth. All over hygiene goes a long way when it comes to your dog’s health!

If you hunt with your German Hunting Terrier, expect that he will always get cuts, scrapes, or bruises. Some hunters say this breed recoup fast, but it won’t hurt to get him a cut vest.

The proper diet for the German Hunt Terrier

Since the Jagd is an active dog, he will need high-quality dog food rich in fat and protein. This diet will help him recover his energy after a day of activities or hunting. This little hunter only needs 1 or 1 ½ cups of small breed dog food divided into two meals per day.

His dog food should also be predominantly meat, so he gets the necessary amino acids.

When buying his dog food, check the ingredient list for quality meats such as beef, turkey, chicken, chicken, duck or salmon.

Does the Jagdterrier have any health problems?

Yes, even the tough German Hunting Terrier is susceptible to multiple health issues. One of which is their genetic breed disorder, Primary Lens Luxation. PLL is the weakening of fibers which leads to dislocation of eyes and then blindness. They are also prone to other eye problems such as Cataracts and Glaucoma. 

It’s bad enough they can go blind, but the Deutscher Jagdterrier can also have partial hearing loss or complete deafness

Aside from these, the German Hunt Terrier can also get these illnesses:

Compared to other small-breed dogs, the Jagdterrier has a shorter lifespan of 10 to 12 years. To help your Jagd live his life to the fullest, provide their exercise and nutritional requirements. They might be able to live longer, especially if they get so much love and care from you.

Where to get a German Hunting Terrier?

German Hunting Terrier puppies lie on the palm of a human's handsBecause the Jagdterrier is a rare breed outside Germany, there are limited breeders and shelters that have this dog in the United States. 

Before getting a dog, ask the breeder for his papers, medical records, and parent’s health history. This way, you’ll surely be taking home a healthy and purebred Jagd.

A responsible breeder will also ask questions about your lifestyle so they can check if the German Hunt Terrier will fit in your home.

Lucky for you, this rare breed is not as expensive as you would think. Jagdterrier puppies won’t even cost you four figures since you can get them for $300 to $750. An excellent dog for such a great price!

When looking for a dog, you may want to consider adopting the ones who are looking for a new family. Plus, you’ll get them for a lower price.

You can also check out your local shelter if they have any Jagdterriers or other hunting terriers available. You might just find the right dog for you.

Jagdterrier Breeders

If you prefer to buy a puppy from a reputable breeder, here are some sites to get you started on your search:

  • Missouri BloodTrackers (Missouri)
  • Mulecreek (Wyoming)
  • Gibbs Jagdterrier (Oregon)
  • Drahthaars and Jagds

Jagdterrier vs. Other Hunting Terriers

There are multiple breeds of different sizes in the Terrier group. They have similar primary traits of being feisty and energetic.

They’re all amazing dogs bred to hunt, kill vermin, and guard their family’s home.

But there is more to each Terrier’s personality, grooming needs, and exercise requirements. Let’s see why these hunting Terriers are compared to the Jagd.

Jagdterrier vs. Jack Russell Terrier

Tri-color Jack Russell lying in the grass on a sunny day looking away
Jack Russell Terrier

If you prefer a friendlier dog, the Jack Russell Terrier gets along better with other pets and strangers. They also have lower energy levels and will require less exercise, around 30 minutes per day is enough.

It won’t be troublesome cleaning up after the Jack Russell because they shed and drool less than the German Hunt Terrier. Training the JRTs will also be easier since they don’t get distracted as easily.

But the Jack Russells aren’t as good as Jagds when it comes to being a guard dog and removing varmint. They also have a shorter lifespan and have more health issues.

Jagdterrier vs. Airedale Terrier

Black and Brown Airedale playing with rope toy outdoors
Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier is the largest breed amongst the Terriers. Because of their huge size, they won’t be suited for apartment living. But they are friendlier than the Deutscher Jagdterrier and will get along better with other pets in your household.

If you have dog allergies, you should get this Terrier since the Airedale is hypoallergenic.

But you will need to invest more time on their grooming. Airedale’s double coat has to be brushed every day. 

They will also need to exercise for 1 to 2 hours every day since they have higher energy levels. 

You should know that Airedales are less superior to Jagd’s when it comes to hunting and guarding. They also have a shorter life expectancy and have more health problems.

Jagdterrier vs. Patterdale Terrier

Black Patterdale standing alert outside
Patterdale Terrier

If you get the Patterdale Terrier, it’s going to be quieter in your home since they have a lesser tendency to bark.

This breed loves to chase and are better at removing vermin. Patterdales are even known for being one of the best vermin control dogs among the Terriers.

The Patterdale has higher energy levels, and they love to dig, so getting them will be dangerous for your garden.

But this breed has a harder time getting along with children than the Jagd. The Patterdales also have a shorter lifespan.

Should I take home a Jagdterrier?

Jagdterriers are perfect for owners who love hunting and live an active lifestyle.

Close up photo of a German Hunting Terrier standing on the red carpet

While their size fits perfectly in an apartment, they will prefer a house where they can run around. If you don’t have one, make sure you can provide their daily exercise needs since they have high energy levels. These dogs will get bored if they aren’t able to release their energy and will resort to chewing your favorite shoes.

Even if they make great family pets, they will still prefer to be hunting or working dogs. These dogs can fill in multiple roles and hunt various animals on different terrains. Whatever you need them to do, this tenacious dog will get the job done.

A famous writer once said, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” And the German Hunt Terrier is one small dog with a big fight in him.

Are you planning on getting a Jagdterrier? Or do you already own one? Whichever one you say ‘yes’ to, we want to hear all about it! Share your Jagd experience with us in the comment section below.



Further Reading: Similar breeds to the Jagdterrier


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