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Game Recovery

From Leithund to Schweißhund

 

As stated in the "History" section, Bracken are medium-sized dogs with exceptional scenting ability, which are the direct ancestors of the Teckel.

 

During about the same period (around 1650) in which the feistiest Bracken were selected for underground hunting of predatory quarry, dogs with the best noses were selected out of the calmer, most perseverant and trainable Bracken. These cold-nosed dogs were used to find game on leash prior to the actual hunt, so that the royal hunters would not waste time fruitlessly searching for game. The dogs were called Leithunde (guide dogs).

As soon as the Leithund found the game, the actual hunt could start, sometimes with other dogs, but sometimes with the same Leithunde.

 

Through the 18th and 19th centuries, firearms were increasingly applied in hunting. The first (wheellock later flintrock) rifles fired shots that were far from reliable in mortally wounding large game. The need was created to search and find the shot game in order to successfully complete the hunt.

 

The purpose of the Leithunde shifted to finding wounded game on leash. This initiated the development of bloodhounds or in the German language:  Schweißhunde.

A straight descendant of the Leithund is the Hannoverscher Schweißhund. This shorthaired dog, and the smaller Bayerischer Gebirgsschweißhund that was developed later, are the current specialists in recovery of wounded game.  


Teckels in Game Recovery

 

Around 1860 a German forester from Osterode in the Harz mountains, Wilhelm von Daacke, was discontent with the blood tracking ability of his Teckels. His father, August von Daacke, was a breeder of Schweißhunde.  

Determined to improve the blood tracking trait in his dogs, Wilhelm von Daacke used smaller and shorter-legged specimens, that were occasionally found in his father's litters of Schweißhunde, to breed with his shorthair Teckels. The characteristic black mask and dark line of hairs along the spine of his red Teckels were remnants of the Schweißhund influence.

 

Von Daacke's lucrative efforts were not only responsible for the red color in the breed, but his dogs were used by many prominent hunters in the Harz region for den hunting as well as for game recovery. By breeding in other bloodlines, von Daacke was able to combine form with function in his large kennel. Without a doubt von Daacke had a giant influence on the breed. To this day the Teckel remains to be an outstanding blood tracker, not always outperformed by the specialists.     


Qua-Linea Gardien 

© Jim Mayer


Quirl & Monsieur Schneidig,

two of von Daacke's famous stud dogs


 

F3 Hunting Workshop  

 

A tracking dog may be born out of talented stock, but in order for it to reach higher levels of competence, conditioning and training are necessary for the dog as well as for the handler.

 

As described above, blood tracking dogs have been utilized in Europe for centuries and in some European countries hunters are required by law to own or have access to a tracking dog for recovery of shot game. It is inevitable that extensive knowledge regarding game recovery with dogs is present among many European hunters.   

 

Since 2008 the F3 Hunting Workshop has been importing this knowledge here to the USA. Experienced European hunters and hunting dog trainers are invited to share their expertise with us in English.