Jagdterrier: A Great Hunter and Children’s Best Friend

Jagdterrier standing on hay
Wyatt Robinson
Written by Wyatt Robinson

Are you looking for a medium-to-small dog that’s not a toy breed? A dog that doesn’t impress with their size but with their character? Or a hunting dog with a ton of energy and a lot of different hunting talents for various situations? The Germans may have the answer for you in the Jagdterrier.

This terrier breed has a lot of things going for it. Developed by German breeders in the early 20th century, the Jagdterrier is the perfect hunting machine, especially for their size. These dogs have almost unlimited energy, a very strong prey drive, as well as high intelligence and a very loyal nature. They get along best with children—even younger children that can be rough on other dogs.

In this article, we’ll go over all of the Jagdterrier’s characteristics—their origins, health, character, care requirements, and adaptability. We’ll see just how good this breed is for hunting, as well as in which circumstances this breed is suitable as a family dog.

Breed Characteristics

Jagdterrier playing with a stick

  • Adaptability: Good

  • Trainability: Moderate; can be stubborn

  • Health and Grooming: Moderate; they need relatively frequent grooming sessions

  • All Around Friendliness: Good; especially with children, but not with smaller pets

  • Exercise Needs: High Maintenance

Dog Breed GroupTerriers
Height13 - 16 inches (33 – 41 cm)
Weight17 - 22 lbs (8 – 10 kg)
Lifespan10 – 12 years

The Jagdterrier is a fairly new German breed that was developed for hunting in the early 20th century. This dog is the smallest of all terrier breeds, but that doesn’t make them any less of a hunter.

On the contrary, this breed is characterized by exemplary hunting skills, sturdy physique, as well as high intelligence. This is also a very healthy breed, so health worries shouldn’t be too much on your mind.

As far as this breed’s adaptability as a family dog goes, Jagdterriers certainly make for great family pets, provided that they get the right training and a suitable environment.

They are a pretty adaptable breed, but their prey drive makes them unsuitable for households with cats or other small pets. They can also get competitive with other dogs, so a firm hand and good training skills are required. Fortunately, these dogs tend to do well with children naturally.

Main Highlights

  • The Jagdterrier is about 100 years old, as the breed was developed in Germany after the First World War.

  • Jagdterriers is a very healthy breed.

  • Jagdterriers are the smallest terriers, but that doesn’t stop them from being excellent hunters.

  • These dogs don’t do well with cats or other small animals because of their hunting instincts. They can also be competitive toward other dogs unless trained properly. They do great with children, however.

Breed History

Jagdterrier sitting on ground

The Jagdterrier is a relatively new German breed. It was created at the turn of the 20th century, or, more specifically, after the First World War. They were bred as hunting dogs.

Also called German Jagdterrier, Deutscher Jagdterrier, and German Hunt Terrier, these dogs have been used to hunt various game—boar, badger, fox, weasel, even squirrels, and raccoons.

The inception of the breed came thanks to a small group of hunters that wanted to create a breed that would excel in its hunting performance.

Carl-Erich GruÌnewald, Walter Zangenberg, Dr. Herbert Lackner, and Rudolf Frieay wanted to create a dog that wasn’t just a great hunting breed but also specialized for hunting underground.

The hunting enthusiasts got lucky when a zoo director presented them with four purebred Fox-Terrier dogs. The Fox-Terriers were crossbred with Old English Wirehaired Terriers and Welsh Terriers.

A lot of time and efforts later, they succeeded in stabilizing the breed’s appearance and personality. They had managed to create an all-new breed that was multi-talented, easy to train, has a hard and sturdy physique, and was also water-friendly.

The men founded the German Hunting Terrier Club in 1926, and the breed continued to develop from there.

The Jagdterrier was later imported in the U.S. and Canada where it was also used as a hunting dog. Canadian sportsmen used Jagdterriers as tree dogs in hunting squirrels and raccoons. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1993.


Jagdterrier standing on grass

The Jagdterrier is a small terrier breed since it was intended for hunting small game. These dogs vary between 13 and 16 inches (33 – 41 cm) in height and 17 and 22 lbs (8 – 10 kg) in weight. Curiously enough, there is little to no difference in the size of male and female dogs, with males being very rarely bigger.

Despite their size, Jagdterriers are sturdy and strong dogs with great overall fitness. They have powerful hind legs that allow them to both chase their prey with good speed, as well as to be good climbers.

They have a typical head shape for a terrier with hanging, big ears. Their tails are usually, but not always, cropped at 2/3 of their natural length.

Personality and Character

Jagdterrier: A Great Hunter and Children’s Best Friend

Jagdterriers, like most hunting breeds, are highly intelligent, adaptable, and very obedient to their owners. These sound like the characteristics of great family dogs, and in the right family, Jagdterriers can truly shine, but they are first and foremost hunting dogs.

As such, they have a very strong hunting instinct, which makes them really unsuitable for families with cats and other small pets. Also, as hunting dogs, Jagdterriers are very energetic and active and require a lot of exercises. They are not recommended if you’re not certain that you’ll be able to provide them with said exercise.

See Also: How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need

Additionally, Jagdterriers can be very competitive, so even living with other dogs can pose some problems if the owner doesn’t have a firm hand and good training skills.

If, however, you and your family are up to the task, a well-raised and well-trained Jagdterrier can make an amazing family pet. Curiously enough, they get along with children too.

As long as there are no small, prey-like pets at home, and you train your Jagdterrier to behave well around strangers and to get along with other dogs, these dogs can be great companions.

Their intelligence allows them to learn a lot of tricks and be extremely fun to play with. Additionally, their sturdy physical nature ensures that even if your children get a little rowdy, the dog should be fine.

As all intelligent and energetic breeds, however, Jagdterriers don’t fare well in isolation. Don’t leave your Jagdterrier alone for too long throughout the day or the boredom may drive them to commit a destructive behavior.

Health and Potential Problems

Jagdterrier with his tongue out

The Jagdterrier breed is quite healthy, thanks to the skillful and adequate selective breeding done by the German breeders who developed it. Still, the average lifespan of these dogs is slightly shorter than it is for other dogs of similar size—just 10 – 12 years.

Nevertheless, there aren’t very many health problems that plague the breed, other than the general dog problems that may occur in any animal.

If you want to make sure that you’ll get the healthiest Jagdterrier, always get these dogs from reputable dog breeders that utilize genetic testing. This will ensure you’ll get a disease-free puppy that isn’t prone to any genetic defects. Also, always ask for health certificates not just for the puppy, but for the parents as well.

Aside from that, like all hunting dogs, Jagdterriers are prone to physical injuries from their job in the field. This isn’t so much a problem of the breed as it is a hunting hazard. If you take good care of your Jagdterrier, especially if you’re not using them for hunting, they should live a care-free life.

Care Features

Jagdterrier puppy walking in the wood

Speaking of care, Jagdterriers don’t require too much breed-specific care to do well. However, Jagdterriers do have a medium-length, curly, wired coat that does require a fair bit of grooming.

Grooming your dog’s coat at least once a week is a must, with two or three times being advisable. Jagdterriers love it when you groom them as long as you do it properly, so it can be a good bonding experience.

Aside from their coat, Jagdterriers require the usual care most dogs need. You’ll need to frequently check and clean their eyes and ears to prevent infections. Just take a damp cloth whenever you see some dirt on the eyes or ears and clean it carefully.

Remember to use different cloths or different sides of the same cloth for both eyes, so as to not spread infection from one eye to the other.

Some dental care is also required if you want your dog to have good and healthy teeth throughout their lives. Most dog owners neglect their pups’ dental hygiene because they think that their pets have never had problems. Most dogs develop dental issues with age when they haven’t received the proper care, just like people do.

Unlike us, however, dogs don’t share their problems and keep their pain to themselves—it’s their instinct not to show that particular weakness. So, if you want your pup to have healthy and pain-free teeth, take care of his/her teeth at least several times per week.

See Also: How to Develop a Healthy Mouth for Dogs

Your Jagdterriers may require some help with their nails too, especially if you keep them as family/apartment dogs.

Regarding exercise needs, as hunting dogs, Jagdterriers need a lot of exercises. A couple of walks per day, as well as a bit of playtime outside, are pretty much a must. Even then, you can expect them to be active indoors and to want to play with you and with toys.

If you have kids at home, this can be a great fit, because active children can supply your Jagdterrier with a lot of exercises (and vice versa).

Feeding Schedule

agdterrier with her puppy lying on grass

Jagdterriers have a wide palate and can eat all sorts of dog-friendly diets, as long as they are of high quality. This isn’t breed-specific either—all dogs should be fed with good dog food. As long as the dog food is good enough and you’re not overfeeding your Jagdterrier, things should be all right.

Jagdterriers are very physically active dogs, so they love to eat too. If you don’t give your pet enough exercise but you let them eat as much as they want, you may soon have an overweight Jagdterrier on your hands. As long as you manage the diet and exercise well, however, everything will be all right.

Regarding the feeding schedule itself, like all other dogs, Jagdterriers are usually fed twice per day by their owners, but 3 (or even 4!) smaller meals per day are actually preferable. This will allow your dog to eat in a healthier manner, never to be left too hungry, to eat slower, and so on.

If you’re worried that your own schedule doesn’t permit you to feed your dog three times per day, keep in mind that the three meals don’t necessarily need to be separated by 8 hours. You can feed your dog on a 10-7-7-hour schedule, or an 11-7-6-hour schedule too.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

Jagdterrier wearing red collar

Jagdterriers typically have medium-length curly and wired coats that are of black & tan colors. Most of the coat is black with only the lower neck, parts of the chest, and parts of the front legs being tan (or rusty). Some variations are permitted, but not too much.

Regarding grooming, Jagdterriers do require a fair bit of care. Combing your Jagdterrier regularly is a must, plus regular washing and cleaning as well. The more active your dog is outside, the more dirt and rubbish there will be in their hair. Also, keep in mind that Jagdterriers do shed and are not hypoallergenic.

See Also: Top Hypoallergenic Dogs

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

Jagdterrier puppies playing

As a hunting breed, Jagdterriers typically don’t do well with cats or other non-dog pets. They tend to trigger the Jagdterrier’s hunting drive and are generally not a good fit unless you can provide some expert training.

When it comes to other dogs, Jagdterriers can do well with them, provided that you have a firm and experienced hand. Otherwise, your Jagdterrier may get too competitive and try to impose themselves on your other dogs.

With children, Jagdterriers behave in a completely different manner. This is a very child-friendly breed. Their good, sturdy physique means that you shouldn’t worry about the dog, and their good nature makes them a safe company for your kids.

Of course, you still need to educate your kids on how to play with the dog properly, but Jagdterriers and kids are just a match made in heaven. Their plentiful energy means that they and your kids can have a ton of fun together.

Wrap Up

two Jagdterriers sitting together

If you’re looking for a small, but big-natured dog, the Jagdterrier is a good choice. The smallest of the terrier breeds, this dog is an expert hunter with a lot of different talents.

At the same time, the Jagdterrier can make a good family pet as well, given the right care and training. In the right environment, Jagdterriers shine both with their skills and with their lively and intelligent personality.

Do you plan to adopt a Jagdterrier? Or are you already living with one? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below! If you’ve decided to adopt a Jagdterrier, you’ll need to pick a name for him/her. Our list of German dog names has the perfect suggestions for this German breed.

About the author
Wyatt Robinson
Wyatt Robinson

Wyatt Robinson had a great 25-years career as a veterinarian in United Kingdom. He used to be a member of British Veterinary Association and worked in 3 pet hospitals in London and Manchester. He is shining when he sees his pets healthy and full of energy and it is his duty to help other dog owners to keep their best friends full of life.