Kromfohrländer

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
 
Photo of adult Kromfohrländer
Smooth Haired Kromfohrländer (Elke Hartmann / Wikipedia.org)

The Kromfohrländer is a small brown and white dog that may be smooth or wire-haired. Originally bred as a companion animal, they are not used for any specific purpose, though do maintain a weak prey drive. Known for their loving personality and easy-going nature, they fit in well to most households, although may be shy at first.

They love to play and benefit from lots of attention and outdoor access. As they are so dedicated to their owner and are devoted to making them happy, they are typically a pleasure to train, and will work hard to earn praise. For their size, they have surprisingly high exercise demands, and thrive when provided with an active lifestyle.

About & History

The Kromfohrländer dog, also known as the Länder or Kromi is a small, sweet-natured dog that is kept primarily as a family pet. A relatively new breed, the Kromfohrländer is extremely rare, and in real danger of becoming extinct, despite the ongoing breeding program that is currently in place.

The first Kromfohrländer was bred in the 1940s. A small, brown, wiry dog, known as ‘Original Peter’, was taken on by the army as a mascot dog. He is said to have been found in France by American troops who brought him with them to Germany as a good luck charm. Here, the story gets hazy. Some accounts claim he jumped from a moving train into the path of a local woman, who then adopted him. Others suggest he was saved by this woman as a group of brutish Germans tried to kill him. Whatever his origins, the lady who rescued him, was called Ilsa Schleifenbaumn. She believed Original Peter to be a Griffon dog, though which type of Griffon is debated even today. It is likely that he was a mix of a number of hardy local breeds that were popular during the war time. Original Peter was bred with Mrs Schleifenbaumn’s neighbour’s dog, an American Fox Terrier called Fifi. It is thought that the resulting puppies were subsequently bred to a mix of Terriers and Griffons, resulting in the eventual production of the Kromfohrländer.

Not long after their development, in 1955, the Kromfohrländer was recognised by the German Kennel Club and the FCI in the show-ring. Ilsa Scleifenbaumn herself contributed to the breed standard that was written.

In 1996, the UKC recognised the breed. Currently included in the American Kennel Club Foundation stock, the Kromfohrländer is part of a breeding project, aimed at increasing the small breed numbers. It is currently incredibly difficult to adopt a Kromfohrländer, though hopefully this will not always be the case. Members of the breed currently live in Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, and the USA.

Appearance

Kromfohrländer Large Photo
Wirehaired Kromfohrländer (Ellarie / Wikipedia.org)

The Kromfohrländer is an attractive, small dog that can be either smooth or wire-haired. The wire-haired Kromfohrländer possesses a beard, while the smooth-haired Kromfohrländer has an obviously longer coat. Their coat colour is white with tan markings, and the white blaze on their face should be symmetrical. They measure from 38cm to 46cm and weigh between 10kg to 14kg.

Their heads are typically dome-shaped, while their light brown eyes are medium-sized with a lively gaze. Their nose should be dark in colour and their ears flop forward, with a round (rather than pointed) tip. Their body is longer than it is tall, and they should have a straight back. With their tucked in abdomens and muscular legs, they have an overall athletic appearance. Their tails are carried over their backs and may be feathered.

Character & Temperament

The Kromfohrländer lacks any real hunting instincts but is rather a good-natured, companion animal. As their prey drive is so poorly developed, they do not tend to chase smaller animals.

Known to form close bonds with their owners, Kromfohrländers are gentle and affectionate, relying heavily on human companionship for their happiness. While they can be shy with new people, they are rarely, if ever, aggressive. With good socialisation from an early age, they can make very confident little dogs. Their confidence should be built over time by creating positive experiences with new people, and through avoiding stressful situations when interacting with strangers.

The Kromfohrländer is spirited, with a fun-loving nature, and relishes the opportunity to play. They typically get along very well with children and other pets.

Trainability

Photo of Kromfohrländer puppy

The Kromfohrländer is notoriously easy to train, as they are agreeable and keen to perform well for their master. They are quick to learn and very obedient. As they can be somewhat sensitive, their trainer should be patient and kind, refraining from using negative reinforcement or any form of punishment.

Training should be kept interesting at all times to ensure best results, avoiding repetition or overly long sessions.

Health

While usually a healthy dog, there are a handful of conditions that have been reported in the Kromfohrländer breed. In a breed with such a tiny population, it is absolutely vital that only the healthiest dogs are bred from.

  • Epilepsy – When an animal experiences seizures for no known reason, they are said to suffer from epilepsy. A relatively common condition, epilepsy tends to develop in young dogs and will last for the duration of their lifetime. Each individual animal will be affected to a varying degree, with some experiencing severe seizures frequently, and others only experiencing a handful of short seizures in their lifetime. For dogs that are badly affected, prescription medicine is commonly used to control the condition.
  • Patellar Luxation – When a dog’s knee cap (or patella) pops out of place, it is said to have ‘luxated’. While some animals are only mildly affected and may not show any obvious signs of having this condition, others are severely affected, and will hop on one leg in pain much of the time. A veterinary exam, as well as diagnostic imaging (such as with x-rays or a CT scan) will diagnose this condition. In some dogs, surgery will be recommended to improve their mobility and reduce their discomfort.
  • Hyperkeratosis – Colloquially known as ‘hairy feet’, hyperkeratosis is a condition that causes the skin on a dog’s nose and paw pads to proliferate, resulting in hard and abnormal growths that can cause pain. There is a genetic test available to ensure affected dogs are not bred from within the small Kromfohrländer population.
  • Cystinuria – When an animal’s kidneys are unable to properly filter Cystine (an amino acid), it has the potential to crystallise and form stones. These stones can cause discomfort, inflammation and even life-threatening blockages. Not all affected animals will form stones, and some may never show symptoms of the condition. However, as this defect is inherited, affected animals in the small Kromfohrländer community should not be bred from, and there is a genetic screening test available.

Exercise and Activity Levels

In spite of their short stature, the Kromfohrländer needs a relatively large amount of exercise, meaning at least 30 minutes each day. They have an abundance of energy and enjoy playing a variety of games. Providing them with toys, puzzles and companionship will help to keep them mentally stimulated and content.

A fenced-in garden can provide a safe area for the Kromfohrländer to explore, though should not be seen as a substitute for daily exercise. They can dig, though generally not to the extent that it becomes an issue.

Grooming

Brushing once to twice a week is usually adequate for this breed, regardless of their coat type. They are moderate shedders and will typically shed more in the summer months. Giving them a good groom outside during this time will help to reduce the level of loose fur shed inside the home.

As their ears do not stand erect, they are more prone to developing ear infections throughout their lifetime. Their ear canal has less airflow and tends to be darker and moister than the ear canal of a dog with erect ears. This leads to an environment in which yeast and bacteria thrive. To prevent infections, ears should be regularly cleaned out of wax. After getting wet, ears must be dried immediately.

Famous Kromfohrländers

Original Peter is the name of the very first Kromfohrländer ancestor, who was a dog found in France during World War Two, as mentioned in the About & History section above.

Cross-Breeds

There are no known Kromfohrländer cross-breeds that presently exist.

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