Westphalian Dachsbracke

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Westphalian Dachsbracke
Volbu1 / Wikipedia.org

A German dog that is closely related to the Deutsche Bracke, the Westphalian Dachsbracke was bred to hunt animals, such as badgers and foxes; their short stature allowing them to flush out their prey from tunnels and dens. A persistent hunter, they would happily trail scents for hours, always eager to perform their task to fruition.

While often seen with brown and white fur, the Westphalian Dachsbracke should actually have a tri-coloured coat (that includes black), particularly in the show ring. Their bodies are elongated though robust, and their short legs should be well-muscled and athletic. They have the characteristic pleading eyes and drop-down ears of the scent hound.

Well-loved for their good nature and the cheeky interactions with children, the Westphalian Dachsbracke makes a good little family pet so long as they are provided with exercise and plenty of fun activities to keep them occupied each day.

About & History

Westphalia is located in the north west of Germany, and is the birth place of the Westphalian Dachsbracke, a short-furred, short-legged scent hound. The Westphalian Dachsbracke is thought to have descended from the Deutsche Bracke (German Hound), a breed that originated in the same region. While it is difficult to prove, the most likely theory is that the Westphalian Dachsbracke was created by mixing the small Dachshund with the much taller Deutsche Bracke. Another breed worth mentioning in the history of the Westphalian Dachsbracke is the Drever. The Drever is a Swedish scent hound that is directly descended from the Westphalian Dachsbracke. They were initially brought to Sweden in the early 20th century and, while very similar in appearance, are a few centimetres taller than their ancestors.

The Westphalian Dachsbracke has traditionally been bred to hunt, specifically to pursue those animals that are more difficult for taller dogs to get to. The Westphalian Dachsbracke excels when chasing through brush and deep into the burrows of badgers and foxes. Over time, they have gained themselves a reputation for being utterly tenacious, never giving up on their objective. Nowadays, the Westphalian Dachsbracke has largely been replaced by its cousin the Drever, and is not commonly seen on the hunting field, even within Germany. Luckily for the breed, they make superb pet dogs, meaning that they live on today, despite not being widely used for their original purpose.

The Westphalian Dachsbracke was mentioned in the description of the Deutsche Bracke in the 1880s but was not officially recognised by the German Kennel Club until 1935. The FCI and UKC currently recognise the breed under the scent hound group.


Westphalian Dachsbracke Large Photo
Volbu1 / Wikipedia.org

Similar in appearance though slightly shorter than the Drever, the Westphalian Dachsbracke is a long and short-bodied dog with typical scent hound features. They still bear a close resemblance to the Deutsche Bracke, though are, of course, much shorter in stature. A typical Westphalian Dachsbracke will measure between 31 and 38cm and weighs between 13.5 to 16kg when mature.

Their body should be sturdily built with heavy bones, while their head is long and slender. Their ears should round at the tips and flop forward, framing their face. Their nose has a distinctive light strip of pigment in the middle of it, while their eyes are dark and alert. Their back has a slight curve in it and ends in a tail with a thick base that has feathering on its underside.

The short coat of the Westphalian Dachsbracke should be dense enough to offer protection when out hunting. Their fur should be tricolour: black, white and an orange. The black fur should form a ‘saddle’ marking. While bi-colour dogs do exist, they are not desirable in the show ring.

Character & Temperament

Originally bred to work, the Westphalian Dachsbracke is active and alert, eager to participate in any job offered to it. They are good scenting dogs, able to track a smell over long distances and chase their prey with good stamina.

Despite its history as a hunting animal, the Westphalian Dachsbracke has made an easy transition into the family home, owing to their sweet and affectionate nature. They have a good reputation for being tolerant of young children and for getting along well with all types of other pets. There is the potential for them to chase and pester small animals, however, which should not come as a surprise when we remember what they were bred for. This behaviour can be avoided by ensuring the Westphalian Dachsbracke is exposed to all other household pets from when they are puppies.

Owners should be aware that despite their height, the Westphalian Dachsbracke is a dog with a high exercise requirement. It is not unheard of for the Westphalian Dachsbracke to become frustrated and badly behaved if not exercised sufficiently. While it is possible for them to live in a small home, they need access to the outdoors and an active lifestyle.


Photo of Westphalian Dachsbracke puppy

Pig-headed is a word that comes to mind when one thinks of the Westphalian Dachsbracke. They can be frustratingly stubborn when it comes to their training, often requiring longer than the average dog to master a task.

It is essential that trainers are very firm and repetitive when it comes to training sessions, never allowing the Westphalian Dachsbracke to assume top dog position. They often need to be reminded of their place in the household and should never be ‘babied’ just because of their size.


Dogs will typically live to between the ages of ten and twelve, and, while relevant medical studies are lacking, the following conditions should be on the radar of potential breeders and owners:

Back Disease

While not reported in the literature, given their long back and the fact that they are descended from the Dachshund, it is likely that the Westphalian Dachsbracke is more prone to back injuries and disease than the average dog. Injuries ranging from muscle strains to the more serious IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease) could be expected. At the first sign of any back pain or difficulty walking, a dog should immediately be brought to the vet for a thorough examination.

Hunting Injuries

As with any working animal, a hunting Westphalian Dachsbracke will be more likely to get lacerations and bite injures than a pet who is kept inside the home for most of the day. Often the adrenaline of the hunt will mean that the hunter does not notice any signs of injury until afterwards, as the dog is very good at masking any sign of pain when excited.

Ear Infections

The ears of the Westphalian Dachsbracke are prone to developing infections due to their pendulous nature. While the dog may shake their head and scratch at the offending ear, an owner might notice a bad smell and a red and inflamed ear canal on inspection. All infected ears should be checked by a vet, as they will need prescription medication in order to get better. Drying ears after a swim can reduce the incidence rate of ear infections.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Many owners are surprised to learn just how much exercise the Westphalian Dachsbracke really does need. They are not suited to a family with a sedentary lifestyle as will become bored quickly if under-stimulated.

At a minimum, the Westphalian Dachsbracke needs a couple of walks a day, as well as a garden to run around in. Ideally, the breed should also have plenty of human interaction in the form of play time, obedience training and agility work. If there is an opportunity for field work or hunting, the Westphalian Dachsbracke will be more than pleased to participate.


The short, thick coat of the Westphalian Dachsbracke needs brushing once or twice a week and is not prone to getting matted. Bathing should not be performed too often, as this will only serve to strip the fur of its natural oils.

The long, forward-hanging ears of the Westphalian Dachsbracke are prone to developing chronic ear infections, so require routing checking and cleaning. Every Westphalian Dachsbracke should have their teeth brushed regularly – a task that takes a bit of getting used to and should be introduced to any dog early on in their life. Reducing the occurrence of periodontal disease will lead to better overall health and should prevent dental infections and the need for tooth extractions in later life.

Famous Westphalian Dachsbrackes

As of yet, there are no celebrity Westphalian Dachsbracke dogs to report on.


The Westphalian Dachsbracke itself is thought to be a cross between the Dachshund and the Deutsche Bracke. Additionally, the Drever is a cross between the Westphalian Dachsbracke and a variety of Swedish hounds.

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