This breed was born in Germany in the XIX century and, for a not very long period, it developed with the aim of answering the changing needs of German sportsmen during their hunting activities. Hunting privileges had already become available to the middle classes, which did not wish or were not in a position to keep large specialized packs.
At the time it was said that he who went hunting with three animals did not have one good hunting dog. From this, we can conclude that if you wanted to enjoy hunting with only one animal, this dog should possess a multiplicity of skills. It should be capable of showing to its owner on foot the prey it had spotted from a reasonable distance with its sensitive nose, of retrieving the piece, whether it was fur or feather, either in the field or in the water, as well as of confronting or destroying any kind of predator, while having a sharp instinct to track the blood trail of a wounded piece when necessary.
The decision of merging all these qualities into a single specimen needed time, hard work and the cooperation of all the breeders, the latter being the most difficult issue as, although all of them agreed on the kind of dog they wanted, there was great disagreement on the way they would achieve this and how these looked – for qualities should have a definite and immutable line. There was no end to controversies and, even today, some breeders believe that the present origin ought to be retrieved back to the ancient Spanish hunting dog and not to the Pointer or the English Setter, while others believe just the opposite.
One of the pioneers of this breed was Prince Albrecht Zu Solms Brauen Fels from the Royal House of Hannover, who stated from the beginning that the shape is achieved through function, i.e. that the only way of getting this “multifunctional” specimen which would fulfil all the necessary requirements was that of using those specimens which complied best with certain requirements, without worrying too much, at the beginning, about the physical appearance of the animal. The latter he believed would improve with the passing of time and with the exercise of its functions, and it was thus that he succeeded in getting extraordinary specimens for the time. This is to say, that the shape of the animal developed alongside with its function.
All types of ingredients became part of the making of this “dish”; foxhounds, pointers, some retrieving breeds and a pinch of setters. All of them were wisely combined to achieve this brand new breed as we know it nowadays; an excellent dog which adapts easily to its working field, capable of merging and harmonizing the merits of the British breeds with those of the continental ones, always in keeping with its own particular features and an outstanding personality.
The animal starts in a decisive fashion, exuberant in its movements, with a steady gallop, full of stamina but not impetuous, continuous strides, moving ears, head upright and its tail bent downwards in a lively wag. Its search is active and wide- scoped, moving in close slanted lines. When the course of the search gives it some evidence of a possible prey, it gradually decreases its gallop to a steady trot with pricked – up ears and stretched neck, heading towards the source of the scent, with a slight flexion of its front limbs, hedging close and attentively. Once the uncertainty is over, it regains its usual stride with an angry leap.
When, on the contrary, it is confronted by the presence of fowl, it reduces gradually all motion shifting from an exuberant gallop to a trot, then to a steady gait,
finally to a complete stillness. Head upright, horizontal muzzle, retracted ears, eager eyes, stretched neck, its body bent over its front limbs which are usually placed forwards and with the hind ones bent even further. When it is certain of the presence of a bird, with an immediate contraction, it bends down its body on its retracted limbs, with its head held upright and stretched neck, it moves on cautiously but self – confident. Sometimes it points straight away.
There is beauty in this display without unnecessary drama, even in the most extraordinary postures, when, after showing the prey, it follows the bird in its attempt to escape while guiding its owner with head held upright, decisive but prudently and in a perfect agreement with its leader. In Germany and in Austria, this breed is used as an integral hunting dog and the fieldwork trials are quite extensive and demanding.