German people love their dogs. They take them everywhere including to work on ‘Take Your Dog to Work day’. The pampered pooches can travel on trains, buses, and trams. In Germany many restaurants not only allow dogs, they offer special canine menus where they can have their own meal and beer. German dog culture is a little more accommodating than it is in the UK.
Dogs have parking spaces outside the few places where they aren’t allowed to go. There is no scrambling to find a lamppost to tie up your pet whilst you nip into the shop as there often is in the UK. In Germany, they have allocated places to wait. Although dog mess is an issue in Germany many areas have special dog walking spots complete with doggy poop bag dispensers. The fines for failure to follow Germany’s tight dog laws can land you with a hefty five thousand euro bill.
Several breeds of dog are banned across the country including Bull Terriers, Pit bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Bull Terriers or cross-breeds from any of these breeds The ban follows the death of a child caused by one of these dogs in 2000.
As well as having a more relaxed approach to dogs Germany is renowned for being home to some of the worlds most loved breeds.
The ‘Sausage Dog’ was bred as a hunting animal. They were used to tunnel for badgers, rabbits and even wild boar. They are family dogs on the whole although are known for biting. German Emperor Wilhelm II owned a dachshund which killed the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s pheasant. Despite their penchant for nipping people, this breed is unique and rather cute.
Schnauzers are closely related to Pinschers and are considered a single group by the international dog authority, the FCI. In southern Germany, The Schnauzer is an ancient breed. Merchants in the fifteenth century used the small dogs to guard their wagons. A statue of a Schnauzer stands in Mecklenborg and dates back to 1620. The name comes from the word for ‘snout’ because of the distinctive long nose. They are fiercely protective dogs making them perfect family pets.
The Weimaraner was bred as a gun dog in Weimar. The breed was so highly prized in Germany that at one time any dog being shipped abroad was sterilised. This was an attempt to keep the breed as an exclusive German variety. Over the years the ‘silver ghost’ made it to other countries however it is still held in great affection within Germany. The dogs have piercing blue eyes, silver-grey coats and crave human attention. They require large amounts of exercise and are still used as hunting dogs. They make great pets too as long as they are given the space and run they require.
Rottweilers were introduced to drive cattle and later were used to pull carts to market. The jaws of a Rottweiler have 328 pounds of bite – the largest of any dog. They are loyal and loving animals but require training from an early age. Natural herders, they have a tendency to herd young children unless trained well. This type of behaviour has earned the breed a bad name over the years which is unfortunate.
A Rottweiler will be a faithful companion but be warned, Rottweilers have a mighty snore.
These dogs are known for their intelligence. They are used around the world as police dogs because of their strength, stamina and brain power. They need not only exercise but mental stimulation to be happy. They must also be trained so that they know where their place is in the family pack. If these things are in place then they make excellent family dogs. They were used by the Nazis which damaged their reputation so much that in other countries they were renamed as ‘Alsatians’. These days the original name is slowly gaining popularity as German Shepherds continue to work hard to be man’s best friend.
Are you a dog lover? What do you think about Germany’s dog laws and which is your favourite German dog breed?