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Breed of the Week: The Württemberger

Craig Koshyk

The Württemberger, known in Germany as the Dreifarbige Württemberger or Dreifarbige Württembergische Vorstehhund, was a short-haired, tricolored pointing dog that disappeared just after World War I. Exactly where, when and how it came to be is the subject of speculation.


The most common assumption is that the breed was developed in the Württemberg region of southwest Germany in the 1870s. Some sources claim that Gypsies traveling from Russia brought it to the  Kingdom of Württemberg in the early 1800s, but others insist that it was an ancient breed, known in southern Germany for centuries. Whatever their origin, heavy, tricolored pointing dogs were present in large enough numbers in the 1880s and ’90s to catch the attention of Germany’s Delegate Commission which, for a time, recognized them as a breed. But no separate stud book was ever created for Württembergers and they, along with Weimaraners, were registered in the German Shorthaired Pointer stud book. 


Apparently a Tricolored Shorthair Club (Dreifarbige Kurzhaar Klub) was formed in Germany, but its efforts to gain official recognition for the breed failed. It is not clear exactly why, but it may have been due to the fact that many of the leading dog experts of the time believed that any tricolored coat had to be the result of crossbreeding to either Gordon Setters or some kind of hound, such as the Large Blue Gascony and therefore the breed could not be considered 'pure'.

Physically, Württemburgers were fairly large dogs, up to 70 centimeters at the shoulder with a large head, heavy flews and loose skin. They probably looked like a tricolored Bracco Italiano or Burgos Pointer. A fairly detailed description of the breed was written by J.B. Samat and appears in the book Les Chiens de Chasse, published by the Manufrance company in the 1930s. 
The Württemberger has not yet undergone the same transformation as the real German Shorthaired Pointer which, nowadays, looks nothing like its ancestors. The Württemberger is a fairly tall dog with a heavy appearance, but it is rare to see a well-built and absolutely correct example, for the hunters in Württemberg are not very fussy and have no particular interested in a carefully thoughtout breeding system. However, there are two or three large kennels where the breed is carefully raised and where they have probably been improved in the same way as the other German breeds. The coat is tricolor marked with brown and tan spots and streaks on a blueish background, white with brown ticking with yellow markings above the eyes, on the cheeks, the edges of the ears, the lips, the chest, the inside of the legs and the underside of the tail. 
Other descriptions and images appeared in the late 1800s and early 1900s in sporting journals such as Le Chenil in France. In the book Die deutschen Vorstehhunde, author Manfred Hözel states that the last litter of Württemberger pups was whelped near the city of Nanz, Germany in 1910 and that two pups were “exported to America”. Other authors, however, have written that the breed managed to survive until just before the Second World War.



Read more about the breed, and all the other pointing breeds from Continental Europe, in my book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals
http://www.dogwilling.ca/index.cfm