When talking about working dogs from Germany, most people will think about the German Shepherd. But there are many other, different German landraces, traditionally used for working and especially for herding. Those are known as old German herding dogs, and the Kuhhund is one of them.
Kuhhund can be basically translated as a cow dog, which speaks for itself. It is a dog specialized to work with cattle. The other type of old German herding dogs is a Schafhunde, which is a sheepdog, but i will not talk about this type in this video.
The Kuhhund can be further divided into two types. The Westerwälder Kuhhund, which hails from Westerwald mountains and the Siegerländer Kuhhund, which originates from the Siegerland region.
The Kuhhund is very very old dog breed that was never bred for appearance. They were always bred mainly for working abilities and for their purpose. These dogs were used for centuries, at least for 700 years, to herd cows in hard terrain and in any weather. These dogs were already mentioned in writings from 1465. To be good for such a hard job, and herding cows definitely is a very hard job, the Kuhhund had to evolve into very endurant and tough dog which is pretty alert, quick, athletic and agile. It is said that a Kuhhund could manage a herd of cows that range up to 200 individuals.
Their temperament had to be persistent, independent, resilient and loyal. And even the Association of Old German Herding dogs describe the temperament of Kuhhund as precocious, intelligent, assertive, persistent, resilient, undemanding, affectionate and loyal. These dogs are true workers. They love to work. But they are also loving and affectionate family companions, of course they are. They will enjoy company of its owners, kids, or even other dogs or other pets, if socialized together from the puppyhood.
It is also very important to say, that this is rather high energy dog. If they are used for work, than they will satisfy their exercise needs during the work. But what if you have a Kuhhund as a companin pet?
Than you must provide the dog with several daily longer walks, hikes, jogs, swims, vigorous playtime or few fun training sessions. Every day! Without proper exercise, they will become bored, stressed and they might potentionally develop some unwanted behaviour such as destruction.
You can also try some dog sport with these dogs, as that will not only occupy their body but also their mind. These dogs will enjoy most of the typical dog sports and they are known to be very good for agility courses.
As i said earlier, the Kuhhund was bred mainly for its utilization, which is a reason, why the Kuhhund has not unified appearance, size, coat type, color, body type or face type. Every Kuhhund is slightly different.
On average the Kuhhund has a square built with height between 45-55 cm, which is 17-22 inch, relatively short and squat head, long and hairy tail and ears that are most often tilted, but they can be erect or folded as well.
The coat comes in many different structures and colors. Some are very hairy with dense coat, others can have curly coat. The most common color is brown and these dogs can be in any shade of brown, from light to dark. It is not unusual for them to have white spots and patches on their coat, typically on the chest, head, neck or legs. They can be either with or without black mask.
Sadly, even though the breed was quite popular back in the days, it is extremely rare today. It is estimated that there is only few dozens or lower hundreads of pure Kuhhunds in Germany and other few hundreads of Kuhhund crossbreeds. It is listed on the red list as extremely endangered animal. Other problem is, that most of the remaining Kuhhunds are related together, which makes the breeding more problematic. But the Kuhhund has unique characteristics, worth of preventing and that is what the Working Group for the breeding of old german herding dogs is trying to do! To preserve the breed. Lets hope they will be succesful!