The German Grand Spitz has taken a liking to Sirit Winter. Since 2019, she has been breeding the still rare breed as a hobby. © Arp
The German Spitz has always played an important role in Sirit Winter's life. In the meantime, she lives surrounded by the four-legged friends in her own hobby Spitz breed in Bad Tölz. Every year there are new puppies of the oldest German dog breed. A rarity.
Bad Tölz – A narrow path leads from the hectic Osterleite to an idyll overgrown with many trees and plants. Although the property is located in the middle of downtown Tölz, there is no sign of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Quite the opposite: the loudest thing you can hear here is the waterfall splashing in the garden. But only if someone is not walking down the small path to the house. If you open the first garden door, you can already hear excited barking. If you get closer to the house through the second gate, the four-legged gang around Sirit Winter leaves no doubt that you shouldn't get a millimeter closer until their mistress gives the okay.
Großspitz is one of the oldest German dog breeds
"That's good. Now I'll take over," Sirit Winter shouts decisively from the front door, and the dogs retreat. "Now you've noticed that the Spitz is a watchdog," Winter says with a wink. No wonder that the protective instinct is particularly pronounced at the moment. After all, there are puppies in the house at the moment. The former radio employee lives here with her husband and – depending on the season – different numbers of dogs. Once a year there is a litter in their small breeding.
If you decide to buy a German Spitz, you have to search for a long time. Although it is the oldest German dog breed, there are not many breeders left. Sirit Winter's passion came from her grandfather, with whom she grew up for the first years of her life. "He had bred in the late 1920s and always told me a lot. He burned ardently for the Spitz."
In 1995 there were only 25 tops in Germany
Even in the 60s, Winter recalls, there were lace on many farms. "When my mother died, I wanted to give my father a Spitz as a gift, and I was shocked to discover that my childhood dog was no longer available. In 1995 there were only 25 litters in Germany."
Even today, the number is still low. In 2021, there were only 155 puppies. "For comparison, the number of German shepherds in the same year was over 10,000." The dog trainer finds it particularly worrying that the large spitz is going out of fashion, but the miniature spitz is becoming more and more popular. "This is a torture breeding. He has a nose that is too short, an apple head and too much fur. This reduces the quality of life of the animals," she says. I see it as my duty to breed animals as healthily as possible." That's why she also stands behind club breeding. The associated regulations would entail a high level of safety and health. "For me, this is active animal welfare and an attempt to counteract the puppy black market." A big issue: On the occasion of Dog Day on June 4, many animal rights activists are appealing to the federal government to use the revision of the Animal Welfare Act to stop the illegal puppy trade.
Trained as a therapy dog: puppy Elia. © Arp
A few weeks ago, the new litter of Anuuk was born. A total of six cute babies have been scurrying around the house ever since. For the first eleven weeks or so after birth, the breeder does not give up the animals. "It's important that they have this time with their mom."
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The interest in the pointed throw was also great this year. "We already have an average of three requests per dog." To whom Winter sells an animal is decided by her trained eye. It puts interested parties through their paces. "It's important to me that my dogs are doing well." A puppy costs around 1650 euros.
Approx. 1650 euros for a Großspitz puppy
29 puppies have already seen the light of day in Winter's kennel "Vom roten Turm". The birth is always a great excitement. She started a few years ago with her first breeding. "I also had to search for a long time until I got a Spitz. Molly came to us in 2017, and in 2019 I was ready to breed everything." Today, their descendants are spread across Switzerland, Austria and Germany. And Molly herself? "After three litters, she's retired and at home with me."
For Anuuk, the separation from her puppies is imminent. A few of the six-headed litter have already come to their new owners these days. Three are still with her. The farewell between dog mom and her little ones is always the same. "We let Anuuk into the car that picks up the puppy, where she lies down with her baby, and we give them the time they need to say goodbye. As soon as the dog mom gets up and jumps out of the car, the new owners can drive off." By the way, puppy Elia is given a special task: "He will be a therapy dog," says his breeder full of enthusiasm. "You could tell right from the start that he was very attentive and had a calming charisma." And then there's Eiko. "We are still looking for a suitable home for him," says the proud breeder and lovingly strokes her ball of fur over the head.
You can find even more up-to-date news from the region at Merkur.de/Bad Tölz.