- Height: 15 to 18 inches
- Weight: 24 to 31 pounds
Nicknamed the Kromi, or sometimes Lander or Landeri, he is smart and tends to learn easily, but he’s not as driven as some breeds. That’s not to say he can’t be naughty, but he responds well to mild corrections — no need to be harsh to get your point across. He likes to play and (overall health permitting, of course) may be an excellent competitor in agility, nose work, obedience and rally.
The Kromi comes in two coat types, rough and smooth, with hair that can vary in length. The coat is mainly white with light- to dark-brown patches on the body, as well as markings in the same color on the cheeks, above the eyes and on the ears. Ideally, a Kromi has a white blaze dividing the forehead.
The Kromi can generally be a good playmate for a child if both are given appropriate supervision, and the Kromi usually gets along well with other dogs. The best family for this dog is one who will appreciate his gentle, playful temperament and give him the interaction he desires. The drawback? Kromis are extremely rare and difficult to find.
- The Kromfohrlander is the only breed descended from a U.S. military mascot, albeit an unofficial one.
- A blaze centered between the eyes is one of the breed’s distinguishing characteristics.
- The Kromi has highly mobile semi-drop ears with a triangular shape and rounded tips.
The History of the KromfohrlanderThe Kromfohrlander is a modern breed, born out of the U.S. involvement in Germany after World War II. The exact tale varies. One story has it that the breed’s foundation dog, Peter, was a scruffy canine mascot who was found by U.S. troops in northern France. His ancestry may have been a blend of Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen and Fox Terrier.
Somehow, Peter became separated from the troops, but he was rescued by a woman named Ilse Schleifenbaum. She adopted him, and in the natural course of things, Peter had a romance with Fifi, a black-and-white Fox Terrier. Their puppies, Shaggy and Witch, greatly resembled their father in looks and temperament. Ilse decided their qualities were worth reproducing and called the dogs "krom fohr" ("crooked furrow"), after the local landscape.
Another version of the breed’s history is that Peter was traveling with the troops, and they gave him to Frau Schleifenbaum. She bred him with her own dog, described as resembling a Griffon Fauve de Bretagne, producing five litters who bore the stamp of their sire. Whatever the case, the Federation Cynologique Internationale recognized them as a distinct breed in 1955.
The first Kromi imported to the United States was Button von der Britzer Muhle in 1997. He was followed by a female, Finca vom Kahlharz, in 1999. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed a few years earlier in 1996, originally classifying it as a Terrier but then reassigning it to companion dog status in 2013. It wasn’t until 2012, though, that Kromis began to be recorded in the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service (AKC FSS).
There are still very few Kromis in the United States. Less than 40 of the dogs, some of whom are deceased, are registered with the AKC’s FSS, according to the Kromfohrlander Club of America (KCA). Before the breed can be granted AKC recognition, at least 300 Kromis with a wide geographic distribution must be registered with the FSS. That could take many years, but the KCA is not in a hurry.
Kromfohrlander Temperament and PersonalityIf a Kromfohrlander chooses you to be his special person, be worthy of the honor. German fans of the breed say he gives away his heart “with skin and hair” (wholeheartedly, with everything he’s got). It takes a sensitive and loving person to return the gift in kind.
The Kromi is usually described as adaptable, docile and happy. He’s not especially independent and prefers to be with his family when they’re home, not out in the yard on his own. "Sweet" and "loyal" are his watchwords. He can entertain himself when necessary, though. It’s not unusual to see a Kromi tossing a toy and then retrieving it.
Although he has at least a partial Terrier background, the Kromi — bred to be strictly a companion dog — tends to have a nice, moderate temperament. He likes to play, is typically fond of family members but reserved toward strangers, and has an alert nature that can make him a good watchdog. He should not generally be aggressive or shy; although, these problems are not unheard of in the breed.
A well-bred, well-socialized Kromi usually barks but not too much. He digs but doesn’t tend to leave craters in your yard. He tends to get along with people and other animals — after he’s had time to check them out.
Give a Kromi time to get to know you if you are just meeting him. He likes to observe first before he decides if he likes someone.
This is a smart dog who takes well to training with positive reinforcement. Be consistent but don’t pressure him, and he will likely do you proud. Healthy Kromfohrlanders can be good competitors in agility, obedience and other dog sports that allow the dog to team up with a favorite person. Benefits of training and working with a Kromi include his ability to focus and his long attention span.
The Kromi is not perfect by any means. The Association for Wirehaired Kromfohrlanders (Verein Rauhaarige Kromfohrlander) in Germany notes that some dogs can develop temperament problems after puberty. A puppy who started out friendly and loving may become uncertain or anxious, reacting aggressively to other dogs or even people, especially when on leash. The slightest stress may set the dog off. Strangers may be unable to touch the dog, making veterinary visits difficult or impossible. If the dog becomes overly attached to a particular person, he may refuse to let anyone else care for him if that person is unavailable. Some Kromfohrlanders may become excessively territorial and dislike having visitors in the home. These dogs need clear guidance from puppyhood through adulthood, so they can learn to trust their people.
It’s essential to meet at least one of a pup’s parents, as well as other relatives. This can give you some insight into how your puppy might mature. Talk to the breeder about potential temperament problems and how they may be avoided.
Start training your Kromi puppy the day you bring him home. He is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Don’t wait until he is 6 months old to begin training, or you will have a more headstrong dog to deal with.
Early and extensive socialization is also important. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old and socialize, socialize, socialize.
Be aware, however, that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like the one for kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limiting exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until his puppy vaccinations are completed.
Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see their puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know something about your lifestyle and personality.
The perfect Kromfohrlander doesn’t spring fully formed from the whelping box. He’s a product of his background and breeding. Look for a puppy whose parents have nice personalities and one who has been well socialized from an early age. Neither parents nor pups should be timid, shifty-eyed or sluggish. If given a choice, pick a puppy who is happy, friendly and outgoing.
What You Need to Know About Kromfohrlander HealthThe Kromfohrlander is generally healthy, with an expected life span of 12 to 14 years.
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run — don’t walk — from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on her puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and who has no known problems or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
Health problems that may be seen in the breed include:
- Autoimmune thyroiditis (thyroid disease)
- Cystinuria, a genetic defect that permits a buildup of cystine, an amino acid, in the urine
- Keratosis, hardening of the footpad caused by an excess of a protein called keratin
- Patellar luxation, an orthopedic condition that involves the kneecap slipping out of place
Because Kromfohrlanders are so rare and are only recently being bred in the United States, it’s hard to say what health certifications will or should be required. A good start would be an Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) evaluation of knees. As of yet, genetic tests for cystinuria are available only for Newfoundlands and Labrador Retrievers, and no genetic test is available for epilepsy.
Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and a puppy develops one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in many cases, the dogs can still live good lives. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and what caused their deaths.
If a breeder tells you she doesn’t need to do those tests or her dogs don’t need health certifications because she’s never had problems in her lines, that her dogs have been vet checked or gives any other excuses for skimping on the genetic testing of dogs, walk away immediately.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the more common canine health problems: obesity. Keeping a Kromi at an appropriate weight is one of the easier ways to help ensure a healthier dog for life.
The Basics of Kromfohrlander GroomingThe Kromi’s coat can be rough or smooth, and each coat type can vary in length. The wirehaired, or rough-coated, dogs always have a beard, which lends them a cute, scruffy appearance. The hair is thick with a rough texture. Beneath it is a short, soft undercoat.
The smooth-coated dogs have feathering on the ears, chest and legs and a pretty, plumed tail. The hair on their body can be short or long, and tops a short, soft undercoat.
The Kromfohrlander sheds but not heavily. People who live with the dogs say that regular sweeping and vacuuming is enough to keep the hair under control.
The coat tends to shed dirt easily, and the dogs don’t typically have an odor unless they’ve rolled in something that smells bad. Bathe them as needed. Depending on whether a Kromi spends a lot of time outdoors, as well as on your furniture, that can mean weekly, monthly or quarterly.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails every week or two, or as needed. Brush the teeth frequently — with a vet-approved pet toothpaste — for good overall health and fresh breath.
Finding a KromfohrlanderWhether you want to go with a reputable breeder or get your dog from a shelter or rescue, here are some things to keep in mind.
Choosing a KromfohrlanderSelecting a respected breeder is a great way to find the right puppy. A reputable breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. She is more interested in placing pups in the right homes than making big bucks.
Good breeders will welcome your questions about temperament, health clearances and what the dogs are like to live with, and come right back at you with questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you can provide for him. A good breeder can tell you about the history of the breed, explain why one puppy is considered pet quality while another is not, and discuss which health problems affect the breed and the steps she takes to avoid those problems.
Kromis have just begun being bred in the United States. According to the website of the Kromfohrlander Club of America, a breeding program began in the summer of 2016. Interested potential owners can contact the club. The KCA is especially interested in people who are willing to help develop the breed in North America by breeding and exhibiting the dogs. To see a Kromi in the United States currently, your best bet is to look for one at large dog shows with Meet the Breeds events, such as Westminster or the International Kennel Club show in Chicago.
That leaves seeking a breeder in Europe. Germany and Finland have the highest concentration of Kromfohrlander breeders, but the fact remains that only about 1,800 of the dogs exist throughout the world. Breeders are extremely careful about who gets their puppies, so don’t expect to be able to purchase one easily or quickly. In fact, the KCA recommends being a little suspicious of any breeder who is willing to sell you a puppy quickly.
Also avoid breeders who seem interested only in whether your credit card will go through. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It could save you money and frustration in the long run.
The typical price for a puppy is $1,500 to $1,700. Don’t forget to add on the cost of round-trip airfare to Europe, as well as the cost of bringing the puppy back in the cabin, usually about $150. In addition, airlines have different rules regarding travel with dogs; some allow dogs only in cargo. Make sure you check with the airline you are planning to fly with to make sure your dog will be able to fly in the cabin with you.
If the Kromi ever becomes more widely available, keep the following advice in mind.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include puppies always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any puppy and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Quickie online purchases are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store or another source, don’t forget the adage, “Let the buyer beware.” Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100 percent guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals) and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
And before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Kromi might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up to become the dog of your dreams. An adult Kromi, if one is available, may already have some training and will probably be less active, destructive and demanding than a puppy. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health, and you can find adult dogs to adopt through breeders or shelters. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through breeders, ask about purchasing a retired show dog or if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home.
If you want to adopt a dog, read the advice below on how to do that.
Adopting a Dog From a Kromfohrlander Rescue Group or Shelter
The Kromi is a rare breed, and few are
available in this country, let alone in shelters or through rescue groups. Many
dogs who resemble Kromis may be found in shelters, but unless they are
microchipped and registered with a foreign registry and you can examine their
three-generation pedigree, they are “im-paw-sters,” the KCA says — perhaps a
charming, scruffy mash-up of Wirehaired Terrier, Beagle and maybe a dollop of Spaniel.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and they are certainly more readily
available than a Kromi, so don’t reject one out of hand if you find a dog you
like. Who knows? Somewhere in his family tree, he could have a similar
background to the original Peter.
If the Kromfohrlander becomes more widely available — or if you want to search for a dog who resembles a Kromi — here is how to get started:
1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet.com can have you searching for a dog in your area in no time. AnimalShelter.org can help you find animal rescue groups in your area.
Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Kromi. That includes vets, dog walkers and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Breed Rescues
Most people who love Kromfohrlanders love all Kromfohrlanders. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless dogs. You can search online for Kromi rescues in your area.
The great thing about breed rescue groups is that they tend to be very up front about any health conditions the dogs may have. A rescue group is a valuable resource for advice.
4. Ask Key Questions
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a pup. These include:
- What is his energy level?
- How is he around other animals?
- How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors and children?
- What is his personality like?
- What is his age?
- Is he house-trained?
- Has he ever bitten or hurt anyone?
- Are there any known health issues?
Puppy or adult, breeder purchase or rescue, your Kromi should visit your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that can help you avoid many health issues.