ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

German Pinscher

German Pincher
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The German Pinscher is a medium sized dog that is generally muscular with pointy ears and a great watchdog and friend. Originally called the Deutscher Pinscher, this breed is from Germany and shares genetics with not only other Pinschers but the Doberman, Rottweiler and the various kinds of Schnauzers. These lovable, energetic pups will fill your heart and give you years of enjoyment as companions!

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityHigh
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessAbove Average
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group:Working Dog
Height:1 foot, 5 inches tall to 1 foot, 8 inches tall
Weight:25 to 45 pounds
Life Span:12 to 14 years

The German Pinscher is a beautiful breed that is full of love and energy, and they absolutely adore being in a family that loves them and gives them attention. Through their lives, they keep their puppy sense of play, plus they still have their hunting instinct until death. Since they were originally bred as a working breed that also hunted, they can sniff out rats, mice and other pests easily and will rid them from your home. Also, since they are working dogs, they can endure a lot of physical activity outdoors.

Your dog’s demeanor depends on having a firm leader who treats him fairly as they can become rather tenacious and bossy if not given proper leadership and manners. Otherwise, your new dog will rule the roost, which is why they may not be good for first-time owners. When given the proper training, they will take over your heart and become your best friend, and can go further into agility competitions and becoming a therapy dog.

This breed is known to be in the forefront of the agility ring and obedience trials. They have quite the record at these shows and fit right in. This breed is also great at becoming a service dog or a therapy dog, which means they can assist those with medical issues or who are blind. They can also help those with emotional problems and even children with autism or other disorders. All of this comes with having extensive training, which they have the mind to learn!

Some of the best words to describe your German Pinscher would include devoted, intelligent, courageous, playful and assertive. They basically love to live their lives and have fun, as they never lose their sense of playfulness. While they can live anywhere, they need somewhere to have a game of Frisbee or playing with their owner. They do chase animals, so being leashed while in public is mandatory. This breed doesn’t care for strangers usually and will reserve his barking for those people, alerting you that they see someone or something they do not recognize.

The Pinscher is a beautiful breed and comes in black and rust, fawn, blue and tan, and red. There are three colors that this breed came in that are now extinct, which include all black, black and white, and harlequin. Generally muscular in appearance, they have a “square” body build and have a lot of agility and endurance within them. Usually this breed has their tail docked, which was originally done to prevent rabies, and increase the dog’s speed.

Main Highlights
  • This breed comes in the colors of black and rust, blue and tan, fawn, and red. There were 3 other colors they came in but are now extinct that were salt and pepper, harlequin and solid black.
  • They are known to chase any and all animals they see outside that they think they can catch. They should live in a fenced in yard generally, and be leashed when out for walks in public.
  • They were originally bred to rid areas of vermin such as rats, mice, and other nuisance animals. They were also bred to work outside which is why they have such endurance.
  • This breed goes all the way back to the late 1700s and late 1800s in Germany. They share genetics with all kinds of Schnauzers, the Doberman and the Rottweiler, among others.
  • Their personality can be strong, so they need proper training and will be great guard dogs. As puppies, they are very playful and always keep that with them. Their temperament is affected by how much they socialize and how much training they have.
  • Their smooth coat is short and dense, which does not shed a lot. What is great about them is they do not need a lot of grooming.
  • While this breed does well if raised with children, small children should be monitored and those the dog is new to should be watched carefully.
Breed History

The beautiful German Pinscher hails from the country of Germany was originally called the Deutscher Pinscher and was first bred between the late 1700s and late 1800s. They were first used as working dogs that guarded coaches, and they also were nature predators to any vermin, so they would soon be popular for the ability to kill rats and other animals within the home or on the property.

Over the years the breeds of Pinschers have changed somewhat and thanks to a man called Werner Jung, we see the breed for what it is today. During the 1950s, Jung brought together many dogs of this breed and continued to breed them into what we know as the German Pinscher today. It was not until the 1980s that this breed came to America and then Canada, even though a few had come into the country beforehand, and they then began getting their own clubs and thus, in 1985, the German Pinscher Club of America was formed by those who fell in love with these beautiful dogs.

Interestingly enough, this breed did not compete in its first Westminster Kennel Club competition until 2004. There, the breed won two awards; the Best of Breed and the Best of Opposite Sex, both won by one person’s dogs, Charles Windamir, whose two dogs were Hunter des Charmettes and Best of Breed winner Chosen One.

Size

Known for its “square” build and muscular frame, this medium sized dog averages in height between 17 and 20 inches, which is less than 2 feet tall at the shoulder. The breed generally weighs in between 25 and 45 pounds if healthy and exercised adequately. Both the males and females of this breed are generally the same in size.

Personality and Character

When trained correctly and given proper attention and love, your German Pinscher will grow into a wonderful, devoted companion who will love to be a part of your family. If you are not a firm leader from the time they are a puppy, they will rule your household and become bossy and tenacious over time, and they will begin to destroy things. They are naturally quick at learning and will quickly pick up tricks and games. They may need to be trained not to jump on people.

They never lose their sense of play that they have as puppies. They are often curious and love to be around people. However, they are wary of strangers and if they are suspicious, they will bark to alert you to a potential danger. This is why they make great guard dogs. Plus, they will chase anything because of their nature to chase vermin, so they will chase other dogs or people if not leashed in public.

Health and Potential Problems

Overall, this breed is healthy when exercised and fed properly, but they can come down with some typical ailments or diseases that should be treated by your vet. They can live between 12 and 14 years typically, so they are pretty healthy generally.

  • Your dog can have Von Willebrand disease which also affects humans. It affects the blood stream and is inherited. They can get nosebleeds from this disease as well as bleeding gums and bruising on the body. A veterinarian must be seen to prevent further blood issues.
  • Hip dysplasia is common in dogs and is a condition in which the bone in the thigh does not fit correctly into the hip joint. One way to tell if this is hurting your dog is to check for pain and lack of use of that area. While this condition is hereditary, it can be attained from other factors like diet, falling, or any injury. A veterinarian can help to provide comfort for a dog with hip dysplasia.
  • Food allergies can be avoided if they are eating a proper dog food. Check with the vet before you switch foods to make sure it will be helpful to your dog. Contact allergies could be from shampoos, powders and other chemicals in the house. Also, inhalant allergies can affect your dog because of pollen outside or dust and mildew. Medications can be helpful for their allergies but it is not life threatening.
  • Diabetes is a disease in which is the body being unable to process sugars correctly. Check for the symptoms which include increased appetite, being really thirsty, and going to the bathroom a lot. A dog will live with diabetes for the rest of its life so it is important to get them on insulin shots and control what they eat.
  • Cataracts, which occurs in the lens of the eye, causes cloudiness and therefore will give your dog blurry vision. When they become thicker, the dog can go blind if surgery is not an option. Most times, genetics are the cause of this but injury, age, and other diseases can inhibit this type of degeneration.
  • Ear infections or odors are common for all dogs. Checking the ears is a must during regular grooming. Causes include allergies, mites, yeast and other bacteria. Signs of an infection can include an odor, yellow or brown discharge, bleeding, scratching, and swelling. Regular cleaning can help prevent the infections, which is done by gently cleaning the dog’s ears with cotton swabs and using ear cleaner when needed. If an infection is apparent, see the vet and they will prescribe medication. If the issue is persistent, surgery will be needed.
  • Hypothyroidism in dogs happens when there is little to no hormones produced by the thyroid gland itself. Dogs can be put on medication to make up for the lack of production, which the dog will have to take for life. Hypothyroidism mostly occurs after the age of 4 years, and symptoms include lethargy, hair loss, skin infections, weight gain, seizures, and more.
  • Diarrhea is common among dogs, cats, humans, and other species. But if your pup gets diarrhea, make sure to keep them hydrated. Generally, something could be wrong if this lasts more than 24 hours. If diarrhea comes with vomiting, dark stool or fever, get your dog to a vet. Causes of this include Parvo, parasites, food problems, and stress, and many other types of infections or diseases. Pay attention to your dog’s symptoms in case their issue is more pressing.
Care Features

The main thing to remember about your German Pinscher is that they need to exercise each and every day because they are active and curious and need to burn off a lot of energy. They love to go in the woods or run around your fenced in yard, playing with the family. They will no doubt love a trip to the dog park, and playing fetch with their owner. Whatever you do, you need to keep your dog stimulated. Otherwise, they will become bored and lazy, which leads them to destruction and disobedience.

While your dog is physically relaxing, he or she should not be left mentally bored. They love to play with toys that create a challenge, like ones that they must work to get rewards or learning tricks and games.

While it is a great idea to crate train this breed at first, they should not be left in there for long periods, nor do they like being by themselves for extended periods. They need to be interacting with their owners and family, which is in their pack mentality. Also, while around humans, small children should be monitored.

Feeding Schedule

Generally, your dog will require a half to one cup per meal, twice a day. They will eat dry kibble that is high in protein and other nutrients that they need to be healthy. Always provide fresh water to drink. If you are concerned about allergies, see the vet for testing, which may require you to change dog food brands.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The smooth coat of your German Pinscher will be shiny and short while dense. The colors that they come in are red, blue and tan, black and rust, and fawn. Before the World Wars, there were three other colors they came in that are now extinct, which were harlequin, black and white, and all black. In most cases, their tails are docked

Brushing the coat of your dog should happen once a week but they will not shed too much and do not require a lot of grooming. Their teeth can be brushed upwards of 3 times per week to reduce gum disease and their nails should be trimmed monthly. Ears should also be checked weekly for odor and cleaning if needed and can be cleaned using ear cleaner on the outer portion of his ears.

As with any dog, when you check them, look for sores, redness, inflammation or any discharge and if anything looks wrong, see the vet.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

If your dog has grown up with children, they will be gentle and will know how to behave, but small children should be monitored. If they are around children they do not know, those children should be watched as well. This breed generally does great with children who are older and those who are adults. They are also wary of strangers and will be on high alert.

As far as pets within the home, if the dog is raised with them, generally there are no issues with other pets. Bringing any new pets into the home can be risky, and only if your dog has been socialized well through its life so far. They will not do well in the home with small animals and they will definitely kill any rats, mice, gerbils, or hamsters that are left where they can reach them, due to their nature to hunt vermin.

In closing, the German Pinscher is a wonderful dog that will guard your family and warm your heart. They need proper training like all dogs, but once they are trained, they will be a wonderful companion that can enter agility trials and become service dogs or just be a great household companion that catches the occasional mouse or two. Overall, this sweet breed is devoted and loves to be a part of the family!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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