German Pinscher (Deutscher Pinscher)

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deer red, reddish-brown to dark red brown; black&tan
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Pros Cons

  • playful and cheerful

  • good watch and guard dog

  • quick learner

  • little grooming requirements

  • independent

  • isn’t compatible with other pets

  • doesn’t suit family with small children

  • significant exercise requirements (compared to other dogs of the same size)


The German Pinscher is a compact, vigorous and alert dog of the German origin, which was first bred to serve as a rodent exterminator somewhere between the end of the XVIII and the late XIX centuries. The breed’s easy-going nature and unpretentiousness in grooming won its fame of a wonderful family companion. This graceful but still powerful dog also makes an fearless protector of its masters and their possessions.


The images of the German Pinscher began to appear in the paintings of German artists since the middle of the XVIII century. Nonetheless it’s rather safe to suggest that its early development dates back as far as to the XV century when local farm people often resorted to the help of resembling dogs to control the population of various household rodents. During the XIX century it also was charged with duties of guarding coaches. The breed gained wide acceptance for its well-expressed innate prey drive as well as for its average size, which made it fairly affordable to keep for a poor folk. The name «Pinscher» is actually an altered French word «pincer» which designates «to seize» or «to nip».

Initially the breed was referred as the Wire-Haired Pinscher and Smooth-Haired Pinscher. Essentially the German Pinscher and the Standard Schnauzer shared the common ancestry, specifically the Wire-Haired Pinscher, so they were classified as the same canine variety. However over time the breeders made a decision to grant each of them with the status of a distinct breed.

Unfortunately but one of the tragic aftermath of the Second World War was almost total demise of such outstanding breed as the German Pinscher. In the following decade after the war was over its organised breeding in Germany came to an abrupt cessation. The honour of its rescue belongs almost exclusively to Werner Jung who spared no efforts in order to resurrect this national breed. He scoured lots of West German farms before he managed to locate several dogs with the breed’s signature features in appearance and personality. Then Werner chose four high-quality large Miniature Pinschers and crossed them with dogs he had already obtained from farmers. To strengthen the gene pool of this newly created line he also used in his work the red and black Pinscher, which he smuggled out from the territory of East Germany.

The German Pinscher remained obscure for the dog lovers outside its native Germany until 70s and 80s of the XX century. In the early 80s of the XX the breed finally found its way to the United States and since then its number slowly but steadily grew in this country. It was formally accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2003. Nowadays the German Pinscher enjoys much following throughout the world although it’s mainly kept as a companion dog rather than a proficient rat killer.


The German Pinscher has surprising large reserves of energy and strength for the dog of its size. This courageous and bold dog relies heavily on guidance from its human masters and develops deep attachment to them. As a rule it wants to get involved in every family events and prone to experience sharp separation anxiety if left alone for long period of times. It’s not the best breed for families with small kids since its possessiveness can make it unpredictably aggressive when it thinks that someone (even a familiar child) is encroaching on its food or toys.

The German Pinscher is usually highly mistrustful of strangers. This dog is apt to bark at any disturbance in its surroundings so it can be turned into a fabulous watcher. It’s very advisable to teach its specimen to fall silent on command otherwise its on-going barking will get on nerve of both its masters and their neighbours. Despite its moderate size this dog is ready to take aggressive actions to defend its family and domain and therefore makes an enthusiastic guardian. Of course it’s better to trust guarding duties to larger and more formidable dog.

Because of its dominative and quite quarrelsome character the German Pinscher is commonly at odds with other canines. It’s possible to keep it together with those individual dogs with which it has been socialised in its puppyhood. As an instinctual hunter the dog poses a great menace for such small creatures as rats and hamsters and will never live with them completely peaceful. Moreover it also has nasty reputation with household cats and on the whole won’t suit well for a multi-animal household.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· canine hip dysplasia;

· cataracts;

· cardiac disease;

· immune deficiency problems;

· von Willerbrand disease.


The German Pinscher has rather little grooming requirements. The owner should brush its short hair only once a week in order to promote its proper health. Frequent bathing is not needed as water tends to strip the dog’s hair and skin off the layer of protective natural oils.

On the other hand the breeds’ nails need regular trimming as well as the ears of your pet should be periodically checked and cleaned if they look dirty. It’s recommended to brush the dog’s teeth minimum once a week to prevent bad smell or tartar from appearing.


The training of the German Pinscher is usually quite an easy job to do. This dog is notable for well-expressed desire to make its master happy and usually looks forward to attention and treats that it liberally receives during training sessions. Be aware though that its somewhat independent nature can cause occasional fits of wilful behaviour so a great deal of patience and indulgence are essential conditions to successful work with this dog.

It’s also worth to know that the specimen of the German Pinscher will quickly seize an opportunity to take over the control of the situation if the handler doesn’t possess leadership qualities. It’s unwise to stimulate this good-natured dog with physical force as such techniques usually fail to make it more complaisant.


The compactness of the German Pinscher may endear it to an apartment dweller, but such housing conditions can’t be considered optimal for this dog. This breed stands out for a rather rambunctious disposition, which needs a daily outlet in the form of a playtime in a safely fenced area. At the same time it will make a perfect housemate for people who like spending their pastime in such outdoor activities as hiking, running or walking.

A bare minimum of an hour of vigorous exercise is necessary to keep this dog healthy and well-tempered. Destructive tendencies in behaviour and overall restlessness serve as the first indications that your pet lacks physical stimulation.