German Pinscher – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
To many German Pinscher is like smaller Doberman, although these are two separate breeds. Read on to learn about German Pinscher's appearance, temperament, and exercise needs.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
17 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder
25 to 45 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 14 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Does this dog remind you of a powerful, but bigger Doberman? This is how people tend to see this breed, and it doesn’t come as a big surprise.

After all, the German Pinscher is a member of the Pincher family. This dog of smaller appearance is among Germany’s oldest breeds and serves as a standard of other pinscher breeds.

The German Pinscher is often described by his owners as an intelligent and energetic dog who can perform all types of canine work, and beyond.

They are eye-catching and very elegant in appearance with big alert and dark eyes. German Pinschers may be elegant and graceful in appearance, but they are powerful in terms of muscles.

This is a medium-size dog perfect for city life and also capable of living in more rural areas. Dog lovers are equally admired for the breed’s appearance and intelligence.

Originally from Germany, this breed is today easily found across the globe, and popular in every corner of the world. Although this is a purebred dog, you can still find them in shelters and various rescue organizations.

If you are open for adoption, you might check your local shelter first – you might be surprised to discover just how many purebred dogs are just there waiting for their forever-happy home.

Not sure if this breed is for you? Read on to discover more facts on the breed to help you decide if a German Pinscher should share your home with you.

Quick Facts

Real name: German Pinscher
Other names: Deutscher Pinscher
Origin: Germany
Breed type: Working Dogs
Weight: 25 to 45 pounds
Height: 17 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Litter Size: 6 – 8 puppies
Color: Black and rust, blue and tan, red, and fawn
Coat: Short coat

German Pinscher History

As mentioned above, the German Pinscher is one of the oldest breeds from Germany. This breed is often described as a prototypical pinscher and the ancestor of the Miniature Pinscher and powerful and alert Doberman.

The German Pinscher is seen on drawings that date back to 1884, making this medium-size dog an ancient breed. Dog historians claim that this breed probably shares roots with a breed named the Ratter.

The Ratter is an old breed, who guarded farms in Germany in far 15th century. One is for sure when it comes to German Pinscher history – this breed is descended from early European guardian and herding breeds.

For a long time, the German Pinschers were used as guardians for coaches, and were used to kill vermin – this behavior was more of a natural instinct, they did not need to be trained for this.

Even today, the German Pinscher will happily search and find rats in any area. This breed has interesting historical moments.

For example, from 1950 to 1958, no litter of the breed was registered. The year 1958 was a big milestone of the breed as Werner Jung, lover of the breed, collected several representatives of the breed and continued creating the German Pinscher breed as we know it today.

As for the States, the first German Pinscher came to the States in the early 1980s.

The first club of the breed was founded in 1985. At the time, the German Pinscher was a rare breed across the States.

German Pinscher Physical Appearance

The German Pinscher is a small-medium dog with a powerful body. He is well-built, with an average height from 17 to 20 inches, and between 25 to 45 pounds.

This is an average when it comes to size, while some may be smaller, and usually not bigger. Their coat is short, and in terms of color it can go from black and rust, to blue and tan, or red, and fawn.

Overall, this breed is elegant in appearance with a muscular body and powerful appearance.

The German Pinschers of solid black, pepper-and-salt, and harlequin are extinct during the war periods.

This breed previously had its tails docked and ears cropped. At least, that was the case in countries where these procedures were legal. This practice was legal because many believed that tail docking would provide greater speed, more powerful back, and fewer injuries.

Today, these procedures are mostly done for cosmetic reasons, although they are performed in minimum numbers.

So far, it’s obvious that this procedure is unnecessary. The German Pinscher is a medium-sized dog with a square built and muscular body, and elegant posture.

German Pinscher Personality

The German Pinscher is a loyal breed of a strong mind. They thrive with experienced owners, and this is not a breed for first time dog owners.

When trained and socialized properly, this breed will be a well-behaved canine citizen.

If left without proper socialization and training sessions, they will (just like any other dog breed) demonstrate destructive behavior.

They are great guard dogs. Naturally suspicious of strangers, this dog will do his best to notify you whenever there is a stranger nearby.

This is an alert dog with a high energy level, with a strong urge to excel at their tasks. Dogs were bred to assist people with everyday activities, therefore they thrive when there is a job to be done.

This watchful dog is a loving companion with a soft and even temperament. This breed will need more than a fair amount of outdoor time to keep him satisfied.

The German Pinscher will be a nice addition to any family size. They will be nice with children, as long as children know how to behave around dogs.

No matter how well-behaved your German Pinscher might be, or any other breed, children and dogs should never be left without supervision.

Children should know that dogs are living beings and not moving toys. As such they should never be pulled for their tails, ears, or handled at any disturbing level.

It’s also important to introduce dogs and children slowly while respecting the needs of them both.

Early socialization from day one is a must. Prey drive in this breed tends to be high, which is why this breed should be trained to control its impulses.

If you have a yard, the German Pinscher will love it. He will be more than happy to act play fetch every single day.

German Pinscher With Children And Other Pets

The German Pinscher should do fine with children of any age. This is why it’s important to introduce children and dogs slowly and carefully.

As a general rule, dogs will do best with older children, especially with children who are nine years old or older.

All in all, this breed should do fine with children who are mature enough to interact with them in a manner that is responsible, careful, and respectful. Always educate children how to behave around dogs, especially if you have younger children.

Have basic house rules regarding dogs, and never let your child disturb the dog while eating, drinking, playing with toys, or sleeping.

As for the other pets, the German Pinscher should do fine as long as they are raised together. They should be socialized properly at a very young age.

They still carry in their genes a strong need to hunt and kill vermin, which is why they might chase anything smaller than them.

This usually means that no matter how well-trained your German Pinscher might be, he will always try to catch a pet rat. That being said, the German Pinscher isn’t a good match with small mammals.

German Pinscher Training

Training your German Pinscher is an important step if you are serious about having a well-behaved dog. Training should start from day one, as soon as you bring your German Pinscher home.

Have the right toys on hand, master proper indoor games for rainy days, and if you need help with training, think about attending puppy classes.

This can be a great bonding experience for both you and your canine. Plus, it cannot harm to learn some extra tips.

On top of that, dogs thrive on mutual moments and love nothing more but to have an activity with you that can bond you even more. This is an intelligent breed, and there shouldn’t be any issues training-wise.

It’s just important to stay organized, to keep training sessions fun, and to have the right amount of treats on hand. This breed is quite active and playful.

As such, you should expect to invest a significant amount of time to provide proper training. The biggest challenge with this breed will be keeping him engaged and interested in training.

He will be highly alert to his surroundings and will try to explore anything that seems new, interesting, and fun. This is why short training sessions may be a perfect solution for engagement.

Need more training tips? Think about hiring a professional dog trainer.

German Pinscher Exercise

German Pinschers are active dogs, and they need a lot of active time to stay healthy. Having a big yard for this dog is highly recommended. Make sure that it’s well-secured.

As an athletic breed, the German Pinscher will require additional fun time, next to regular walks.

Dogs thrive on exploring. For them walking time is far more than toilet time.

By smelling and sniffing around they are exploring the worlds, learning about new items, new smells, and they get to build a bigger picture of the world.

They are alert and highly intelligent dogs which makes them perfect companions. As such, they can excel at almost anything that comes their way.

They do not see obstacles, they only see challenges, and they will find a way to excel at anything.

German Pinschers love a good challenge. Therefore, anything that pushed their limits in terms of physical and mental abilities, they will love.

To keep him physically exercised and mentally stimulated, think about participating in many of dos sports, such as agility and obedience.

German Pinscher Grooming

The German Pinscher will require some time investment when it comes to grooming.

Keeping his coat shiny and smooth will require having the right grooming tools. The right brush will make the brushing process faster, easier, and far enjoyable.

If you feel like you need help with overall grooming, think about taking your German Pinscher to a professional groomer. Otherwise, a cloth or rubber mitt once a week should be fine to keep your dog’s coat fresh, shiny, and clean.

By brushing you will remove the dead skin from the dog’s body, remove extra hair, and check the skin for any sign of infection.

The rest is basic grooming:

  • Trim or grind nails when needed – usually once to twice per month
  • Clean ears when needed
  • Brush teeth if recommended by your veterinarian
  • Bathe only when really needed
  • Check gums and eyes on weekly level for any sign of infection

The most important part of grooming is to keep it regular. Consistent grooming is what makes a difference between a dog and a well-maintained dog.

Also, make sure that you make grooming a positive experience. This is why taking your dog to the veterinarian’s first day is so important and introducing him to brushing tools.

Always offer treats afterward – dogs need to be rewarded. As you brush, check for any sign of skin infection, fleas, or rashes.

If you notice any inflammation on the skin, in the mouth, nose, feet, or eyes, make sure that you contact your veterinarian.

Eyes should always be clear with no discharge, and without any sign of redness.

Weekly grooming will enable prevention in terms of health and keep veterinarian bills low in the long run.

German Pinscher Health

It’s important to note that the gene pool of German Pinscher is small. This is why breeders must test dogs for various conditions, such as:

Since irresponsible breeding practices are high when it comes to this breed, it’s important to know how your German Pinscher stands when it comes to these conditions.

Also, if you are buying a dog, make sure that you work only with responsible dog breeders. This way you will be presented with medical documentation on the breed and be sure that you are getting a healthy puppy.

If you are adopting from a local shelter, you should still be informed on dog’s health.

No matter how much documentation may claim that your dog is healthy, you should take him to the veterinarian as soon as you bring him home. Overall, German Pinschers are healthy dogs.

Make sure that you provide regular veterinarian check-ups, that you provide proper nutrition, and that you know how much your German Pinscher should eat.

Do not serve more food than needed, you don’t want your dog to become obese.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise, and you don’t want your dog to be part of that statistic. If you have any doubts regarding your dog’s health, make sure that you contact your veterinarian.

Is German Pinscher For You?

The German Pinscher is an elegant and energetic dog with a strong terrier background. This high-energy breed isn’t for those who love to spend hours with their pooch chilling on the couch, but more for outdoor lovers.

This breed is for you if you love spending time outside if you enjoy playtime with dogs, and if you overall have experience with dogs.

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