The German Pinscher dog breed is muscular and agile, powerful yet graceful. A medium-sized dog with an elegant appearance, he’s admired as much for his beauty as for his intelligence. He’s a working breed and guard dog, and a devoted and loving family dog.
In need of a strong leader, the assertive and determined German Pinscher is easy to train and intelligent. He’s a strong watchdog, has lots of energy, and he’s devoted to his family as long as small mammals aren’t included. The German Pinscher remains playful well into adulthood and his smooth coat is easy to groom.
The German Pinscher, also known at various times as the Deutscher Pinscher, the Reh Pinscher, the Medium Pinscher and the Standard Pinscher, is a medium-sized, energetic and watchful dog that makes an excellent guardian and family companion. The breed originated in Germany, where it was first recognized as a distinct breed in 1879. The first formal breed standard for the German Pinscher was written in 1884. Its name derives from the Germanic form of the French word “pincer,” which means “to seize” or “to nip”. The German Pinscher is an intense and proficient vermin-controller and rodent-killer. It was admitted into the American Kennel Club as a member of the Working Group in 2001.
- The German Pinscher is not recommended for homes with children under the age of nine.
- A working breed, he needs daily exercise and cannot be left untrained or unexercised. Expect a healthy amount of exercise each day to curb negative behaviors.
- The German Pinscher can fare all right in an apartment as long as he’s walked at least twice a day. However, he’s better suited to a home that has a fenced yard.
- He has a strong prey drive and will chase anything that he deems worth chasing. He should be kept on lead while not in a secured area, and fences should be secure enough that he can’t slip through them.
- The German Pinscher is a strong-willed breed that needs a consistent and firm owner. He has been known to take over a home if rules are not set when he’s young. With training and consistency, however, the German Pinscher will learn quickly and well.
- Naturally suspicious of strangers, the German Pinschers makes an excellent guard dog. By the same token, he needs to be socialized from a young age to prevent the development of aggressive behavior.
- The German Pinscher enjoys jumping up to greet loved ones, but proper training can correct this trait.
- He will alert bark and he has a strong, loud voice, but he won’t bark unnecessarily.
- He thrives when he’s part of a family and can participate in family activities. He isn’t a breed who can live outside, and he’s unhappy being forgotten while life is busy.
- The German Pinscher can become destructive when he’s bored. He’s also known for his ability to gut toys at an alarming rate.
- When you look at a German Pinscher, you see a medium-size dog with a strong, square build; a powerful, elongated head that resembles a blunt wedge; medium-size dark oval eyes with a sharp and alert expression; and ears that are erect if cropped or V-shaped with a folding pleat if uncropped. The tail is docked.
- The German Pinscher’s short, smooth coat lies close to the body and comes in several colors: Isabella (fawn); various shades of red, including stag, which is red intermingled with black hairs; and black or blue with red or tan markings.
In 2004, the German Pinscher competed at its first Westminster Kennel Club. The Best of Breed winner was Ch. Windamir Hunter des Charmettes with the Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed won by Ch. Windamir’s Chosen One.
There are several now-extinct varieties of the German Pinscher:
- Schweizer Pinscher (also called the Jonataler Pinscher, Pfisterlinge, Silberpinsch, Swiss Salt and Pepper Pinscher, Swiss Shorthair Pinscher)
- Seidenpinscher (also called the German Silky Pinscher, Silky Pinscher)
Some of these may have recently been re-formed from the German Pinscher and marketed as rare breeds for those seeking unique pets.
Halfway in size between a Miniature Pinscher and a Doberman Pinscher, the German Pinscher is a medium-sized powerhouse – fearless, imposing, and completely devoted to the family he loves. German Pinschers have big personalities and tend to believe the world revolves around them. They are fiercely protective of their territory and family, and despite their medium size make excellent guard dogs and can be counted on to take down an intruder with shocking efficiency.
This breed is quite dependent upon human companionship and will want to be included in every aspect of home life, from work to play to sharing the bed. German Pinschers are an excellent choice for experienced dog owners and for people who lead an active lifestyle.
Because the German Pinscher has a fairly small gene pool there are risks for a number of inherited conditions. Some of the health problems to which this breed is prone include hip and elbow dysplasia, cataracts, thyroid disorders, cardiac disease, and von Willebrand disease. Responsible breeding practices are the best way to prevent the passing of these conditions.
The grooming requirements for the German Pinscher is fairly simple: the occasional brushing and wash. German Pinschers love to be involved in family activities and hate to be left in the kennel or alone. They are very dedicated to their family, their devotion going to the extent of supervising housework, providing entertainment in the evenings, guiding gardening, and sharing their master’s bed.
As the dog is full of energy it should be given good mental and physical exercises or it can get bored and frustrated.
The German Pinscher requires a lot of exercise. This breed needs to be taken on a daily, brisk, long walk or jog where the dog is made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as instinct tells a dog the leader leads the way and that leader needs to be the human. They will enjoy running alongside you when you bicycle, playing in the yard, or a walk around the block.
The German Pinscher is low-maintenance when it comes to grooming. Weekly brushing with a mitt will remove dead hair, and they only need to be bathed when they start giving off a doggie odor. Active Pinscher will wear their toenails down naturally, but they do not, monthly trimmings will be in order. If the nails click on hard floors, it’s time for a trim.
Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of redness, irritation, or wax buildup. Cleanse with a veterinarian-approved solution and a cotton ball. Brush the dog’s teeth at least once per week to help keep bad breath in check, and keep teeth and gums healthy.
Children And Other Pets
The German Pinscher usually does well with children if he’s brought up with them from puppyhood. But because of his assertive nature, he does best with older children, preferably those over the age of nine. An older Pinscher who’s unfamiliar with children will probably do best in a home with kids who are mature enough to interact with him properly.
Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s eating or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog should be left unsupervised with a child.
The same holds true for the German Pinscher’s attitude toward some kinds of pets; he does best if he’s been raised with them, or at least socialized to them when he’s still young. But remember that he was developed to hunt and kill vermin. He’s got a high prey drive that’s hardwired, and no amount of training will keep him from going after a pet rat. He’s not a good match with small mammals.
Low Maintenance: Infrequent grooming is required to maintain upkeep. Little to no trimming or stripping needed.
Minimal Shedding: Recommended for owners who do not want to deal with hair in their cars and homes.
Easy Training: The German Pinscher is known to listen to commands and obey its owner. Expect fewer repetitions when training this breed.
Fairly Active: It will need regular exercise to maintain its fitness. Trips to the dog park are a great idea.
Good for New Owners: This breed is well suited for those who have little experience with dog ownership.
Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.
Did You Know?
The German Pinscher played a role in the ancestry of the Doberman and other Pinscher breeds and is closely associated with the Standard Schnauzer. He is smaller than the Doberman but bigger than the Miniature Pinscher.