German Pinscher

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German Pinscher
Bvdb-duitse pincher.jpg
A red and a tan-and-black pinscher with natural ears
Other namesDeutscher Pinscher
Kennel club standards
VDH standard
FCI standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The German Pinscher (original name Deutscher Pinscher) is a medium-sized breed of dog, a Pinscher type that originated in Germany. The breed is included in the origins of the Dobermann, the Rottweiler, Miniature Pinscher, the Standard Schnauzer (and, by extension, the Miniature Schnauzer and Giant Schnauzer). The breed is rising in numbers in the U.S., mainly due to their full acceptance to AKC in 2003. In Australia, the breed is established with a rise in popularity becoming evident.


Westminster Kennel Club's first German Pinscher Best of Opposite Sex winner, 2003[1]
Westminster Kennel Club's first German Pinscher Best of Breed winner, 2003[1]

The German Pinscher is a medium-sized dog, usually weighing between 25–45 pounds (11–20 kilograms) and typically 17–20 inches (43–51 centimetres) in height, with a short coat.[2] Colors for this breed include black and rust, blue and tan, red, and fawn. The ideal German Pinscher is elegant in appearance with a strong square build and moderate body structure, muscular and powerful endurance and agility.[3] For all countries where the Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard applies, only black and rust and solid red are allowed colors. Colors that became extinct during the two World Wars of the 20th century include solid black, pepper-and-salt, and harlequin.

German Pinschers previously had their tails docked and ears cropped in countries where the procedures are legal. Historically, tail docking was thought to prevent rabies, strengthen the back, increase the animal's speed, and prevent injuries when working. Ears also were cropped, as they were thought to prevent injuries while working and increase the intense appearance of the canine. Today, these are done mainly for cosmetic reasons, although most countries are moving away from the procedure that has been found to be unnecessary for most dogs in their new life as pets and activity partners.[4]


Drawing of a German Pinscher and a Miniature Pinscher (Pinscher und Zwergpinscher), 1888.
Typical red German Pinscher female

The Wire Haired and Smooth Haired Pinschers, as the Standard Schnauzer and German Pinscher were originally called, were shown in dog books as early as 1884. However, drawings of the German Pinscher date back to at least 1780,[5] and the breed is proposed by one author to possibly trace its roots to a dog called the Ratter that guarded farms in Germany as far back as the 15th century.[6] These medium-sized dogs descended from early European herding and guardian breeds.

The source of the German Pinscher can be traced back to 1836 when this breed surpassed the Mops in popularity. Pinschers were used as guardians for coaches. They also lived in homesteads where they were used to kill vermin, a job they did by instinct, as such behavior did not need to be trained into the breed. Even today you can observe German Pinschers searching for and finding rats in open areas and in homes.

The Standard Schnauzer (then referred to as the Wire-Haired Pinscher) was originally born in the same litter as the German Pinscher. Over time, breeders decided to separate the "varieties," changing them to actual "breeds". After three generations of the same coat were born, the Pinscher-Schnauzer club allowed them to be registered as their respective "breed".

From 1950 to 1958, no litter had been registered. Credit is attributed to Werner Jung for collecting several of the breed in 1958 to continue the German Pinscher as we know the breed today.

The German Pinscher came to breeders in the United States in the early 1980s, though accounts of singular German Pinschers appearing in the country before then have been noted. In 1985, the German Pinscher Club of America was started by various German Pinscher fanciers, most of whom are no longer active in the breed. At this time, the German Pinscher was shown in rare breed shows. They were also recognized by the United Kennel Club. The German Pinscher gained full acceptance by the Canadian Kennel Club in 2000.

In 2004, the German Pinscher competed at its first Westminster Kennel Club.[7] 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.[8]

Extinct varieties[edit]

There are several now-extinct varieties of the German Pinscher:[9]

  • 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.

Health and temperament[edit]


German Pinscher on the lookout
German Pinscher watching a video on a laptop
German Pinscher resting on a chair

A German Pinscher should be an alert, good natured and playful dog. They are known for being very loyal, watchful and fearless. A well-bred German Pinscher will be a loving companion with an even temperament. When considering adding a German Pinscher to a family, it is advised to be able to meet and touch the mother of the puppy you are offered.

German Pinschers are very energetic working dogs, in many cases requiring several hours of exercise a day. Accordingly, a large, securely fenced yard is highly recommended for anyone considering the breed as a pet and the owner to be mindful of training them appropriately. Socialization from puppyhood is a must, as high prey drive is common in the breed so in a city environment they need to learn to control their impulses. This does, however, make them a great fetch companion.


Due to the small gene pool of the German Pinscher, breeders should health test their dogs for hereditary cataracts, hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand disease, thyroid disorder, and with the increased incidences of cardiac disease[10] due to irresponsible breeding practices, German Pinschers suspect for heart issues should be removed from all breeding programs.

Pinscher puppy sleeping


  1. ^ a b "2004 Breed Results: German Pinscher". The Westminster Kennel Club. Archived from the original on 2013-10-19. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
  2. ^ "German Pinscher: Frequently Asked Questions". The German Pinscher Club of America. Archived from the original on 2014-11-22. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  3. ^ American Kennel Club. "German Pinscher - American Kennel Club".
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-16. Retrieved 2018-03-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2009-07-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Sharon Morgan & Dee Gannon, "The German Pinscher (Comprehensive Owners Guide)" Kennel Club Books - Special edition, ISBN 978-1-59378-355-6 (November 29, 2006), p. 9.
  7. ^ "Homepage". Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  8. ^ "2004 breed results, German Pinscher". Westminster Kennel Club. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
  9. ^ "Deutscher Pinscher". Archived from the original on 26 October 2009.
  10. ^ "Orthopedic Foundation for Animals". Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2013-01-29.

External links[edit]