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German Pinscher Profile

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The German Pinscher (also ‘Deutscher Pinscher’—‘Pinscher’ is German for ‘Terrier’) is a German dog which is in the ancestry of many better known breeds such as the Miniature Pinscher, Affenpinscher, Schnauzer, and Doberman. It originated in the 1600’s as a mix of the Black and Tan Terrier and early European guard and herding dogs. Then known as the ‘Rattenfanger’, the German Pinscher was recognized for its coach guarding and ratting abilities; it can still be observed today searching for vermin. When dog shows became popular in the 1800’s, the German Pinscher became an early show breed, first standardized in 1884. However, the German Pinscher attracted little attention, and its numbers dipped nearly to the point of extinction by World War II (no litters at all were registered for the majority of the 1950’s). The German Pinscher’s descendant, the Miniature Pinscher, was called on for its survival. Three large Miniature Pinschers were bred with a female German Pinscher that had been smuggled out of East Germany. Most German Pinschers today descend from this line. German Pinschers were imported to America in the 1970’s and accepted into the American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous Class in 2001, achieving full acceptance as a Working breed in 2003. The German Pinscher is still very low in numbers, but German breeders have had much success increasing the population in the last year.


The German Pinscher has a shoulder height of 41-48 cm (16-19 in) and weighs 11-16 kg (25-35 lbs). It has oval eyes and high-set ears which may be cropped. Uncropped ears have a natural fold; cropped ears are erect. German Pinschers have a flat back, round feet, and tail which is usually docked. The German Pinscher is a muscular, balanced dog.


The German Pinscher has a short, dense, coat which is smooth and shiny. Most German Pinschers are black with tan markings; other possible colors are red, fawn, and brown with yellow markings. Solid black and ‘salt and pepper’ varieties existed in the early 20th century, but are now extinct. The German Pinscher is an average shedder.


The German Pinscher is loyal, alert, energetic, and playful. It is a very intelligent breed which likes to be at the center of family life and accompany its owners everywhere, even to bed. German Pinschers can be stubborn; they need to be clear on who the boss is. The German Pinscher tends to bark to announce visitors. It makes a great watchdog.


The German Pinscher can be weary of strangers. It is not the best match for homes with young children as it has a tendency to roughhouse. The German Pinscher gets along with dogs and other pets if early socialization is provided, but has a definite aggressive streak and a high prey instinct for small animals.


The German Pinscher requires little grooming; only occasional brushing to remove dead hair is required. German Pinschers have an average lifespan of 12-15 years. They are a very healthy breed with few major health concerns.


The German Pinscher requires a consistent training approach. This breed needs definite guidelines set to overcome its territorial nature. It must learn that growling at humans is not appropriate. German Pinschers can learn a variety of sports, such as agility and obedience training.


The German Pinscher is an energetic dog which requires daily jogs or playtime in a large fenced-in yard. German Pinschers most enjoy hunting.