Main Content

German Pinscher

  • Save search for breed
German Pinscher

Form and Function

The German Pinscher is a medium-sized dog with a muscular square build. They are light enough to be extremely agile and solid enough to be strong. They can hike all day, aided by extremely sensitive senses. The German Pinscher has found a new niche as a companion and watchdog of ideal size and loyal temperament.


Ready to see what dogs fit you best? Take our short quiz to find out!

Breed Traits

Energy Level

4 out of 5

Exercise Requirements

3 out of 5


4 out of 5

Affection Level

4 out of 5

Friendliness To Dogs

2 out of 5

Friendliness To Other Pets

1 out of 5

Friendliness To Strangers

2 out of 5


3 out of 5

Ease of Training

3 out of 5

Grooming Requirements

1 out of 5

Heat Sensitivity

2 out of 5


5 out of 5

Breed Attributes




25-35 lb





Area of Origin


Date of Origin



The progenitor of better-known Pinscher breeds, the German Pinscher is an old breed that can trace back to the German Bibarhund of the seventh century and the Tanner of the fourteenth century. In the 1600s dogs with this ancestry or type were mixed with Black and Tan Terriers, creating the Rattenfanger, a versatile working watchdog. The Rattenfanger became the Pinscher, and it remained a hard working dog for several centuries, especially valued for its rodent-catching ability around the stables.

With the advent of dog shows in the late 1800s, interest in the Pinscher grew. The first Pinscher breed standard was drawn up in 1884. The breed didn’t garner immediate favor with dog fanciers and numbers fell. An effort to count, register, and exhibit Pinschers was thwarted by the world wars. After World War II the breed was on the verge of extinction. Between 1949 and 1958 not a single Pinscher litter was registered in West Germany. Now the Pinscher had to rely on its descendant, the Miniature Pinscher, for survival. Four oversize Miniature Pinschers were selected and registered in 1958 by the Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub in West Germany. A Pinscher female was smuggled from East Germany, where Pinschers still existed, and bred to three different MinPin males. Almost all current German Pinschers descend from these five dogs. German Pinschers began their presence in America in the late 1970s. In 2001 the AKC admitted the German Pinscher into its Miscellaneous class, and in 2003 it became a bonafide member of the Working Group.


Vivacious, tenacious, and courageous, the German Pinscher is a lively self-appointed property patroller. Ever alert, the German Pinscher does not bark frivolously, but does sound the alert to intruders. A quick learner, the German Pinscher is nonetheless not inclined to obey unless there’s a good reason to do so. The breed is playful and affectionate, and good with considerate children. They can be wary of strangers. German Pinschers may argue over which of them gets to be boss, and they may not be good with small pets.


German Pinschers like to be in the thick of things and do not appreciate being left outside alone or relegated to a kennel. This is a high-energy dog that is easily bored and frustrated if not given a way to stimulate their mind and exercise their body. Grooming is wash and wear; only occasional brushing is required.


  • Major concerns: none
  • Minor concerns: none
  • Occasionally seen: vWD, cataract, CHD
  • Suggested tests: hip, eye, DNA for vWD
  • Life span: 12–15 years


Note: While the characteristics mentioned here may frequently represent this breed, dogs are individuals whose personalities and appearances will vary. Please consult the adoption organization for details on a specific pet.

Finding German Pinschers for You...

Do you have a dog?