5 Things to Know About German Pinschers

German Pinschers were originally known as excellent vermin hunters. By: Judith Dzierzawa

1. Key Characteristics

  • AKC Group: Working
  • Height: 16–19 inches
  • Weight: 25–35 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: Up to 15 years

The German Pinscher is a medium-sized dog with strong vermin-hunting instincts. The medium eyes are oval-shaped. Ears are usually cropped and the tail docked, although these practices are illegal in some European countries for non-working dogs.

The short, glossy coat comes in colors of black, blue, brown, fawn and red and may have markings of red, tan, or red and tan.

2. Where They Came From

As the name suggests, German Pinschers originated in Germany. They were mentioned in history as early as 1884. Although they are tied to the origins of other Pinschers, they are actually closer to the standard schnauzer.

German Pinschers almost went extinct around World Wars I and II, as did many other breeds. The reason for this is not clear, but Pinschers were used to hunt vermin on farms, and one idea is that the farmers had to abandon their homes to serve in the wars.

The breed was revitalized in 1958 after Werner Jung risked his life to smuggle a female into Eastern Germany. She was then mated to several males, and the breed slowly began to increase in number.

The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2003.

By: stessi-cliff
German Pinschers are incredibly athletic and have a lot of energy. By: stesi-cliff

3. How Friendly Are They?

Pinschers are great watch dogs. They are smart, confident and always alert.

They are good with children and other pets, although they may run after smaller pets because of their strong vermin-hunting instincts. They may chase after moles, snakes and other small animals, just as they did many years ago on German farms.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs


HIGH: This agile and energetic breed needs daily walks and even jogs. These dogs do well in apartments with sufficient exercise but would really appreciate a small yard. Exercise your Pinscher in a secure area or while the dog is on a lead so they don’t run off while expelling all that energy.

Grooming Needs


LOW:  The short, glossy coat sheds an average amount and is easy to maintain. Brush the coat occasionally and bathe the dog as needed. Also, trim those fast-growing nails regularly.

Health Problems


MEDIUM: German Pinschers are generally pretty healthy dogs, but common health issues for this breed can include:

    • Hip dysplasia
    • Eye problems
    • Cardiovascular problems
    • Hematological (blood) problems
    • Respiratory issues
    • Dental problems
    • Muscular issues
    • Eye problems
    • Urogenital issues

Check out this speedy German Pinscher:

5. Where to Adopt One

Purebred German Pinschers may not be easy to find in the United States.

If you contact breeders, make sure they’re not operating a puppy mill and can show you the parents of the dog. Genetic health tests are available for this breed for the hips, eyes and heart, so ask if these tests have been performed on the dog or on the dog’s parents (and request a copy).

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