The Loyal German Pinscher
A Fine Companion Dog

descriptive textDog breed info
German Pinscher
Weight: 25— 35 lbs
Height: 17” — 20”
AKC Rank 2008 #139
Lifespan: 12—15 yrs
Group Working
Origin: Germany

Dog Breed Info - The German Pinscher

Breed Overview

Origin: 1600’s. Original function: Ratting. Today: Watchdog, Companion dog. Colors: Fawn to stag red, black and tan, blue and tan.

During the 1600’s this dog was mixed with Black and Tan Terriers creating the Rattenfanger, a versatile working raster and watchdog The Rattenfanger later became the Pinscher. It remained a hard working dog for several centuries, especially valued for it’s rodent-catching ability around the stables.. The first Pinscher breed standard was completed in 1884 but the breed didn’t really catch on and numbers fell quite a bit. The two world wars took an extra toll on these Pinschers. After WWII, the breed was teetering on extinction. From 1949 and 1958, no Pinscher’s were registered in West Germany. The Pinscher had to rely on it’s descendent, the Miniature Pinscher for survival. Four oversized Min Pins were selected and registered in 1958 by the Pinscher Schnauzer Klub in West Germany. A female Pinscher was smuggled from East Germany where Pinschers still existed, and bred to three on the Min Pin males. Almost all current dogs of the German Pinscher breed descended from these five dogs and the breed started it’s presence in America in the 1970’s. The AKC registered the Pinscher into the Working Group in 2003


This is one dog that must have adequate obedience training. The Germans Pinscher is intelligent and may be a little slow to learn, but patience will work and he will learn. The best method for stubborn breeds is clicker training with positive reinforcement which is discussed at this site.
This dog tends not to obey unless he sees a good reason to do so. That’s one reason why strict training is necessary.

Training for this breed needs to be firm, consistent and always positive, but in a kind and polite manner. The Pinscher must realize he is not the leader of the pack at any time. Always maintain the authority position and you’ll have a wonderful dog as an outcome.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your German Pinscher? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Some German Pinscher puppies can be difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. Others go through with a breeze. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


The German Pinscher is a great little dog, vivacious and courageous, active, playful, and affectionate all in one. He makes a great house pet and family companion, always eager to run and romp with older, well-mannered kids. This dog has a loud bark and is a good watchdog. He needs plenty of obedience training starting at a young age of 4 or 5 weeks and needs to be handled by an alpha-pack-leader-type owner. As long as the dog knows he is the submissive on in the family, the one at the bottom of the chain of command, he will do a terrific job of being a good family friend and protector. This is a loyal dog and will watch out for the children, house, property and adults in it. He's a dog for the experienced owner.

The dog tends to have a dominance problem and will try to run the household if not handled with a strict upper hand. Even the kids need to use an aloha-dog approach to playtime. Firm but kind. The Pinscher seldom barks unless someone is at the door, roaming in the yard or coming down the chimney. I’m saying, he only barks if it’s unusual, not for the fun of it.

Your Pinscher will insist on coming to bed with you, supervising your housework, overseeing your gardening and taking part in anything else you might do in a given day. He wants to be your constant partner and may even provide the entertainment for the evening.

If you happen to get a German Pinscher with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Not too good. Some are dog-aggressive. Will pick and choose his dog friends. He’s territorial and may see other dogs as a threat to his property.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Fair. Introduce the German Pinscher slowly to other pets. Dogs are introduced on common ground with dog walks. Put the family cat in a cage in the center of a room and let the dog sniff. Repeat for 3 or 4 days, an hour at a time, then let the cat and dog mingle. The Pinscher will likely chase and kill rodent-looking animals since that’s his heritage and instinct.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Wary of strangers. It’s a natural watchdog - “protection instinct” thing. Will warm up to people once the perceived threat goes away.


Very playful. Any game will do.


Very affectionate. Loves his family and is terribly loyal.

Good with children?

Good with older children 6 or 7 and up that are well-mannered and respectful of dogs. The German Pinscher doesn’t like the screaming, screeching, poking, pulling, silly antics very young kids can dish out. This dog will certainly romp and roll in the grass with the kids, take tummy rubs and chase after the children, though.

Good with Seniors over 65?

The German Pinscher is a fine pet for seniors. If the senior is into walking for health and maybe tossing a ball for a game of fetch in the yard or park, this will work. The dog is affectionate, easy to care for, a great watchdog, playful, loyal and protective so it’s all good.

Living environment

House with a small fenced yard, ranch all okay,

If in an apartment, flat or condo, be sure the Pinscher gets out for his daily exercise and potty walks. This dog is small enough that he could negotiate narrow apartment stairs of an elevator without too much conflict with other dogs being a problem en route.

This dog does not like being left outdoors alone or put in a kennel and left. He’s very sociable and is strictly an indoor family companion dog.


Energy level

Fairly high energy. Rate this about 7 bars out of 10.

Exercise needs, daily

Moderate. Two good walks daily + a game of fetch OR maybe some jogging or biking on leash. You must keep him tethered because if he sees a squirrel or any small, fast-moving animal, he'll chase it down.


Excellent. Will alert to any intruder, a knock on the door or unusual activity around the house and probably a fire or other disaster.

Guard dog

Fair. This dog is aggressive enough but not a killer. He will attempt to ward off intruders and does not back down from fights with anyone.


Moderate shedding.


Brush now and then. Maybe twice a month. Give a bath only as needed and not too often as this dries the skin.



Suggested Reading - The German Pinscher
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

2nd book from left - "A Dog Who's Always Welcome" shows how to train your dog way past normal obedience and into the THERAPY DOG world of focus and polite manners.

3rd book from left - "101 Dog Tricks" is stimulating mental exercise for your dog. There are things in this book I had no idea existed!

The book on the far right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog illness, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners.


Dog Health Issues For The German Pinscher
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the German Pinscher by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • von Willebrand"s Disease—A deficiency in a clotting factor in the blood. The affected dog does not properly utilize the blood-platelets for blood-clotting. Thus, the dog is prone to excessive bleeding if in an accident or surgery.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, hind/back leg acts lame, can't move, weak legs. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing the German Pinscher great pain, weakness and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision which if not treated early can lead to total blindness.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—(PRA) An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

Other health problems could occur with your German Pinscher. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide


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