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  • Temperament: Courageous, Intelligent, Vivacious
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 146 of 192
  • Height: 17-20 inches
  • Weight: 25-45 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Group: Working Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

German Pinscher standing in three-quarter view facing forward
German Pinscher head facing left
German Pinscher sitting facing forward
German Pinscher coat detail
German Pinscher puppy

Find a Puppy: German Pinscher

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

The German Pinscher is a medium size, short coated dog, elegant in appearance with a strong square build and moderate body structure, muscular and powerful for endurance and agility. Energetic, watchful, alert, agile, fearless, determined, intelligent and loyal, the German Pinscher has the prerequisites to be an excellent watchdog and companion. The German Pinscher is examined on the ground.

HEAD

Powerful, elongated without the occiput being too pronounced and resembles a blunt wedge in both frontal and profile views. The total length of the head from the tip of the nose to the occiput is one half the length from the withers to the base of the tail resulting in a ratio of approximately 1:2. Expression – sharp, alert and responsive. Eyes – medium size, dark, oval in shape without the appearance of bulging. The eyelid should be tight and the eyeball non-protruding. Ears – set high, symmetrical, and carried erect when cropped. If uncropped, they are V-shaped with a folding pleat, or small standing ears carried evenly upright.

NECK, TOPLINE, BODY

Neck – elegant and strong, of moderate thickness and length, nape elegantly arched. The skin is tight, closely fitting to the dry throat without wrinkles, sagging, or dewlaps. Topline – the withers form the highest point of the topline, which slopes slightly toward the rear, extending in a straight line from behind the withers, through the well-muscled loin to the faintly curved croup. Back – short, firm, and level, muscular at the loins. Faults – long back, not giving the appearance of squarely built, roach back, sway back. Body – compact and strong, so as to permit greater flexibility and agility, with the length of leg being equal to the depth of body. Loin is well muscled. The distance from the last rib to the hip is short. Chest – moderately wide with well-sprung ribs, and when viewed from the front, appears to be oval. The forechest is distinctly marked by the prosternum. The brisket descends to the elbows and ascends gradually to the rear with the belly moderately drawn up. Fault – excessive tuck up.

FOREQUARTERS

The sloping shoulder blades are strongly muscled, yet flat and well laid back, forming an angle of approximately 45 degrees to the horizontal. They are well angled and slope forward, forming an approximately 90 degree angle to the upper arm, which is equal in length to the shoulder blade. Such angulation permits the maximum forward extension of the forelegs without binding or effort. Forelegs – straight and well boned, perfectly vertical when viewed from all sides, set moderately apart with elbows set close to the body. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed. Pasterns – firm and almost perpendicular to the ground. Feet – short, round, compact with firm dark pads and dark nails. The toes are well closed and arched like cat feet.

COAT

Short and dense, smooth and close lying. Shiny and covers the body without bald spots. A hard coat should not be penalized.

HINDQUARTERS

The thighs are strongly muscled and in balance with forequarters. The stifles are well bent and well boned, with good angulation. When viewed from the rear, the hocks are parallel to each other.

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About the German Pinscher

Sleek, shiny, and streamlined, GPs are a true dog lover’s delight. They’re eye-catching and elegant but in all ways honestly doggy—nothing fussy or exaggerated. They’ll stand about knee-high to the average adult. Muscles ripple beneath a shimmering coat of red or black-and-blue with red accents. There’s nobility in the elongated, wedge-shaped head, and the dark eyes are alert and eager. GPs move with the kind of strong, free-and-easy gait that tells you this is a confident companion, up for anything the day might bring.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
German Pinscher puppy

Find a Puppy: German Pinscher

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find German Pinscher Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The German Pinscher should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet or the dog’s breeder if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should always be available.

GROOMING

The German Pinscher’s short, dense coat needs little maintenance. Weekly grooming with a brush and an occasional bath will keep him shiny and looking his best. As with all breeds, his nails should be trimmed monthly if not worn down naturally, as overly long nails can be painful and cause problems walking and running. His ears should be checked weekly and cleaned if needed of any dirt or excess wax.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Occasional Bath/Brush

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Occasional

EXERCISE

The German Pinscher is an agile and athletic, high-energy breed who requires ample daily exercise for his physical and mental well-being. The breed is medium sized and robust, with a strong prey drive. Alert and intelligent, they are outstanding performance dogs as well as companions. They excel at anything that challenges their considerable physical and mental abilities, including canine sports such as obedienceagilityrallytracking, and barn hunts.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Needs Lots of Activity

TRAINING

German Pinschers are highly intelligent—so much so that they can be manipulative. They require a firm and knowledgeable owner, preferably with previous experience with other working dogs. This willful, mischievous breed requires lots of early socialization and obedience training. The main challenge is to keep the German Pinscher interested and engaged. He is a high-energy dog who is alert to his surroundings; he is inquisitive and will explore whatever is new and interesting. They are not ideal as a first breed for inexperienced dog owners.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

German Pinschers are typically robust, healthy dogs, although there are a few conditions that the breed can be prone to. These include hip dysplasia, eye disease, and von Willebrand’s disease. There is a small incidence of heart problems, and some delayed post-vaccine complications have also been reported within the breed. Responsible breeders test all breeding stock for conditions that can affect the breed. The teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.

 

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease DNA Test
  • Cardiac Exam

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

German Pinscher
German Pinscher
German Pinscher
German Pinscher
German Pinscher
German Pinscher

History

The German Pinscher is among its homeland’s oldest breeds. As the progenitor of the Miniature Pinscher and the ever-popular Doberman, among other German breeds, it can be said to be the prototypical pinscher. (A helpful historian tells us that “ ‘pinscher’ appears to be a Germanic form of the French word ‘pincer,’ meaning to seize or to nip.”) And seizing and nipping are apt descriptions of how GPs originally earned a living: rat killing. Today’s GPs are excellent watchdogs and vigilant family guardians.

Did You Know?

The German Pinscher originated in Germany and is more closely associated to the Schnauzer than the Doberman and other Pinschers.
The German Pinscher, like many breeds, approached extinction at the end of World War I and II.
The German Pinscher is known for its vermin hunting ability.
The German Pinscher is bigger than the Miniature Pinscher but smaller than the Doberman.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The German Pinscher is a medium size, short coated dog, elegant in appearance with a strong square build and moderate body structure, muscular and powerful for endurance and agility. Energetic, watchful, alert, agile, fearless, determined, intelligent and loyal, the German Pinscher has the prerequisites to be an excellent watchdog and companion. The German Pinscher is examined on the ground.

HEAD

Powerful, elongated without the occiput being too pronounced and resembles a blunt wedge in both frontal and profile views. The total length of the head from the tip of the nose to the occiput is one half the length from the withers to the base of the tail resulting in a ratio of approximately 1:2. Expression – sharp, alert and responsive. Eyes – medium size, dark, oval in shape without the appearance of bulging. The eyelid should be tight and the eyeball non-protruding. Ears – set high, symmetrical, and carried erect when cropped. If uncropped, they are V-shaped with a folding pleat, or small standing ears carried evenly upright.

NECK, TOPLINE, BODY

Neck – elegant and strong, of moderate thickness and length, nape elegantly arched. The skin is tight, closely fitting to the dry throat without wrinkles, sagging, or dewlaps. Topline – the withers form the highest point of the topline, which slopes slightly toward the rear, extending in a straight line from behind the withers, through the well-muscled loin to the faintly curved croup. Back – short, firm, and level, muscular at the loins. Faults – long back, not giving the appearance of squarely built, roach back, sway back. Body – compact and strong, so as to permit greater flexibility and agility, with the length of leg being equal to the depth of body. Loin is well muscled. The distance from the last rib to the hip is short. Chest – moderately wide with well-sprung ribs, and when viewed from the front, appears to be oval. The forechest is distinctly marked by the prosternum. The brisket descends to the elbows and ascends gradually to the rear with the belly moderately drawn up. Fault – excessive tuck up.

FOREQUARTERS

The sloping shoulder blades are strongly muscled, yet flat and well laid back, forming an angle of approximately 45 degrees to the horizontal. They are well angled and slope forward, forming an approximately 90 degree angle to the upper arm, which is equal in length to the shoulder blade. Such angulation permits the maximum forward extension of the forelegs without binding or effort. Forelegs – straight and well boned, perfectly vertical when viewed from all sides, set moderately apart with elbows set close to the body. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed. Pasterns – firm and almost perpendicular to the ground. Feet – short, round, compact with firm dark pads and dark nails. The toes are well closed and arched like cat feet.

COAT

Short and dense, smooth and close lying. Shiny and covers the body without bald spots. A hard coat should not be penalized.

HINDQUARTERS

The thighs are strongly muscled and in balance with forequarters. The stifles are well bent and well boned, with good angulation. When viewed from the rear, the hocks are parallel to each other.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black Check Mark For Standard Color 007
Blue Check Mark For Standard Color 037
Brown Check Mark For Standard Color 061
Fawn (Isabella) Check Mark For Standard Color 113
Red Check Mark For Standard Color 140

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Red & Tan Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 087
Red Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 023
Tan Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 012
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