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While not quite as well known as his canine brethren, this elegant, smart, and loyal dog breed is a treasure. He's an excellent companion whose intelligence will keep you on your toes and whose devotion will melt your heart. If German Pinschers could talk, here are a few things they'd tell you.

1. No, I'm not a Doberman Pinscher or a Miniature Pinscher (Min Pin), I am my own breed! And an old one, at that. In fact, as a German Pinscher, I'm part of the origins of several newer breeds, like the Affenpinscher, all schnauzers and, of course, the Doberman Pinscher and Miniature Pinscher.

2. I'm bigger than a Min Pin and smaller then a Doberman, so stop asking which one I am. In fact, I'm more closely related to the Standard Schnauzer than either of those breeds.

3. My whole breed was nearly lost after the world wars, and one man is credited with saving us. Werner Jung searched Germany for typical pinschers and used these with some oversized Miniature Pinschers and a female pinscher from East Germany to revive the breed. He even risked his life to smuggle the female pinscher into West Germany. Thank you, Werner!

4. I am really, really smart. In fact, I may be smarter than you. If you're not clever and consistent with me, I will most definitely be the boss of you. On the other hand, teach me things—I love to learn.

5. You know those noisy dogs that bark at everything? I'm not one of those. But if I do bark, pay attention, because I'm trying to tell you something. In fact, I may be trying to warn you of danger, since my job is to protect you.

6. Yes, I know I'm gorgeous. How many other breeds have this shimmering coat or are quite as elegant and muscular as I am? We German Pinschers come in different colors, too, including black, blue, various shades of rich, vibrant reds and fawn.

7. Please get off the couch! I'm a German Pinscher, I've got a lot of energy, and we could break a sweat together! So, let's go for a run… a long run. I'm even up for dog sports like agility and tracking. Of course, if you have any critters that need hunting down, I'm always on call.

8. Please don't buy me a toy, buy me several. There's really no such thing as too many playthings, and I can't wait to tear apart (um, I mean play with) the next toy.

9. I'm so happy to see you when you come home that I just want to jump all over you. (You probably shouldn't let me.) Instead, I think you should take me with you everywhere you go. I really want to do whatever you're doing.

10. Did I mention how much I love you?

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Selecting a Puppy

How do you know what breed is right for your family? How do you find a reputable breeder? What questions should you ask a breeder? Download this e-book for guidance on these questions and other important factors to consider when looking for a puppy.