German Pinscher

The German Pinscher has very developed sensitivity, intelligence, talent for training, fearlessness, endurance, and resistance to disease. It is quick-thinking, alert, and cautious and alert to strangers. When threatened, it has fearless courage and perseverance. It is a lively dog, but can’t bark too much. It cannot show hostility or unprovoked attacks for no reason. Full consideration should be given to the high vigilance, high intelligence and lively character of the German Pinscher. The aggressiveness shown to other dogs should not be regarded as hostility. The ideal height for males or females is 35-50 cm from the highest point of the withers to the ground.

German Pinscher


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 German Pinschers originally earned a living: rat killing. Today they are excellent watchdogs and vigilant family guardians.

About the German Pinscher

Sleek, shiny, and streamlined, German Pinschers 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. German Pinschers 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.

German Pinscher


AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 134 of 197

Height: 17-20 inches

Weight: 25-45 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

The sleek, no-frills German Pinscher is among Germany’s oldest breeds and the prototype of other pinscher breeds. This energetic, super-intelligent dog was at first used as a rat catcher but can be trained for all types of canine work.


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.

German Pinscher


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.


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.


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 obedience, agility, rally, tracking, and barn hunts.

German Pinscher


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.


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

Is a German Pinscher a good family dog?

German Pinschers are working dogs, guard dogs, and devoted and loving family dogs. Although they can adapt to many living situations, their high intelligence and energy levels mean they will need lots of exercise.

What’s the difference between a German pinscher and a Doberman pinscher?

Both breeds should have some width and fill when viewed from the front. The Doberman has heavy (round versus oval) bone, and the German Pinscher is well boned, but not heavy boned as compared to the Standard Schnauzer. The German Pinscher is a medium-boned, medium-bodied dog.

How smart is a German Pinscher?

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.

Can a German Pinscher be left alone?

The German pinscher does not like to be left alone with nothing to do. They are intelligent dogs and need mental stimulation to prevent destructive behaviors. Because of their small size and short hair coat, the German pinscher should be protected from the cold.

How often should you bathe a German Pinscher?

every six to eight weeks

This intelligent dog can be bathed weekly up to every six to eight weeks depending on his lifestyle. The German Pinscher has a short, smooth coat.

How big does a pinscher dog get?

12.5 inches

Size. Males and females stand 10 to 12.5 inches high and weigh 8 to 11 pounds.

german pinscher temperament

The German Pinscher is strong-willed, devoted, and in need of a consistent and firm owner. They can take over a home if rules are not set when they’re young. With training and consistency, German Pinschers will learn quickly. Naturally suspicious of strangers, they make excellent guard dogs.

training german pinscher

german pinscher food

High-quality dry food provides balanced nutrition for full-grown german pinschers and may be mixed with canned food, broth, or water. Your german pinscher may also have a taste for fruits and vegetables, cottage cheese, and cooked eggs, but these foods should be less than ten percent of her daily allowance.