Photo by © Da Pinschi

German Pinscher - Breed Profile:

Origin: Germany
Colors: Red fawn, black & tan, dark brown with yellow markings
Size: Medium
Type of Owner: Experienced
Exercise: Vigorous
Grooming: Little
Trainability: Easy to train
Combativeness: Tends to be fairly dog aggressive
Dominance: High
Noise: Likes to bark

Physical characteristics

The German Pinscher is a compact, squarely built dog with a smooth, glossy coat. The body is powerful and muscular yet very agile. The elongated head resembles a blunt wedge in both frontal and profile views. The skull is free from wrinkles. The stop is slight but distinct. The medium size eyes are dark and oval. The ears are set high and carried erect when cropped; when left natural, they are usually V-shaped and fold down. The teeth should meet in a strong scissor bite. The nose is black. The chest is moderately wide with well-sprung ribs. The topline slopes slightly from the withers to the back. The tail is carried above horizontal. In the United States, the tail is usually docked between the second and third joints. In most parts of Europe, docking tails is illegal. The forelegs are perfectly vertical. The cat-like feet are short, round and compact, with dark pads and nails. The gait is well-balanced, powerful, and relaxed.
German Pinschers weigh 25 to 35 pounds. The height is 16 to 19 inches.


Active, brave, loyal, and companionable. The German Pinscher requires a lot of daily exercise. This dog loves to be around people. If you are gone all day long or have to be out several nights a week, the German Pinscher is very likely to find ways to alleviate its boredom at your expense. Make sure the yard is securely fenced. The German Pinscher may dig holes or even dig its way out if left unattended and bored in the yard. Proper human to canine communication is essential. If the dog senses the owners are meek or passive, it will become bull-headed and stubborn. It will, however, respond well to a firm, calm, confident, and consistent leadership. German Pinschers like to bark. Proper discipline may help reduce this behaviour.
The German Pinscher has a very strong prey drive and will chase anything that moves fast. Be very careful with non-canine pets. Raising these dogs with other pets does not mean that the natural prey instinct will be diminished. Highly protective, the German Pinscher is not likely to allow strangers to enter the house without supervision. It can also be possessive of its personal belongings, but proper human leadership, training and discipline should prevent this. Extensive early socialization is highly important. This breed is not generally recommended for families with small children as it can be very protective and even bite. However, it can get on well with older, considerate, and respectful children.

Coat and grooming

The short coat is smooth, glossy, lying close to the body. It comes in red fawn, black & tan, and dark brown with yellow markings. Some white hair is fine, but white markings are not desirable. Occasional brushing should be enough to keep the coat in good condition. Shedding is average.


German Pinschers are basically healthy, although some individuals can be afflicted with hip dysplasia and eye problems. This breed has no doggy odour. The lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Other interesting facts

In spite of its name, the German Pinscher is more closely related to the Schnauzer rather than to the Doberman or Miniature Pinscher. Officially recognized in Germany in 1879, this breed is prized for its vermin hunting ability.