The unequivocal German Pinscher temperament flows from his ancient past. Bred for intelligence and athleticism, he is a great candidate for any job you want him to do. He’s a worker clothed in elegance
The sleek form and graceful movement of this mid-sized dog not only look good, but he’s also talented in many areas that make him an ideal companion and sporting dog.
He was bred for a purpose, and he embraces it with fidelity.
German Pinscher Quick Facts:
The elegant and stalwart German Pinscher is recognized with the American Kennel Club as a working dog (Terrier in United Kennel Club) and is extremely versatile in his ability to do many activities.
Both the Doberman and MinPin are very similar in looks (except for size) and equally as trainable due to their quick minds and ready attitudes.
The German Pinscher’s temperament is the forerunner to these other breeds.
The German Pinscher Temperament, Personality and Focus Areas
The breed standard for the ideal German Pinscher temperament is intelligence, fearlessness, and endurance. He makes a perfect watchdog because he is alert, vigilant, and watchful of strangers. He should show vivaciousness but not be excessively noisy.
The breed standard forbids viciousness by unwarranted or unprovoked attacks. Aggressive behavior toward another dog is not deemed viciousness. Shyness is a fault.
The German Pinscher Temperament is a great reason to own this delightful breed.
Focus your attention on learning and working on attaining great results in the following 5 areas of your German Pinschers temperament and you would be rewarded with an excellent companion.
This is a very intelligent breed, with an active mind that requires something to do. He was bred to do jobs requiring decision making, concentration, and intelligence.
As a member of the Working Dog Group, he excels at herding livestock, being a watchdog, and eliminating vermin.
That’s why it’s important to make sure your German Pinscher has something to occupy his mind when you’re not around.
Obedience training is an excellent way to challenge him, as are interactive dog toys and sports like agility and parkour.
The German Pinscher temperament means that he is highly trainable.
He quickly makes the connection between a verbal cue (or hand sign), an action, and an award.
Maybe not the best choice for a novice owner, but if you’ve owned dogs in the past, he’ll make a fine companion.
The Pinscher dog loves his family but may bond strongly with one member and want to be together with “his person” anytime circumstances allow.
Although he is a good dog for a family, small children may not be well-tolerated because they are erratic and unpredictable.
Older kids may find that the German Pinscher’s temperament lends itself to becoming their best-friend-forever.
4. Activity Needs
On par with his intelligence is his activity level—both are high.
He doesn’t make a particularly great dog for living in an apartment. But if he gets plenty of time to run off his energy at the dog park most days, he will be fine with the small living space.
If you’re a runner, you may have found the perfect running partner in the German Pinscher.
But be aware that Pinschers may not tolerate other dogs and keep him on the leash when you jog.
For that same reason, he is best as the only pet in the household.
The German Pinscher’s temperament makes him a terrific watchdog.
They are alert, vigilant, deliberate and fearless, and may not even give strangers the time of day.
They are not particularly noisy, so when they do bark, there’s usually a reason for it.
The German Pinscher’s Appearance:
The rippling of muscles is obvious beneath the German Pinscher’s short, sleek coat.
His attractive, wedge-shaped head rises from a well-muscled, sloping shoulder and his intelligent, dark eyes reveal a mind that is sharp and easily trained.
Although his gait is engaging, there is nothing “fancy” about this breed.
What Does The Breed Standard Say About the GP's Looks?
Pinschers, as a rule, are elegant, sleek, and have a sturdy, square build without coarseness. They are muscular and powerful, easily adapting to any activity.
The German Pinscher is a medium-size dog, standing at about knee level on must adults. According to the standard, that would be about 17” to 20” at the top of the shoulder. Weight should be between 25-45 pounds.
- Coat and Color
The pinscher’s coat is short and dense, lying flat, smooth and shiny. Colors are restricted, but there is much variation among the allowable colors. Reds range from fawn to bright red to stag red (which has black hairs intermingling with the red ones). Bi-colored pinscher dogs will be black or blue with well defined red or tan markings.
- Ears and tail
The ears are generally cropped for the show ring, and the tail is usually docked. However, GPs can have natural ears and tails, although it detracts from the distinct pinscher profile.
History of the German Pinscher
A Foundation Breed of Germany
German Pinschers are among the very oldest breeds in Germany.
Although they are progenitors of the Miniature Pinscher and the Doberman Pinscher, it is interesting that they are more closely related to the Schnauzer.
In fact, until the early 1900s, the two were considered one breed with two types of coat: smooth and wire.
After the end of World War II, the breed was nearly extinct.
Werner Jung smuggled two females to America and bred them with some oversize Miniature Pinschers to reestablish the breed.
So even though the MinPin wouldn’t have developed without the German Pinscher, in turn, the German Pinscher would have died out if not for the MinPin!
How To Train a German Pinscher
Early socialization is extremely important for the Pinscher. Without it, his natural tendency to be aggressive toward other dogs can develop into viciousness.
Once he is well-socialized as a puppy, progressing to a group obedience class will help him develop a good attitude in any situation.
If you stop to think about it, the current fad of “positive only” dog training leaves the dog in control.
Using treats to acquire desirable behavior is fine unless the dog doesn’t want to obey. If the treat isn’t enough to stop bad behavior, then the dog decides when (and if) he is going to obey this time.
Since the German Pinscher’s temperament is exemplified in his intelligence, he will see right through you if you try to “bribe” good behavior.
Giving him a treat to say “well done” is fine some of the time. In fact, clicker training works very well for this astute dog.
A combination of firm and gentle (not harsh!) works best to train the German Pinscher temperament.
Gaining his respect is paramount in making sure he doesn’t bark excessively, dig your flowers up, or chew up your latest acquisitions, and that requires respect.
That means when he’s doing something wrong, you must convey—gently—that you’re not going to put up with that behavior.
A firm “No!” and removing him from the area or removing the object of his attention are necessary at first.
Teaching him obedience commands like “drop it” will eventually make him immediately release anything he shouldn’t be messing with.
He’s happiest when he has a job to do, so to teach him obedience save the “treats only” for training tricks.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Havanese dog take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
Caring for your German Pinscher
How to feed the GP properly
High-quality dog food is essential to your German Pinscher’s health and should make up the bulk of his nutrition.
Treats in moderation are fine, but too many will make him gain weight, which may lead to health problems that could easily be avoided.
Many people like to feed their dogs table scraps, and some human foods are okay for your German Pinscher to eat.
Foods that are acceptable include bread,
- Cheese, coconut, corn, eggs, honey, milk, and yogurt.
- Some nuts are okay (peanuts and cashews) but others are strictly off limits (almonds and macadamia nuts, which can be extremely toxic).
Never give him chocolate!
Also, keep him away from foods that contain xylitol which is deadly to dogs, even in small amounts.
The best plan is to seldom feed anything other than his balanced dog food.
Fresh water should always be available to him.
German Pinscher owners are fortunate in that grooming the Pinscher is pretty easy.
A weekly brushing will help eliminate dead hair and an occasional bath will keep him shiny and beautiful.
Check his ears every week and clean them so that he does not develop problems like ear infections.
His nails should be trimmed with a clipper or ground with a grinder if they are not naturally worn down by outdoor exercise.
Is the German Pinscher hypoallergenic?
That’s kind of a tricky question because no dog is truly hypoallergenic.
It isn’t the dog hair that usually causes allergies, but the dander that is released when hair is shed.
Since Pinschers shed seasonally, dander will be a problem to those with allergies to dogs.
Another reason that no dog is truly hypoallergenic is that many people are allergic to a protein in the dog’s saliva and urine.
In general, the German Pinscher is robust and healthy. However, they are prone to
- Hip Dysplasia
Eye Disease (eg. cataracts)
Von Willebrand’s Disease (a serious blood-clotting disorder).
Some, though relatively few, develop heart disease and some have adverse reactions to routine vaccinations.
Before you purchase a German Pinscher puppy, ask the breeder to show proof that the parents have been tested and are free of these diseases. A healthy pinscher has a lifespan of 12-15 years.
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As we have mentioned earlier, GPs are very athletic, active dogs. Ample exercise is extremely important both to his physical and his mental well-being. If you don’t have time for long walks, time at the dog park, or playing energetic games with your dog, the German Pinscher is probably not for you.
Finding Your Own German Pinscher
How Much Does a German Pinscher Puppy Cost?
In today’s market, a German Pinscher's price ranges from about $1,400 to $1,600 for a purebred, registered pinscher puppy.
The price of a German Pinscher depends on the demand for the breed and the location of the breeder, as well as the availability of litters and the dog’s lineage.
How do I Find a Reputable German Pinscher Breeder?
Don’t immediately head to the internet and key in “German Pinscher puppies for sale.”
Instead, do a search offline for a reputable breeder.
- Ask friends and neighbors first.
- If you know someone who already owns a GP, ask for help. Referrals are the most common way breeders sell new puppies. A reputable breeder will be as concerned about the home you are offering as the price of the puppy you buy.
- Check with local and national breed clubs such as the German Pinscher Club of America or the German Pinscher Club in the UK. Locating local chapters will probably give you a list of breeders affiliated with the club near you.
- The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a form you can fill out to find a breeder who has German Pinscher puppies for sale.
- Call your veterinarian. Many breeders ask their vets to keep their information on file for prospective buyers. Other places to find info are dog shows and sporting events, grooming salons, and pet food stores that often have a bulletin board.
Once you’ve located a breeder, how do you know if he’s reputable?
There are several ways:
- Are the parents on site? If not, does he have all the information about the parents, including if they’ve been screened for health problems?
- Does he ask questions about your lifestyle and living arrangements
? Ishe knowledgeable about the breed?
- Does he ask to see your home?
- Does he offer a health guarantee in writing?
What If There Are No Puppies Available?
Perhaps you can’t find a reputable breeder near you. If you got good references, checking online can link you up with breeders in other states.
Most will have an application form they want you to fill out and then they’ll contact you.
Many breeders won’t ship their puppies by air but will meet you half-way if you’ll agree to drive to pick your new puppy up.
Maybe you’d love to have a German Pinscher, but don’t want to start out with a puppy. Finding an older dog is a good way to go if you’re not really excited about the puppy stage.
Search online for “German Pinscher adoption” or “German Pinscher rescue.” Chances are there is a group not too far away that will know of dogs available. When you adopt or rescue a dog, you probably won’t know anything about the dog’s past or lineage.
Make sure that you can return the dog if he doesn’t pass a vet’s check. Most breed rescues actually have you sign a contract saying if for any reason you cannot keep the dog, it will be returned to them.
Is the German Pinscher Temperament Right For You?
So after you’ve read this brief German Pinscher guide, you’ve decided the German Pinscher temperament is just what you’re looking for.
- You know his exercise needs, his mental requirements, and how to take care of him.
- Your lifestyle allows you to spend the necessary time with him that the Pinscher requires, and you love that he is a good watchdog.
If that’s you, welcome to the special, elite group of people who, like you, have fallen in love with this beautiful, energetic breed that will fill your heart to overflowing!
Calvin is the co-founder and one of the main contributors to dogtemperament.com. He has been an avid dog lover all his life. He enjoys researching and sharing great ideas on how you can avoid common pitfalls of dog ownership and build the most loving and enjoyable relationship with your dog.