Dog Health & More
The German Pinscher dog breed is muscular and agile, powerful yet graceful. A medium-sized dog with an elegant appearance, he's admired as much for his beauty as for his intelligence. He's a working breed and guard dog, and a devoted and loving family dog.
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The German Pinscher has the energy and drive of all working breeds, but he's also an outstanding companion. He loves being with his family and will meld himself into every facet of your life.
The German Pinscher's playfulness will continue well into adulthood, and he may continue to disembowel squeaky toys long past teething (dental floss is the best repair tool). When German Pinchers are in a spot of trouble at home, some will look you right in the eye and smile, showing their teeth in a big grin.
The German Pinscher was originally developed as a working dog who hunted and killed vermin (that means he'll still nail them today, so he's not going to be good in a home with pet rodents). Today, he still has the energy of a working breed and has proved himself to be an all-around kind of guy when it comes to canine sports and careers. You can find German Pinschers in the conformation ring, at obedience rallies or agility trials, and at work in tracking. He also works as a service dog, therapy dog, and as a pampered pet who enjoys the comforts of family life.
He can be assertive and overbearing, and he'll take over your heart and home in a matter of seconds. Don't kid yourself: he needs a firm, experienced owner who is consistent in training and good at establishing rules right from the beginning. If you tend to wimp out or you want a placid dog, find another breed — this one will walk all over you.
However, he will also be completely, utterly, and permanently devoted to you. This devotion supports his ability to be an excellent guard dog. Despite an independent streak, he likes to be in the middle of all family activities, right there with you.
The German Pinscher will alert bark with a strong voice. If any intruder risks entering your home, this dog will defend it with everything he's got. And he's quite capable of taking care of an intruder: While he's not the largest guard dog around, maxing out at about 45 pounds, he's incredibly skillful at the job.
Given that he looks like a small Doberman Pinscher or a humongous Miniature Pinscher (he was a foundation dog for both of those breeds), and that he's suspicious of strangers, he can make some people nervous. He will accept your friends without problems; it's the folks you don't know who might hear that strong voice he's famous for, the one that sounds like it's coming from a much bigger dog. He saves that voice for special occasions.
A German Pinscher is intelligent and quick to learn, and he can reach all levels of training and competition. He also has a personality that will test limits (both his own and yours). Apartments make adequate homes if you properly exercise your German Pinscher, but it isn't his ideal situation. He does better with a yard to run in--a properly fenced yard, to prevent any escape-artist tendencies. He has a strong prey drive and will chase any animal deemed interesting (unfortunately, you are not the one doing the deeming).
He must be trained — start him at a young age. Since he's so intelligent, the task isn't difficult, even though he isn't as eager to please you as are some breeds; he really needs a firm and consistent owner. Use positive reinforcement and establish consistent rules, because German Pinschers are known for their strong temperament — given half a chance, he'll take control of the house.
But if you take the time and effort, the end result of training the German Pinscher is worth all the time it takes. For one thing, you don't want to end up living with a strong, wary, protective dog who's out of control; for another, it's highly satisfying to train such a smart and capable canine.
Socialization is just as important as obedience training for the German Pinscher, and it helps avoid aggressiveness. As a puppy he should be socialized to other dogs, puppies, adults, and children. Most obedience schools offer socialization classes, and he can also run errands with you, take long walks, go to the dog park, and have playdates with canine friends and two-legged children.
Although a German Pinscher is a loving family companion, he's not recommended for homes with children under the age of nine because of his strong and assertive nature. This can be overpowering even to some adults, but especially to a child.
However, if he's the dog for you, then there's no denying that the happy, loving, intelligent German Pinscher will make your family, life, and home complete.