AKA - Deutsche Pinscher, Duitse Pinscher, Standard Pinscher, Pinscher


The German Pinscher is a knee high sized dog, half the size of a Dobermann but larger and more robust dog than the Manchester and generally bolder in character.


Bold! If you like a small/medium sized dog with a big character and you have the confidence to manage it, you will laugh every day you have a Pinscher. In general they are very high energy dogs, needing plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. The translation of the German word Pinscher is terrier, and they have a great deal of that instinct. High defense, high pack and very high prey drives. Extremely loving, easily trainable - for the more experienced dog handler/trainer and huge fun.

You may have read stories of German Pinschers not being good with children. That myth probably goes back to a particularly sharp Pinscher who was imported many years ago, and whose progeny inherited his instability. Our German Pinschers are all great with children but much obviously depends on the dog and the child. It is quite easy for a Pinscher to snap if they are pushed into confrontation, so the smarter trainer and owner will not put themselves or the dog in that position. They are generally friendly and happy dogs, and vary in their character as much as any breed.


You cannot have a bold confident guarding breed without having to manage that character. Meek dogs don't need managing. This is not a meek breed. You may initially be greeted with suspicion or a bark especially if you are on their territory as their guarding and protective instinct is very strong. They are very smart, quick learners who, much the same as a Dobermann, need a lot of variation in their lives. Let the Pinscher come to meet you rather than pushing yourself onto them. Being overbearing and over-friendly is usually regarded with suspicion and contempt by all dogs! If you want attention, don't offer it!

The most important thing with Pinschers is to get the recall embedded very early. With such a big prey drive, the hair trigger chase is so rapid that unless you live in the middle of nowhere as we do, and have few roads to worry about, it is very hard to stop the Pinscher chase instinct. As we would never sell to owners who wouldn't let their dog off the lead, recall training is vital.

Often mistaken for a small sized Dobermann, Manchester Terrier or large Miniature Pinscher, German Pinschers are a very loyal breed being very protective of its owner and the family. They are an excellent choice as a guard dog because of their lack of fear when they feel threatened in any way. With the family they are very much part of the pack and will territorially guard their family and property. The right type of owner will challenge and guide this character to a constructive behaviour, and will not try to squash the inherent basis of the breed's make up.

Very much a family dog, like the Dobermann (and most breeds), the Pinscher needs to live in the home and does not do well when left outside. They are a very speedy and hardy little dog and being so bright are super at agility and fast training.

Pinscher-Schnauzer Crossbreeding Project (Finland). The breed are more popular throughout Europe, and are strongest numerically and in quality in the Nordic countries, particularly Finland and Sweden. In the 80's three Finnish German Pinscher kennels - Yarracitta, Waldschatz and Dorthonion, were worried about possible adverse effects of constant inbreeding already in the 80's and wanted to add diversity of the gene pool by Schnauzer cross-breeding. In 1996 the Finnish KC accepted the proposal and since then five crossbreed litters have been born. The crossbred puppies are registered as German Pinschers in the Finnish KC Special Register. This registration status allows the puppies to participate in shows and trials. The only exception is that they cannot received a CACIB. After three generations a normal FIN registration is again applied. The first generation dogs were mostly very hairy and also colours were very variable. In the second generation most dogs have significantly shorter hair and clean colours. This is even clearer in the third generation litter.



The German Pinscher breed standard is 16 to 19 inches to the shoulder and the Pinscher weighs on average 23 - 35 Pounds (11.3 to 15.9 kg) It is of medium size, with a strong muscular body. The skull is elongated. The stop is slight but clearly defined. The muzzle ends in a blunt wedge.

The Pinscher possesses a scissor bite. The nose is always black in color. The eyes are dark and oval in shape. The ears are set high and V-shaped being drop eared. The neck is curved and tight. The back is short, firm and clean with a slight slope and a slight rise over the loin.

The chest is moderately broad and oval in shape. The feet are short, round, compact, and arched. The hind feet are slightly longer than the forefeet. The tail is now natural The coat is short, smooth, and glossy showing off the well-muscled body with its elegant lines.

The coat is thick, short and smooth, and is in black and rust or fawn to stag red. The exact colors vary between registries but black with tan points and solid red of various shades are always recognized. Some registries also allow for solid fawn and blue with tan points. In the past Deutscher Pinschers that were solid black, solid blue, or red with tan points occurred but this is no longer the case. Blues and fawns are also known but most breeders try to avoid breeding colours.

The exact colors vary between registries but black with tan points and solid red of various shades are always recognized. Some registries also allow for solid fawn and blue with tan points. In the past Deutscher Pinschers that were solid black, solid blue, or red with tan points occurred but this is no longer the case.





Generally very good. There are the usual afflictions of many breeds - Hips, Eyes, VWd, thyroid and heart are problems to be aware of just as with humans, but are not common in any significantly debilitating numbers. For detailed information of the above conditions please click our Dobermann Health page which covers health conditions in more depth.

We have started in Pinschers as we mean to go on, and as we have done in Dobermanns for many years.


Hereditary Cataracts - These are found within the breed throughout the world, and is a condition not specific to German Pinschers. In European countries where testing is mandatory, HC appear broadly within the breed and it can be assumed that it's frequency is no less common in a less tested population. To really know the total impact on our breed, testing of breeding pairs is strongly encouraged. Since many eye conditions are an evolving problem, these exams are only valid for one year. It is recommended that dogs (and in particular dogs being bred from), are eye tested annually, and thereafter every few years as these dogs age, since some HC will not develop until after the age of five or six years.

Results of ophthalmologic screening examinations of German Pinschers in Finland--a retrospective study. Leppänen M, Mårtenson J, Mäki K.

Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, PO Box 57, 00014 Helsinki University, Finland. minna.leppanen@orionpharma.com

OBJECTIVE: To retrospectively review ophthalmologic findings in German Pinschers in Finland. ANIMALS STUDIED: One hundred and twenty-two German Pinschers that had ophthalmologic examination performed according to the Finnish Kennel Club's Eye Scheme before June 15, 1999. PROCEDURES: A total of 154 eye examination reports of 122 dogs were analysed and all described findings were reported. RESULTS: Persistent hyperplastic tunica vasculosa lentis (PHTVL) was diagnosed in 8.4% of all cases, and hereditary cataract (HC) in 6.5%. Even higher numbers of similar changes were reported by ophthalmologists; some of the dogs, however, were officially diagnosed as "free of symptoms" of inherited ocular diseases. A relatively high number (4.5%) of dogs had reported changes in Y sutures. A pedigree analysis suggests recessive inheritance for both diseases. Because of missing information about many dogs in the pedigree, an autosomal incomplete inheritance pattern cannot be ruled out in either case. CONCLUSIONS: Both HC and PHTVL are inherited diseases in German Pinschers. Further studies are needed to determine the importance of the changes found in Y sutures. Discrepancies between the official diagnosis and described changes are probably partially due to the lack of familiarity with the published literature concerning this breed. Further studies are needed to ascertain the inheritance pattern for both diseases. So far breeding with affected animals should be avoided.PMID: 11722779 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE].

An important factor in vaccinating the German Pinscher is the known reaction of some dogs to vaccines - particularly Distemper. A report below is written by Minna Leppanen.

Post-vaccinal reactions in German Pinschers –preliminary report
Minna Leppänen
Specialist Diploma in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
Since early 1980s breeders and puppy owners have noticed unexpectedly high number of postvaccinal complications within the breed. The only published information of the syndrome is the work of Hillgen and Koivisto (1996) that was based on the information collected by the breed club in Finland. The rest of the knowledge is based on the authors unpublished data of own cases and information I have collected from other veterinarians, breeders and dogowners.
In Hillgen and Koivisto's (1996) survey 33.2 % of owners reported that puppies had symptoms after distemper-vaccination in Finland. Some annual variation has been noticed. In Great Britain some breeders estimate that about 50% of all puppies show similar symptoms (Morrison D., personal communication); cases have been reported also in Sweden, Norway and Denmark (Kuisma I and. Nilsson, S., personal communication). Recently I found descriptions of some American dogs having similar symptoms in German Pinscher fanciers. Typical symptoms start usually 9-12 days after vaccinations and may include tiredness, fever, occasionally vomiting and eye discharge. These primary symptoms usually start 1-2 days before neurological signs. Severity of neurological signs has been variable. Some dogs have had only mild tremors, but in severe cases dogs various degrees of ataxia (=disturbances in equilibrium) and seizures have been noticed. In all known cases the symptoms developed after distemper-vaccination and usually after the first vaccination (the vaccination given when the puppy is 12 weeks old as is the routine in Finland). No correlation between the vaccine types and brands with the incidence or severity of the symptoms could be shown (Hillgen and Koivisto, 1996).
Of all known cases one dog was euthanized with suspected diagnosis of epilepsy without any treatment. No postmortem is available. Another dog died three days after the seizures begun.
The most prominent postmortem finding was acute, allergic encephalomyelitis (= brain inflammation) No distemper inclusions or distemper virus could be shown. Laboratory findings from other cases have been unremarkable: the only finding has been mild leucocytosis (=elevated white blood cells) in some dogs. (Hillgen and Koivisto, 1996; Leppänen, unpublished data.
The therapy has been based on the presumption of allergic background. Most cases have been treated with various doses, types and routes of administration of corticosteroids.
Breeders even advise puppy-owners to give a dog small doses of oral hydrocortisone (available prescription free) as soon as they notice any symptoms. In addition to corticosteroids some dogs have got seizure medication (mostly diazepam or phenobarbital) and in some also sedatives have been administered to dogs with serious seizures. Also, vitamin B-supplementation or antibiotics have been used as well as antiemetics for vomiting dogs. Some cases got no medication. Excluded the two above mentioned cases all dogs have recovered totally in 1-5 days and none is known to have similar symptoms after next
vaccinations (Hillgen and Koivisto, 1996; Leppänen unpublished data).
Until now no exact pathogenesis and etiology of post-vaccinal complications in German Pinschers have been found; also reports of cases and effects of treatment trials base mostly on personal experience with own patients or information reached from breeders or other veterinarians who have treated the cases. It is assumed that due a very small population and high degree of inbreeding the German Pinscher breed has some type of immunological defect, which makes the dogs unusually sensitive to distemper vaccines. The presumption of familiar disorder is supported by the finding that dogs that have had symptoms themselves
more commonly produce puppies with symptoms than unsymptomatic animals. It is, however, possible that unsymptomatic dogs have puppies who react after vaccination. The exact mode of heritability is however unclear. Controversially the breed is otherwise very healthy and no reports or experience of other common immunological problems could be found. Also, it is unclear, why these dogs recover so well unlike in other reported breed-specific or suspected immune-mediated encephalitis (Oliver et al., 1997, Vandevelde, 1998).

Because we do not know the exact pathogenesis the treatment was based partly on clinical findings and previous experience with these cases. In order to prevent complications caused by lengthened seizure activity the treatment and doses normally recommended for status epilepticus were used. The use of corticosteroids in these cases is based on assumption that we deal with allergic reactions. No recommendations of exact doses have been made. The cases the author has knowledge about have been treated with various types and doses; I personally prefer short-acting corticosteroids and low doses in order to prevent possible side effects from corticosteroids. It might be also possible that mild cases can recover without treatment: this is supported with the information from owners who tell that their dogs have had symptoms, but got no treatment. Also, some owners probably do not regocnize mild symptoms at all. On the other hand the possibility of preventing seizures or minimizing morbidity with early corticosteroid-administration has been discussed. Unfortunately we lack any controlled studies from the effectiveness and usefulness of different treatment regimens.

Hillgen J., Koivisto M.: Vaccinations and postvaccinal complications in dogs. Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki 1996, 47 pages
Oliver JE, Lorenz MD, Kornegay JN: Handbook of Veterinary Neurology. W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 1997, 453 pp
Vandevelde M.:Neurologic diseases of suspected infectious origin. In Infectious diseases of the dog and cat. Ed. Greene CE W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia 1998, pp5

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