The German Pinscher is one of the oldest breeds in Germany, dating back several centuries. It gave rise to the Miniature Pinscher, Rottweiler, Standard Schnauzer, Affenpinscher, and the Doberman Pinscher (among other breeds). The breed was primarily used as a farm dog, responsible for ratting, or hunting and killing vermin. They also served as all-around handy farm dogs, helping with herding livestock, guarding the property, and offering companionship to their owners. The breed was nearly wiped out during World War II, but was revived by Werner Jung in the 1950s.
German Pinschers can suffer from cataracts, color dilution alopecia, degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, persistent hyperplastic tunica vasculosa lentis, persistent right aortic arch, vitreous degeneration, and von Willebrand disease (Type I). There have been small incidences of heart problems documented, as well as delayed post-vaccine complications in this breed.
German Pinschers are known for their lively, energetic personalities. They are intelligent, alert, and brave, which makes them excellent watchdogs. This breed is also typically very loyal and forms strong bonds with their family members. However, due to their high energy and intelligence, German Pinschers require plenty of mental and physical stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored and potentially destructive. They are known to be somewhat reserved with strangers but are usually good with children and other pets if properly socialized.
The name Pinscher translates to "terrier" in German, indicating the breed's original job as a ratter.
The German Pinscher is considered the "middle" dog in the family of Pinschers and Schnauzers – larger than the Miniature Pinscher but smaller than the Doberman.
Despite their similar names, the German Pinscher and the Doberman Pinscher are distinct breeds, with the former being the older of the two.