The purebred German Pinscher is historically known for its working abilities as a ratter and a protector of farms and carriages. As an old German farm dog, these qualities are ever present in today’s Pinscher. The breed’s historical traits are deeply rooted and well-preserved by most reputable breeders. Many are interested to find out that although similar in looks to the Doberman Pinscher, the breeds are very different in both personality and behavior. The German Pinscher is so much more than a medium-sized dog with lots of energy. For those who are willing to invest time in creating a successful relationship with their Pinscher, the sky is the limit for what these vivacious little dogs are capable of.
The innate behaviors of the purebred German Pinscher can be used to give owners a competitive edgein many of today’s popular dog sports such as barn hunt, lure coursing, scentwork, and schutzhund. Additionally, this same skillset can be shaped to produce success in other events, including agility and dock diving. For those who are up for even more of a challenge, German Pinschers have also had success in the rally and obedience rings. The German Pinscher is a strong and versatile dog that can be trained to do just about anything by using patience, practice, and praise. This breed is highly food motivated, which makes reward-based training easy.
The AKC breed standard describes the German Pinscher as, “Energetic, watchful, alert, agile, fearless, determined, intelligent and loyal…” The standard further goes on to state that the German Pinscher has “…highly developed senses, intelligence, aptitude for training, fearlessness and endurance.” Other terms used within the standard to describe the Pinscher include “alert, vigilant, deliberate, watchful of strangers,” “highly intelligent,” and “vivacious.” German Pinschers typically bark only to alert their household of a change within the perimeters of their fortress. Despite such a strong personality, the breed is quite loyal to their primary caretaker and aloof to strangers.
If not properly socialized and desensitized early on, these personality characteristics can cause problems for the Pinscher as a household (family) pet. Resource guarding and protective behavior are the two most common troublesome behaviors reported by owners of this breed. Early implementation of a structured training program, coupled with a commitment to consistent training and boundary setting, is imperative for creating a well-mannered German Pinscher.
Once the ground rules of accept-able behavior and socialization have been established, the purebred German Pinscher takes great pleasure in accompanying its owner just about anywhere, including car rides or action-packed adventures. For those who enjoy being outdoors, the German Pinscher makes a wonderful companion. This breed does not require its owner to keep it entertained. While completing yard work or other outdoor tasks, you can count on the German Pinscher to seek out and create its own fun until it’s time to go inside.
It is important to note that due to the strong prey drive present within this breed, allowing a German Pinscher to be “off-leash” outside the boundaries of a fenced area is discouraged. If an owner has
a strong desire to train “off-leash etiquette,” this skill will require specialized training. Those who have had success recommend the use of a quality GPS collar. This breed has little regard for verbal commands and can end up in dangerous situations when they are in pursuit of any-thing they consider prey.
It is often said that the German Pinscher has two speeds—0 and 100. When not investigating the actions of the neighborhood, being in your personal space, trying to persuade you to share a bite of your lunch or begging to accompany you on a quick errand, the German Pinscher can be found napping in a beam of sun-light or somewhere comfy and warm such as a bed or couch. Many owners prefer their dogs to sleep in crates; however, German Pinschers are most happy when they are under the covers and cuddled up next to their human.
One phrase that all German Pinscher owners seem to agree with is, “A tired German Pinscher is a good German Pinscher.” It’s amazing what a day of play outside or a long jog in the park will do for this breed. While it’s almost impossible to tire these dogs physically, they do tire mentally at a much faster rate. Activities that exercise the mind, such as training classes, teaching new tricks, or a day of competition, yield a far higher level of exhaustion than simply letting them outside to run around for a few minutes; hence, the reason active households bare far better for this breed.
One phrase that all purebred German Pinscher owners seem to agree with is, “A tired German Pinscher is a good German Pinscher.” It’s amazing what a day of play outside or a long jog in the park will do for this breed.
That being said, an area of training that is often overlooked is “quiet time.” Many owners of high energy breeds tend to focus more on how to exercise a dog to expel its energy. While being active certainly comes more naturally to a German Pinscher than being calm and relaxed, having an “off switch” is one of the most important skills to conquer for a Working Dog such the German Pinscher. Commands such as, “done,” “enough,” “place,” and “go to sleep” are all just as important as the basic, “sit” and “stay.” A comfortable crate, bed or mat provides a place for the dog to decompress and rest. For those who have children, it’s nice to encourage “story time” where the child reads to the dog in a calm and quiet environment. “Massage” is also a great way to promote peace and release the naturallyoccurring chemicals within the body that encourage relaxation. Despite how it may seem, the German Pinscher, like many dogs, does spend a significant amount of time sleeping.
While being active certainly comes more naturally to a German Pinscher than being calm and relaxed, having an “off switch” is one of the most important skills to conquer for a Working Dog such the German Pinscher.
You will oftentimes hear that this breed is not suitable for the first-time dog owner. As with any dog, especially an energetic Working Dog with a high prey drive such as the German Pinscher, a strongcommitment to training, combined with a stable temperament and a stable household, is one of the most important factors that contributes to a well-rounded and enjoyable dog. Any level of dog owner is capable of understanding the importance of this. Success has more to do with the level of commitment and consistency than with the level of experience.
Overall, the purebred German Pinscher is a very loyal and protective breed. They are quick to developxa strong bond with their caretakers, and that bond is further strengthened by completing activities such as training and other fun adventures. German Pinschers demand to be included as part of the family and are best-suited for the interactive dog owner. As you can tell, a commitment to training is a necessity for this bold breed. Their size and their low maintenance coat are definitely a bonus. Their level of intelligence and their way of thinking will amaze you, and their silly antics will keep you laughing (or shaking your head) on a daily basis.