When picking out the perfect dog breed to bring home, the options are endless. From your retrievers to the hounds, and then the terriers, there are numerous wonderful breed types to choose from. However, pinscher dogs are great dogs that are often overlooked.
While we have popular pinscher dog breeds, such as the Doberman and Affenpinscher, there are also the less-popular German Pinscher and Austrian Pinscher. In this guide, we’ll cover all pinscher dog breeds – even the ones you’ve probably never heard of.
We’ll also look into dog breeds that technically are pinscher dogs, but don’t have the title of the pinscher in their names. They’re some of the least expected dog breeds, though they do have the pinschers’ DNA in their bloodline.
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What’s a Pinscher Dog?
A Pinscher dog is a type of dog with a long and unique working history. Although they’re all mainly family dogs today, they were once skilled ratters, multi-purpose farm dogs and guardians. They did it all and as a result, were very popular dogs in their heyday.
The first pinscher breed is believed to be the German Pinscher. In fact, the German Pinscher is famously called the “prototypical pinscher” because they’re the ancestors of the many pinscher dogs today. And yes, that includes the Doberman Pinscher.
But what exactly defines a pinscher dog? For example, the Standard Schnauzer is technically part of the schnauzer family. But even so, the dog breed originated from the German Pinscher. And by extension, the mini and giant variations too.
To be comprehensive, we count these dogs as pinscher dogs too. After all, the German Pinscher is more closely related to the Standard Schnauzer than the Doberman Pinscher. In fact, the Schnauzer was once called the Wire Haired Pinscher.
The “Pinscher” Name
Pinscher dog breeds are clearly the products of Germany. However, they’ve had their influence from the neighboring France. According to the AKC, the word “pinscher” is the Germanic form of the French word for “nip” or “seize” – pincer.
This was how the original pinschers made their name. These dogs would nip and seize rats as a vermin exterminator, thus continuing their popularity in the 19th century. And in time, crossbreeding led to the many other pinscher-types we have today.
However, the French word pincer derives from the English “pincher” and refers to the infamous clipped (or cropped) ears seen in the pinscher breeds. Not all pinscher dog breeds retained the pinscher name and title, though.
Pinschers Have Similar Temperaments
Most pinscher breeds have similar temperaments. Originally bred to be world-class working dogs, most pinschers will be energetic and lively. It’s because of their high energy that they’re able to perform their work at a high level.
In addition, pinschers tend to have a high prey drive. That is, a tendency to work by chasing or capturing smaller prey. It’s not a surprise because many of the original pinschers were bred to be rat hunters. They needed this instinct for success.
Doberman Pinschers do need to be constantly near you. All of them have been the same way, all day, all night.– Rodyboy (Doberman Chat)
Loyalty is no stranger to the pinscher group, especially with the Doberman. In fact, the steady devotion is one of the main selling points of the Dobie. Though, the other pinschers are just as loving and thus, loyal to their family.
With a pinscher dog breed, you’ll likely have a highly intelligent and obedient dog. For instance, the Doberman Pinscher is one of the 10 smartest dogs. Plus, the other pinschers are well within the top 60, giving them above-average dog IQ.
The spectrum of playfulness may vary with pinschers. For example, the Affenpinscher is known for their fun-loving temperaments. On the other hand, Dobermans are more serious dogs. Even so, this doesn’t mean Dobermans aren’t great for older kids though.
All Pinscher Dog Breeds
Given the wide range of pinschers, we’ve decided to include them all. We’ve found every breed, ranging from the Schnauzer to the Doberman. Have a favorite pinscher breed? Let us know in the comments section below!
1. German Pinscher
Highlights: Lively, Loving, Calm
The German Pinscher was the foundation for popular pinscher breeds, including the Mini and Doberman Pinscher. It’s why you can easily make out the eerie resemblance in the three separate breeds. They’re regarded as the “medium” variation.
The first German Pinscher was bred in the 1800s. These dogs were developed with a top work ethics and a high prey drive to eradicate vermin, specifically rats. Even so, historians still don’t know exactly when they first appeared.
Given the effectiveness of the German Pinscher, they inevitably became popular working dogs. As such, these dogs were further crossbred with other dogs to develop some of the most well-known pinscher-type dog breeds today.
Despite the rapid fall of the canine ratting jobs, the German Pinscher still exists today as top companion dogs. Because of their highly adaptive nature, they’re able to seamlessly fit into any family. They will just need plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy.
German Pinscher Temperament
Thanks to the ingrained prey-drive of the German Pinscher, we don’t recommend them for small kids. In fact, here are 50 perfect dogs for children. The truth is, they may view kids as “prey,” especially if the kids are running away from the dog (as they typically do).
German Pinschers will be energetic and active dogs. They were, after all, bred to catch and kill rats in a large factory. Thus, they needed extraordinary stamina to keep up. It’s also recommended that a German Pinscher has a large backyard to expend energy in.
On the bright side, you’ll get a loyal dog with a German Pinscher. In fact, they’re naturally very protective of the family – making them excellent watchdogs. These dogs are also intelligent and tend to get along with other people and dogs with training.
2. Doberman Pinscher
Highlights: Loyal, Intelligent, Brave
As the most popular pinscher-type dogs, Doberman Pinschers have easily become one of America’s top dog breeds. Given both the brains and brawn of this massive dog, it’s easy to see why the Doberman is regarded as a top guard dog.
These dogs were first bred by a tax collector from the 19th century, named Louis Dobermann. In those days, tax collecting was a dangerous job. Not everyone was ecstatic about giving away their hard-earned money to the government.
As a result, Louis developed these dogs (from the German Pinscher and other local breeds) to be a very capable canine bodyguard on his collection runs. Needless to say, it was effective. And soon enough, a lot of people started to inquire about this breed for various work.
Today, the Doberman Pinscher has evolved into more than just a personal guard dog. They can thrive as a family companion, but also be versatile police and military dogs. Their intelligence and 90-lb muscular frame offer endless options.
Doberman Pinscher Temperament
The ideal Doberman is neither too shy nor aggressive. In fact, most dogs tend to be brave and calm. But at the same time, a Doberman will always be alert and vigilant. When the situation calls for it, you will be able to count on them being there.
Few dogs are as loyal and the Doberman Pinscher. And according to Woman’s Day, they’re one of the 17 most loyal breeds you can find. This makes them highly protective of the pack, but at the same time, not overly possessive with the right training.
Doberman Pinschers are adaptive dogs, making them great for all types of families – even if you live in an apartment. However, they are going to be energetic and active. So make sure they get the minimum 1-2 hours exercise a day.
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3. Miniature Pinscher
Highlights: Energetic, Clever, Outgoing
Also derived from the German Pinscher, the Miniature Pinscher is essentially a smaller version of the first pinscher dog. Weighing just under 10 pounds and standing no more than 12 inches, a Mini Pin isn’t your average “lap dog.”
And like the German Pinscher, the origins of the Miniature Pinscher is a bit murky. Though, few historians believe they were bred using the Dachshund and Italian Greyhound. As such, they’re not mini Dobes as so many believe.
Like other pinscher dogs, the Min Pin was originally bred in Germany to hunt down vermin in both homes and stables. They were the most popular toy dogs from the start of the 20th century to World War I. But even until today, they’ve retained popularity.
Mini Pinschers are frequently found in homes all across the world today. In fact, they’re aptly nicknamed the “King of Toys” for a reason. Their personality perfectly meshes with active and respectful kids, thus making them great family pets.
Mini Pinscher Temperament
The Miniature Pinscher is a large dog in a small body. They probably don’t even realize just how small they are. Often called “Mr. Personality,” the Miniature Pin gets along with everyone, whether you’re a dog, cat or stranger.
They love to play, and can play for as long as you’re willing. The outgoing personalities can be a bit contagious, though children will be entertained and happy for hours. That said, the Min Pin will make a terrible watchdog – they just want to be friends.
While they’re one of the more intelligent dogs, they can get easily distracted due to their care-free and spirited nature. They will have wanderlust, so make sure to keep an eye out on them at all times. Don’t be surprised if they start chasing small animals.
Highlights: Playful, Inquisitive, Clever
The Affenpinscher is often called the “monkey terrier” because of their terrier-like personalities and the fact that they look like, well, monkeys. And in a way, they kind of act like monkeys with their humorous and fun-loving nature.
These dogs are pinschers, though they were originally bred to work like a terrier. Some of the top ratters in the 1600s were terriers (think, Rat Terrier). As a result, breeders tried to breed this quality into these petite pinscher-type dogs.
The Affenpinscher specialized in vermin extermination of the kitchen – not in factories or stables, as with the bigger pinscher dogs. Simply put, Affenpinschers were developed to be ratting dogs in the urban home setting.
Unlike the others, the Affenpinscher wasn’t directly derived from the German Pinscher. Rather, they are believed to have been bred from the Mini Schnauzer and Brussels Griffon. Both of which, were highly skilled ratters of their days.
The Affenpinscher is always willing to play. They’re naturally fun dogs that enjoy every moment with their owners. However, they tend to be mischievous. In fact, they’re often called the “diablotin moustachu” in French, which means mustached little devil.
But if you can handle their sense of humor, the Affenpinscher is a top companion for all types of people. These pinschers will have an insatiable curiosity that needs to be kept in check. They’re very loyal dogs, but need human interaction.
Affenpinschers are, as the cliche goes, “small dogs with big personalities.” Despite their small size, the Affenpinscher will back down to few threats. They may not be good guard dogs, though. When they’re with the people they love, they’re also quite excitable.
5. Austrian Pinscher
Highlights: Loyal, Confident, Friendly
The Austrian Pinscher is the one dog breed with the pinscher title few people have even heard of. The Australian Pinscher doesn’t even look like your typical pinscher dog. Nonetheless, these dogs originated from the German Pinschers.
According to Wag Walking, the Austrian Pinscher was developed from a mix of Austrian farm dogs and the German Pinscher. While they do have the pinscher prey-drive, don’t expect the Austrian Pinscher to be as obsessed with catching animals.
They were first developed in the second half of the 19th century. When local farm dogs started to die off, farmers looked for alternatives for a multi-purpose farm dog. Not only did they need a ratting dog, but also a fierce guardian.
These pinscher types will still be very active. Because they were originally bred on farms in the rural regions, they’re not suited for apartment or urban life. Rather, Austrian Pinschers are far more ideal for families that live on farms.
Austrian Pinscher Temperament
Austrian Pinschers are vibrant dogs with a personality that’s hard to resist. They’re naturally playful and show a great deal of affection towards their owners, including children of the family. It’s why they make such fantastic family pets.
As these dogs were developed for guarding, they’re going to have a protective side. With an alertness and vigilance, Austrian Pinschers make premier watchdogs at the least. Even so, they’ll need plenty of socializing for them to thrive as family pets.
Off the field, Austrian Pinschers are affectionate and sweet-natured. Some owners say they’re a great balance of work and play. However, it’s worth noting that Austrian Pinschers will need space to roam around and run free.
6. Standard Schnauzer
Highlights: Loyal, Obedient, Sweet
Officially known as the Wire Haired Schnauzer prior to 1879, the Standard Schnauzer is one of the more surprising pinscher-type dogs. But despite their new names, they are certainly pinschers dogs. In fact, a lot of historians would argue more so than Dobermans.
Back in the 19th century, the German Pinscher and Standard Schnauzer were considered to be the same breed with different coats. The former was called the Smooth Coated Pinscher and the latter, the Wire Haired. Both were often born in the same litter.
Standard Schnauzers were bred to be multi-purpose farm dogs. And with their athletic build and sneaky agility, they had the versatility that made them great ratters and guard dogs. Plus, their rough coats is why they were perfectly suited for the rural.
Of course, the Standard Schnauzer was ultimately used to create the giant and mini versions of this breed. Though they didn’t arrive into the USA until the 20th century, it took a while for the dogs to gain the recognition and popularity they see today.
The Standard Schnauzer has all the best qualities of a pinscher dog: intelligent, dependable and lively. They’re a highly versatile dog breed that thrives as a working farm dog or as a family pet. Either way, the good-natured temperaments are refreshing.
Bred to handle guard dog duties, you can expect the Schnauzer to watch over your home. They will be naturally alert, meaning few things can get past this dog. Combined with their bravery and protectiveness, Schnauzers will be formidable guardians.
Schnauzers, no matter what size variation, are intelligent dogs. In fact, according to Stanley Coren, standards are the 22nd smartest dogs (out of 138 breeds). Not only do they learn with ease, but they’re also very responsive to obedience training.
Which pinscher dog breed was your favorite? And do you own any of these dogs? let us know in the comments section below.
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