Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Pinscher
Average Cost to keep/care for a Pinscher
The Pinscher is a handsome, medium sized dog and one that is very similar looking to the Dobermann. They are native to Germany where they were originally bred to hunt vermin and where they are still highly prized. However, these elegant dogs are quite rare here in the UK with only very few well-bred puppies being produced and registered with The Kennel Club every year. As such anyone wishing to share their home with a Pinscher would need to register their interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list.
The Pinscher was first developed in their native Germany to control vermin and were originally called Smooth and Wirehaired Pinschers. It's thought the breed may be the descendant of other "ratter" type dogs that were found in Germany during the 15th century. They may even share a similar ancestry to that of other European herding and guarding breeds. Similar looking dogs are found depicted in drawings that date back to the late 18th century.
It was in the mid-19th century that Pinschers became a popular choice to guard coaches and to control vermin in more rural areas of Germany. Even today, they are just as popular although they are also highly prized in their native land as companions and family pets too. However, breed numbers eventually fell dangerously low during the two World Wars and it was only through the efforts of Werner Jung that the Pinscher did not die out altogether. He set about resurrecting the breed and to ensure healthy, well-bred puppies were produced and these are the dogs we see today.
As previously mentioned, today the Pinscher remains a popular choice both as a working dog and companion in their native Germany. These handsome dogs are recognised as a breed by The Kennel Club, but very few puppies are registered every year which in short means they have not gained the popularity that these charming and loyal dogs deserve here in the UK. Anyone wishing to share their home with a Pinscher would need to register their interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list.
Height at the withers: Males 43 - 51 cm, Females 43 - 48 cm
Average weight: Males 11 - 20 kg, Females 11 - 20 kg
The Pinscher, or German Pinscher as they are often called, is a medium sized dog that boasts a smooth and shiny, close-lying coat. They are handsome, elegant yet sturdy looking dogs that are smaller than the Dobermann, but larger than their Miniature Pinscher cousins. Their heads are quite blunt and they don't have a very pronounced occiput, but they do have a slight, yet distinct stop. They have well developed cheek muscles and nice deep muzzles. Noses are black and large although red coated dogs can have lighter coloured noses.
They have dark, medium sized, oval shaped eyes that are set forward on a dog's head and which boast tight rims. Their ears are set high and V-shaped, falling down close to the head. The Pinscher has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. They have strong, elegant necks with a well arched nape.
Shoulders are well laid back and muscular. Their front legs are straight, powerful showing a good amount of bone. Chests are moderately wide with dogs having flat ribs and their briskets fall down to the elbow. A Pinscher's body is compact and well-muscled with dogs having short, slightly sloping backs and a nicely rounded croup. Their back legs are strong and well-muscled with well-developed upper thighs. Feet are nicely arched, compact and very cat-like in appearance with firm pads and strong, dark nails. Their tails are set high with dogs carrying them high in an upward sweep which adds to a dog's overall balanced look.
When it comes to their coat, the Pinscher boasts having a short, smooth, close-lying dense coat that's naturally very glossy. The accepted breed colours are as follows:
The Pinscher is known to be a calm and even-tempered character more especially when they are well-bred. They are extremely intelligent and alert always liking to know what is going on around them. They are naturally very protective of their owners and their properties which in short means they make excellent watchdogs.
They also boast having a tremendous amount of energy which means they have to be given the right amount of daily exercise for them to be truly happy, well-rounded and obedient dogs. They also need a ton of mental stimulation on a daily basis so that boredom does not set in which could result in a dog developing some unwanted and destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they may be feeling.
The Pinscher is a good choice for first time owners, but only if people have the time needed to dedicate to a highly intelligent and active dog. They are not a good choice for families with very young children, but better suited to households where the kids are slightly older. They thrive in households where one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out of the house so they always have company. Pinschers do not like it when they are left on their own for longer periods of time and often suffer from separation anxiety.
They can be wary of strangers, but rarely would a Pinscher show any signs of aggressive behaviour towards people they don't know, preferring to keep their distance and letting their owners know there is someone around. These dogs need to know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance for them to be truly well-rounded. A Pinscher would quickly take on the role of alpha dog if they are allowed to which can make them unruly and harder to handle and live with especially as they are naturally more dominant dogs.
The Pinscher is an intelligent dog and they like to please which in short means that in the right hands and environment, they are quick to learn new things. The downside to this is that a Pinscher is just as quick to learn bad habits and unwanted behaviours just as quickly. This is why their training has to start early and it must be consistent throughout their lives so that dogs understand what their owners expect of them.
Because they are so intelligent, it's best to keep their training sessions shorter and interesting so that dogs remain focussed on what is being asked of them. Longer more repetitive training sessions do not work as well because Pinschers would soon get bored and lose interest in what is going on making it harder to train them.
Like many other breeds, they are sensitive by nature and especially to voice. As such they do not answer well to any sort of harsh correction or heavier handed training methods. They do respond extremely well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these intelligent dogs.
Pinschers make great family pets because of their kind, affectionate and loyal natures. However, they are best suited to families with older children who know how to behave around dogs and not so well suited to households where the kids are younger. Any interaction between toddlers and dogs should always be supervised by an adult regardless to make sure things stay calm.
When well socialised from a young enough age, the Pinscher generally gets on well with other dogs. If they have grown up with a family cat in the house, they usually get on well together, but a Pinscher would not think twice about chasing any other cats that cross their path. Care has to be taken when they are around smaller animals and pets because their high prey drive might kick in with disastrous results.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Pinscher is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Pinscher is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Pinschers need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Pinschers have short, smooth, close-lying coats that have a natural sheen to them. They are low maintenance on the grooming front and only need a weekly or twice weekly brush to remove any loose hair from their coats. A weekly wipe with a chamois leather will help keep it nice and shiny. They shed all year round, only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing is usually necessary to keep on top of things.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
The Pinscher is a high energy, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need a minimum of 60 minutes exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible in a safe environment. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Pinscher would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving the stress they may be feeling.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these high energy, active dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Pinscher puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Pinscher puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be fed a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Pinscher, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £300 for a well-bred pedigree puppy.
The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Pinscher in northern England would be £39.44 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £121.87 a month (quote as of July 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Pinscher and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1200 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Pinscher would be between £70 to £150 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.
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