If you were put on the spot and asked to name some German dog breeds, the ever-popular German shepherd is probably the first dog you would call to mind. Depending on your familiarity with dog breeds as a whole, you might also pick out the Rottweiler and German pinscher, among others.
However, there are quite a number of different dog breeds that originated in Germany or were developed in Germany in their modern form, and not all of them have the identifier of their country of origin within the breed’s name!
In this article we will provide a brief introduction to five different dog breeds that are all well known in their own right, but that not everyone knows also all hail from Germany, and their different core traits and temperaments.
Read on to find out about five great dog breeds that you may not know originated in Germany.
The boxer dog might have a very English-sounding name, and they were in fact originally bred from dogs with British lineage, being the Old English bulldog – crossed with a now-extinct German breed, the Bullenbeisser, which actually became extinct as a result of significant outcrossing.
The breed was developed in Germany, and has a huge following in their home country.
Boxer dogs are so-named due to their propensity to “box” with their front paws, and not, as many people think, because their flat faces make them look like a boxer who has suffered more than the occasional broken nose!
Boxers have a muscular but lean appearance with a flat, brachycephalic face, deep chest, and long, curling tail. They are also one of the breeds whose tails were historically docked as standard before that became illegal in the UK, and for many of us over a certain age, seeing boxers will full, long tails still comes as something of a shock!
Boxer dogs are smart, affectionate and very high-energy dogs that bond strongly with their owners, and that will often be quite watchful and protective of their homes and families. They can have a tendency to be stubborn and require an experienced trainer and handler, but they are also very versatile pets for owners from various different walks of life.
The Dachshund is better-known to many of us as the sausage dog, and these small dogs with long bodies and short legs were originally bred and developed as hunting dogs, whose conformation enabled them to fit into burrows and setts in pursuit of prey that larger dogs would not be able to manage.
Dachshunds might have been around for longer than many of us expect, and there is some evidence to suggest that dogs of this type were first found in ancient Egypt and nobody really knows their true origins.
However, the breed was formally developed and applied to working roles, and shaped into its current form in Germany, where the breed is still hugely popular today, much as it is in the UK.
Ask most owners where the Great Dane originated from, and you’d probably get a pause of a moment or two before being told “Denmark,” because the breed’s name would appear to be an obvious giveaway! However, the Great Dane is another dog breed that originated in Germany, and the modern name of the breed has only been used since historical anti-German sentiment rose in Europe as a result of the two World Wars.
Prior to this, the breed was known as the German boarhound.
The Great Dane is the world’s tallest dog breed overall, and they were originally bred as bold, fearless hunting dogs to pursue large and potentially dangerous prey like wild boars.
Great Danes are very large dogs and can be imposing as a result of this, but they are generally highly personable, gentle, friendly and very loving, and not overly speculative of strangers.
Whilst not everyone who loves Great Danes has enough room to accommodate one, this breed is a genuine gentle giant that has a lot of good points, and which often makes for an excellent family pet.
The Weimaraner is a distinctive silver-grey dog of the pointer type, with a nice balanced conformation and smart nature. The breed was originally developed for pointing work, and they were historically prized by hunters for their adaptive, responsive natures, ability to follow commands, and superior pointing abilities.
This German breed was developed back in the 18th or 19th centuries, although their earlier origins are less well known.
The breed’s good looks, great temperament and high intelligence makes them a great choice of pet for active families and owners that enjoy spending a lot of time out and about with their dogs.
Finally, the Pomeranian is a breed with something of a mixed ancestry due to the exact point of the breed’s origins, which fall within the Pomerania region, which lies on the map within both modern-day Poland and Germany. This is a spitz-type dog, which was originally bred from German spitz ancestors, further securing their German heritage credentials.
The Pomeranian is a popular toy dog breed both within the UK and across the world, and the breed doesn’t have a working history of its own. However, their larger spitz relatives often have a strong track record of working in different capacities, and their smaller Pomeranian cousins often exhibit many of the same core traits themselves.
Pomeranians are small, lively and often very vocal dogs with very thick, plush coats, which are very snuggly and help to add to the breed’s appeal. If you are interested in German dog breeds and are seeking a small breed rather than something that falls into Great Dane or Weimaraner territory, the Pomeranian might be a good choice.