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10 Breeds of German Dogs: Types of Dogs From Germany

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One of the things that always surprises me most about visiting a place for the first time is the animals that live there. While German dog breeds have made their way around the world, it’s always different to see these dogs or hunds in the streets of Deutschland. I can’t think of eating schnitzel along the streets of Oberammergau without seeing pups plodding their way down the cobbled roadway.

When most people think of German dogs, they blank out after Dachshunds and German Shepherds. But what you probably don’t know is the fact that many beloved modern-day dog breeds, such as Great Danes and Pomeranians, actually originated in Germany.

There are over 50 German dog breeds that differ greatly from one another. These pups make excellent companions for all kinds of people, so it’s no wonder they’ve gained such popularity worldwide.

With varied physical and behavioral characteristics, it’s no wonder why dog lovers take such a liking to German dog breeds.

Different Types of German Dogs

German Dogs: Top Breeds from Germany

1. Dachshund

Dachshund German Dog

These German dogs are also fondly called wiener dogs or sausage dogs because of their striking resemblance to sausages. “Dachshund” translates as “badger dog” in German, bred for flushing badgers out of their sets. Although they don’t share their name with their country of origin, this quintessential German dog breed is the perfect shape for all those wurst lovers.

Behavioral Characteristics

Dachshunds are incredibly playful yet equally stubborn. These free-spirited hounds are highly affectionate towards and borderline possessive of their family.

Unfortunately, this also means that Dachshunds don’t take kindly to strangers, often exhibiting aggression towards humans and dogs outside of the pack. They’re known for being brave despite their short stature (you’d have to be to take on a badger on its home turf), so don’t be surprised if you see a Dachshund trying to size up a much larger dog.

Size and Weight

The modern Dachshund is standard, miniature, and kaninchen (or rabbit-sized). Of course, the standard size is most common among family pets. This is one of the most miniature German dog breeds.

A fully-grown standard Dachshund typically weighs between 16 lbs and 32 lbs. Meanwhile, their miniature counterparts average around 12 lbs, while the smallest kaninchen weighs 8 lbs.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Dachshunds are incredibly affectionate and loyal towards their owners. If trained correctly, Dachshunds are remarkable hunting dogs with an affinity for chasing small animals like rabbits.

But that’s just the thing; despite their potential, these dogs are challenging to train, owing to their headstrong nature. Moreover, housebreaking and potty training your Dachshund puppy can be maddening.

Life Expectancy

Dachshunds enjoy a long lifespan of 12 to 14 years. However, they are prone to painful spinal problems because of their unnaturally long spine. About 20-25% of Dachshunds will develop Intervertebral Disk Disease.

IDD is not a death sentence, though. My Puggle has also struggled with this, and there are several ways to help alleviate symptoms or delay them.

For starters, get your pup on joint supplements, get them stairs for otherwise big jumps like onto your bed or the couch, and keep an eye on how they move during walks or walking up big sets of stairs at home. Your vet can help keep track of IDD symptoms with you, especially with dogs notorious for having it.

Popularity

According to the 2022 American Kennel Club (AKC) registration statistics, Dachshunds rank number nine in popularity.

Interesting Facts

  • Dachshunds were used as a political symbol for Germany throughout the mid-20th century.
  • Apart from the typical brown coat, Dachshunds can also have a golden or red coat.

See Related: What is Germany Known For? Famous Things to Know

2. German Shepherd

German shepherd female

German Shepherds are arguably the most well-known dogs from Germany and one of the most popular breeds for dog owners worldwide. Many dogs look like a German Shepherd, such as the Belgium Shepherd and King Shepherd, but this German dog is a unique breed.

Behavioral Characteristics

Also known as Alsatians, the German Shepherd is highly obedient, willing to please, intelligent, curious, and protective. By nature, these intelligent dogs desperately need a purpose or task.

This German dog breed is best for active families since they have a lot of energy. They make excellent companions for folks who don’t mind the extra walks and playtimes. Because these are energetic dogs, pent-up energy can manifest in aggression or anxiety if they aren’t adequately trained or occupied.

Size/ Weight

The German Shepherd is categorized as a medium-to-large dog, with males and females growing up to 24 inches tall. When it comes to weight, the AKC has no standard weight range. However, you can expect fully-grown males to weigh between 66lbs and 88lbs, while females max out at 70lbs.

Strengths and Weaknesses

It’s difficult to find fault with these highly dutiful and loyal canines. A German Shepherd can suffer from various spinal ailments because of how disproportionate their hind legs and spine are. They frequently suffer from hip dysplasia and epilepsy.

They are a terrific German breed for anyone who can keep up with them. A great family for a German Shepherd would be one that can be as active as they are and dedicate time to proper training to utilize these brainy dogs.

Life Expectancy

A healthy German Shepherd can live up to 14 years. Sadly, these canines are prone to bone-related diseases and typically die from cancer of the spleen or bone.

Popularity

According to the 2022 AKC census, the German Shepherd is the fourth most popular dog breed in the United States.

Interesting Facts

  • The German Shepherd was originally bred for herding sheep in the late 19th century. However, people soon realized that their utility lies in other types of work, such as disability assistance, search and rescue, and police and military roles.
  • Two German Shepherds actually hold a spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one being a WWII military dog and the other a Hollywood star.

See Related: Dog Laws in Germany

3. German Wirehaired Pointer

German wirehaired pointer dog

German Wirehaired Pointers (GWPs) are lesser known than their German Shorthaired Pointer counterparts. However, this German dog has its virtues. Bred in the 19th century to be a hunting dog, this German dog breed quickly became the foremost gun dog in Germany. These pointers are also terrific family dogs despite their original purpose years ago.

Behavioral Characteristics

GWPs are very affectionate and loyal to their humans but aloof towards strangers. They thrive on human companionship and are the happiest when they are active members of the household, whether it’s lounging around with you or doing everyday chores.

As passionate German hunting dogs, GWPs are eager to learn and please. However, they are infamously willful, bold, and free-spirited.

Size/ Weight

German Wirehaired Pointers are medium-sized dogs with a robust and muscular build. Adult male GWPs can grow up to 24 to 26 inches, while females grow to a minimum of 22 inches. Moreover, you can expect your fully-grown German Wirehaired Pointer to weigh between 50 to 70 lbs.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Beyond their brawn resulting from a naturally high muscle mass, these German dogs boast several strengths: good sniffers, hunters, and chasers. Plus, their thick, coiled fur hardly gets tangled or dirty or sheds excessively.

That being said, you do have to brush them regularly using an aggressive undercoat rake–the Furminator is a marvel. Otherwise, they can overheat, especially in the summer.

Life Expectancy

German Wirehaired Pointers can live up to 14 to 16 years, sometimes even longer. This is one of the healthier German dog breeds, though GWPs can struggle with hip dysplasia and eye problems throughout their lives.

Popularity

GWPs are highly popular in Germany but have a different name: Drahthaar. In America, GWPs are only moderately popular.

Interesting Facts

  • GWPs have a dense, waterproof undercoat, which makes them ideal for hunting waterfowl.
  • Two other popular pointer breeds in Germany include the aforementioned German Shorthaired Pointer and the German Longhaired Pointer.

See Related: Top Tips for Traveling to Germany

4. Great Dane

Great Dane German Dogs

The semi-aptly semi-erroneously named Great Danes are spectacular in their appearance and behavior; they are Great in nature and size, but Dane? Not so much. These big bois are all Deutsch.

This magnificent pup is one of the largest German dog breeds, made famous by the one-and-only Scooby Doo. Their docile nature makes them loving companions, even if their giant poops almost require a shovel.

Behavioral Characteristics

Mostly gentle giants, this German breed craves physical affection from its owners. Moreover, these imposing canines are friendly towards strangers, other dogs, and even non-canine animals. Their low prey drive is surprising because Great Danes were originally hunting dogs meant for taking down large game.

Although these massive dogs are sweethearts, they do have territorial tendencies. This German breed is, therefore, a terrific estate guard dog since it doesn’t like people coming into its space.

Size/Weight

According to AKC standards, a fully grown Great Dane will be at least 30 inches at the shoulder level. However, most Great Danes typically stand upwards of 35 inches.

Regarding weight, Great Danes are one of the heaviest and largest German breeds. At a minimum, an adult Great Dane will not be under 100 and often no more than 170 pounds.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Great Danes’ friendly and easy-going nature contrasts their large and imposing size. Moreover, they are incredibly low-maintenance regarding grooming, though they shed a lot–so invest in a heavy-duty reusable lint roller for yourself and your furniture.

However, untrained and unsocialized Great Danes can be difficult for you, your family, and strangers. This intelligent dog needs physical and mental stimulation to avoid anxiety and aggression. With that in mind, they also do not fare well in cooped-up apartment spaces.

Life Expectancy

The average lifespan of Great Danes is 6 to 8 years, but some healthy dogs can live for up to a decade. These gentle giants also suffer from hip dysplasia and cancer issues, so supplements are essential for them from a young age as well.

Popularity

Great Danes have been decreasing in popularity over the years. Still, they hold a high ranking as the 19th most popular dog breeds among American households.

Interesting Facts

  • A Great Dane named “Zeus” holds the record for being the largest of its breed and the largest dog ever. Zeus stood at an impressive 44 inches at the shoulder.
  • Great Danes were believed to ward off evil spirits and ghosts in the Middle Ages.
  • When these dogs were bred years ago, it was to hunt wild boars.

See Related: Top Tips for Traveling to Germany

5. Boxer

Brown Boxer and White Boxer Dogs

You probably didn’t know that these American-popularized dogs actually originated in Germany. This protective and loving companion dog is one of the most beloved (and dramatic) of German dog breeds.

These playful pups need families who can keep up with their goofy natures. These are absolutely velcro dogs, so if you want a dog that will never leave your side, a Boxer is a good bet.

Behavioral Characteristics

Despite their penchant for dramatics, Boxers are gentle, calm, and often level-headed. Over the years, they have unfairly been labeled as aggressive and unpredictable dogs, but that’s just not true. Instead, their solemn façade belies their energetic and playful nature.

Boxers are instinctive guardians who will never leave your side while leaving you giggling from all the silly sounds they make. Seriously, these guys are goobers.

Size/ Weight

As medium-sized German dogs, Boxers can grow up to 23 inches and weigh up to 80 pounds. They have a high muscle mass and thrive on daily physical exercise. These pups are considered Mastiff-type dogs with their muscular bodies.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Boxers are intelligent, loving, and amicable dogs. They adapt well to different environments and respond kindly to new faces. Although they are often considered working dogs, they are challenging to train. However, if you’re willing to put in the time, they’ll be an incredible addition to your family.

This is one of the more energetic German dog breeds, which makes them great for families. They require copious amounts of exercise to offset their high nutritional needs. Boxers also tend to be overly exuberant and express their vigor through digging and drooling.

Life Expectancy

The lifespan of a healthy Boxer ranges from 10 to 13 years. Although this medium dog breed is relatively healthy, Boxers do struggle with hip dysplasia, obesity, and different types of cancer.

Popularity

Boxers have decreased in popularity in American households. They were firmly in the top ten for many years but have since dropped down to 16th place in 2022.

Interesting Facts

  • Boxers, instead of German Shepherds, were the original candidates for the German canine police force.
  • Boxers have unusually long tongues, with a Boxer named Brandy holding the Guinness World Record for the most extended tongue, measuring 17 inches.
  • Boxers didn’t come to the United States until after WWI when they became one of the most popular dogs in the country.

See Related: Best Places to Visit in Germany

6. Doberman Pinscher

doberman pinscher German dog

Doberman Pinscher dogs are some of the most intelligent and beautiful modern dog breeds. Also referred to as Dobermans or Dobies, these dogs were developed in the late 1800s.

Since they are so intelligent and ostensibly intimidating, Dobies aren’t great options for first-time dog owners. They need consistency and good training along with brain-stimulating activities.

Behavioral Characteristics

Dobermans have a notoriously unique mind among dogs since they are the fifth most intelligent dog breed. Since they are so bright, they need activities to keep them from getting bored, which can lead to aggression and irritation.

Generally speaking, these German dogs are fiercely loyal and vigilant. At the same time, they rank high in playfulness and love to be goofy around their family. Regarding strangers, though, Dobermans prefer not to socialize and keep to themselves.

Size/ Weight

Dobermans are medium to large-sized dogs, confidently standing at an average of 27 inches. However, their firm, muscular build endows them with a heavyweight, between 70 to 99 pounds.

Strengths and Weaknesses

According to expert evaluations, the Doberman Pinscher is among the most intelligent dog breeds. For this reason, they are pretty easy to train, housebreak, and socialize.

That said, they are only more accessible to train if you consistently train and demonstrate your role as pack leader. These pups also thrive on positive reinforcement.

An unfortunate stereotype about Dobermanns is that they are aggressive, which is generally untrue. Dobies can be as gentle and loving as Labradors as long as they have a healthy environment and plenty of stimulation from their humans.

Life Expectancy

The Doberman’s lifespan is about 10-14 years, with heart-related diseases being the leading cause of death among the breed. Dobies also are more likely to carry Von Willebrand disease, which is a blood clotting disease.

Popularity

Despite their incorrect aggression stereotype, Dobermans are the 15th most popular dog breed among dog owners in the US. These incredibly smart companion animals continue to make strides in families nationwide.

Interesting Facts

  • A German tax collector bred the first Dobies in the early 1880s to protect him on the job.
  • Although it’s now banned in some countries, ear and tail docking originated with fighting Dobermann dogs since these were the most vulnerable spots.

See Related: How to Plan a Trip to Germany

7. German Spitz Dog

German Spitz Dog Pomeranian Orange

Did you know that the popular Pomeranian is also a type of German Spitz? There are five varieties of Spitz, depending on the color and size. These include the Wolfsspitz/Keeshond, the Giant Spitz or Großspitz, the Medium Spitz or Mittelspitz, the Miniature Spitz or Kleinspitz, and the Pomeranian or Zwergspitz.

Behavioral Characteristics

Its varieties count among the smallest of the German dog breeds. The Spitz family is attentive, lively, and highly devoted to their pack. Of course, it’s a different story altogether regarding strangers. For this reason, they make for ideal (albeit itty bitty) watchdogs for your home.

However, it would be best if you established boundaries with them from an early age. For example, you can give them their crate at first so they don’t claim the entire house.

Size/ Weight

Notorious for its thick, bushy coat and mane-like collar, this ball of fluff looks more significant than it act The average Spitz maxes at 12 to 15 inches and weighs 24 to 26 lbs.

Miniature varieties will, of course, be smaller. Toy dogs in the Spitz breed may only get to be 6 inches to 11 pounds, so there is a wide range of these popular dogs.

Strengths and Weaknesses

German Spitz dogs are easily trainable and always willing to please. Additionally, they have moderate energy levels and, for the most part, are happy just lounging around with you.

Remember that these are highly vocal dogs and will bark incessantly without provocation. Remember that they were originally bred for herding, so don’t be surprised if they try to herd you.

Life Expectancy

The German Spitz has a relatively high life expectancy of around 13 to 15 years. You will get many beautiful years with these adorable companion dogs.

Popularity

German Spitz dogs are more prevalent in Germany than in any other part of the world. However, the Pomeranian variation is quite popular in North America.

Interesting Facts

  • The Spitz is considered the oldest dog breed in Central Europe.
  • These guard dogs are descended from Stone Age Peat Dogs.
  • While they may not look it, German Spitz dogs actually have a high prey drive.

See Related: Things to Do in Germany & Places to Visit

8. Leonberger

Leonberger Dog breed

Leonbergers, or Leos, are the largest German dog breeds created by crossing various German mountain dog breeds. When they were bred in 19th century Germany, the Leonberger was meant to combine Newfoundland and St Bernard. These courageous dogs resemble lions with a fierce devotion to humans.

Behavioral Characteristics

Leonbergers are, first and foremost, family dogs. They are naturally submissive to their family, whether adults or small children. They are self-assured, self-disciplined, unresponsive to noise, and well-behaved around strangers.

This versatile dog is more trainable than other breeds, although they can also be extremely stubborn. Because of their intelligence, they also make excellent service dogs.

Size/ Weight

Male Leonbergers average around 30 inches in height and 140 pounds in weight. Female Leonbergers aren’t too far behind, averaging 28 inches in height and 115 pounds in weight. They look even more prominent thanks to their fluffy double coat.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Leonbergers are super low-maintenance owing to their calm and collected demeanor. Not only are they well-behaved around the house, they are anything but fussy when it comes to traveling.

Despite their excellent behaviors, those thick fur coats require daily brushing. Leos are prone to matting, so invest in a hefty fur rake. But while they won’t knowingly give you much trouble, Leonbergers are prone to myriads of health complications.

Life Expectancy

Leonbergers have a lifespan of around seven years, years less than other dogs of their size. This is because Leos have a lot of health problems like issues, cancers, and eye diseases.

Popularity

Leos aren’t very popular in American households. The AKC has them ranked at nearly 100 in terms of popularity.

Interesting Facts

  • Traditionally, Leonbergers were farm dogs, particularly watchdogs and draft dogs.
  • Leonbergers almost went extinct during WWI.

See Related: Best Reasons To Visit Germany: Why You Need to Go

9. German Pinscher

German pinscher dog breed

German Pinschers are dogs like German Shepherds regarding both physical appearance and behavior. However, they have a shorter coat and large, conical ears. These pups, though similar to the Dobermans, are smaller than their other Pinscher comrades.

Behavioral Characteristics

Around the house, German Pinschers are surprisingly calm and composed. They are remarkably docile and will never pick a fight with you. They are also excellent guard dogs.

Sometimes, though, they like to show their goofy side and love to play around. Their favorite pastime activity is a drawn-out game of fetch. Considering their high energy levels, you’d be better off getting them an automatic interactive ball launcher.

Size/ Weight

German Pinschers are medium-sized among the German dog breeds, typically reaching a height of 20 inches and weighing 25 to 35 pounds. They are muscular little dogs, so they may have a leaner look than other dogs their size.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Loyal, watchful, and fearless, the German Pinscher is a hard worker, fierce protector, and loyal companion. They have a high prey drive and are naturally antisocial, but early socialization works wonders.

Unfortunately, they may not be the best dog for a family with small children. These Pinschers can be jumpy and overly protective.

Life Expectancy

German Pinschers can live up to 12 to 14 years. Unfortunately, their small gene pool makes them vulnerable to various ailments.

Popularity

German Pinschers rank very low in popularity, probably because they’re challenging to find in North America.

Interesting Facts

  • Some variations of the German Pinschers are now extinct, which is why surviving Pinschers are rare.
  • German Pinschers love to smile at their owners with bared teeth, which people can misunderstand as aggressive behavior.
  • German Pinschers are among the oldest of many German breeds.

See Related: Best Family Vacation Ideas in Germany

10. American Eskimo Dog

American Eskimo Dog in a Graden
SuperStock / Adobe Stock

Oddly enough, the American Eskimo Dog is another type of German Spitz. These pups were renamed because of anti-German sentiments following WWI. The American Eskimo Dogs, or Eskies, were developed in the late 1800s, though they grew in popularity in the US in the 1930s and 40s because of their role in circus performances.

Behavioral Characteristics

These dogs tend to be highly energetic and alert. Their friendly natures make them terrific family dogs, though they can be afraid of strangers.

Given the loving demeanor of the American Eskimo, these pups can also develop significant separation anxiety. There are a few ways to combat that loneliness, especially the anxiety element. A Snuggle Puppy companion, which can be warmed, is one way to make your anxious pup feel safe when you have to leave them for short periods.

Size/ Weight

Like many German dog breeds, the American Eskimo comes in several sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. Across all three varieties, these pups can be nine inches tall and ten pounds to 19 inches and 30 pounds.

Strengths and Weaknesses

For folks who love chatty dogs, you’ll adore the American Eskimo. These talkative pups will happily talk your ear off. They make up for this sometimes annoying habit by being very healthy doggies.

Their friendly personalities make them fantastic family dogs, but it also results in significant separation anxiety issues. These nervous little beasts will love you so much they’ll never want to leave your side.

Life Expectancy

Since they have very few health issues, these dogs can live for 13 to 15 years. Most commonly, they do tend to have epilepsy and hip dysplasia.

Popularity

American Eskimos are pretty rare in the United States. They rank at 123 in most popular breeds, so while they’re not extremely uncommon, they’re less common than other dogs.

Interesting Facts

  • Eskies became popular performers in 20th-century circuses, and the first known dog to walk a tightrope was an Eskie.
  • Because of their thick fur, Eskies love the cold.

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