There are tons of German dog breeds, and they are all recognizable by their unique names that bear the hallmarks of the German language.
These dogs have long been luxury pets and working dogs, bred to be great as hunters, watchdogs, K9 police officers, bomb sniffers, and even military attack dogs. They love to work hard and play hard, making them excellent for active families and individuals.
It can be hard to find the right one, though, because of how many there are. This list covers the most popular German dog breeds ranging from small to large, and includes their chief characteristics to make the process of picking a dog easier.
There actually aren’t many German small breeds since many of the dogs were meant to be intelligent workers. The few little dogs there are, though, are well-known breeds that many people enjoy for their spunk, spirit, and overall sweetness. They weigh up to around 40 lbs. and tend to be less than 24 in. tall.
The four most common small German dogs are the:
The Affenpinscher is frequently called the “monkey dog” because of its wild hair and tiny face. It has a square jaw and features a beard, kilt, and long whiskers and eyebrows that make it stand out.
These dogs are best as companions instead of full guard dogs because of their size and stature. They are small and adorable, making them a favorite of families. They do well in apartments and are great as companions.
Everyone has heard or at least seen the dachshund, also called a wiener dog because of its short stature and little stubby legs. While these dogs aren’t great around other pets and small children, they are active and enjoy being around older people.
This breed is highly affectionate and intelligent and is actually one of the easiest to groom because of its short hair.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a great dog breed when it comes to being an affectionate watch dog. They have the traditional beard, whiskers, and eyebrows of a schnauzer and tend to become attached to one specific person in a family whom they remain loyal to.
These dogs require some basic maintenance to keep their hair in order, and tend to be a little stubborn during training. Otherwise they are great and excellent with families.
The Pomeranian unfortunately has earned the name of the “yappy dog,” but this is only when they aren’t trained. These bright little balls of fluff were selectively bred for Queen Victoria of England and are an excellent, low maintenance breed suited to apartment life.
These dogs actually require little brushing despite their puffy brown coats, only needing to be groomed once every three weeks.
There aren’t as many medium German dog breeds as there are large, but these canines are excellent as family pets and are eager to please. Most of them weigh between 40 lbs. and 80 lbs., making them suited to living in a home with a yard for exercise.
The most common German medium breeds are the:
The boxer is an extremely friendly and affectionate dog characterized by its pouty face, sad eyes, and deep bark. It is intelligent, curious, and quite active and can even ‘box’ with its paws to play.
Boxers really love to play, so it’s important to give them tons of attention. Their coats are quite short though, and it’s important to keep them out of the sunlight for extended periods of time.
The Eurasier is actually a really new breed, having been born through the mixed breeding of a chow chow, spitz, and Samoyed. Combined, these dogs produced a fluffy, lovable dog that is active and wants to play.
These dogs are intelligent and obedient, and are surprisingly quiet. They do need constant attention and training, though, or they will develop a stubborn streak.
German Shorthaired Pointer
The Shorthaired Pointer is super energetic and super affectionate. They were bred to help hunt game and have a spotty brown and white appearance that makes them stand out. They require little maintenance but do need training, toys, and tons of people to play with.
These dogs work best with families and in areas where they can be allowed to run and socialize. They are definitely NOT apartment dogs.
German Wirehaired Pointer
These dogs are intelligent, dynamic, and very watchful, making them excellent for families willing to give them training and tons of activities. They have longer, more water resistant hair than their cousin, the shorthaired pointer.
These dogs do work well with other pets and children, but only if they have been socialized to accept them from a young age. They also were meant to be hunting dogs, so they can get excited around rodents like squirrels.
The Munsterlander has very distinctive floppy ears that have long hair, while the rest of the body is speckled white and dark brown with typically short hair. These dogs are super affectionate and love strangers and friends alike, making them great for families.
They are energetic and do need a lot of exercise, so consider taking them for long walks, runs, and other activities. They are very brave and very fun, and tend to grow super attached to one person.
The standard schnauzer is very much a guard and watch dog who enjoys barking but doesn’t like strangers or other animals. They bear the traditional beard, kilt, whiskers, and eyebrows and have a stubborn streak, but are fiercely loyal and loving.
These canines are brave and ambitious, and have no problem chasing after creatures that tread on their domain. They are easy to groom and need socialization and training, but can become a great pet.
There are far more large German dog breeds than there are of any other size. This makes sense considering the harsh climate of the region, the reliance on hunting and guard dogs, and the necessity to have large animals that can work while still being durable.
Despite, these large breeds are actually some of the friendliest canines out there, so long as you are a part of the family. The most popular ones are the:
This is the traditional large Dobermann that people think of when they hear the name. These large dogs are not friendly with other dogs or strangers because of their protective nature, but they are super loving and affectionate with their families and loved ones.
These dogs are obedient when trained, but can be stubborn when not. They are also intelligent, so it’s important to keep them active and happy or else they can become destructive.
German Longhaired Pointer
These dogs were designed to be fast runners, and they definitely love to play. These shaggy dogs need to be given plenty of attention and affection, and also need regular brushing to help tame their wild mats of hair.
The German Longhaired Pointer are also intelligent and obedient, and work perfectly with families that they can love and protect.
The Giant Schnauzer is the large version of the regular schnauzer, raised to have the same distinctive beard and eyebrows. These canines are meant to be guard or watch dogs and are very obedient and hardworking, but are not affectionate or friendly to strangers and other animals.
These dogs need to be socialized from a young age and do well with regular training. They become very attached to a single human they view as a master, making them great for an individual.
Everyone has heard of the Great Dane, one of the largest dogs in history. These behemoths are true gentle giants that are super affectionate and friendly, but require some training. They are smart, enthusiastic, happy, and playful but need to be taught how to socialize with other dogs.
Because of their large size, the Great Dane is prone to a variety of health issues.
Rottweilers have earned a bad reputation because of their use as police dogs, but they are fiercely loyal, obedient, and easy to train. They can be socialized with children and other animals, but it needs to happen young.
These black and brown shorthaired canines love their families but need time to recharge their batteries and get ready to socialize again.
The Rottweiler is best handled by someone who has experience with dogs, and it should be known they tend to be dominant when around other canines.
The Weimaraner is a shorthaired dog that is large and in charge. They were bred to be hunting dogs and don’t tend to get along with other animals, but are super happy and energetic.
While these dogs don’t need a lot of grooming, they need to be trained to prevent destructive habits and love having something to do with their owners to keep them occupied.
Every dog breed will naturally be different, but the astute individual will notice that all of these breeds were meant to be working or watch dogs. They are high energy and need to be kept occupied or they become destructive out of boredom.
Dogs like the schnauzers, Pomeranian, and Rottweiler are also not friendly towards other dogs and animals, so be sure to properly introduce them to new pets and strange animals before allowing them to get too close.
These breeds are therefore:
Common Health Problems
Dogs in general are plagued by the same health problems that hit humans, including the following:
The German dog breeds vary widely, but many of the larger breeds are prone to hip dysplasia, arthritis, and cancer. This is become ones like the Great Dane grow too large, while German Shepherds have been overbred and are starting to experience health issues.
Smaller breeds do live longer but end up with arthritis and cancer as well. They can also get hypothyroidism and diabetes.
The key to keeping any breed healthy is to take them to a vet regularly, feed them a healthy and proportional diet, and make sure they get exercise. Since each breed has its own health problems, always do some research and take steps to avoid the most common issues.
Which German Dog Breed Should You Get?
Ultimately, the best German dog breed for you will depend on your lifestyle.
Big dogs need the most food and exercise, so it’s best to have a home with a large yard or daily visits to a dog park. You also need to budget enough to feed 100 lb. behemoths like Great Danes.
Small dogs need less exercise but can also be quite anxious and needy. They also don’t do as well with children and most medium breeds. These pets will want you to be home often.
All dogs require attention and regular care. Remember that they are a member of the family and will need love and the right amount of diet and exercise to be healthy.
If you have an active lifestyle, consider a big dog. If you are active but don’t have a large home, medium breeds can be your best friend. If you live in an apartment, then a small breed is best.
When you want a German dog, you don’t just have to get a shepherd, as glorious as they are. There are over a dozen breeds with their own unique personalities that make them suited for working, relaxation, and forming a special bond with someone willing to give them a chance.Find the right one for you today and see just how wonderful they can be.