German Dog Breeds – Discover These Popular Pups!
by Jessi Larson
Today German dog breeds represent some of the most popular pups on the planet. Get ready to discover 25 amazing animals!
Historically, German dog breeds are very popular – and we’re not just talking about the German Shepherd.
You’ll be surprised to discover the breadth of breeds that stem from the country.
German Dog Breeds Guide
Did you know that Germany is the third largest dog breed producer?
A large number of dog breeds have roots in the country, including many working dogs.
Ultimately, German dog breeds come in all types of colors, sizes and temperaments. Just take a look at 25 popular German dog breeds and you’ll see what we mean.
1. German Shepherd
Consistently one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States and much of the world, the German Shepherd is a true dog lover’s dog.
The breed is easily recognizable by its strong, muscular body; alert, pointy ears; thick, multi-colored coat; and noble, hard-working personality.
Originating from the farm and sheepdogs of the past, the German Shepherd gained popularity during World War I for its courage, loyalty and intelligence.
As a pet, this dog is great with children and other pups and responds well to training. Just be sure he gets regular exercise and stimulation, and you’ll have the perfect pooch.
The Dachshund continues to be one of the most popular dog breeds in the world today. With an adorably long body accompanied by short, tiny legs, the breed’s unique appearance has won over legions of fans.
These small, friendly dogs come in two sizes: standard and miniature. Standard Dachshunds tend to stay between 16-32 pounds, with a height of about 8-9 inches, while miniatures are under 12 pounds and stand about 5-6 inches.
The breed also comes in multiple coat varieties, including smooth coat (short hair), long-haired and wire-haired.
The Dachshund’s personality is fun, excitable and vivacious. Smart and aware, the breed has a big bark on par with dogs much larger in size.
Interestingly, the German name Dachshund translates to “badger dog,” a fitting moniker for a breed that was created to hunt badgers and other small creatures.
Another pup on this guide to German dog breeds is the Doberman Pinscher, a large, strong dog that can reach up to 100 pounds.
Dobermans are tall and sleek, with a smooth coat of fur that can be rust, black, fawn, red or blue.
The breed is often used as a patrol dog due to their confidence, intelligence, agility and desire to protect. And although the Doberman’s energy levels and stern demeanor can be intimidating, this dog does have a softer side and serves as a wonderful family guardian and companion.
Fascinatingly, the Doberman was developed by Karl Friedrich Louis Doberman, a tax collector from Germany who needed protection during his trips to collect money from citizens.
This hardworking dog loves when it has a job to perform. The Rottweiler’s endurance, intelligence and innate desire to protect makes the breed an excellent companion, and it’s no surprise that they’re used as police dogs, service dogs, herders and therapy animals.
While the breed’s powerful appearance can be intimidating, a properly trained Rottweiler will prove to be a sweet, loving pet. (Some have even been known to sit on their owner’s lap like a small dog!)
The Rottweiler is believed to be a descendent of Roman dogs used for herding and protecting cattle. These dogs were left behind in southern Germany after Roman armies retreated from the alps, and the breed’s name comes from a town in the area called Rottweil.
The Pomeranian is a lively 3-7 pound dog. With an adorable fox-like face, they are one of the the most popular toy breeds in the world.
While they are tiny, the Pomeranian has a huge personality that makes up for their small size. They can be willful and territorial, but proper training and socialization will keep them on their best behavior.
Notably, the Pomeranian stands out for its frilly double coat that pushes out past their head and shoulders and makes them look a tiny bit larger in stature.
A Spitz type of dog, this breed is named for the Pomerania region in northeast Germany.
All three types have a wiry coat of either black or salt-and-pepper coloring, a strong, boxy frame, and a long, eye-brow filled face.
One of the oldest German dog breeds, the Schnauzer was originally used as a farm dog. The multitasking pup served as a herder, hunter, ratter and guard dog.
Like many dogs, Schnauzers require training and lots of exercise to reach their full potential. In the right environment, they make a family and farm dog that can’t be beat.
The Poodle is another popular pup on the list of German dog breeds.
A noble dog, the Poodle comes in three types – toy, standard and miniature – with curly coats that can either be white or black in color.
There is a stereotype that Poodles are a pretentious, fragile breed of dog. In reality, however, they are actually quite athletic and love to play and have fun.
The origin of the breed is still being debated. Experts dispute whether the Poodle descends from Germany as a type of water dog or if its lineage dates back to the French Barbet.
Until there is a definitive answer, we’ll include the Poodle on our guide to German dog breeds.
8. Great Dane
The Great Dane is a dependable dog with a heart of gold. They are considered a gentle giant, growing up to a height of 32 inches and a weight of 175 pounds.
Despite their large, lean and somewhat gangly appearance, the Great Dane moves with elegance and smoothness and projects an air of nobility. While friendly and loving, they are also alert and watchful, providing great protection for their family.
The Great Dane is an old breed with a history dating back at least 400 years. At the time, boars were a major food source. The boar was a savage, swift animal to capture, so Germans bred a superdog – the Great Dane – to hunt them.
Another popular entry on the list of German dog breeds, the Boxer is an active and lovable dog.
They have immense popularity due to their sweet, playful nature and adorable appearance. After all, their turned-up nose, pointed ears and sweet eyes are hard to resist!
Characteristically, Boxers are muscular and strong with a smooth and graceful athleticism – like the athlete they’re named for.
The breed originates from the Molosser dog group which was developed in Germany in the late 19th century. It descended from the Bullenbeisser dog, which was used to hunt bear, deer and wild boar.
Weimaraner’s are obedient and friendly dogs, known as Germany’s “Gray Ghost.” The breed stands out for its silver-gray coat, long, velvet ears and striking blue or hazel eyes.
Weighing up to 90 pounds, these dogs love being outdoors and getting lots of exercise. They are easily trained as hunters and make a playful, loving family member.
The Weimaraner’s history goes back to the early 1800s in Germany, where they are believed to have descended from the Bloodhound.
One of the quintessential German dog breeds, the Leonberger is a large yet gentle dog that tops the scales at up to 170 pounds.
Despite their hulking appearance, however, the Leonberger is a complete sweetheart. The breed is also surprisingly graceful and agile for its size.
You can’t talk about the Leonberger without mentioning their lion-like mane. The breed’s coat puffs out around the neck and chest, adding to the dog’s perceived size and giving it a majestic look.
If it seems like the Leonberger is fit for a king, well, it is. The breed was the developed by a man named Heinrich Essig from Leonberg, Germany, who combined Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands and other large working breeds to create a dignified dog specifically for European royalty.
12. German Pointer
As the name implies, the German Pointer is another dog that counts Germany as its homeland. The breed comes in both shorthaired and wire-haired breeds, with a mixture of colors and markings that make each one appear quite unique.
For many generations, German Pointers have been used in all types of hunting. They are also able to transition easily from hunter to family companion, making them a great dog for all types of owners.
While the German Pointer’s history isn’t exactly clear, the dog is likely a descendent of various German hound and tracking dogs and dates back to at least the 1700s.
13. German Pinscher
The German Pinscher is a strong, sleek breed with an elongated head, muscular (but not overly pronounced) body and a shimmering coat that can be red or black with red accents.
A working dog, the German Pinscher has a keen interest in protecting their home and hunting vermin. It is easy to train and does well with other dogs.
Intelligent and determined, the German Pinscher is a no-frills kind of dog that originated in Germany. In fact, it’s one of the oldest dog breeds and serves as the predecessor to the Doberman, Miniature Pinscher and other Pinscher types.
14. Miniature Pinscher
Speaking of Miniature Pinschers, this breed is a small but sturdy dog that weighs a mere 10-12 pounds.
Fearless and fun, the Miniature Pinscher walks with a high-stepping “hackney” gait, affectionately earning the description from the trot of a hackney horse.
Their smooth, shiny coat comes in solid red, rust and chocolate or rust and black.
The exact history of the Miniature Pinscher is unknown, although it’s thought that the breed’s earliest ancestors may have included the German Pinscher mixed with Italian Greyhounds and Dachshunds.
The small but mighty Affenpinscher is a 10 pound dog that looks a bit like a monkey. In fact, the name literally means “monkey-like terrier” in German.
One of the most unique German dog breeds, the Affenpinscher was orginally bred to rid kitchens and stables of rodents.
Today, Affenpinchsers are somewhat rare, but for those who are lucky enough to own one, they’ll find these dogs are easy to train and make excellent companions, although they are somewhat headstrong at times.
The breed is not a great choice for homes with children, however, since these dogs do not like to be squeezed or chased. They do get along with other dogs just fine, however.
16. American Eskimo
Despite its name, the American Eskimo is actually a German dog breed. The dog descends from the German Spitz, but due to anti-German sentiment during the First World War, it was renamed “American Eskimo Dog.”
A loving companion, the American Eskimo is a playful, smart dog ranging in size from small to medium. The breed’s distinguishing features are its bright white coat, perky ears and jet-black lips and nose.
Once used as a circus dog, American Eskimos are obedient, agile and easy to train. They are great with children and other dogs, too.
17. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a friendly and devoted dog that was developed in Biebesheim am Rhein, Germany.
Medium in size, the breed sports a bristly coat and a messy appearance that makes them even more lovable. They stand out for their trademark bushy eyebrows and mustache that are gray in color with brown markings.
Known as the “supreme gun dog,” Griffons are smart and quick-witted, making them superb hunting companions. They also make loyal and loving family dogs.
With a fox-like face, compact but sturdy build, thick coat and curled-up, plumed tail, the Keeshond is an adorable entry on the list of German dog breeds.
The Keeshond is notable for the distinctive gray, black and cream patterns in its fur, with unique markings around the eyes. With a lively personality and sweet disposition, this pup makes a great addition to any family.
The breed is cited as being part of the German Spitz family and has a storied history as a watchdog on the Rhine River.
19. German Spitz
A lively, attentive breed, the German Spitz has proven to be an exceptionally devoted dog to its owners.
Weighing around 25 pounds on average, the breed has an adorable fox-like face, bushy tail that loops over its back, and a fluffy, mane-like collar around its neck.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the German Spitz is one of the most ancient dog breeds and the oldest originating from Central Europe. Its breed lineage is tied closely to both the Pomeranian and Keeshond.
The Münsterländer is a hunting dog known for its impressive dual colored coat. Bred in two sizes, the Large Münsterländer weighs between 50-70 pounds while the Small Münsterländer weighs anywhere from 35-60 pounds.
This dog is extremely intelligent and has great tracking skills. Their strong, even temperament makes them a wonderful pet.
Instinctually, the Münsterländer loves being part of a pack. They are excellent family dogs and will enjoy spending lots of time outdoors together.
Eurasiers are medium-sized dogs that can reach up to 24 inches and 70 pounds. Their thick, long coat comes in many colors and can have white patches throughout. (Some Eurasiers even have what looks like a reverse mask on their face.)
Confident and calm, the Eurasier is a loyal pet that serves as a great family dog. Their even-tempered, loving demeanor makes them a wonderful companion for children and adults alike.
A relatively new entry to the German dog breeds list, the Eurasier was developed in 1972 when a Chow Chow and a Wolfspitz were bred and later mixed with a Samoyed.
A German hunting breed, the Jagdterrier is an easily trained, social and courageous dog.
Weighing up to 22 pounds, the Jagdterrier has a coarse, rough coat with black or tan coloring and markings on its muzzle, eyebrows, chests, legs and the base of their tail.
The breed’s smaller, compact size makes it great for hunting, and owners love the pup’s loyal and reliable personality.
Smart, alert and incredibly loyal, the Hovawart is a faithful pup that was bred to be a guardian and working dog. In fact, the name combines “farm” (Hova) and “watchman” (Wart) in an older form of the German language.
The breed comes in three colors – black, tan and blonde – and can weigh up to 90 pounds.
Hovawarts have an even temperament and are very protective and confident. With a deep devotion to their owners, the breed makes a wonderful family dog.
Although rare today, the Löwchen was one of the most popular pets in continental Europe for over 500 years. The breed’s name means “little lion” in German.
Sweet, affectionate and full of life, the Löwchen is a compact dog weighing anywhere from 10-18 pounds.
The breed stands out for its long, wavy coat that comes in many different colors. Traditionally, the Löwchen’s coat can be groomed into a “lion cut” where the the legs are shaved, except for a section around the ankles, and the rest of the fur is left long.
25. Bavarian Mountain Hound
Last but not least on the guide to German dog breeds is the Bavarian Mountain Hound. The breed is considered the premier German hunting dog with a nose that can’t be beat.
Weighing anywhere from 35-65 pounds, this medium-sized dog is calm and self-assured. They remain fiercely loyal to their owners but may be a bit reserved with strangers at first.
Conclusion: German Dog Breeds
As you can see from these 25 German dog breeds, the country has created some of the most noteworthy hounds in history.
The diversity of the dogs is also remarkable. From the long and low Dachshund to the tall and lanky Great Dane, German dog breeds each have a unique appearance and personality.
All in all, Germany created many incredible canines throughout the ages, and the world is a better place for it.
German Dog Breeds Bonus Tip: How to Pick the Right Dog
When you’re looking for a dog but don’t know what breed to get, these nine easy questions can help quickly narrow down your search and find a four-legged friend who perfectly fits your lifestyle.
1. Why Do You Want a Dog?
First things first, let’s talk about why you want a dog. This will guide you more than you realize!
For example, do you love cuddling up on the couch and want a tiny furball to curl up in your lap and keep you company? Or do you want an energetic and enthusiastic dog who fits your active lifestyle?
Stop for a minute, close your eyes and think about it.
2. What Type of Dog Did You Have Growing up?
Believe it or not, the dog (or dogs) you grew up with often have an impact on what type of dog you want when you’re older.
That’s certainly not to say you couldn’t pick a different type of dog by any means. It’s just that people often have a comfort level with the type of canine they were conditioned to growing up.
3. Do You Have Any Allergies?
Dogs can be awful for allergies. But fortunately, there are many hypoallergenic dog breeds that make it easier for allergies sufferers.
If you’re looking at German dog breeds and suffer from allergies, always learn more about the breed before bringing it into your home.
4. Who’s in Your Household?
Another important thing to think about is who is in your household.
Is it just you? Or do you have a partner? Roommates? Children?
This is incredibly important to consider. Especially if you have little ones in the household.
5. Where Do You Live?
As you think about which dog breed is right for you, where you live is incredibly important.
It goes without saying that certain breeds just aren’t cut out for small spaces. For example, a Great Dane in a tiny apartment would be a disaster!
Also, certain dogs need space and a yard to run and exercise.
6. How Much Time and Energy Do You Have?
Dogs are A LOT of work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But some dogs require much more effort than others.
Potential pup parents should always make sure they have the time, energy and resources to care for a dog, no matter what the breed. But that level of care can increase depending on the dog.
Before committing to one of these German dog breeds, make sure you understand the breed’s instincts and how much mental and physical stimulation they’ll require.
7. What is the Dog’s Temperament?
Just like appearance, a pup’s temperament can vary greatly by breed. And it’s absolutely critical to find out how a dog will act based on their breed instincts.
German dog breeds can vary greatly. Some have easy-going, affable personalities while others are more aloof. Ultimately, it all depends on what you’re looking for.
8. How Much Does the Breed Cost?
Owning a dog isn’t cheap, but some breeds are more expensive than others. Especially for some of the rarer German dog breeds on the list.
Cost is a consideration, and it’s always a good idea to understand the full picture before making a commitment.
Things to consider include the initial expense, vet bills, food, grooming and other expenses like daycare or boarding.
9. Breed Finder
And finally, try out our online breed selector and get a list of the best breeds for you and your lifestyle.
It allows you to enter details like where you live, who’s in your house, your climate, what size of dog you’re looking for and more. You’ll receive a list of breeds that will work for you.