10 Best Dog Breeds From Germany


The German shepherd isn’t the only popular dog breed that comes from Germany. Many common breeds, along with some more rare canines, have their roots in the European country. These German dogs vary widely in appearance and temperament. Some, such as the dachshund, are quite small and portable while others, such as the Great Dane, are massive. Plus, German dog breeds were developed for different purposes, including hunting, herding, and guarding.

Here are 10 dog breeds to know from Germany.


Many German dog breeds are easy to find in the United States, but some are more rare to encounter. If you’re interested in one of the rarer breeds, look for a breed-specific rescue or a reputable breeder. Just be aware it might take some time for you to find the perfect pup.

  • 01 of 10


    Headshot of a boxer
    Jody Trappe Photography / Getty Images

    The modern-day boxer was developed in Germany in the late 19th century. It’s believed boxers are descended directly from the bigger, more muscular, and now extinct bullenbeisser (“bull biter”) dog breed. A versatile dog, boxers grew in popularity across Germany and were used for herding, guarding, and law enforcement. Boxers are fun-loving dogs that need lots of exercise. They typically are very affectionate with their families.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working

    Height: 23 to 25 inches (male); 21 to 23 inches (female)

    Weight: 65 to 80 pounds (male); 50 to 65 pounds (female)

    Coat and Color: Short, shiny, smooth coat that is most commonly fawn or brindle

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

  • 02 of 10


    Jillian Lukiwski / Getty Images

    Dachshund translates to “badger dog” in German. These low-to-the-ground canines were developed around 600 years ago to hunt badgers and dig them from their dens. A wire-coated variety was created to provide extra protection in thorny undergrowth and cold climates. These little dogs still have a strong hunting instinct and love to dig. They can be quite spirited but friendly and playful with their families.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Hound

    Height: Miniature: 5 to 6 inches; standard: 8 to 9 inches

    Weight: Miniature: up to 11 pounds; standard: 16 to 32 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, wire-haired, or long-haired coat; colors include chocolate, tan, black, red, and more

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years

  • 03 of 10

    Doberman Pinscher

    Sasha Vasyliuk / Getty Images

    The Doberman Pinscher was developed at the turn of the 20th century by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. As a tax collector in Germany, he was looking for a large, impressive dog that would guard him while he did his rounds collecting payments. Dobies grew in prominence and quickly became popular working dogs. Their intelligence, strength, stamina, and loyalty meant they were (and still are) used in law enforcement, in search-and-rescue, and as service dogs.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working

    Height: 24 to 28 inches

    Weight: 65 to 100 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, smooth coat in black, red, blue, or fawn with rust markings

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

  • 04 of 10

    Great Dane

    Bigandt_Photography / Getty Images

    One of the largest dog breeds around, the Great Dane didn’t originate in Denmark as its name suggests. Instead, Germans developed the breed for hunting wild boars. Known for being gentle, affectionate, and eager to please, Danes tend to get along well with respectful children and even other animals. However, these big dogs aren’t always a good choice for apartment living. And their food and medical costs are generally higher than those of smaller dogs.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working

    Height: 30 to 32 inches (male); 28 to 30 inches (female)

    Weight: 140 to 175 pounds (male); 110 to 140 pounds (female)

    Coat and Color: Short, smooth coat; colors include black, blue, brindle, fawn, harlequin, and more

    Life Expectancy: 7 to 10 years

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.

  • 05 of 10

    German Shepherd

    Zachary R Wilson Photography / Getty Images

    The German shepherd was developed in the late 19th century, originally with the goal of producing the ultimate herding dog. As modern farming methods reduced the need for herding dogs, the versatile breed became the dog of choice for police and military services. Known for being incredibly smart, highly trainable, and unfailingly loyal, German shepherds are now popular companion animals, too. But they do need the right home to thrive. These dogs like a job to do and require plenty of physical and mental enrichment.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding

    Height: 22 to 26 inches

    Weight: 60 to 100 pounds

    Coat and Color: Double coat composed of a thick undercoat and a dense, slightly wavy or straight outer coat; tan and black or red and black coloring

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

  • 06 of 10

    Miniature Schnauzer

    Ellen11 / Getty Images

    The miniature schnauzer’s history can be traced as far back as 15th century Germany. This breed first came about when small standard schnauzers were crossed with poodles and Affenpinschers. The breed was used to keep vermin at bay, particularly around barns. Mini schnauzers tend to be amiable, smart, and eager to please. But they are known for being prolific alert barkers.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Terrier

    Height: 12 to 14 inches

    Weight: 11 to 19 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, wiry topcoat and soft undercoat; most commonly seen in salt and pepper but can also be found in black and silver and solid black; long eyebrows and beard

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

  • 07 of 10


    Oleksandra Korobova / Getty Images

    The Pomeranian is descended from the thick-coated, spitz-type dogs of the Arctic. But breeders wanted a smaller version of those big sled dogs. Pomerania, an area that now includes parts of Poland and western Germany, is the breed’s namesake and where these dogs were first developed. These little dogs tend to be bright and curious. They can easily learn tricks and love performing them for attention from their favorite humans.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy

    Height: 6 to 7 inches

    Weight: 3 to 7 pounds

    Coat and Color: Fluffy double coat; colors include black, chocolate, orange, red, and more

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years

  • 08 of 10


    Julian Popov / Getty Images

    It’s believed that large mastiff-type dogs that the Romans brought to Germany were the foundation stock for the modern-day Rottweiler. These massive dogs became useful in the town of Rottweil, where they helped to move cattle and protect property. In the 1800s, after railroad cars largely replaced them in their cattle-moving work, Rotties found new jobs in law enforcement and as personal guard dogs. They also excelled as service dogs and in search-and-rescue. Today’s Rotties are still loyal protectors who are very loving with their families but might be wary of strangers.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working

    Height: 22 to 27 inches

    Weight: 80 to 130 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, somewhat coarse but shiny black coat with clearly defined, rich tan facial markings

    Life Expectancy: 9 to 10 years

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.

  • 09 of 10

    German Shorthaired Pointer

    BranstonandTwiglet / Getty Images

    The German shorthaired pointer appeared on the scene in the 1800s. German hunters long had been crossing various dog breeds to develop a quality hunting dog that was athletic, friendly, and eager to please. These dogs are excellent trackers and reliable retrievers. And they tend to be very loving and playful with their families, though they do need lots of exercise.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting

    Height: 23 to 25 inches (male); 21 to 23 inches (female)

    Weight: 55 to 70 pounds (male); 45 to 60 pounds (female)

    Coat and Color: Short, thin coat; comes in solid liver or liver and white

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

  • 10 of 10


    dohlongma – HL Mak / Getty Images

    The Weimaraner originated in the early 1800s, with Germany’s Grand Duke Karl August of the town of Weimar playing an important role in the breed’s development. He wanted to create his ideal hunting dog and mixed bloodhounds with other hunting breeds. The result was a large and powerful all-purpose hunting dog that could track and retrieve. Weimaraners tend to be very friendly and well-behaved with their families, but they require lots of space and exercise.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting

    Height: 25 to 27 inches (male); 23 to 25 inches (female)

    Weight: 70 to 90 pounds (male); 55 to 75 pounds (female)

    Coat and Color: Short, stiff coat; comes in various shades of gray

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 13 years

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