German Pinscher

Posted in Working Group


A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential.  Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.


Watch and Companion Dog.


The smooth haired Pinscher represents a very old breed which was mentioned in the German Stud Book for dogs in 1880 already. He has the same ancestors as the Schnauzer which was also called the rough coated Pinscher. From the beginning the smooth haired Pinschers differed from the rough haired specimen in their colour and their short coat. They were mostly black with light brown markings, self-coloured in various shades of brown to red, pepper and salt or simply blue-grey to black.


The German Pinscher is smooth-haired, medium in size with proud carriage, flowing outlines, elegant and square build. He is strong like the Schnauzer. Due to his short, smooth coat, his well-developed muscles are clearly visible especially when he moves.

In relation of length to height, his build should be as square as possible.
The length of the head (measured from the tip of the nose to the occiput) corresponds to half the length of the topline (measured from the withers to the set on of the tail).

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT:  His lively, spirited, self-assured and evenly tempered nature, combined with intelligence and endurance, makes him an agreeable family, watch and companion dog.

Cranial Region:
Skull:  Strong, elongated, without markedly protruding occiput. The forehead is flat and runs parallel to the bridge of nose.
Stop:  Slight, yet clearly defined.
Facial Region
Nose:  Nose leather well developed and always black.
Muzzle:  Ending in a blunt wedge. Bridge of nose straight.
Lips:  Black, smooth and tight-fitting to the jaws; corners of mouth closed.
Jaws/Teeth:  Strong upper and lower jaw. The complete scissor bite (42 pure white teeth according to the dentition formula) is strong and firmly closing. The chewing muscles are strongly developed without pronounced cheeks interfering with the smooth outline.
Eyes:  Dark, oval with black pigmented, close fitting eyelids.
Ears:  Drop ears, set high, V-shaped, with inner edges lying close to the cheeks, turned forward towards temples. Folds parallel, should not be above the top of the skull.


Nobly curved, not too short. Blending smoothly into the withers without any marked set on. Dry, without dewlap or throatiness. Throat skin tight-fitting without folds.

Topline:  Slightly sloping from withers towards rear.
Withers:  Forming the highest point in topline.
Back:  Strong, short and taut.
Loins:  Short, strong and deep. The distance from last rib to hip is short to make the dog appear compact.
Croup:  Slightly rounded, imperceptibly blending into tail set on.
Chest:  Moderately broad, oval in diameter, reaching to the elbows. The forechest is distinctly marked by the point of the sternum.
Underline and Belly – flanks not too tucked up, forming a nicely curved line with the underside of the ribcage.

TAILNatural; a sabre or sickle carriage is sought after.

[*refer note below]

General appearance:  Seen from the front the front legs are strong, straight and not close together, seen from the side the forearms are straight.
Shoulders: The shoulder blade lies close against the rib cage and is well muscled on both sides of the shoulder bone, protruding over the points of the thoracic vertebrae. As sloping as possible and well laid back, forming an angle of appr. 50º to the horizontal.
Upper Arm: Lying close to the body, strong and well muscled, forming an angle of 95º to 100º to the shoulder blade.
Elbows:  Correctly fitting, turning neither in nor out.
Forearm:  Strongly developed and well muscled. Completely straight seen from the front and the side.
Carpal Joint:  Strong and firm.
Pastern:  Strong and slightly springy. Seen from the front, vertical, seen from the side, slightly sloping towards the ground. 
Forefeet:  Short and round, toes well-knit and arched (cat feet), pads resistant, nails short, black and strong.
General appearance:  Standing obliquely when seen from the side, standing parallel, but not close together, when seen from the rear.
Upper Thigh:  Moderately long, broad, strongly muscled.
Stifle: Turning neither in nor out.
Lower Thigh:  Long and strong, sinewy, running into a strong hock.
Hock:  Markedly angulated, strong, firm, turning neither in nor out.
Metatarsus:  Vertical to the ground.
Hind Feet:  Somewhat longer than the forefeet. Toes well-knit and arched. Nails short and black.


The German Pinscher is a trotter. His back remains firm and rather steady in movement. The movement is harmonious, sure, powerful and uninhibited with good length of stride. Typical of the trot is a ground covering, relaxed, fluent movement with strong drive and free front extension.


Tight fitting over the whole body.

Hair:  Short and dense, smooth, close and shiny without bald patches.
Self coloured:  Deer red, reddish-brown to dark red brown
Black and Tan:  Lacquer black with red or brown markings
The aim is for markings as dark, as rich and as clearly defined as possible. The markings are distributed as follows: above the eyes, at the underside of the throat, on the pastern, on the feet, at the inside of the hind legs and under the root of the tail. Two even, clearly separated triangles on the chest.

Height at withers: Dogs and bitches 45 to 50cm. 
Weight: Dogs and bitches 14 to 20kg.

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.


  • Clumsy or light in build. Too low or too high on leg.
  • Heavy or round skull.
  • Wrinkles on forehead.
  • Short, pointed or narrow muzzle.
  • Pincer bite.
  • Light, too small or too large eyes.
  • Ears set low or very long, unevenly carried.
  • Strongly protruding cheekbones (cheekiness).
  • Too long, tucked up or soft back.
  • Roach back.
  • Croup falling away.
  • Long feet.
  • Pacing movement.
  • Hackney gait.
  • Thin coat.
  • Black trace on the back, dark saddle and lightened or pale coat.
  • Over or undersize up to 1cm.
  • Lack of sexual type (i.e. doggy bitch)
  • Light appearance.
  • Apple head.
  • Lines of head not parallel.
  • Elbows turning out.
  • Straight or open hocked hindlegs.
  • Hocks turning out.
  • Over or undersize by more than 1cm but less than 3cm.


  • Aggressive or overly shy dogs
  • Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
  • Malformation of any kind
  • Definitely inverse sexual type
  • Faults in mouth, such as over or undershot or wry mouth
  • Severe faults in individual parts, such as faults in structure
  • coat or colour
  • Over or undersize by more than 3cm

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

*Regardless of the provisions of the current KUSA-adopted standard, docked or formerly docked breeds may be shown at all FCI- and KUSA-licensed shows in South Africa, whether their tails are docked, or natural. Under no circumstances are judges permitted to discriminate against exhibits on the grounds of docked, or natural tails and equal consideration for awards must be given to either. (Amended DR/Feb 2018)