19 Captivating German Dog Breeds Ideal for Companionship

german dog breeds

Many German dog breeds are very popular in the US and around the world. We are familiar with almost every dog profiled below because they have made their way to America, but there are a few you probably don’t know.

History of German Dogs

Different German dog breeds were created for a variety of needs. Germans in agriculture bred shepherding and guardian dogs to tend to their livestock. During wartime and also for law enforcement, German dogs were utilized for protection and to keep the bad guys in line.

Germany’s Modern Dog Culture

Some German dog breeds are now service dogs; others still work in agriculture and law enforcement, and many lay around at their house and eat treats.

German Dog Breeds

Let’s take a look at the German dog breeds we know and a few German dog breeds that are mostly in Germany.

1. German Shepherd

german dog breeds
GROUPHerding
FUR & COLORMedium length, double coat in black, black and cream, black and red, black and silver, black and tan, gray, sable, white, liver, blue, bi-color
HEIGHT22-26 inches
WEIGHT50-90 pounds
LIFESPAN7-10 year
SHEDDING FACTORBrush every few days, blows coat twice a year
ACTIVITY LEVELActive

German shepherds are affectionate, good with children, playful, protective, easy to train, energetic, and fast dogs. The American Kennel Club calls them “dog kind’s finest all-purpose worker.”

This German dog is agile, muscular, loyal, brave, and highly intelligent. This is one of the German dog breeds that learns commands most quickly. They are gentle, great companions and guardians.

German shepherd dogs descend from German herding dogs. At the end of the 1800s, a German cavalry officer wanted to breed the perfect German herder. He and others crossed northern and central district German breeds. They’ve worked in law enforcement, the militaryservice dogs, etc., and are known for their loyalty.

According to the AKC, Rin-Tin-Tin made German shepherd dogs popular in the early 1900s. During World War I’s anti-German sentiment, some people called German shepherds Alsatians. White German shepherds are less common than dark ones. The German shepherd’s height can be 26 inches high.

2. Great Dane

german dog
GROUPWorking
FUR & COLORShort in black, black and white, blue, brindles, fawn, harlequin, mantle, merle, white, blue and white, blue brindle, chocolate, chocolate and white, chocolate brindle, silver, mantle merle, merlequin
HEIGHT28-32 inches tall
WEIGHT110-175 pounds
LIFESPAN7-10 years
SHEDDING FACTORModerate
ACTIVITY LEVELActive

The Great Dane is an affectionate, playful, dependable, courageous, and friendly dog breed that needs mental stimulation. Great Danes are gentle giants, wonderful companion dogs, and have a sweet temperament.

Great Dane’s height can be 32 inches. The Great Dane is not Danish. In Germany, they are called Deutsche Dogge, which means “German Mastiff.”

German nobles hunted wild boars with Danes. Now, these big dogs are protectors of people and homes.

3. German Pinscher

german dogs
GROUPWorking
FUR & COLORShort fur in black, fawn (Isabella), red
HEIGHT17-20 inches tall
WEIGHT25-45 pounds
LIFESPAN12-14 years
SHEDDING FACTORAverage, not excessive
ACTIVITY LEVELActive

German pinschers look like Doberman pinschers but are a little smaller. They are very intelligent, courageous, vivacious, affectionate, playful, protective, muscular, easy to train, and need mind stimulation.

They are one of the country’s oldest dog breeds and were used to create other types of pinschers — Mini and Dobie. They began as rat catchers but were able to do many jobs.

The word “pinscher’ is the German version of the French word “pincer,” which means to seize or to nip. Makes sense for a rat hunter. They still have an extremely high prey drive. Now, their main duties are as watchdogs and guardians.

4. Poodle

german dogs breeds
GROUPToy Miniature Non-sporting Standard Non-sporting
FUR & COLORLong and curly in apricot, black, blue, brown, cream, red, silver, silver beige, white, cafe au lait, gray, black and cream, black and gray, black and silver, black and white, blue and white, brown and apricot, cream and white, black and brown, gray and white, black and brown, gray and white, red and apricot, white and silver, black and tan
DOG’s SIZEToys 10 inches tall or less Miniature 10-15 inches tall Standard over 15 inches tall
WEIGHTToys 4-6 pounds Miniature 10-15 pounds Standard 40-70 pounds
LIFESPANToys 10-18 years Miniature 10-18 years Standard 10-18 years
SHEDDING FACTORToy 10-18 years Miniature 10-18 years Standard 10-18 years
ACTIVITY LEVELActive

Poodles are popular family pets. The Poodle is good with kids, friendly, playful, easy to train, and eager to please. They need mental stimulation and tend to bark. People associate Poodles with France, but they originated in Germany, where the word “poodle” means puddle.

The Poodle is very intelligent and has an affectionate nature. They were originally bred for hunting purposes and became fancy pets for nobles.

They spread to other European countries and America. This German breed has also performed in circuses and hunted truffles. Standards were bred down to miniatures. Toy Poodles were created in the US.

5. Pomeranian

small german breeds
GROUPToy
FUR & COLORLong and double coat inblue merle, blue brindle, chocolate merle, blue sable, black, black and tan, blue, blue and tan, chocolate, chocolate and tan, cream, cream sable, orange, orange sable, red, red sable, beaver, brindle, chocolate sable, white, wolf sable, beaver, sable, tricolor, black and brindle
HEIGHT6-7 inches
WEIGHT3-7 pounds
LIFESPAN12-16 years
SHEDDING FACTORNot much, but need grooming
ACTIVITY LEVELPretty calm

Pomeranians offer all the fluff of a big dog but in a mini, adorable package. The tiny Pomeranian is inquisitive, affectionate, protective, lively, bold, and likes to bark. Pomeranian height is 7 inches maximum.

Pomeranians were loved by commoners and royals. These dogs tend to be intelligent and curious. The Pomeranian is easy to train, can play inside, and take short walks.

Pommies are miniaturized spitz-types named for a town called Pomerania, now in Poland and Western Germany. Breeders wanted a smaller sled dog.

They have strong hunting instincts. Queen Victoria popularized these sweet pups in the 19th century when she discovered them in Florence. She exhibited them at dog shows and also miniaturized them from 30 pounds to toy dogs.

6. Dachshund

cute german dog breeds
GROUP Hound
FUR & COLORBlack and tan, chocolate and tan, cream, wheaten, wild boar, red, blue and tan, fawn (Isabella) and tan, black and cream, black, chocolate, fawn (Isabella) and cream, chocolate and cream, blue and cream, fawn
HEIGHTMiniature 5-6 inches tall Standard 8-9 inches
WEIGHTMiniature 11 and under Standard 16-32 pounds
LIFESPAN12-16 years
SHEDDING FACTORShort, medium, and long hair; the latter sheds more
ACTIVITY LEVELSomewhat active

Dachshunds are affectionate, curious, friendly, spunky, good with dogs, brave, playful, protective, and easy to train. This wiener dog with short legs barks a lot. They are independent from their years as hunters. Dachshund height can be from 5-6 inches for miniature and 8-9 inches for standard.

Dachshunds were bred to hunt badgers and dug up badger dens. Dachshunds are very courageous dogs, having battled 25-40 pound badgers with really sharp teeth and claws.

AKA reports that the wire-haired doxies were bred to work in thorny vegetation, and long-coated doxies worked in the cold. Packs of doxies also hunted wild boars. Some dogs have all the fun.

7. Doberman Pinscher

types of german dogs
GROUPWorking
FUR & COLORShort in black and rust, blue and rust, fawn (Isabella) and rust, red and rust, white
HEIGHT24-28 inches tall
WEIGHT60-100 pounds
LIFESPAN10-12 years
SHEDDING FACTORShould be brushed weekly, maybe outside
ACTIVITY LEVELactive

The Doberman is alert, affectionate, good with children, fearless, friendly, playful, protective, and easy to train. Doberman Pinscher’s height can be 28 inches.

The Doberman pinscher is powerful, athletic, known for intelligence, and a loyal companion. Dobermans can deter unwanted behavior with just a glance. Although, when their ears aren’t docked, they don’t look as intimidating.

Doberman pinschers were created by a tax collector named Louis Dobermann (two n’s), who needed help getting people to pay him. Since then, Dobies have worked with police and military as service and therapy dogs, in competitive dog sports, search and rescue, and in World War II, they worked with the Marine Corps in the battle for Guam. They are popular dogs in the US.

8. Boxer

germany dog breeds
GROUPWorking
FUR & COLORShort in brindle, fawn, white
HEIGHT21.5-25 inches tall
WEIGHT65-80 males, females with 15 pounds less
LIFESPAN10-12 years
SHEDDING FACTORModerate
ACTIVITY LEVELActive

Boxers are active, smart, fun, affectionate, protective, easy to train, brave, muscular, good with kids, friendly, playful, and need mind stimulation. They have been popular dogs in the US for a long time.

These cool dogs are named after boxer athletes because Boxers use their front paws to play or defend themselves. It’s good to expose them to people and animals when they are young.

The Boxer’s ancestors were war dogs of the Assyrian empire in 2,500 B.C. However, today’s Boxers were developed in Germany in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Historians think they were bred down from the big German “Bullenbeisser” (“bull biter”), a medieval dog used to hunt bears, bison, and wild boar. Bullenbeissers were crossed with smaller, mastiff-type breeds from England.

Boxers have been cattle dogs, police and war dogs, watchdogs, guide dogs, and athletes.

9. German Spaniel (Deutscher Wachtelhund)

German Spaniel breeds
GROUPSporting
FUR & COLORDouble, medium, wavy in red and brown
HEIGHT18-21 inches tall
WEIGHT40-55 pounds
LIFESPAN12-14 years
SHEDDING FACTORAverage, weekly brushing
ACTIVITY LEVELModerately energetic

This is one of the German dog breeds that’s friendly, good with children, determined, versatile, affectionate, easy to train, and determined.

The Deutscher Wachtelhund is as talented as the Bloodhound in scenting and blood tracking. They can track wounded game 40 hours later. German hunters are practically the only people aware of this water-loving breed.

Their name means quail dog, and these hunting dogs hunt waterfowl. In the 1880s, a bunch of hunters wanted to recreate a breed called Stober, which was a versatile hunting dog. They found a few in Bavaria and bred them with other spaniels. There are 100-150 of them in the US and Canada. Spaniel breeds are so sweet-looking.

10. American Eskimo

dog german
GROUPNon-sporting
FUR & COLORdouble medium coat in white, white and biscuit
HEIGHTToy 9-12 inches, Miniature 12-15 inches, Standard 15-19 inches
WEIGHTToy 6-10 pounds, Miniature 10-20 pounds, Standard 25-35 pounds
LIFESPAN13-15 years
SHEDDING FACTORNeed to be brushed 2-3 times a week
ACTIVITY LEVELEnergetic

The American Eskimo dog is a loyal companion, affectionate, good with children, smart, friendly, playful, versatile, and easy to train. They are delightful powder puffs. The American Eskimo dog smiles and loves people.

They need attention because they are so social and do well in active families. Eskimos weren’t involved with their breeding. Originally, breeders kept them to work on farms.

German immigrants to the midwest US brought their German Spitz, ancestors of the American Eskimo. This is one of the German dog breeds that wound up in show business.

They are so adorable and smart that vaudeville troupes, traveling circuses, and Wild West shows grabbed them for acts. During WWI, America was prejudiced against Germany and began calling them “American Eskimos.”

11. German Longhaired Pointer

dogs from germany
GROUPSporting
FUR & COLORdouble medium in brown and white
HEIGHT22-28 inches tall
WEIGHT55-80 pounds
LIFESPAN12-14 years
SHEDDING FACTORnot much, occasional brushing
ACTIVITY LEVELactive

The German Longhaired Pointer (GLP) is versatile, affectionate, calm, a great family dog, good with kids and other dogs, friendly, easily trained, playful, and needs mental stimulation. GLPs look like setters and love to swim, making them perfect for waterfowl hunting.

They are gun dogs that search, point, track and retrieve. GLPs have been hunting land game birds, bunnies, and squirrels for 100+ years.

GLPs are one of the oldest European Pointers, versatile because they were crossed from the bloodlines of a bird-, hawk- and water dog as well as of Bracken (scent hounds). They were bred specifically to hunt in different weather/terrain.

12. German Spitz

german dog
GROUPNon-sporting
FUR & COLORprofuse double coat in black, black and tan, brown, cream, orange, red, white, wolf gray
HEIGHTToy 8-12, Medium 12-16, Large 16-20
WEIGHTToy 10-11 pounds, Medium 15-25 pounds, Large 30-50 pounds
LIFESPAN13-15 years
SHEDDING FACTORhigh, brush daily
ACTIVITY LEVELactive

The German spitz is playful, smart, active, devoted, easily trained, and needs mind stimulation. They are barkers, good watchdogs, and robust.

They are the oldest breed (6,000 years) in Central Europe, and many breeds have descended from them. Preserved specimens of Spitz dogs have been found in England, Ireland, Denmark, and Germany.

They were watchdogs, vermin killers, and vineyard and livestock guardians in medieval times. German immigrants brought Spitzes to the US in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Unlike some other dogs on this list, the Spitz is not a hunter.

13. Kromfohrländer

german breed dogs
GROUPNon-sporting
FUR & COLORsome wiry and some short in white and brown, white and tan
HEIGHT15-18 inches tall
WEIGHT20-35 pounds
LIFESPAN13-15 years
SHEDDING FACTORcanines with wiry coats need hand-stripping or the Furminator
ACTIVITY LEVELactive

The Kromfohrlander is intelligent, good with children, sensitive, loyal, active, affectionate, friendly, playful, and easily trained. They are athletic and do well in agility and dog tricks.

They were bred exclusively for companionship, so they are devoted. They are great companion animals. Some have rough coats (wavy), and some are smooth-haired.

A scruffy terrier mix named ‘Original Peter’ was “adopted” by US Army troops in northern France, but the troops lost him when they crossed into Germany at the end of the war.

He was found by a local attorney’s wife, Ilse Schleifenbaum, and he mated with a Fox Terrier. The puppies looked like Original Peter. Schleifenbaum created the rare breed, named after crooked furrows of farmland.

14. Leonberger

big german dog
GROUPWorking
FUR & COLORlong and thick inyellow, reddish, brown, sandy
HEIGHT25.5-31.5 inches tall
WEIGHT7 pounds
LIFESPAN7 years
SHEDDING FACTORa lot, especially when they blow coat
ACTIVITY LEVELactive

The Leonberger is easily trained, good with children, friendly, playful, affectionate, good with kids, protective, needs mental stimulation, and has a gentle giant temperament. This gorgeous German breed sheds.

Despite being in the working group, the Leo was bred to be a companion when a breeder crossed Saint Bernards and Newfoundlands in Leonberg, Germany, in the 19th century.

Napoleon III, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), and Czar Alexander II had Leonbergers. Leos have worked on farms and the waterfront. They are great swimmers, pull carts, and are nimble. Leonberger height can be as tall as 31.5 inches.

15. Löwchen

germanese dog
GROUPNon-sporting
FUR & COLORlong and wavy in black, chocolate, silver, white, black and silver, black and tan, black brindle, blue, blue brindle, cream, fawn, gold, gold brindle, gold sable, red, red sable, red brindle, silver brindle, black and tan brindle, chocolate sable, chocolate brindle, fawn brindle, fawn sable, silver sable
HEIGHT12-14 inches tall
WEIGHT15 pounds
LIFESPAN13-15 years
SHEDDING FACTORDon’t shed, brush every few days to avoid tangles.
ACTIVITY LEVELModerate

The Lowchen is affectionate, protective, friendly, brave, easily trained, playful, good with kids, and very trainable. The Lowchen, which means “little lion” in German, has been popular in Continental Europe for 500 years. Their “lion clip” hairdo leaves their butt and legs naked, so they look like a mini lion with a full mane and plumed tail.

Their history is not completely known. Their name is German, but Lowchen was popular with noblewomen in France, Italy, Holland, Spain, Russia, and Germany. Their ancestors were the same as those of Maltese and Bichon Frise. Lowchen look the same as they did in Renaissance art.

16. Rottweiler

rare german dog breeds
GROUPWorking
FUR & COLORShort in black and rust, black and mahogany, black and tan
HEIGHT22-27 inches tall
WEIGHT80-135 pounds
LIFESPAN9-10 years
SHEDDING FACTORModerate, brush weekly
ACTIVITY LEVELActive

The Rottweiler is a loyal companion, affectionate, protective, playful, muscular, gentle, easily trained, and needs mental stimulation. They are powerful dogs and descended from mastiffs. Rottweilers make nice family pets. The Rottweiler height can be 27 inches tall. They need socializing and early training at a young age.

Rotties’ ancestors date back to the Roman Empire. Romans brought their canines when they conquered other countries. Roman drover dogs were in the town of Rottweil and worked as shepherds until railroad cattle cars became popular in the 1800s.

The Rottweiler dog graduated to military dogs, police dogs, protectors, and strength-related tasks. These working dogs also perform search and rescue.

17. German Shorthaired Pointer

large german dog breeds
GROUPSporting
FUR & COLORshort hair in liver, liver and white, liver roan, white and liver, black and white, black, black roan
HEIGHT21-25 inches tall
WEIGHT45-70 pounds
LIFESPAN10-12 years
SHEDDING FACTORmoderate, brush every few days
ACTIVITY LEVELactive

The German shorthaired pointer (GSP) is willing to please, playful, smart, agile, fast, friendly, affectionate, very trainable, protective, good with kids and dogs, and needs mental stimulation. German shorthaired pointer height can be 25 inches tall.

They are gun dogs that love running, swimming, dog sports, and being outside with their human.

The GSP is the product of many crosses to produce a versatile bird dog. They win hunting contests. German Shorthaired Pointers are wonderful companion animals and love snuggling with family members. Pointer dogs are nice pets.

18. Schnauzer (Giant, Standard, Miniature)

german water dog
GROUPMiniature Terrier, Standard Working, Giant Working
FUR & COLORwiry, double, medium length in black, pepper and salt
HEIGHTMiniature 12-14 inches tall, Standard 17.5-19.5 inches tall, Giant 23.5-27.5 inches tall
WEIGHTMiniature 11-20 pounds, Standard 30-50 pounds, Giant 55-85 pounds
LIFESPANMiniature 12-15 years, Standard 13-16 years, Giant 12-15 years
SHEDDING FACTORNot much
ACTIVITY LEVELActive

Schnauzers are smart, affectionate with protective nature, very trainable, spirited, good with kids, obedient, known for their loyalty and intelligence, playful, very trainable, and need mental stimulation.

The Giant Schnauzer dates back to 15th century Germany and was primarily bred as a farm dog, as was the standard Schnauzer. The Giant Schnauzer can weigh up to 85 pounds.

Miniature Schnauzers were bred down so they could hunt rats, and they are the only terrier without British blood. Parti Schnauzers are another type of Schnauzer.

19. Weimaraner

german large dog breeds
GROUPSporting
FUR & COLORShort in blue, gray, silver gray
HEIGHT23-27 inches tall
WEIGHT55-90 pounds
LIFESPAN10-13 years
SHEDDING FACTORModerate
ACTIVITY LEVELActive

Weimaraners are obedient, fearless, good with children and other pets, playful, very trainable, show protective instincts, and have affectionate personalities. Weimaraner height can be 27 inches tall. They like living with active families.

A duke bred Bloodhounds with German and French hunting dogs and created the Weimaraner. Weimars hunted large game like mountain lions and bears, as well as wolves and game birds.

The Weimaraner was a secret German dog and didn’t arrive in America until the late 1920s. President Eisenhower brought his Weimar to the White House in the 1950s, and Grace Kelly had one. Photographer William Wegman’s portraits of them are famous worldwide.

FAQs

What Dog Is Native to Germany?

  • Great Dane
  • German Eskimo
  • Boxer
  • Dachshund
  • Weimaraner
  • Doberman pinscher
  • Schnauzer
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Lowchen

What German Dog Breed Is Considered Rare?

The Lowchen

Which Dog Is the Most Popular in Germany?

German shepherd dog

What Is the Biggest German Dog Breed?

The Leonberger, weighing in between 90 and 150 pounds

Wrap-up 

The beautiful German dog breeds Germany has gifted vary in their characteristics like other breeds in different countries. They vary in size and personalities and were bred for different jobs. Many German dog breeds enjoy popularity worldwide.

Elise Margulis
Elise Margulis is a talented animal writer and a devoted pet parent residing near Manhattan in a cozy suburb. With a Chow mix and a rescued Siamese as her loyal companions, she's been animal-obsessed since childhood. Penning informative articles on pet nutrition, health, and animal welfare, she's also an avid advocate for adoption and animal rights. When she's not writing, she serves as the editor of two local online news sites. Working from home with her fur babies, she advocates adoption and animal welfare through volunteering and social media. A true animal lover and vegetarian for over 31 years, she's on a mission to raise awareness and make the world a better place for all creatures.

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