Many types of dogs have been bred for so long that we don’t really pay attention to their origins. It’s incredibly interesting to note that so many of today’s breeds actually originated from Germany.
Whether this is because the Germans have always been a dog-loving nation or they had a greater need for canines to work alongside them is unclear. What’s clear is Germany has produced so many different types of dogs, each with its own unique traits.
If you’re interested in getting a dog with German heritage, consider the following German Dog breeds:
Extra Small German Dog Breeds
These dogs are some of the tiniest in the world. They grow between 6 to 12 inches and weigh only about 3 to 10 pounds. If you like carrying your dog in your hands or the crook of your elbow, these are the German dog breeds to choose from:
The Affenpinscher is officially classified as a toy dog, but it was actually originally bred more like a terrier. In the 1600s, these dogs were a common sight in German stables and kitchens where they worked to ward off pests.
Today, the Affenpinscher is not among the world’s most popular breeds but they continue to delight their humans with their extremely sociable nature and goofy personality.
2. Miniature Pinscher
The Miniature Pinscher has a reputation for being tiny but feisty. They are vocal, highly protective dogs with plenty of energy to burn off. They also need lots of mental stimulation to thrive since they are intelligent, high-drive dogs.
In fact, they belong to the second tier of dog intelligence, which means they only need between 5 and 15 exposures before mastering a trick.
The Pomeranian got its name from Pomerania, the region from which it originated. Today, Pomerania no longer exists (it is now split between Germany and Poland) but the Pomeranian continues to charm the world with their bold and lively personality.
They are especially loved for their smiling faces and poofy, curled tails. They are also incredibly smart and love showing off tricks.
Small German Dog Breeds
These dogs are small enough to adapt quickly to most urban environments. They are usually around 8 to 14 inches tall as adults and they weigh only up to 35 pounds.
If you’re looking for a dog that can easily fit in small spaces but is still big enough to take over your lap, these are the best German dog breeds to choose from:
4. American Eskimo Dog
The American Eskimo Dog was technically produced on American soil but has very strong German roots. They were bred by German immigrants from early versions of the German Spitz.
Today, they are most revered for their lush white fur (although there are occasionally marked variants that are equally beautiful) with a dense ruff much like a lion’s. Additionally, they are incredibly friendly to children and affectionate even to strangers.
Note that American Eskimo Dogs come in three different sizes: Standard (25 to 35 pounds), Miniature (10 to 20 pounds), and Toy (6 to 10 pounds).
There are several types of Dachshunds and they range in size as well as appearance.
Whether you get a Standard (16 to 32 pounds) or Miniature (11 pounds or less) and no matter which coat type you prefer (smooth, long, or wiry), you’ll definitely get a small dog with a large personality. These spunky dogs are vocal and naturally protective of their humans.
The Lowchen’s origins are still a subject of debate since these dogs were incredibly popular across Europe and Russia during the Middle Ages. Its name, however, is clearly German in origin and roughly translates to “Little Lion Dog.”
Despite its name, the Lowchen is typically sweet-natured. They are playful yet patient with small children whom they often relate better to than other animals.
Medium German Dog Breeds
Medium-sized dogs grow to about 17 to 25 inches tall and generally weigh between 25 and 70 pounds.
If you’re looking for a dog that’s large enough for a snuggle but won’t make you struggle for control, these are the best German dog breeds to choose from:
7. German Pinscher
The German Pinscher might not be a common breed, but it is one of the oldest dogs hailing from Germany. In fact, it is believed to be the ancestor of the more popular Miniature Pinscher and Doberman Pinscher.
True enough, they share many of the same traits, including their physical makeup, intelligence, and vivacious personality. They are also incredibly active dogs that need plenty of physical exercise to thrive.
8. German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a sporting dog that consistently ranks among the United States’ top 10 breeds according to popularity. This isn’t really surprising since it is a low-maintenance breed with an excellent capacity for work and a warm personality that suits any home.
They are also remarkably intelligent and respond very well to positive reinforcement training.
The German Shorthaired Pointer also shares many traits with its wirehaired and longhaired cousins.
The Keeshond has an obvious resemblance to its spitz ancestors with its fox-like face, dense coat, and plumed tail. However, its unique combination of black, gray, and silver hair gives it a distinct appearance.
Additionally, it is known for the round patches of black around its eyes—charmingly like natural sunglasses. But beyond its physical appearance, the Keeshond is well-loved for its outgoing yet gentle personality that’s suited even for young children and other animals.
The Poodle might be more commonly associated with the French but these sporting dogs actually originated from Germany where they were developed as duck hunters. In fact, the breed’s name was derived from the German term pudelin, which means puddle and refers to the dog’s love for splashing in water.
Today, the Poodle comes in three different sizes (Standard – 40 to 70 pounds; Miniature – 10 to 15 pounds, and Toy – 4 to 6 pounds). All are remarkably intelligent, affectionate, and sociable as well as protective and eager to serve.
The Schnauzer is a working dog that’s best known for its bearded face and arched eyebrows. Their pepper & salt coat is also a recognizable look, though they also come in solid black coats.
In terms of temperament, they tend to be sweet but fiercely protective of their home and family. They are excellent with children and a delight to train.
Although the Standard Schnauzer is a medium-sized dog, it has also been bred into a miniature size (11 to 20 pounds) as well as a giant size (55 to 85 pounds).
Large German Dog Breeds
Large dogs will require training and obedience but they are manageable, adaptable, and cuddleable at around 21 to 28 inches tall and 50 to 100 pounds.
These are also appropriately-sized dogs for physical protection. If you have the space and prefer a dog with height and muscle, these are the best dog breeds to choose from:
The modern Boxer is believed to be bred from the German Bullenbeisser but its roots can actually be traced back to ancient dogs from the Assyrian empire.
Today, it is one of the world’s most popular and beloved breeds. It is especially loved for its playful and silly nature as well as its wrinkly face.
13. Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman is a high-energy dog with strong protective instincts. Its slender yet muscular physique combined with its serious expression makes them a frightful sight.
This is what made them a useful companion to the taxman in 19th century Germany. But despite their powerful bark and seemingly aggressive appearance, they are delightfully affectionate to their family and gentle with young children.
14. German Shepherd
No other German dog is more popular and recognizable than the German Shepherd. These dogs are all-purpose workers and can be found in almost any setting.
They are courageous police dogs as well as gentle service dogs. And while their drive for work is so strong, they also make excellent personal companions.
The Rottweiler is a working dog with a massive head and a large, muscular frame. The imposing presence of these dogs is enough to deter any devious presence, but they are actually sweet and loving companions.
They’re also excellent service dogs and were among the earliest breeds to be used as seeing-eye dogs.
The Weimaraner is best known for its luxurious coat colors of sliver-gray, gray, and blue. Its roots can be traced back to Germany’s noblemen in the early 1800s.
They were developed and greatly appreciated as sporting dogs. Today, they are still the athletic dogs they were bred to be but are also wonderful household guardians and loving members of the family.
Extra Large German Dog Breeds
Extra-large dogs are generally known as gentle giants because they are massive but are typically affectionate and mild-mannered. These dogs grow up to 32 inches tall and can weigh up to 175 pounds.
If you want dogs that can easily take over your heart and home, these are the best German dogs breeds to choose from:
17. Great Dane
Despite its name, the Great Dane actually has German origins, not Danish. It was German noblemen that developed this breed into the large and powerful dogs that assisted in their hunt for wild boar.
Today, the Great Dane is happy to protect their home as well as snuggle with their family. Because of their size and strength, they can be difficult to manage without regular exercise and mental stimulation.
The Leonberger is one of the world’s largest breeds. They were developed from Newfoundland and Saint Bernard gene pools and exhibit much of the same physical characteristics.
In particular, they have the same massive build and dense coats. They also have the same gentle temperament, surprising agility, and impressive intelligence.
There are several other German dog breeds that are less popular but equally deserving of praise. But even from this list alone, it’s clear that Germany has produced many special lines of dogs that have been loved all over the world for thousands of years.
If you’re interested in German dog breeds, you might also be interested in dogs that look like German Shepherds. There are also German Shepherd mixes that might have the unique traits you could be looking for.