8 German Dog Breeds

Learn all about these popular breeds from Deutschland

German Shepherd laying on a dock.

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The German Shepherd isn't the only popular dog breed to come from this large Western European country. Over the centuries the country has produced a number of unique breeds.

Our list of eight popular German dog breeds includes canines of all shapes and sizes - from the tiny Pomeranian to the giant Great Dane. There are also several smart and driven breeds that are still used in a working capacity.

Read on to find out more about their history and temperaments.

  • 01 of 08


    Boxr profile sitting in front of a wooden cabinet

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    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'). Also known as the German Bulldog, these big game hunters were popular from as far back as the 16th century.

    When big hunting went out of fashion in Germany, so did the Bullenbeisser. Some breeders crossed these dogs with smaller bull breeds to develop the more athletic, slimline Boxer. A versatile dog, they grew in popularity across Germany and were used for herding and guarding, and as war and police dogs.

    Imported to the United States after the first World War, they began to grow in popularity from the 1930s, and they now rank as one of the most popular breeds in North America. This is largely due to their affectionate, fun-loving and intelligent personalities. You do need to be prepared to give a Boxer plenty of exercise, work on calming over-exuberance, and they're a breed that can drool excessively too!

    Breed Overview

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

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

    Physical Characteristics: A medium-sized, square-built dog with a blunt muzzle; short, shiny and smooth coat that is most commonly seen in fawn or brindle coloring; white boxers sometimes seen

  • 02 of 08


    Smooth haired Dachshund standing on grass

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    Dachshund translates to 'Badger Dog' in German. These low-to-the-ground dogs were developed as far back as 600 years ago to hunt badgers and dig them from their sets.

    A wire coated variety was also developed to provide more protection in thorny undergrowth and in colder climes. This diminutive little dog is a national treasure in their home country, but they have also grown popular across the globe. Doxies are known for having bags of personality and can often be spunky little characters that are loyal and protective, but also independent.

    If you do get a Dachshund, you might just need to be prepared for their great love of digging, desire to chase small furries and often vocal natures.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 5 to 9 inches

    Weight: Up to 32 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Low, long body; smooth, wire-haired, or long-haired coat; colors include chocolate, tan, black, red, and more

  • 03 of 08

    Doberman Pinscher

    Doberman headshot against a background of autumn leaves

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    The Dobie was developed at the turn of the 20th century by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. As a tax collector in the German town of Apoldo, he was looking for a large, impressive dog that would guard him while he did his rounds tax collecting.

    As their numbers grew, Dobies grew in prominence and quickly became a favored working dog. Their intelligence, strength, stamina and loyalty meant they were, and often still are, used by the police, military, search and rescue services, and as dogs for the disabled.

    These athletic dogs will need a home where they get plenty of exercise, and you should be prepared to put the work in when it comes to training. Smart, faithful and eager to please, Dobies are quick learners. They can, however, have strong protective instincts and they don't always get along well with strange dogs.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 24 to 28 inches

    Weight: 65 to 100 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Large, deep-chested, sturdy and muscular breed. Short, smooth coat in black, red, blue, or fawn with rust markings

  • 04 of 08

    Great Dane

    Great Dane lying on grass

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    One of the largest breeds of dogs around, the Great Dane, didn't originate in Denmark as the name might lead you to believe. Known for being gentle giants these days, they were originally used for hunting boar in their native Germany.

    First introduced to the United States in the late 19th century, they have grown in popularity since. This, despite their size and the fact that they have a shorter lifespan than your average breed.

    Known for being gentle, affectionate and eager to please, they tend to get along well with respectful children and other animals. These big dogs aren't going to be a good choice for apartment living and their food bill will be considerably larger than that of, say, a Dachshund. Danes tend to be great watchdogs too, but, if this isn't kept under control, their alert barking can become excessive.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 28 to 32 inches

    Weight: 110 to 175 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Giant breed dog with a muscular body and a deep chest. Their coat is short and smooth, and colors include black, blue, brindle, fawn, harlequin, and more

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    German Shepherd

    German Shepherd standing on rocks with blue sky and clouds background

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    The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is probably the dog people most instantly think of when asked about German breeds. The breed was developed in earnest in the late 19th century, originally with the goal of producing the ultimate herding dog.

    As modern farming methods reduce the need for herding dogs, the GSD was promoted for its versatility. The breed became the dog of choice for the police and military services.

    Known for being incredibly smart, highly trainable and unfailingly loyal, GSDs are now popular companion animals too. They do need the right home to thrive. These dogs like a job to do and will need plenty of physical and mental enrichment.

    GSDs are known for being very loyal and gentle around their family, but they can be unwavering in their guarding duties. Early, appropriate and ongoing training and socialization will be needed to prevent this from becoming a problem. Oh, and get ready for a lot of grooming. German Shepherds shed, a lot!

    Breed Overview

    Height: 22 to 26 inches

    Weight: 60 to 100 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Large, athletic build with a double coat, comprised of a thick undercoat and a dense, slightly wavy or straight outer coat with tan and black or red and black coloring

  • 06 of 08

    Miniature Schnauzer

    Miniature Schnauzer lying on grass

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    The Miniature Schnauzers 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 the barns of farmyards.

    Mini Schnauzers, because of their lineage, don't have the temperament of your average ratting dog. This makes them appealing to many modern-day dog owners.

    They tend to be amiable, smart and eager to please. While they often get along with well-mannered kids and other dogs, they're known for being prolific alert barkers. You may need to work on rewarding alternative behaviors to prevent this from becoming a problem.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 14 inches

    Weight: 11 to 19 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: 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; old man appearance because of the longer hairs that grow on their face, particularly their eyebrows and beard

  • 07 of 08


    Pomeranian headshot with a blurred snowy background

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    It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Pomeranian, with their curled tail, pointy ears and thick coat, is a Spitz dog. In fact, they're the smallest of this type. Their ancestors came from arctic regions and thrived in cold weather conditions.

    The Queen became an enthusiastic breeder, and her dogs often featured in the showing circuit. It was through the selective breeding at this time that we ended up with a smaller sized Pom, similar to the one we see today.

    Poms may be small, but they're known for having feisty personalities. They can be very affectionate, but also bossy and stubborn. You'll need patience and positivity when it comes to training. You'll also need to be prepared for a high maintenance grooming regime. Pomeranians have very thick double coats that need regular brushing to prevent matting.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 6 to 7 inches

    Weight: 3 to 7 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Short-backed body; fluffy double coat; colors include black, chocolate, orange, red, and more

  • 08 of 08


    Rottweiler headshot

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    It's believed that the large Mastiff dogs that were brought to Germany by the Romans were the foundation stock for the modern-day Rottweiler.

    When they were no longer required for this type of work, the Rottie, like the Doberman and the German Shepherd, became popular as a versatile service dog. Their power, courage and smarts meant they were used by the police, military and personal protection services.

    Their popularity has also soared as companion animals. Despite their intimidating appearance, Rotties can be gentle and calm family members.

    They can be wary of strangers (human and dog), and it's important to make sure they have appropriate and ongoing positive training and socialization. With the right guidance and plenty of exercise, your Rottie will, no doubt, be a loyal and affectionate addition to your household.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 22 to 27 inches

    Weight: 80 to 130 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Large, muscular body with a rugged short, somewhat coarse, but shiny black coat with clearly defined rich tan facial markings

From the large, powerful dogs like the Great Dane and the Rottweiler, to the dainty little Pomeranian, Germany has introduced us to a wide variety of breeds.

If you're considering introducing one of these German dog breeds to your household, make sure you do your research.

You'll want to consider whether your lifestyle suits the energy levels and temperament of the breed. It's also important to seek out a reputable breeder or rescue organization.