German Dog Breeds: The Top 10

German shepherd lying on a dock

There are several well-known dog breeds that originated in Germany besides the German shepherd. Many popular breeds of dogs as well as some more uncommon canines had their origins in the continent of Europe. The attitude and look of these German dogs vary greatly. Some are relatively little and portable, like dachshunds, while others are enormous, like Great Danes. Additionally, German dog breeds were created for a variety of jobs, such as guarding, herding, and hunting.

Here are 10 dog breeds to know from Germany.


While several German dog breeds are widespread in the country, some are more difficult to come by. Look for a breed-specific rescue or a trustworthy breeder if you're interested in one of the more uncommon breeds. Just be aware that finding the ideal dog could take some time.

  • 01 of 10


    Headshot of a boxer

    The late 19th century saw the development of the contemporary boxer in Germany. Boxers are said to be direct descendants of the larger, more powerful, and now extinct bullenbeisser ("bull biter") dog breed. Boxers were employed for guarding, herding, and law enforcement in Germany and gained popularity due to their adaptability. Boxers are playful dogs who require a lot of exercise. Usually, they have a lot of affection for their family.

    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


    German for "badger dog" is "dachshund." Around 600 years ago, these low-to-the-ground dogs were created to hunt and extricate badgers from their caves. In order to offer additional protection in cold areas and prickly undergrowth, a wire-coated variant was developed. These little pups nevertheless have a strong desire to hunt and like digging. Although affectionate and playful with their family, they may be rather energetic.

    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

    At the beginning of the 20th century, Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann created the Doberman Pinscher. He was a German tax collector and was seeking for a big, imposing dog to defend him while he went around collecting money. Dobies gained popularity and rapidly became well-liked working dogs. They were (and still are) utilized in police enforcement, search and rescue, and as service dogs due to their intelligence, strength, endurance, and devotion.

    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

    The Great Dane, one of the biggest canine breeds, did not, contrary to what its name may imply, originate in Denmark. Germans instead created the breed to hunt wild boars. Danes tend to get along well with polite youngsters and even other animals since they are kind, friendly, and eager to please. These large canines aren't necessarily suitable for apartment life, though. Additionally, compared to smaller dogs, their feeding and medical expenses are typically greater.

    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

    In order to create the ideal herding dog, the German shepherd breed was initially created in the late 19th century. The adaptable breed became the go-to dog for police and military forces as the necessity for herding dogs was diminished by new farming techniques. German shepherds are becoming much-liked companion animals as well since they are renowned for being extremely intelligent, highly trainable, and dependably loyal. But for them to thrive, the correct home is necessary. These dogs need a lot of physical and mental stimulation since they like working.

    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

    The origins of the little schnauzer may be found in Germany in the fifteenth century. Small standard schnauzers were mixed with poodles and to create the initial iteration of this breed. The breed was employed to deter pests, especially in and near barns. Mini schnauzers are frequently friendly, intelligent, and eager to please. However, they are renowned for barking with great alertness.

    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


    The thick-coated, spitz-type dogs of the Arctic are the ancestors of the Pomeranian. However, breeders want a more compact version of those large sled dogs. The name of the breed comes from the region of Pomerania, which today comprises portions of Poland and western Germany. These little canines typically have an intellectual curiosity. They like doing tricks for the attention of their favorite humans and can pick them up quickly.

    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


    The foundation stock for the contemporary Rottweiler is said to have been huge mastiff-like dogs that the Romans imported to Germany. In the town of Rottweil, these enormous dogs were put to service guarding property and moving cattle. Following the widespread adoption of railroad trains in the 1800s, Rotties found new careers in police enforcement and as personal security dogs. They were also excellent search and rescue dogs and service dogs. The Rotties of today are still devoted guardians that are highly affectionate with their families but may be leery of outsiders.

    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

    In the 1800s, the German shorthaired pointer first arose. For many years, German hunters crossed several dog breeds to create high-quality hunting dogs who were agile, sociable, and eager to please. These dogs make great retrievers and trackers. Although they may require a lot of exercise, they also have a tendency to be quite affectionate and playful with their family.

    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

    The Weimaraner breed dates back to the early 1800s, and Germany's Grand Duke Karl August of the town of Weimar was instrumental in its growth. He crossed bloodhounds with other hunting breeds in an effort to produce the perfect hunting dog. The end product was a huge, strong, and versatile hunting dog with tracking and retrieving abilities. Weimaraners often get along well with their families and are well-behaved, but they need a lot of room 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