Did you know that Germany is the third biggest producer of dog breeds in the world, only outmatched by France and Great Britain? So many of our favourite breeds today originated in Germany, and like many things German, they are incredible! Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most beloved German dogs.
The Great Dane
Nope, not Danish! One of the tallest breeds in the world, Great Danes are actually German mastiffs. Though their origins are likely very ancient, Great Danes were developed around 400 years ago in Germany. They were multi-purpose: used as hunting dogs, guard dogs, and even as war dogs! But today’s Great Danes much prefer the sofa to combat. In fact, they’re considered couch potatoes who often think, despite their size, that they’re lap dogs. When properly trained from an early age, these gentle giants who love kids make wonderful family dogs.
The German Shorthaired Pointer
Developed in the 19th century, German Shorthaired Pointers were originally bred as extremely versatile game hunters and water retrievers. They are aptly named after the specific arrow-like pose they instinctively take when they see game. German Shorthaired Pointers today can make wonderful companions because they love people and are eager to please. However, they are extremely energetic dogs, and need owners who can cater to their needs. Beautiful, highly trainable, and able to do just about anything, GSPs can be the perfect dog for active families!
The German Spitz
The German Spitz is today more widely known as a ‘type’ of dog rather than a breed. Indeed, depending on the size (and on the Kennel Club), German Spitzes encompass a variety of different breeds: Pomeranians, American Eskimo Dogs, or Keeshonds to name a few. Historical documents show that they may have been used for a variety of purposes including hunting, guarding, and even fishing. But they’re most known for their qualities as companion dogs. From the 18th century onwards, they were prized in royal families all around Europe. German Spitzes are lively, loyal, and affectionate dogs.
The German Shepherd
The first German Shepherd was registered in Germany in 1899. German Shepherds were carefully bred with an intent to create a dog that was highly intelligent and able to be used for a variety of tasks. The results are extraordinary! The German Shepherd is arguably the best working dog in the world. Widely used in the police and military, they can be trained to do just about anything and are also extremely brave and loyal. German Shepherds can make great family dogs as long as they are properly trained and socialised - particularly to avoid their protective side from becoming a behavioural issue.
This elegant breed was created in the 1890’s by a tax collector in Germany. He needed a dog that would be trainable, protective and large enough to be intimidating so that robbers would steer clear of him when he was out and about carrying large amounts of cash. Often classed in the top 5 smartest breeds of dog, today’s Dobermans are used in a variety of fields including police and military work, as well as search and rescue. These beautiful dogs need owners who are willing to put in the time and effort in regards to training and especially socialisation.
Rottweilers were originally bred to be herding and cart-pulling dogs, but their protective instincts are what lead them to become one of the most prized guarding dogs in the world today. Rottweilers are known for their loyalty and are often described as gentle giants. However, they need experienced owners who can train and socialize them properly. Without a firm hand, a Rottweiler’s instinct to protect can turn to aggression. With one of the strongest bite forces of all dog breeds, this is imperative to avoid. For the right people though, they can make wonderful companions.
The Leonberger is the oldest purebred German dog. Legend says the Leonberger’s creator wanted a dog that would resemble a lion - we’d say he got pretty close! Though Leonbergers’ strengths are more geared towards loving people, they are also excellent working dogs who are used in water search and rescue teams in both Italy and Germany. Due to their size, they need a large home with people who are prepared to handle a giant breed. However, they are one of the most affectionate dogs in the world, making them excellent for families with children.
To finish off our list, one of the smallest (and longest, proportionally) German breeds: The Dachsie. Dachshunds may have been created as early as the 15th century. They were originally bred to chase and dig badgers out of their holes, although today, they are better known as lap dogs. As terriers, Dachshunds love to dig and can also be short-tempered and very stubborn when it comes to training. However, they have a real ability to tune in to their owners, making them loyal, loving and affectionate companions for the right people.
We bet you’re impressed by how many wonderful breeds come from the same country! Which one is your favourite?
There are still so many more German breeds to discover! Check them out here: