German Dog Breeds – Which Breeds Originated In Germany?

All the Dog Breeds that have their origins in Germany.

German Dog Breeds include some of the most popular breeds in the World, and are surprisingly varied, from the small breeds such as the Miniature Schnauzer and Affenpinscher through to the Dobermann, Rottweiler and Great Dane.

All the breeds listed below originated in Germany, or were developed in Germany. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of ALL the breeds that come from Germany, but a list of the most well-known and popular dog breeds. We will be adding more breeds regularly.

German Dog Breeds


A black Affenpinscher dog standing looking at the camera

In German, the name means “Monkey Terrier”, due to its facial appearance. Although they may look like Terriers, they are actually from the Pinscher/Schnauzer family, and so are much more tolerant of other dogs than many Terrier breeds,

They are inquisitive, affectionate and playful and are very loyal and protective towards other family members although they can be a little territorial when it comes to their food or toys so they are not advised for families with very small children.

American Eskimo Dog

A white American Eskimo dog looking to the left, with a green background
An American Eskimo dog

The American Eskimo Dog was once the Deutsche Spitz, as it lived as a working dog in much of Germany. On farms, these dogs were used to help herd, haul, and keep watch.

Their skills in herding and being alert watchdogs proved especially useful for these German farmers, as whole villages would base their communities off of farming.

After the World Wars, to prevent the breed from being persecuted for its German roots, the Spitzes that had made it to America with German immigrants were renamed the American Spitz, later the American Eskimo Spitz. Meanwhile, in its home continent of Europe, it was just referred to as the Spitz in most countries.

Bavarian Mountain Hound

Bavarian Mountain Hound

The Bavarian Mountain Hound is a scent hound, bred to track wounded game in the mountains of Southern Germany. This is a dog bred to be active, and they need room to move. A rare breed, and most are owned by forestry workers and game keepers. They can make good family dogs, if you have enough space.


A Boxer dog standing sideways to the camera, on a green grass field

Boxer dogs are of German origin and are a member of the Molosser Group. They were first introduced by crossing an Old English Bulldog with a Bullenbeisser (now extinct).

Due to their stamina and loyalty, Boxer dogs were used extensively during World War II as messenger dogs, guard dogs and for attacking enemies. Thanks to their devotion and ability to form a strong bond, many Boxers returned with their soldier companions after the War and this increased their exposure and popularity even more.


A brown Dachshund seen from above, standing on grassy paving

Dachshunds are probably one of the most recognised breeds in the world, and this breed of dog  comes in six varieties – Long Haired, Short Haired and Wire Haired and all three of these varieties come in Standard size and Miniature size.

Dachshunds are originally from Germany,  and the name literally means “Badger Dog“. The Standard variety was bred to hunt and dig out badgers and the miniature variety was used for rabbits, stoats and rodents. They were very popular with Royalty and even got the Royal stamp of approval from Queen Victoria!

Doberman Pinscher

A young, beautiful, black and tan Doberman Pinscher standing on the lawn while sticking its tongue out and looking happy and playful. Dobermann is a breed known for being intelligent, alert, and loyal companion dogs.
Dobermann Pinscher

These dogs are well known for their intelligence, as well as their physical power. Despite having the old stereotype of being a curt and even aggressive breed, these dogs are quite capable of being affectionate especially among family.

The Doberman is a relatively new breed, having been created towards the end of the 19th century. The breed originated in Germany, where Louis Doberman, a tax collector worked to create an impressive guard dog to assist and protect him as he worked.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd

It’s no wonder that German Shepherds are consistently one of the most popular dogs. With their even-temperament, unwavering loyalty and extreme intelligence, they are  fantastic dogs to own.

The German Shepherd originated in Germany as a herding dog and was used to herd and guard sheep, but has since gone on to be one of the most recognizable breeds in the World. 

They date from around 1899 when they were first shown in the show ring and were introduced into the UK and the USA just after World War I.

German Shorthaired Pointer

A speckled German Shorthaired Pointer standing in a brown straw field
German Shorthaired Pointer

Origins:  Germany
Size: Large to Giant
Grooming: Minimal
Training: Average
Recognition:  FCI:  Group 7,  AKC:  Sporting,  ANKC:  Gundog,  CKC:  Sporting, KC:  Gundog,  NZKC:  Gundog,  UKC:  Gundog

Great Dane

A tall Great Dane dog standing in a long grass field
Great Dane

The Great Dane is a widespread working breed. Known for its impressive height, this dog often clocks in at heights between 30-34 in. (76-86 cm). This commanding breed was bred to hunt bears, boars, and deer among the royal courts in which they were popular.

Despite its name, the breed is not Danish. It was, in fact, a German breed, and its unusual name sparked controversy amongst dog breeders.

In 1880, German peoples suggested that the breed’s name be switched to the Deutsche Dogge, because of its true heritage.

Clearly this renaming attempt failed, as breeders in Europe found nothing wrong with the current name, yet it is still popularly referred to in Germany as the Deutsche Dogge.


A golden Hovawart dog lying down on grass with daisies

Origins: Germany
Size:  Large
Grooming:  Average
Training:  Average
  FCI:  Group 2;  AKC:  FSS;  CKC:  Working;  KC:  Working;  UKC:  Guardian

This is a medium-to-large dog breed, with males weighing up to 110lbs (50kg). A breeding program to save them from extinction started about 100 years ago. Bred originally hundreds of years beforehand as a farm guard dog, they now make excellent family dogs and home protectors, if you have enough room and the patience required for training.


An adult Leonberger dog walking across a green field

The Leonberger originated in the south German town of Leonberg. The breed was developed by the mayor of the town, Heinrich Essig, starting in the 1830s. He used the Newfoundland and the Bernese Mountain dog as stock.

This a very calm, confident and laid-back breed. They do extremely well with children, and love being in human company. They are also very big dogs, with adult males reaching a height of 31 inches at the withers, and weighing up to 170 lbs – 200 lbs!

Miniature Pinscher

A black and tan miniature pinscher standing on a sandy beach with blue sea and sky in the background
Miniature Pinscher

This is a Toy dog breed, looking a little like a Doberman, but this dog is a much older breed. They are very alert, curious and energetic, rarely sleeping much during the day. Not a breed for inexperienced owners as they are assertive and confident, and may take over the household!


A Pomeranian dog standing on a timber floor, with sunlight coming in.

The Pomeranian is a member of the Toy group. They are very popular as companion dogs, with their small size and weight, and lively personality. This is the smallest of the Spitz breeds, and is also called the Zwergspitz in German, which means ‘Dwarf Spitz’.

The Pomeranian dog breed is a miniature version of the Arctic Spitz dogs that were used for pulling sleds. They are named after the region known as Pomerania, which is now part of Poland and Germany.


A white poodle sanding on green grass, looking at the camera

What is known is that the breed descended from either or all the now extinct French Water Dog, the Hungarian Water Hound or the Barbet. The name “poodle” likely came from the German word, Pudel meaning one who plays in the water.

Another theory of the breed’s origins suggests that they descended from Asian herding dogs that traveled with Germanic Goth and Ostrogoth tribes to eventually become a German water dog.


A Rottweiler dog lying down on grass, with his tongue hanging out

The Rottweiler, (or Rotties, as they are often called), are intelligent and compassionate animals, despite their generalization in pop culture suggesting that they are mean attack dogs,

Known especially for their loyalty, Rotties are devout to their owners and will defend them with their lives.

In southern Germany, the town of Rote Wil sprung up, named after the red tiled roofs of the old Roman houses that once stood there. The breed was named after this German town. They soon gained popularity all throughout Germany in the early 200s AD.


A black Schnauzer dog standing sideways to the camera, with trees in the background

This miniature breed is most common of the Schnauzers, for many reasons. Owners enjoy their affectionate and loyal personalities, which is paired with their playful energy. Their intelligence makes them responsive and quick learners.

Schnauzer comes from the German word or nose or snout. Schnauzers originated in Germany, where they had built up a widespread reputation.

People valued the dog for its working skills as well as its personality. The Schnauzer proved an effective defense, used by their owners to guard their property and themselves.


A grey Weimaraner dog trotting across a grassy field, with trees behind

The Weimaraner is a bold, cheerful, and energetic breed that is also fiercely loyal and often protective of his owner. For centuries, the breed was developed to be a great hunting dog, and that is what they excel at even today. They are good at both tracking and scenting and were designed to hunt fowl and mammals.

We hope you enjoyed reading our page about German Dog Breeds. It is not complete, but focuses on the most popular breeds that originated in Germany. We are adding to it each week. Please tell me if you think a particular German Dog Breed should be added next, using the Contact Me link. Thank you!

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