Showsight Presents The German Pinscher

JUDGING THE GERMAN PINSCHER by DEIDRE E. GANNON, ESQUIRE T he German Pinscher is not a small Doberman or a large Min Pin. Rather, the breed’s origins trace back to the Stan-

smoothly from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. This presents a slight slope towards the rear. There should not be any one factor that causes the eye to stop when getting the first impression of a class that has just entered the ring. The same is true of the undercarriage of the dog. The forelegs are straight and the brisket descends to the elbows and ascends gradually to the rear with a moderate tuck up. No part of the Ger- man Pinscher is exaggerated. With a short, single coat that lies close to the body, the German Pinscher is smooth from head to tail. However, some Ger- man Pinscher coats are coarser than others, but a hard coat is not penal- ized through the texture of the coat should not approach the wiriness of the Standard Schnauzer. The German Pinscher head resem- bles a blunt wedge from both the front view and in profile. The head is com- posed of parallel planes; the muzzle is parallel and equal in length to the top skull. The stop is slight but distinct. Some dogs have a hair lick across the bridge of the nose. This is not a fault in the breed but has caused some judges to take a second look at the fore face of the dog because it is not something seen regularly in other breeds of this type. The chest, when viewed from the front, appears to be oval in shape and the ribs are well sprung. The German Pinscher is one of the slower maturing breeds and dogs under two or three years of age will still appear immature in these areas. The most misunderstood part of the German Pinscher standard is the top line. Unlike some others in the Working Group, the German Pinscher topline does not appear to start at the withers. Rather, the shoulders are a separate

component whose musculature cre- ates a slight slope from the insertion of the neck towards the rear. The visual topline starts behind the withers and extends in a straight line to the base of the tail. If the dog clamps his tail down or in the case of one with a natural tail at rest, there will be a slight curve over the croup. There has been much discussion about size in the German Pinscher world. The current standard calls for them to be 17-20 inches at the withers. There is no disqualification for height over or under the standard, though it is a fault. Further, the standard specifi- cally states that quality should always take precedence over size. Since there is no disqualification for height, the dogs cannot be wicketed in the ring and any assessment as to size is, at best, an estimate. Further, the German Pinscher is often deceptive when it comes to visually estimating height. The heavier boned dog with more substance will appear to be bigger than he actually is. In addition, the size of the German Pinscher varies widely within the breed and the tallest or smallest specimen in the ring on any given day should not be assumed to be incorrect. The moving German Pinscher should have good reach and drive. He should cover ground smoothly. The back remains firm and level without swaying, rolling or roaching. At this point in the breed’s evolution in the United States, the most frequently seen problems are with the front construc- tion which interferes with the proper movement of many dogs. Many are too straight in shoulder while others do not have the breadth and depth of chest that should be seen in the breed. There have also been issues with dogs

dard Schnauzer. During various stages of its evolution, the German Pinscher has been described as having both a Schnauzer type and a Doberman type. The Schnauzer type was the heavier dog with more substance while the Doberman type was the dog with less substance and more elegance. The ideal is most likely somewhere in between. As a relatively young breed in the United States, with a number of for- eign imports still being added to the gene pool on a regular basis, there are times when at first glance at German Pinschers arrayed around the ring, one might think they are not members of the same breed. Thus, it is very impor- tant that each individual dog be judged against the breed standard and not com- pared to each other. Too often the “odd man out”, the one that just does not resemble the others entered that day, is the most correct German Pinscher. This is a common occurrence in the more recently recognized breeds. Where more established breeds will often vary according to geography (i.e. a West Coast dog is different in type from an East Coast dog), the newer breeds rep- resent variations that occur all over the world. The German Pinscher presents a square profile with well-developed muscles. The body is compact and strong while conveying an athletic and agile appearance. Moderation and good balance are the keys to the breed. The elegantly arched neck that blends smoothly into the shoulders extending into a straight topline to a faintly curved croup is such that the eye should move



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