The German Pinscher Club of America - Health Information
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The German Pinscher Club of America     ~      

A Member Club of the American Kennel Club

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Our mission is to aide owners seeking ways to improve health, longevity, and quality of life for their German Pinschers. Our goals are to bring about awareness of proper health care for German Pinschers and to limit or end the spread of genetic disease.


The modern German Pinscher has a relatively young and small gene pool. Attention to potential health concerns is important for the breed in the future. Although we know that testing will not guarantee a healthy puppy, it will increase the chance of producing puppies free of inherited problems, if parents, grandparents, and beyond are tested for the most common maladies know in the breed. We are very fortunate to have but a few conditions that are documented well enough to receive our attention. These conditions are:

1. Hereditary Cataracts
2. Hip Dysplasia
3. von Willebrand's Disease

A brief background of these inherited conditions and the screening tests which are recommended follows.

Hereditary Cataracts (HC)
These are found within the breed throughout the world, and is a condition not specific to German Pinschers. In European countries where testing is mandatory, HC appear broadly within the breed and
it can be assumed that it's frequency is no less common in the less tested population. To really know the total impact on our breed, testing of breeding pairs is strongly encouraged. The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) is an organization, dedicated to canine eye health. They have a network of Certified Ophthalmologists who perform a standardized examination, and maintain a database of the results. If your dog is not afflicted with cataracts, or other serious inherited eye disorders, a number is issued to "certify" that your dog is clear of inherited eye disease. Since many eye conditions are an evolving problem, these exams are only valid for one year. Thus on breeding animals, it is recommended that a current exam is done on each parent of all litters produced, and thereafter every few years as these dogs age, since some cataracts will not develop until after the age of five or six years. We provide a copy of the exam sheet, and how to read it here. Again, this does not guarantee that your dog will not develop cataracts, but finding parents and grandparents free of this condition certainly will give an indication of the potential for these to develop. Click here to see the CERF report on the German Pinscher. Here is the most recent report for the German Pinscher, compliments of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO).

Hip Dysplasia (HD)
This condition is among the most common orthopedic hereditary diseases found in all dogs, from toy to large breeds. It is a condition where the hip joints are unstable, causing progressive arthritic changes to the joint. Progressive pain, and limited mobility for the dog follows. The Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA), has long been working to provide a database, as well as a grading system on hips of dogs through radiographic examination. Also the Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHip) from the University of Pennsylvania, offers an examination, through a network of certified veterinarians, which indicates the status of hip health. It is recommend all parents of litters be screened, and certified through one of these organizations. Again this does not guarantee that your dog will not develop Hip Dysplasia, but will give an indication of the potential for this problem to develop in your dog. Corrective surgery is available for this condition, but at a high cost the owner financially, and to the dog with pain and suffering. These exams and certifications are a one time event within the lifetime of the dog. Click HERE to view yearly OFA statistics for the German Pinscher.

von Willebrand's Disease (vWD)
This is a condition where affected dogs produce inadequate von Willebrand clotting factor, and the dog has a "potential" to bleed during bleeding events such as injury, or complicated surgery. We are quite fortunate to have a minor problem with this within the breed. Testing is recommended, as "silent" carriers are present, and if bred together unknowingly, can produce affected animals. This is a one time DNA test done at VetGen which indicates whether a dog is clear (not carrying the gene), a carrier (carrying the gene), or affected (has the disease). To date, we have "found" carriers within our breed, but no affected dogs. This is good news, but still deserves our attention to insure this good fortune. This test IS a guarantee of your dog being either a clear, a carrier, or affected, and is done once in the lifetime of the dog. If both parents are clear, the offspring are guaranteed clear as well.

Other less documented cases of problems have occurred with in the breed, but at this time, not enough information is available for us to determine if screening is necessary.

Remember, testing does not guarantee that your dog will not develop Hereditary Cataracts, or Hip Dysplasia. Testing of your puppies parents will give an indication of the potential of these problems being present in their genetic background. The other benefit of testing is the elimination of affected dogs from the breeding population, which in turn will decrease the incidence of these problems within the breed over time. A healthier, better breed is the goal.

We offer information on all areas of general health and "well dog" strategies on our health pages. We hope you find them helpful.


Please visit the links below on choosing a veterinarian.

Find a Veterinarian (Veterinarian Finder)
Find a Veterinarian (American Veterinary Association)


There are many conflicting views about proper nutrition for German Pinschers. Consult qualified canine professionals, read, and make your own informed decisions. Visit the following nutrition links.
Canine diet information
Building a Balanced Diet

Click on the red buttons above for more Health Information.

Last updated  January 2009.

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this Health Page are for your information. Do not use this information to diagnose the health of your German Pinscher. ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR VETERINARIAN. These pages have links to protocols and articles that contain important information but are not endorsed by the GPCA.