In a recent article comparing the Doberman Pinscher to the German Pinscher, Linda Krukar mentioned a German Pinscher and Standard Schnauzer crossbreeding program that was approved by the Finnish Kennel Club in 1996. This was not the only crossbreeding program that had been approved by a kennel club in a European country, and it will undoubtedly not be the last. These crossbreeding programs were designed to strengthen and improve the existing dogs and not to create new breeds. For example, Great Britain allowed the crossbreeding of the Standard Bull Terrier with the Miniature Bull Terrier.
However, this was the very first application that was ever approved in Finland. The application was submitted by the Dorthonion, Waldschatz, and Yarracitta kennels, and it took six years for the Finnish Kennel Club to grant approval. By then, Waldschatz had already dropped out. Shortly thereafter, Dorthonion discontinued breeding, which left Yarracitta to continue alone. The crossbreeding of the German Pinscher and the Standard Schnauzer makes perfect sense, considering the origin of the German Pinscher. At one point in their history, the German Pinscher was considered to be a smooth-coated Standard Schnauzer, and they both occurred in the same litter.
After the German Pinscher came close to extinction and was revived using the few remaining breed specimens combined with larger Miniature Pinschers, there was much left to be desired in the breed. Health concerns and poor conformation were the primary issues facing German Pinscher breeders in the 1980s. The goal of the German Pinscher and Standard Schnauzer crossbreeding program was to widen the gene pool, decrease the health issues, and improve the overall conformation of the breed.
In order to move forward with this program, the Finnish Kennel Club established an appendix registry that would be used through the third generation. Effective with the fourth generation, the offspring would be registered as purebred German Pinschers in the regular registry. In addition, there were very specific rules that had to be followed.
Overall, the crossbreeding program has been successful. The health of the breed is good, the temperaments are stable, and the overall conformation has improved. Most of the cosmetic Standard Schnauzer traits that were introduced have been resolved. For example, the first generation produced many long, rough coats. The second generation produced short coats and some slightly longer coats. The third generation produced primarily short coats. The wild boar color, which was most prevalent in the first generation, is still carried by dogs out of subsequent breedings. Unfortunately, there is no specific test for the wild boar gene, and any dog who carries black may also carry the wild boar coloration, which is a result of breeding a salt and pepper Standard Schnauzer into the German Pinscher. It is said that wild boar was one of the original colors of the German Pinscher that was removed from the standard in 1973.
The program continues as fourth and fifth generations are being produced, shown, and bred. Some truly outstanding German Pinschers are coming to the forefront and, it is hoped, will be followed by even more who have good health, stable temperaments, and outstanding conformation. It is interesting to note that one of the original Standard Schnauzers who was used in this program was the offspring of a U.S.-bred dog who had been exported to Germany and became one of their top-winning dogs.
More information on the crossbreeding program and statistics of the results from the different generations may be found in an excellent article located here.
D.E.G. (January 2015), German Pinscher Club of America
Here is the official German Pinscher Breed Standard as recognized by the American Kennel Club.