Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sit and Stay Awhile With This Delightful Steiff German Pinscher Dog!

Pinch me!  Or in this case, better yet, "Pinch" me!  Ever have that feeling when a wonderful Steiff item just makes its way into your collection, like it was meant to be?  Well, that's how Steiffgal felt when a somewhat rare - and totally adorable - vintage Steiff dog recently joined her hug.  Check out this captivating Steiff canine and see what makes him so interesting from the design and historical perspectives.  


This sitting sweetie is none other than Steiff's German Pinscher dog.  He is sitting, head jointed, and made from long mohair that was tipped in brown when he was new.  His face is detailed with oversized brown and black glass pupil eyes, a prominent black hand stitched nose and mouth, and a center-seamed muzzle.  His pert triangular mohair ears are lined in pink felt, and as is customary to the breed, he has a proportionally very small tail.  He has black hand embroidered claws on his front paws; his back paw stitching has been lost to time.   Pinscher is in a very appealing and authentic sitting position; his back legs are angled and bent in the way a real puppy sits - especially when they are trying to be compliant for a treat!  This handsome hound retains his long trailing "f" Steiff button and red ear tag; his collar and pendant were made by Steiff but are modern and not original to him.  This Steiff Pincher pattern was produced in 17, 22, 28, 35, 43, and 50 cm from 1914 though 1931 overall. 

So how much is that doggie in the window?  Steiffgal cannot reveal this, but she can share that she found this Pinscher in the booth of a dear dealer friend at the 2014 Steiff Sommer Event in Giengen, Germany.  And indeed, it was love at first sight!

German Pinschers have a far back but somewhat limited history in the Steiff product line.  The first ones appeared in 1903 and were five ways rod jointed; in many ways they looked quite similar to Steiff's earliest rod jointed cubs with their simple expressions and gutta percha noses.  These earliest Pinschers were made in 35 cm only from 1903 through 1906. These are extremely rare; one at Christie's in London realized $12,862 at auction in 2010; he is pictured here on the left.  The next Steiff Pinschers in the line were like Steiffgal's new friend as discussed above -  the ones produced from 1914 through 1931.  The last prewar Pinschers produced by Steiff were made from 1935 through 1943.  These pretty pets came in 17, 22, and 28 cm and were also sitting and head jointed.  However, they were produced in grayish brown mohair and had a slightly updated body and facial pattern.  As far as Steiffgal can tell, Steiff has not had a German style Pinscher in the line for over 70 years... perhaps the time is right again soon?

Like many popular dog breeds today - like dachshunds -  Pinschers of many types originated in Germany.  You can check out a real-live German Pinscher here on the left. For over two centuries, German Pinschers have traditionally has their ears and tail docked. You can see these details on Steiffgal's Pinscher under discussion here. The early belief was that docking the tail was "thought to prevent rabies, strengthen the back, increase the animal's speed, and prevent injuries when working" ... while cropping the ears "prevented injuries while working and increased the intense appearance of the canine and eliminate the subdued, puppy look of droopy ears." Today, both of these procedures are primarily done for cosmetic reasons and many owners do not elect them for their dogs. It is interesting to note that it is thought that German Pinschers came close to extinction in the first quarter of last century.  Thankfully, a gentleman from West Germany named Werner Jung began breeding German Pinschers after World War II, and is credited with saving the breed. 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's delightful pre-war Pinschers has been as welcomed as a loving pinch on the cheek!

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more. 

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