ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher dog breed
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Are you willing to be the “alpha” in your household? Do you appreciate a well-build, elegant looking dog? Well, this little buddy might be the perfect fit for you and your home. Even though sometimes it feels like you are taking care of a toddler, other times this breed will make you as happy as you can be! Full of energy and always in a hurry, the Miniature Pinscher is the perfect size dog for an apartment.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessAbove Average
Exercise NeedsHigh

Dog Breed Group: Companion Dogs
Height: 10 inches to 1 foot tall at the shoulder
Weight: Generally 8 to 11 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 14 years

A small dog with a big attitude! This little, elegant, well-muscled  dog, weighs only 8 to 10 pounds, and is just around 10 inches tall. Some consider him to be a toy version of the Doberman, but the truth is they are totally different breeds with different ancestors. Another mistake people make is thinking that the Min Pin is related to the Manchester Terrier. It is not a secret that they resemble each other, but they are in no relation.

They were bred to hunt rats in the first place and, after a while, they became guard dogs and vermin hunters.

Even though they look very delicate, they have a temperament. If you do not present yourself as a strong pack leader, your Min Pin will be sure to take that role for you. Also, training and socialization are needed, the earlier the better.

Full of vigor, never stopping, you will find yourself wondering “where does he get that energy?” Never let them off leash! You must be careful with this breed, they are great escape artists. Also, their curiosity will probably hurt them one day if you are not there to supervise.

These are some of the reasons why the Min Pin is not the dog for a first time dog owners. They are pretty intelligent and can sense if they don’t have the strong leader they need and will manipulate you as an owner in any way they can.

Main Highlights
  • Even though they are tiny, they are tough little dogs. However, they can be injured by roughhousing. This is why they are better pets for older children, and someone who has learned how to take care of a dog properly.
  • Sensitive to cold! Make sure to put on a tiny sweater on your tiny dog when it’s cold outside. It looks cool and handy at the same time.
  • Mad at the bottle caps? These little guys were originally bred for hunting vermin, so you’ll see them playing with small objects. However, small objects can be a choking hazard, so you need to be careful with this.
  • Full of energy! You will rarely see them resting on some pillow or the couch. Their curiosity may harm them, so supervise them at all times.
  • Be the “alpha”! Otherwise, your Min Pin will take that role in your household.
Breed History

This little guy was developed in Germany as a breed to kill rats in stables and homes. Some say that it is a very old breed, but its existence is only documented in the last several hundred years.

In the beginning, it was called Reh Pinscher, because of its similarity to the reh — a small kind of a deer. Even though many think that this breed was developed just as a small Doberman, it actually is a much older breed and very distinct one.

The first Pinscher Klub in Germany was formed in 1895 and it was then when the development of the breed took off. Later, when this club was renamed in the Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub, the first breed standard was written down. Also, the first dog show that had Miniature Pinschers was the Stuttgart Dog Show in 1900 — until then they were unknown to the world.

The breed’s popularity grew rapidly from 1905 to WW I, in Germany, and after that breeders from Germany and Scandinavia worked on improving the line.  The first Miniature Pinschers brought to the USA were in 1919 and just few of them were shown in the AKC dog shows. The first Miniature Pinscher Club of America was formed in 1929 and then the AKC recognized the breed. Before that, they were shown in the terrier group; in 1930 reclassified as Toys, they started calling them Pinscher and in 1972 they got the name they have today- Miniature Pinscher.

Size

Males and females stand 10 to 12.5 inches high and weigh 8 to 11 pounds.

Personality and Character

This spirited, confident fellow is often called the King of Toys and with his personality, he both delights and sometimes annoys the owners. The best way to describe him is always ready for action, very curious and fearless. The never-ending energy and his intelligence make him an excellent watchdog.

Have you ever seen a detective dog? Well, you’re lucky! The Min Pin has a very investigative nature that sometimes it gets him in trouble. They are like toddlers that need supervision all the time. When you are not able to supervise, it is better for him to be put in a crate, for his safety and your home. So, crate training is a must. Even more, the Min Pin is a great escape artist! They can find the weak spots in the fence or wait for the right moment to run through the door. You have to be very careful.

Even though they are a small breed and you would expect them to lie around and be petted by everyone, that’s not what happens. They are too busy playing around and running through the house; they love entertaining the family and would often play the class clown in order to get the affection and the attention they need.

They are individuals when it comes to temperament. Every dog has a different temperament, which is affected by many factors like, heredity, socialization, and training. When you choose a puppy, take the one that is playful, that will come to your arms and let you hold him and is curious about the environment.

It is better to meet at least one of the parents of the puppy of your choice, so you can know what to expect from the puppy when it grows up. If you meet relatives or siblings of the puppy, it is even better way to get to know the character of the puppy.

Every dog needs early socialization, so does the Min Pin. Expose your puppy to many different sounds, sights, experiences and people, so when it grows up he is a well-rounded dog.

A great start for this is enrolling your puppy in a kindergarten class, also having visitors in your home often, taking him to busy parks and introducing him to many dogs.

Health and Potential Problems

Generally a healthy breed, however they are prone to some health conditions. This doesn’t mean that every Min Pin will be affected of any of this, but it is good to be aware of the things that can happen.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) — this disease affects the retina of the eye, basically it deteriorates it. In the early stage of the disease, the affected dogs will become night-blind, after a while the disease will progress and the dogs will lose sight even during the daytime. It is not that scary, because dogs can adapt well to losing their vision, if the progression is not very fast and if their surroundings remain the same.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease — the first symptoms of this disease that you can notice in your dog are limping and atrophy of the leg muscle, since the disease affects the blood supply to the head of the femur (it is decreased). After a while, the head of the femur begins to disintegrate. This disease is common for many toy breeds. The condition can be corrected by surgery, if you want your dog to be pain-free.
  • Epilepsy — a neurological condition that is mostly inherited, but it can also be acquired. The symptoms represent mild to severe seizures, that you may not notice at first, because they may show up as unusual behavior (running frantically, hiding, staggering). This is a frightening condition to watch, because nobody wants to see their dog suffering. The long-term prognosis for epilepsy is usually very good; it is essential to take your dog to the vet if you suspect something like this, to get the right diagnosis and treatment.
  • Hypothyroidism — just like in humans, dogs have problems with the thyroid gland. This disorder may be responsible for many other conditions such as epilepsy, alopecia, lethargy, pyoderma, obesity, some skin conditions. It can be treated with medication and a proper diet.
  • Patellar Luxation — it is also called slipped stifles; a common problem in small breeds. Literally, it means dislocated knee-cap (patella) and it causes a lot of pain in the affected dog. Some of the dogs can be crippled and some live relatively normal lives without many difficulties.

When you are buying a puppy, ask the breeder for the health clearances for the parents of the dog. They will prove that the dogs have been tested and cleared of the particular condition.

Care Features

As previously stated, caring for a Min Pin is like caring for a toddler — you better “baby-proof” your home in order to protect your puppy.

Never leave any small objects in your puppy’s reach, such as coins, keys, small toys. Also, medication left on your night table can cause serious problem, because this curious breed will ingest anything they find.

If you don’t want to chase after your Min Pin every time you are in the yard, make sure it’s fenced properly, and fix any hole you find immediately.  Doors and windows should be closed if your dog is unattended, because your Min Pin might think it’s a good idea to go after a pigeon and jump through the window.

If you don’t make sure your dog is socialized in the early age, he may become timid and quarrelsome. He will always think that he is the king and you must present yourself as a strong pack leader if you want him to be obedient. This makes it hard on first time dog owners to have this breed.

This breed is recognized by not having a lot of fur, so if the winters are cold, buy him a cute doggie sweater to wear.

Feeding Schedule

It is recommended to split the daily amount of food in two meals.

This breed is very active, so make sure you give enough food to keep up their energy levels. It is uncommon for Miniature Pinschers to be obese, however if this starts to happen, lower the food intake. Also, buy the right food for the needs of your dog. If you have any problem with this, contact your vet.

Coat, Color and Grooming

Miniature Pischers have short, sleek coat in different colors. Colors vary from red, chocolate and rust, and black and rust.

Their coat is very easy to groom; they need very little brushing if you want that coat to be shiny. Use a soft bristle brush or grooming mitt to do this every few days.

You will witness yourself that this breed doesn’t need much bathing, but it’s good at least once per month or month and a half, or if your dog gets dirty. Instead of frequent bathing, you will notice many owners use a wet washcloth to wipe the coat of their dog. The areas around the eyes are important to be clean, also around the tail and the anus. This is a good way to keep your dog clean and healthy.

Small breeds tend to have tartar build up on their teeth and this can lead to serious dental problems. To avoid this, it is enough to brush your dog’s teeth once in 2-3 days, or if you have the time to do it daily, even better.

If your dog is not as active or doesn’t seem to spend the nails naturally, make sure that you trim them or if you don’t know how, take him to the vet or the grooming saloon. Do this at least once a month or as needed. Long nails can get caught up in something and cause pain.

Another important part to take care of is the ears. Do a weekly checkup for odor, redness- indicative of infection. If you notice something other than normal, contact your vet for further advice. You can also clean your dog’s ears with cotton ball and ear cleaner. However, don’t insert anything in the ear canal, only the outer ear.

Make sure to make all of this a positive experience for your dog, so you won’t have any problem while doing it; or at the groomer saloon or at the vet.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

Min Pins don’t tolerate rough treatment, even from kids. Teach your kids how to act around a dog and your Min Pin will be their trustworthy companion and adorable little friend. If your dog is not treated nicely, even accidentally, he may develop negative attitude towards those who treat him badly and will want to avoid them. That’s why this breed is well suited for children over 10 and not younger.

Even though it is a small, loving breed, you should supervise all the interactions between them and kids.

It is common for many owners after they have a Min Pin to decide to get another one. If they are properly trained and socialized, this won’t be a problem for any of them. However, you can expect some bossiness until they work out who is the alpha dog.

Concerning homes with other pets, especially smaller ones, the Min Pin is not very well suited for that, because of his instinct to chase after something.

If you are not a first time dog owner, or you think you can manage the strong and sturdy attitude of this little guy, you are good to go! They are great for an apartment, as long as they have ways to spend their never-ending energy. They are easy to take care of, and don’t take much time for grooming. They are adorable and will give you all the love and affection they have!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Benjamin

    We are really considering the Min Pin as we’ve always wanted a tiny energizer bunny, but do you think that the Min Pin with its strong personality would be a good fit for small children?

    • I regret to inform you that Mini Pins are NOT suitable for small children. They may have the energy and the compact size, but they can snap and can bite the kids so you better be careful.

    • Murfee1313

      I agree with Mr. Walton. My Min Pin , Harley, is loving and fun. He also continuely pushes boundries. (It’s like continuely living with a 2 year old child…and he is already 9). With kids, he remembers any » preceived» wrong doing and attempts to bring retaliation when the opportunity presents itself…5 minutes, 5 hours, he doesn’t care.
      Kids are bouncy and Min Pins can take that as aggression. When my grandkids ages 5 and 7 come to visit, he is in harness and on lead at all times.

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