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Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher, also known as the Min Pin by fanciers, is a toy breed of dog. Miniature Pinschers were first bred to hunt vermin, especially rats. In its native Germany, the dog is known as the Zwergpinscher. Pinscher, is the German word for biter and Zwerg means Dwarf in German. The Miniature Pinscher is also known as the "King of the Toy Dogs". Though the Miniature Pinscher is considered a toy breed, it is in fact one of the oldest of the terrier breeds. Only in the North America and the United Kingdom is this breed in the toy classification. In Europe and its native Germany it competes against the German Pinscher and is listed in as a terrier.

The original true Miniature Pinscher was more stout in appearance than today's refined dog. Its coat was more coarse and the dog in general was less refined. The refined look of today's dog was a result primarily of many who neglected to realize that the breed was a working breed and not a toy breed. Much of the natural look went away with years of breeding for the refined small dog now seen as today's Miniature Pinscher.

Typically, the Miniature Pinscher stands 25–30 cm (10–12.5 in) at the withers, weighing 4–6 kg (8–12 lb).

Coat and color
The coat is short and smooth, with colors, according to most breed standards, of red, stag-red, and black or chocolate with tan or rust markings, in addition to the blue and fawn. Blue coats are allowed in the UK, but in the US can be registered but cannot compete in show but all other aspects of the AKC. The Miniature Pinscher frequently has a docked tail and cropped ears, though the AKC no longer requires ear cropping for shows. The AKC standard specifies a characteristic hackney-like action: "a high-stepping, reaching, free and easy gait in which the front leg moves straight forward and in front of the body and the foot bends at the wrist. The dog drives smoothly and strongly from the rear. The head and tail are carried high." The standard in Europe does not require the high stepping gate as the original Miniature Pinscher (zwergpinscher) did not walk in such a fashion. In Europe and Germany this high stepping gate is considered a fault.

The Miniature Pinscher will on occasion carry a small white patch generally located on neck or breast area. This links directly back to the original breed coloring. The Miniature Pinscher did come in Merle coloring which in the Dachshund is referred to as Dapple and in Harlequin like that found in the Great Dane. The white gene is part of the makeup of this breed; though breeders for years have fought to eliminate this gene, it is accepted by AKC in conformation and show so long as the area of white is limited to no more than 1/2 inch in direction.

The Min Pin is an energetic, playful, and friendly dog that thrives on owner interaction. These are typically categorized as "one, or two person dogs", but with socialization, they can be integrated into families, and get along with other dogs, pets, and children. Children, especially younger ones, must be encouraged to act gently and responsibly around this smaller breed to avoid injury for both parties. Socialization as puppies will help ensure they can co-exist and interact with other dogs as adults. Min Pins are outgoing, responsive and clever. They will be aloof around people they have never been introduced to, and are very protective of their owners. This protective instinct will manifest as barking and challenging postures. Although originally bred for ratting, they are also excellent watch dogs, barking at all things they deem a threat.

These little dogs will need lots of exercise per day. A backyard would be preferable so they can have an outdoor area to run around in, but it will need to be securely fenced in as this breed is the Houdini of the dog world when it comes to escaping. It must be noted that you are dealing with a "terrier" not a "Toy Breed" in such these dogs energy level exceeds the traditional concept or idea of the standard toy breed. Daily walks are not sufficient for this breed to wear off their excess energy. Though dog parks can be a solution, the true Miniature Pinscher, being a terrier, can go on the hunt at any moment, therefore recall of an off-lead dog is a serious challenge with this breed. Keep in mind that this dog truly does not see itself as small and therefore will challenge anything including larger breeds. These dogs are not suitable for apartments; their energy level can result in considerable damage to floors, walls and furniture and their natural guard instincts result in considerable barking, which leads to complaints of noise from neighbors.


Although the breed is not necessarily bad with children, much care must be taken in educating youths about proper handling and play. The dogs are relatively sturdy for their size but can be easily injured by rough play with a child. In addition, their high-strung temperament leaves little patience for such rough play.

Grooming is easy, as the smooth, short-haired coat requires little attention. Care must be taken in colder weather as the coat provides virtually no insulation from the cold.

Due to their instinct to hunt vermin, special care must be taken in preventing a Miniature Pinscher from "attacking" small objects, such as bottle caps, as they could pose a choking hazard.


Miniature Pinscher
Other names: Zwergpinscher
Nicknames: Min Pin, King of the Toys
Country of origin:

Miniature Pinschers are also prone to overeating and should have their diets monitored to prevent obesity.

This breed has an insatiable curiosity, so the best toys for Miniature Pinschers are ones that stimulate their curiosity. This may include toys that move or make an interesting noise. Miniature Pinschers enjoy having a collection of such toys, which they will hoard and spend much time in moving from one collecting place to another. However, Miniature Pinschers will chew and inevitably try to eat their toys, so avoid toys made of rubber or plastic. Small stuffed animals, rope toys, and interactive toys that pose a challenge work well. Cat toys (that do not have catnip) are also suitable.

Miniature Pinschers are territorial, so they should be provided with their own place to rest and sleep, though they will commonly stake a claim to a particular piece of furniture or curtain under or behind which they will sleep when people are in the room. They prefer to sleep on soft objects as well as under soft objects, so a small blanket should be provided to cover them. Unless the owner is amenable to sharing his or her bed, bedroom doors must be kept closed at night as Miniature Pinschers will jump onto beds and crawl under the covers. Care should be taken not to accidentally injure a Miniature Pinscher while they are sleeping under blankets.

It is essential due to the energy level of this breed that a secured fenced yard be provided. Miniature Pinschers need to exercise regularly. In addition, when in public this breed must be kept on harness and leash, as it is natural for this breed to give chase if something of interest catches its eye.

Although the two breeds are similar in appearance, the Miniature Pinscher is not a "Miniature Doberman"; it predates the latter and the two share no common ancestry. Although the Miniature Pinscher appeared in paintings and sculptures several centuries ago, the factual documentation on this breed goes back to 1836 with the writings of Dr. Reichenbach. The Doberman Pinscher was bred by Karl Frederich Louis Dobermann in 1880. It is strongly believed that Dobermann used the Deutcher Pinscher (German Pinscher) in establishing his breed, as Dobermann had noted that he was looking to create a dog resembling the Miniature "Zwerpinscher" Pinscher but 15 times larger.

In 1895, the Pinscher Schnauzer Klub officially recognized Dobermann's Pinscher. The misconception in the U.S. that the Miniature Pinscher is a "miniature doberman" occurred because the Doberman Pinscher was introduced to the US before the Miniature Pinscher. In 1919 the Miniature Pinscher was introduced to the AKC show ring. At that time, not knowing that it was referred to officially in Germany as the Zwergpinscher (dwarfpinscher), the AKC referred to the breed as simply "Pinscher" and listed it in the miscellaneous category. By 1929 (the year of the breed's official introduction into the AKC), not noting it was a true Terrier breed, it was decided to officially place it in the Toy breed classification. Unfortunately the AKC's description, that the dog "must appear as a Doberman in miniature", led to the misconception common today that this breed is a "Miniature Doberman Pinscher". The original name for this breed in the US was "Pinscher" until 1972 when the name was officially changed to Miniature Pinscher.

In 1836 (the oldest documented mention of the Miniature Pinscher) after years of study of the breed Dr. Reichenbach determined that the Miniature Pinscher was derived from crossing a smooth coated Dachshund (a favorite German breed of the time with excellent ratting skills) with an Italian Greyhound. This is the only documented fact about the Min Pin's origin. Many believed that the German (Deutscher) Pinscher was used as breed stock but unfortunately this is false as this breed came about as purely an accident in the 1700's when wirehaired standard Schnauzers started throwing smooth coated pups. Including the Italian Greyhound made a swifter ratter as this breed was primarily used on farms where open fields required a faster dog to chase down rats and mice. The original Miniature Pinscher was not a true house pet but a working breed left to the barn with minimal human contact, much like feral cats on farms today. This created the unique independent trait in the breed that is still found today.

It must also be noted that the word "pinscher" in German does not mean "terrier". The word "terrier", like "setter", pertains to the way the breed works. The German word "pinscher" translates to "biter" or the way it bites when attacking its prey.