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Miniature Pinscher

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

The Miniature Pinscher (Zwergpinscher, Min Pin) is a small breed of dog of the Pinscher type, developed in Germany. Miniature Pinschers were first bred to hunt vermin, especially rats. Pinscher, is a German word related to the English word "pincher", which is thought to refer to the ears of the breed which used to be 'pinched' or 'cropped'. Zwerg means Dwarf. The Miniature Pinscher is also known as the "King of the Toy Dogs". The international kennel club, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, lists the Miniature Pinscher in Group 2, Section 1.1 Pinscher, along with the Dobermann, the German Pinscher, the Austrian Pinscher, and the other toy pinscher, the Affenpinscher.[1] Other kennel clubs list the Miniature Pinscher in the Toy Group or Companion Group.





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. Buyers should also be aware that there is no such dog as a “teacup “or “pocket “ Min Pin ” These are simply terms that certain breeders use to increase interest in their dogs (and sometimes the price).The miniature Pinscher also tends to have very long legs, and a small body, which can sometimes make it look quite comical. As a result of the flexible, agile body of a miniature pinscher, they are able to curl up in almost any position and almost always be comfortable.


Miniature Pinscher breed standard calls for 10 to 12.5 inches at the withers (shoulders) with any dog under 10 or over 12.5 not eligible to be shown. The original Miniature Pinscher actually had more variance as being a cross between a smooth coated Dachshund and a Miniature Greyhound (known today as the Italian Greyhound, led to some carrying the Dachshund legs while others carried the Italian Greyhound leg creating some short and some tall. After many years of German breeding an average was maintained. Though today's standard is smaller than the original. Due to comon belief there is no such thing as the "min pin" which a lot of people think is a smaller version of the Miniature Pinscher. The so called "min pin" is just a abbreviation (like NY for new york).[citation needed]

Coat and color

Gotti, a 3 year old Miniature Pinscher with cropped ears.
A red Min Pin and a chocolate Min Pin

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, while admitted into the UK Kennel Club, can be registered in the American Kennel Club but cannot compete in show. They still benefit from 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 gait as the original Miniature Pinscher (zwergpinscher) did not walk in such a fashion. In Europe and Germany this high stepping gait 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.


A Miniature Pincher with a boxer

The miniature pinscher is an energetic dog that thrives on owner interaction. They are very loyal dogs and are typically categorized as "one, or two person dogs", but with socialization, they can be integrated into families, and get along moderately with other dogs, pets, and children. Children, especially younger ones, must be encouraged to act gently to avoid being bit as these dogs are known to snap without any provocation. Teething can be one provocation. Socialization as puppies will help ensure they can co-exist and interact with other dogs as adults. Min Pins are known for biting people when being simply introduced as a stranger and are extremely protective of their owners. This protective instinct will manifest as nonstop barking and challenging postures. Although originally bred for ratting, they are also excellent watch dogs, barking at all things they deem a threat. These dogs can jump very high, some can jump five and a half feet in the air.

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.[1] The breed is a toy breed (AKC), 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, so an off-lead dog is a serious challenge with this breed. This dog truly does not see itself as small and therefore will challenge anything, including larger breeds. The breed is rated the 3rd worst breed for apartments due to overall lack of exercise as well as natural guarding instincts which lends the dog to barking and leads to many noise complaints. In addition, the dog can be quite destructive to homes and fixtures if the dog is not allowed ample time to expel its natural energy. Reports of damage to furniture, carpet, interior walls, doors, and other household products have been often reported. These dogs are only suitable for houses and apartments if they have regular exercise. A daily 45 minute+ exercise regimen is a must in order to have this dog in an apartment.[citation needed]


  • 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.

As they are prone to dry skin issues, bathing should be limited to no more than 3 to 4 times a year. During off periods a wipe down with a dampened towel should be used. In addition, care must be taken in colder weather as the coat provides virtually no protection from the cold. This also pertains to hot weather, with no guard hairs they can over heat.

  • 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 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.
Six-month old Min Pin (uncropped ears) with baby blanket
  • 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.


Red Miniature Pinscher with uncut ears.

Although the two breeds are similar in appearance, the Miniature Pinscher is not a "Miniature Doberman"; it predates the latter. Many assume that the Miniature Pinscher shares common ancestry with the Deutscher Pinscher commonly referred to as the German Pinscher in America. Unfortunately that is a false assumption[citation needed]. The Deutscher Pinscher in fact did not come into existence until approximately 150 years after the Miniature Pinscher[citation needed]. Much of the confusion came from the notation that "the Miniature Pinscher is a member of the German Pinscher family of dogs"[citation needed]. This statement for years has led many to believe[citation needed] that they are related but it is only due to the misunderstanding of the wording that has caused so much confusion as to create the assumption they are related. In correct contexts, the statement is meant to note that the Miniature Pinscher is a member of the Pinscher family of German dogs. It must also be noted that even the Miniature Pinscher Club of America's home page reflects errors[citation needed] regarding breed history noting Dr. Reichenbachs study of the Miniature Pinscher which is the only documented study confirming the breed origin[citation needed]. This was published in 1836[citation needed], not 1936 as the MPCA notes.[2][3] 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, and Dobermann had noted that he was looking to create a dog resembling the Miniature "Zwergpinscher" Pinscher but 15 times larger.

In 1895, the Pinscher Schnauzer Klub officially recognized Dobermann's Pinscher. At that time they also officially recognized the Deutscher Pinscher (German Pinscher) as a separate breed from the Standard Schnauzer as well as the Reh Pinscher giving it the offical name Zwergpinscher. 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.

Drawing of a Miniature Pinscher and a German Pinscher (Pinscher und Zwergpinscher), 1888.

Historical artifacts and paintings indicate that the Miniature Pinscher is a very old breed, but factual documentation begins with the oil paintings dated in the late 1500's and early 1600's. It must be noted, that the AKC is in no way a definitive source of fact for breeds. All breed information is submitted by the breed clubs themselves therefore if they are in error, than what is taken from the AKC website will also be in error. In 1836 (the oldest documented writings on the breed history of the Miniature Pinscher[citation needed]) 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[citation needed]. 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 translate to "terrier" as many believe but pinscher in German in fact translates to biter. The word "terrier", like "setter", pertains to the way the breed works. The word Pinscher is taken[citation needed] from the English word pincher to describe the biting action the breed uses when holding prey, pinching manner. As with all terriers, Miniature Pinschers were bred for the purpose of killing small animals, ie: rats, mice etc.

See also


  1. ^ Fédération Cynologique Internationale Group 2
  2. ^ American Kennel Club "Miniature Pinscher History". Retrieved 07/03/2009.
  3. ^ Miniature Pinscher Club of America, Inc. "MPCA Judge's Education - Breed History & Characteristics." Retrieved 07/01/2009.

External links


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