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About the Breed: Miniature Pinscher


This “little stick of dynamite” is an affectionate, snuggly, and stubbornly determined companion.


It is believed that the Miniature Pinscher evolved from the ancient German Pinscher family of dogs, which ultimately produced a number of the breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) today.


In 1836, Dr. H. G. Reinchenbach, a German writer, stated the Miniature Pinscher is a cross of the Dachshund and the Italian Greyhound. This conclusion of Dr. Reinchenbach is now generally accepted by historians and those who have researched the background of the breed.


In any event, Germany is the undisputed home of origin, where the Miniature Pinscher was known as the “Reh Pinscher” due to its resemblance to a small red deer, the Reh, which freely roamed the German forests many years ago.


This proud little dog is often referred to as “The King of Toys” (although it’s often the resident “Court Jester” too). The Miniature Pinscher is an assertive, outgoing, active and independent breed. Fearless animation, complete self-possession, and spirited presence describe the Miniature Pinscher to a T. 


They thrive on human interaction—whether it’s obedience training, lap sitting, agility, or walks—anything that keeps them near their people. Min Pins are not dogs that do well left alone for long periods of time.


You will find the Min Pin to be fearless, animated, intensely curious, and always full of vim and vigor. Breeders have been quoted as saying, “It’s like living with a roomful of toddlers who never grow up” and “This is not a beginner’s breed.”

Because of their high energy levels and inquisitiveness, the Min Pin bears close watching. They need to investigate everything and will go to great lengths to do so—which includes being “escape artists.” Rarely does anyone own “just one,” as they seem to grow on you and accumulate. Plan to spend many a night when you turn off the TV because your Min Pins are putting on a much better, and funnier, show.


  • Min Pins love to snuggle with their people. They will burrow under covers to go to sleep.

  • Once they learn something, it is in their mind forever—whether good or bad. They can make great obedience dogs and agility dogs.


  • Very stubborn and strong-willed, but wants to please.

  • Requires constant training and firm reminder of boundaries.

  • Because of their high energy, they do not get worn out like some other Toy breeds.

  • Because of the natural tendency of the Miniature Pinscher to investigate everything, it is absolutely essential to take protective measures in several areas:​

    • Go over every inch of any yard or outdoor space your Min Pin will have access to. If you find any hole or opening big enough to put your hand through, your Min Pin will find a way to fit through also. Fix it immediately.

    • Make sure that any doors or windows in your home which open onto an area other than your secured yard have an extra screen, beyond what you normally have. Nothing is sadder than losing a Min Pin because he or she slipped out under your legs while you were signing for a package. Every breeder knows of this inherent danger and will gladly show you how to install special screens on doors and windows to prevent this from happening.

  • Never leave any medication out, and be sure to retrieve any pill or capsule you may ever drop on the floor if you don't want to find yourself in the veterinary emergency room with your Min Pin who found it first.

  • Do not leave small objects laying on tabletops—includeing paper clips, coins, lipstick, pens, etc.

Best With

  • Experienced Miniature Pinscher owners.

  • People willing to be actively involved with this breed.

  • Retired couples who want a lap dog: an older Miniature Pinscher would be an ideal choice here, they are generally already house trained and want only a warm bed and a lap to share.

  • Active individuals who want a dog to run with you (on lead of course).

  • Owners who provide firm yet positive training and guidance on a very regular basis.

  • A home filled with patience. Once you and your dog become a united front, the sky will be the limit. The key is to always remain consistent.

Not For

The Miniature Pinscher breed is definitely not for everyone. Although the information provided here is specific to the Miniature Pinscher, it is by no means conclusive. It is highly recommended that prior to the purchase or adoption of a Miniature Pinscher you do several things:

  • Attend as many dog shows as possible, and after the judging is over, spend time talking with the Breeders and Exhibitors to gain first-hand knowledge about this breed.

  • The average life span for a Miniature Pinscher is long—he or she will be a life long companion. Spend some time and a few dollars to buy some, if not all, of the books you can find on this breed. Read and study the material and talk it over seriously with other family members, close friends, and anyone else who will be interacting with your dog.

More Info




Breed standard Miniature Pinschers measure only 10” to 12.5” at the withers. Universal average weight should be 8 to 11 pounds, if the dog is of correct height.



The Miniature Pinscher comes in many colors. However certain colors can be a indicator of troubles to come with this breed, given that they are small and sometimes bred by people just out to make a dollar at the dog’s and your expense.


On puppy mill and back yard bred dogs, it is not uncommon to find white hair, "thumb prints" on the legs (a patch of black hair surrounded by rust on the front of the foreleg between the foot and the wrist), and the lack of "pencil marks" on the toes.


Also, Blue, Dilute Red and Dilute Chocolate Min Pins are showing up more and more often—often advertised as “rare.” Be very cautious of dogs of these colors: they cannot be shown in AKC dog shows in a confirmation ring, and they are not recognized by the Miniature Pinscher Club of America. However, they are allowed in AKC obedience and agility competitions.


AKC color disqualifications include:

  • Silver, tan, dilute and any color other than listed above. Blue is disqualified from the confirmation ring but can be registered.

  • Thumb print (patch of black hair surrounded by rust on the front of the foreleg between the foot and the wrist. On chocolates, the patch is chocolate hair).

  • White on any part of dog which exceeds one-half inch in its longest dimension.

AKC accepted colors include:

  • Solid Clear Red: this is the most common color, varying from a dark rusty red to a color that is almost tan. Color should be rich and vibrant. A medium to dark shade is preferred.

  • Stag Red: Red with intermingling of black hairs. Color should be rich and vibrant. A medium to dark shade is preferred.

  • Black and Tan: Black with sharply defined rust-red markings on cheeks, lips, lower jaw, throat, twin spots above eyes and chest, lower half of forelegs, inside of hind legs and vent region, lower portion of hocks and feet. Black pencil stripes on toes.

  • Chocolate and Tan: Chocolate with rust-red markings the same as specified for blacks, except brown pencil stripes on toes.

Energy Level:


Miniature Pinschers do well on a farm or in the city. As long as they are given plenty of walks, they are happy anywhere their owners are. Although this is a toy breed, they are far from a sissy breed!

On a farm the Pin will try to chase rats, mice, and small varmint. Be very careful with your Min Pin. If they are off lead, they will chase anything that runs, or just run for the fun of it. They should NEVER be off lead.

Life Expectancy:

On average, 14 to 17 years; however I had one live to 19 years, so please know this is a life long commitment when you choose to adopt a Min Pin.



Children and dogs should never be left alone and unattended, even for a moment. Young children do not have proper dog etiquette, and dogs do not understand a child’s behavior. This can result in tragedy with any breed of dog.


Like children, each dog is different in personality, energy and patience levels. So, each dog and child relationship should be considered individually.

Some Miniature Pinchers can be good with children, if the children are mature enough to be good with dogs! While this is a Toy breed, they are not toys. While Miniature Pinchers will tolerate a certain amount of attention from a child, grabbing, pinching, sudden moves and aggressiveness will be met with defensive reactions.


If the Miniature Pincher is raised around children who treat them in a gentle way and are taught responsible dog ownership, they will adore children.


However, if children are allowed to grab at them, hit them or treat them roughly in any way, the Min Pin will run from or bite a child—and likely never forget the experience.

It is important to realize that even as a full grown adult, the Miniature Pincher is a very small dog. The wrong type of play and handling can easily result in broken bones and worse. Even though the Min Pin is a bundle of energy and will bounce from sofa to chair to floor to bed… dropping a Min Pin from that same sofa can easily result in unnecessary injury.

Always let the Min Pin approach the child, not the other way around and you should have a wonderful companion. Patience, love and good old common sense make a great recipe for raising a Miniature Pinscher with children or adults.

Other Animals:


The Miniature Pinscher if socialized and trained properly can be great with other dogs. Although the Miniature Pinscher is small they tend to be a dominant breed type. You need to watch them around large dogs. Besides the fact that the large dog could hurt them by stepping on them, you need to make sure your little 10 pound dog doesn’t try to put a 50 pound dog in its place! Spaying/neutering is one of the most important keys to having a dog-friendly animal. Pack position is important and will affect and vary each dog’s acceptance of other dogs.



The Miniature Pinscher is a very smart little dog; they flourish in obedience classes, agility, and even do well at Flyball. The Miniature Pinscher is also a very good watchdog. They are keenly devoted to their family “pack.” Many toy breed owners have also trained their small dogs to use indoor pee/potty pads to save the owner from going outside for potty breaks during the night.



The Miniature Pinscher has a short coat, making the grooming element minimal. It is necessary to give them a good, brisk brushing every few days to ensure a clean, shiny coat. Toenails need to be trimmed at least every 2 weeks to avoid having them grow too long and cause nail-trimming to become nail-cutting: a very unpleasant experience for dog and owner. Frequent bathing is discouraged, as it tends to dry out the coat. It is better to take a warm, damp washcloth, using plain water, and wipe the dog down. Begin with the face, paying particular attention to the area under the eyes, and work back towards the tail. Done every few days, this will keep your dog clean and healthy. Make sure your dog is completely dry before a trip outside if the weather is cold.


  • Leg injuries: Because these are small dogs, it is very important to watch children around them. The Min Pin loves to run and play with kids. This easily could result in a broken leg for the dog if the child falls on it.

  • Patellar Luxation is a dislocation of the kneecap (patella): The kneecap may dislocate toward the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) of the leg, or may move in both directions. It may result from injury or congenital (present at birth) deformities. Both legs may be affected. The crippling effects of patellar luxation are related to the severity and duration of the luxation. The milder forms, especially in small breeds, show little or no signs, and only minimal treatment is required. Severe cases cause more intense pain, with limping. Treatment ranges from rest (decreasing your pet’s activity for 1-2 weeks) to surgical reconstruction of the knee joint.

  • Legg’s Perthes Disease: A condition often confused with congenital hip dysplasia. Although the final result is the same, a hip joint with arthritic and osteopathic changes, the primary lesion is different. Legg’s Perthes disease is due to the aseptic death of the head of the femur. This causes wearing and promotes arthritic changes. Thus, after the condition has progressed for some time it is difficult to diagnose whether the resulting degenerated joint is a manifestation of hip dysplasia or Legg’s Perthes. This condition is congenital and has no known cure. The accompanying pain and arthritic changes can be controlled with cortisone compounds. Restricted exercise while under treatment, or during an attack of pain, is helpful. An operation for the removal of the head of the femur, thus leaving a muscle joint in the area, has proved successful for prolonging the useful life of your pet.

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