Miniature Pinschers - Breed Introduction
A toy dog, the Miniature Pinscher is similar in appearance to the Doberman Pinscher, but is not, in fact, a Miniature Doberman. Rather, it is the older of the two breeds.
The dog’s name is sometimes shortened to “Min Pin.” “Pinscher” is a German word for “terrier,” and while the breed’s origins are unclear, it is known to have been developed in Germany.
History of Breed
The Miniature Pinscher appeared in drawings and sculptures as early as the 1600s. Its original purpose was to hunt vermin, particularly rats. The development of the breed as we know it today, however, began much more recently, in the late 1800s.
Similarities between the Doberman Pinscher and the Miniature Pinscher may be attributable to some common ancestry in relation to the German Pinscher. Other contributors to the development of the Miniature Pinscher breed are thought to be dachshunds and Italian Greyhounds.
The feistiness of the Miniature Pinscher is a trait of the German Pinscher; its fearlessness resembles that of the dachshund; and it has the playfulness, speed, and grace of the Italian Greyhound.
In the early 1800s, the breed was referred to as the Reh Pinscher, which was attributed to its resemblance of the small red German roe (or reh) deer. As the century progressed, breeders focused on diminishing the breed’s size, resulting in some rather unattractive versions of the breed. Fortunately, this visual impediment was repaired by the end of the 19th century.
World War I halted German development of the breed and it became less popular there, but fanciers in other countries picked up where Germany left off. The Miniature Pinscher was imported into the United States in 1919, and was first registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1929.
Color and Coat
The coat of the Miniature Pinscher is short, smooth, dense, and straight. It provides virtually no protection from the cold, so care must be taken with this breed in colder weather.
It may be seen in red, stag red (red with an intermingling of black hairs), and black or chocolate with tan markings. It is also available in blue and fawn.
Personality and Temperament
Miniature Pinschers may be described as perennial puppies, not only for their diminutive size, but for their perpetually lively personalities. They are vigorous, spirited, curious, and self-confident.
These little dogs are fearless, and have a strong desire to protect their homesteads. They love to bark, and will alert their owners to any suspicious activity, making them good watchdogs.
Miniature Pinschers need firm training to balance their headstrong, cocky attitudes. They are strong-willed, and too much spoiling may turn this “king of toys” into a little tyrant.
Although they have a very high energy level, the exercise needs of these dogs can be met indoors and in small spaces, thanks to their tiny size.
This breed does better with older children than young ones, needing supervision with the latter. It will react when provoked, so children must be educated with regard to proper handling and play.
Roughhousing is a no-no, both because the dog may react negatively and because it may be injured. Miniature Pinschers can do well with other animals if socialized at an early age, but they have a tendency to challenge (and annoy) dogs that are many times their size.
Due to their instinct to hunt small rodents, Miniature Pinscher owners must take care to protect their dogs from small items that could pose a choking hazard, much the way a parent must childproof a house against the same hazard when a toddler is underfoot.
Miniature Pinschers do best with active, patient owners. They are adaptable to both city and country living, but they are essentially indoor dogs.
Miniature Pinschers are sturdy, compact, well-balanced, and square-proportioned. The topline of the body may either be straight, or it may descend slightly toward the rear of the dog. Their heads are narrow and tapered, with a flat skull that is parallel to the strong muzzle.
Miniature Pinschers hold their heads high. Their eyes are oval, nearly black, and bright. Their ears may be cropped or left in their natural state. The tail should always be docked and held erect. With regard to coloring, blue coats are allowed in the show ring in the United Kingdom, but they are disallowed in the United States.
Typical Health Concerns
Though not prevalent, some potential health concerns with this breed are cardiac problems, cervical (dry) disc, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, Legg-Perthes disease, luxating patellas, and thyroid problems.
These little characters are prone to overeating, so their diet must be carefully monitored to prevent obesity.
Grooming of the Miniature Pinscher is minimal and easy, as the coat requires little attention. It needs only to be brushed occasionally or wiped with a warm, damp cloth. The breed is considered a low to medium shedder.
Country of Origin
The Miniature Pinscher originated in Germany.
Average Life Span
The average life expectancy of the Miniature Pinscher is 14 to 15 years.