The Miniature Pinscher (or min pin), a German breed, is several hundred years old, and although it resembles the much younger Doberman Pinscher, they are not related. Breed experts say these small dogs, developed as ratters, have German Pinschers, Dachshunds, and Italian Greyhounds in their ancestry.
Miniature Pinschers stand between 10 and 12 inches tall and weigh between 8 and 11 pounds. The head is tapered, eyes are oval and dark, and ears are cropped upright or left natural. The body is as long as the dog is tall and is muscular. The tail is docked and erect, and the short coat is red, black, or chocolate. A signature characteristic of the breed is a hackney-like stepping action, with the front legs lifting high and forward with each step. The coat needs weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush.
The Miniature Pinscher is a high-energy dog with a fearless attitude and a curious intelligence. Without close supervision and vigorous daily exercise, these little dogs will get into trouble. All exercise should be on leash or within a fenced-in yard, as these small dogs like to chase small animals. Training is very important.
The miniature pinscher is a loyal dog that thrives on interaction. It is a family dog.
Min Pins were bred to work, and training can help channel this work ethic. The training should be structured and firm yet fun. They love to play games and learn tricks. Min Pins also enjoy agility training. Socialization should begin early, too, as the breed is cautious with strangers. They can be very alert watchdogs. Min Pins today are companion dogs and need to spend time with people. They can, however, take advantage of a soft owner. Although most Min Pins like to play with children, these dogs are very small and fragile. Play with children, especially small children, should be limited and closely supervised. This breed can be aggressive with other dogs. Health concerns include luxated patellas, Legg-Perthe’s disease, and thyroid problems.
Grooming the Miniature Pinscher is easy – as the smooth, short-haired coat requires little attention, needing only occasional brushing and shampooing. Care must be taken in cold weather, as the coat provides virtually no warmth. This also pertains to hot weather; with no guard hairs Miniature Pinschers can overheat. It is easier for them to be too cold than too hot, they usually do not like air conditioning that is set too low. Miniature Pinschers are prone to overeating and therefore should not be free fed. Their diets should be kept under control.
Due to their instinct to hunt vermin, special care must be taken in preventing Miniature Pinschers from “attacking” small objects, such as bottle caps, as these could pose as choking hazards. The breed has an insatiable curiosity, so the best toys for Miniature Pinschers are those 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. Rope toys and interactive toys that pose a challenge work well. Cat toys are also suitable. Avoid stuffed toys as these are easily shred and the stuffings will be ingested.
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 so they can nestle. 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. They can easily be trained to sleep on a soft object on a bed.
Miniature Pinschers need a medium sized yard. Daily walks are important, as is attention from their owners; a bored Min Pin will become destructive. In addition, when in public the Miniature Pinscher breed should be kept on harness and leash, as it is natural for them to give chase if something of interest catches its eye. Min Pins who are not brought up with children may have a non-malicious problem with them; though not prone to being “yappy”, they are natural barkers because of their instinctive protective nature. Care should be taken in educating young people 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 independent instinctive nature leaves little patience for such rough play. They are prone to broken bones, especially in the first few years of life. They should not be allowed to jump off high surfaces and be monitored when held by children. Additionally, Miniature Pinschers can have luxating patellas, or dislocating kneecaps, and should be checked by a veterinarian for this when young. This can often lead to surgery. A properly bred female to correct size can have up to 5 pups in a litter on average and if proper size has no difficulty in nursing and feeding.