Commonly referred to as the “King of the Toys,” miniature pinschers display a deep curiosity, fierce loyalty and an insistent bark, earning them a reputation as excellent watch dogs. Despite often being referred to as mini Dobermans, miniature pinschers are not a smaller version of the larger Doberman pinscher, but rather a distant cousin. They possess their own distinctive qualities and traits.
Origin and History
Miniature pinschers, also known as “min pins,” originated in Germany several centuries ago and are thought to be a cross between dachshunds, Italian greyhounds and German pinschers. Their fearless demeanor and territorial nature made them excellent ratters -- dogs designed to protect barns and homes from rats. The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed as a terrier in 1925, as “pinscher” means “terrier” in German. However, in 1930 the breed was moved to the toy group and renamed the toy pinscher. That name stood until 1972 when the dog received its current title of miniature pinscher.
Good things often come in small packages, and min pins are no exception. When fully grown, they measure only 12 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 8 and 11 pounds. Their trademark cropped ears, docked tail and high gate closely resemble the Doberman pinscher, often leading to a misconception that miniature pinschers are simply small Dobermans. Min pins possess a smooth, short coat, making them easy to groom, and appear in a variety of colors including red, black, chocolate and tan.
Temperament and Personality
Despite their small size, min pins are bursting with personality. Vet Street describes min pins as little dogs with big attitudes who are completely oblivious to their small size. Largely due to their history as ratters, miniature pinschers will chase anything that moves including squirrels, cats, children and large dogs, making proper socializing and training is important to prevent these dogs from developing bad habits such as nipping. Many consider min pins to be master escape artists and skilled climbers so owners should regularly check their fences and yards for spots where their dog may be able to break out.
While generally healthy dogs, miniature pinschers are prone to certain health conditions that all owners should be aware of. As with most small dogs, some min pins experience problems with their knees, although keeping your dog a healthy weight can lessen this risk. Min pins can suffer from a hip disease called Legg-Calve-Perthes, which can cut off the blood supply to the rear legs and may require surgery. Despite these concerns, a healthy min pin has a life expectancy of 15 years.
Jen Gehring is a political consultant and college law professor. She holds a J.D. from American University and a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Cincinnati. She began working as a professional writer in 2010.