Miniature Pinscher

Breed Group: Toy

Temperament and Behavior

The Miniature Pinscher is a high-spirited little dog who is fearless and alert. The most active of all toy breeds, in fact, one of the most active of dogs of any size, they are miniature perpetual motion machines. Natural clowns, many owners turn off their TV and watch their Min Pins play together. They are sweet and affectionate with their family but tend to be very wary of strangers, which, when coupled with their tendency to bark, often excessively, makes them outstanding watchdogs. A Miniature Pinscher raised with children who are gentle and know proper behavior around a dog will make a great child’s pet, always ready to join in any activity. Because of the dog’s small size, however, many breeders are hesitant to place them in families with small children or even with older children who do not have experience with small dogs. Best in households who have only Miniature Pinchers, they are frequently feisty with other dog breeds, especially those that attempt to assert their dominance, and they will pursue other small animals with great determination. Miniature Pinscher’s need moderate exercise that can be provided by a morning and afternoon walk coupled with an exercise session or two. They are as highly active outside as they are in and should be kept on-leash or securely fenced. But even when fenced they need to be monitored. Escape artists, they will squeeze through the smallest gap, tunnel under, or they have even been known to scale a six-foot fence. Lightning fast, be especially careful when opening doors. Their strong inquisitiveness and need to investigate anything that catches their interest, which is almost everything they see, will compel them to dart between your legs and disappear. Miniature Pinschers love to chew. They are experts at destroying toys and swallowing the pieces. Beware of squeakers. They can pose a health hazard, sometimes needing surgical removal after being swallowed.

Physical Characteristics

Known for their high stepping gait, Miniature Pinschers are 10 to 12½ inches in height and weigh 8 to 12 pounds. Their short, smooth coat has a lustrous sheen and comes in the colors of solid red, red mixed with a few black hairs, and black or chocolate with rust markings. Their coat needs virtually no grooming and sheds little if at all. They do fairly well in heat but with a sort coat and little body mass, they do poorly in cold temperatures. Use a sweater when temperatures cool and make sure their ears do not freeze.

Trainer's Notes

Miniature Pinschers need a great deal of early and frequent socialization in order to deter them from becoming overly sharp. A skillful trainer can harness their intelligence but they have a mind of their own and can be stubborn and demanding. But unless exceptionally well trained, they frequently do not come when called nor stay where they are left. Their inquisitive nature and activity level simply overwhelms their training. They love to bark and house training is normally difficult. For all these reasons they are not a good choice for a first-time dog owner.

Photo © by Sebwal available under the GNUFDL
Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher


A relatively healthy breed, the main health concerns of the Miniature Pinscher include the skeletal issues of Patellar Luxation which affects 3% of the breed and Legg-Perthes. Other problems concern their eyes which include Entropion, Dry Eye, Corneal Dystrophy, and PRA, which causes blindness. The average Miniature Pinscher lives into his early teens.


The Miniature Pinscher is ranked 22nd on the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dogs with between 11,000 and 12,000 registered in a typical year.

Breed History

Dogs that bear a striking resemblance to the Miniature Pinscher have been found in paintings dating back to the 17th century. But factual documentation of the breed is only available beginning in the mid-1800’s. In 1936, a German doctor by the name of H. G. Reichenbach wrote that the Miniature Pinscher was a cross between the Dachshund and the Italian Greyhound. Most historians agree with that, but think that the German Smooth-haired Pinscher was also used to create the breed. A popular breed in Germany from the late 1800’s, it was first exhibited at the Stuttgart Dog Show in 1900. First imported into the U.S. in 1919; they were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1925. They were originally classified as a Terrier. But then in 1930, they were reclassified as a toy breed under the breed name of Pinscher. In 1972, the name was changed to Miniature Pinscher.

Additional Information

Because of their strong resemblance to the Doberman Pinscher and a similar breed name, many people believe the Miniature Pinscher is a miniature version of the Doberman. However, the first Doberman Pinscher was not bred until 1890 by Louis Doberman, at least 50 years after the Miniature Pinscher was documented. Nor are they a version of the similar looking Manchester Terrier. You can find out more about the Miniature Pinscher at the breed club’s website which is the Miniature Pinscher Club of America.

Is A Miniature Pinscher THE BEST Dog For YOU?

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