Dog Breed Review

Miniature Pinscher




Nobody likes comparisons, but the Miniature Pinscher has been dealing with comparisons to the Doberman for nearly a century. Yet, this small breed from the Toy Group is actually much older and unlike the Dobie, the Mini Pin is the “King of the Toys.”

Fearless with incredible instinct, the Mini Pin has proven to be a viable watchdog for centuries. You may laugh at their size but don’t underestimate this German ratter’s gumption.

So what made this breed stand out in Germany for so many years? Is this the right breed for your home?

Here is what you need to know about the Miniature Pinscher.


When it comes to, “which dog’s did breeders use to make the Miniature Pinscher?” There is never a sense of finality. However, many people believe, that the small breed is a combination between the Italian Greyhound, Dachshund and possibly, the German Pinscher.

Additionally, the other common line for debate is the Doberman. Yes, both breeds look alike, but aside from the possible correlation of the Mini Pin and Dobie is the ancestry link of the Old German Standard Pinscher. Aside from that, it is unlikely these two dogs are relatives. While the Dobie was first bred in the early 1890’s in Germany, historians believe that the Mini Pin is at least 150 years or more older. In summary, that should end all talk that the Dobie is behind this breed’s genetic makeup. It’s not.

“The King of Toys” is a part of the big German Pinscher family, which would include many different coat types and breeds like the Affenpinscher. It wasn’t until the mid-1800’s, that distinction was made between each of these breeds, including the Miniature Pinscher. Experts believe that the breed did appear in paintings over 200 years ago.

That said, the formation of the German Pinscher Club in in 1895, was an effort to help sort out the varieties and coat types. This would include schnauzers as well. Author, Bernard Wolphofer, wrote about these types of dogs in 1895 and would describe the Miniature Pinscher as, “the short haired Dwarf Pinscher.” The folks at point out that Wolphofer left out the Doberman, because it is likely the Doberman didn’t exist until 1890 and of course, the Mini Pin did before then.

Yet, most of the action surrounding the breed did happen in the beginning of the 20th century. Except, the popularity of this breed was mostly in Germany and certain Scandinavian territories. This was especially true between the year 1905 to 1914. In fact, the first time the breed would appear was at the Stuttgart German Dog Show of 1900.

Eventually, however, dog lovers outside of Germany and Scandinavia would find out about the King of Toys. In the 1920’s, the Miniature Pinscher would make it to the United States. The first one to register with the AKC as a Pinscher Toy was in 1925.

Of course, in the first half of the 20th century, the Mini Pin would belong to the Terrier Group. The following year, as the Pinscher Miniature, the breed would enter the Toy Group. Then, in 1972, the breed would become the Miniature Pinscher. 

Today, the breed, for the most part, has left the role of rat chasing behind them. A majority of the Miniature Pinscher are companions. The American Kennel Club ranks the breed as 68th most popular breed in America.


As a small breed, the standard height for a male is the same as a female. Both should stand between 10 to 12.5 inches. Each should weigh between 8 to 10 pounds.

Personality and Temperament

As a ratter, this dog was ferocious and brave. They would work tirelessly stalking their prey to help protect their family’s property from property. Today, a lot of that zest still exists. Big and bold in personality, the Miniature Pinscher is a breed that will stick up for their people without a doubt.

This is a vocal dog, that will communicate their displeasures and excitement with their master. The Mini Pin will bark at anything that they believe is a threat to them and their family. Alert and responsive, if something encroaches closely, rest assure, this breed will pick it up.

With their family, however, this is a breed that is quite the opposite. Loving and very affectionate, the Miniature Pinscher enjoys a great belly rub and close contact with family. They’ll greet you at the door, wagging their tails happily and shower you with affection. They also require the same treatment in return. Cuddly on the couch, or at the foot of your bed, wherever you go, the Mini Pin wants to as well.

Obviously, with this much zest, you can understand that some coin the Mini Pin as a diva. They can be somewhat territorial and aren’t afraid to defend what is theirs as well. 

The Miniature Pinscher enjoys older children and can be okay with other dogs they grow up with. Not unfriendly, but definitely the Mini Pin will become suspicious of strangers they’re unfamiliar with.

All in all, the Germans found a great working dog as well as a mighty fine companion. Attachment and affection is big with this breed. Older children and close touch with the family is all this breed really requires.


The Miniature Pinscher is a relatively healthy breed but like other dogs will have issues they’ll need to confront at some point. Of course, when you buy a Min Pin, you should purchase one from a reputable breeder. Someone who can provide you with the proper documents and health clearances. Do yourself a favor: do your homework and read the reviews. Never be afraid to ask the tough questions and avoid anyone whom you suspect of operating a puppy mill. Additionally, you’ll want to schedule routine visits with the veterinarian to maintain your dog’s well being.

If you do that, then there’s no reason to believe that you can get 12 to 16 years from your Miniature Pinscher.

Patellar Luxation is a problem for this breed but not overly common. Patellar Luxation is when the knee cap slips out of place causing a good deal of pain and discomfort. It can lead to other issues and may impact your dog if they’re working. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals did some work finding out each breed’s health problems and upon their completion, the OFA ranks the Mini Pin 66th out of only 314 evaluations. This gives them a 2.2 dysplastic rating with a 97.8 normal rating. Bloodhounds and Beagles also suffer from this orthopedic complication.

Legg Calves Perthes is another biggie for this breed. If you find your Miniature Pinscher is limping on one rear leg, then this could be within the possibilities. Along with the Bichon Frise, Affenpinscher and most Terriers, the Min Pin can face this hip joint disorder. Legg Calves Perthes is a problem because the femoral head deteriorates and will cause the bone to die  and collapse. This can lead to serious issues like Arthritis.

Mitral Valve Disease is a serious problem for the Miniature Pinscher and it is for senior dogs as well. This heart disorder, in which the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle fails and leaks. Eventually, this will disrupt the uni directional flow of blood causing serious issues such as heart murmurs and heart failure. In fact, this is the top killer for the breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel but also affects Poodles, Boston Terriers and Cocker Spaniels

Demodectic Mange is on the health report list for this breed. Quite simply, this is an infestation of small mites that reside in a dog’s hair follicles and oil glands. This can result in lesions, scratching incessantly, irritation, redness and hair loss.

Clouding of the crystalline lens or Cataracts may be found with this breed, although it’s not a huge concern from their club. Other issues impacting the Miniature Pinscher include: Progressive Retinal Atrophy, seizures, epilepsy, dry eyes and allergies. A bacterial skin infection by the name of Pyoderma is also a possibility for this breed.


These little buggers can be quite explosive and desire to be active and engaging. They’ll need regular exercise and at the least one walk per day. Fetch, obedience, rally, and other activities that can build up their mental and physical stimulation is helpful. This will prevent them from boredom just as it will keep them calm. 

Around smaller children, you will have to keep an eye out. That, or reconsider another breed. The Miniature Pinscher won’t tolerate abuse from children or harsh treatment. The same can be said about dogs. You’ll want to supervise the interactions between dogs or keep the Mini Pin as one dog family pet. If you have rodents, birds, or other small animals, you’ll want to keep them safe or separate. They do have a tendency for prey drive, giving their historical role as vermin chaser.

Early socialization and training is a necessary element to their maturation and development. This is a breed that may challenge you, can be a diva and bit bull headed. You’ll need to be firm, let them know who is in charge and be consistent.

This is a barking dog, which means, the Miniature Pinscher may not be the best fit for apartment dwellers. 

Occasional baths, trim their nails regularly and check those perky ears for any sort of bacterial infections.


A Miniature Pinscher will shred calories without much problem. These energy burners will require a high quality diet with the right nutritional value. Crude fat should be about 20 percent and protein at 30 percent or higher.

Most owners seem to recommend a daily feeding of 1/2 cup to 1 cup of top quality dry food. Meat should be the first ingredient. You can mix in fruits and veggies, and it doesn’t hurt to supply omega fatty acid for their coat and joints. Split their meals up into two or three feedings per day. This will reduce the chances of Bloat, help avoid obesity and teach them how to be on your schedule.

Calorie intake is important just as fiber should be below five percent but no higher. For a 8 to 10 pound dog of this magnitude, the Mini Pin will need between 330 to 390 calories per day.

As always, the most important nutrient of all, fresh drinking water, should be made available for your Miniature Pinscher.


The easiest part about this breed may be their close fitting coat that is evenly layered, smooth but coarse and short. You’ll need to brush just once a week to upkeep it.

The standard for the Miniature Pinscher allows for six color options: black and rust, black and tan, chocolate and rust, red, stag red, chocolate and tan. There are no acceptable markings for this breed.

Fun Miniature Pinscher Facts

  • The United Kennel Club gave the Mini Pin recognition in 1936.
  • According to the Stanley Coren “Intelligence of Dogs,” the Miniature Pinscher is the 57th most intelligent breed around. This means they are above average workers and will obey commands at least 70 percent of the time.
  • German locals once would refer to the Mini Pin as the Reh Pinscher due to its resemblance of a small red deer.

Closing Words

In Germany, for nearly a half century, even those writing the breed’s standard description would often compare them to the Doberman. That would change in the 1950’s, when the references would disappear.

The Miniature Pinscher is its own breed. They have earned the love and respect of their home country and will continue to charm over people all over the world.

And for that, the title for “King of the Toys” will stay where it belongs and that is with the Miniature Pinscher.

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