Miniature Pinscher

PetMD Editorial
Written by:
PetMD Editorial
Published: September 14, 2009

The Miniature Pinscher is a sturdy, compact, smooth-coated dog. Like its standard-sized cousin, it is a proud, vigorous breed. But don't be confused, the "Min Pin" (as it sometimes called) is not a miniature version of the Doberman Pinscher

Physical Characteristics

The characteristic traits of the Min Pin are its total self-possession, spirited vitality, and high-stepping gait. It is alert and upstanding, and one of the most athletic toy breeds.

The dog's body, meanwhile, is compact, sturdy, and square-proportioned, fairly short coupling. And its coat is short, smooth, and hard.

Personality and Temperament

The playful, bold, busy, curious, and impatient Min Pin does have some terrier traits, as it can be independent and headstrong. It may give chase to small animals and is sometimes scrappy with strange dogs.

This breeds showers affection on its family, but remains reserved with unknown people. As one of the very energetic breeds, the Min Pin is constantly on the go and rarely at rest.


The Min Pin is not meant for outdoor living and is fond of sleeping on a warm bed, under covers. Coat care for this breed is minimal, with just occasional brushing to discard dead hair.

The Min Pin requires plenty of activity, but as it is small, its exercise requirements can be fulfilled either indoors or outdoors. It needs many good game sessions daily to keep it active. Even though it loves outdoor romps in a secure place, it is not fond of the cold.


The Miniature Pischer, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, may be prone to some minor problems like Legg-Perthes Disease, patellar luxation, hypothyroidism, Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) VI, and heart defects. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) may also be seen in some Min Pins. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may recommend knee, eye, and hip tests for the dog, as well as DNA to confirm MPS.

History and Background

Evidence supporting the origin of the Miniature Pinscher is very sparse. However, it is known that the breed is not a miniaturized version of the Doberman Pinscher. In fact, there is evidence that the Min Pin is older than its standard-sized cousin, such as a 17th-century painting of a cat-sized red dog that resembles the Min Pin.

The Miniature Pinscher probably descended from the crossing the German Pinscher, Italian Greyhound and Dachshund.

As such, the modern Min Pin has several traits of these earlier breeds: like the black and tan color, liveliness, strong body of the German Pinscher; the lithe movement, playfulness, and elegance of the Italian Greyhound; and the red coloration and bravery of the Dachshund.

However, the Miniature Pinscher is not the sum of all these traits, but regarded as the most energetic and lively breed in the world.

In the early 19th century, these little German dogs were developed to form the "reh pinscher," a breed that looked similar to small German red deers named "roe" or "reh." "Pinscher," meanwhile, is German for terrier. In the late 1800s the tiniest specimens were bred, resulting in frail and ugly-looking dogs. But by 1900, this pattern was reversed and the focus was on sound health and elegance.

Before World War I, the breed was a popular and competitive show dog in Germany, but the breed numbers waned during the post-war period. Those remaining dogs were exported throughout Europe and to the United States.

In 1929, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed. Today the Min Pin, or the "king of toys," is among the most lovable toy breeds in the U.S.

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