Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
Who’s that high-steppin' into town? Why, it’s the Miniature Pinscher, king of the toy breeds! Assertive. Outgoing. Independent. There’s a lot of dog hidden in this small but sturdy frame. Their oval eyes and high-set ears help to cast the big dog attitude that lies within. Fun-loving and energetic, you my struggle to keep up with these little legs, but you’re sure to have a blast trying!
Socialization and obedience training will help to keep these little kings in line. But their spirited personalities and endless curiosity are sure to add love and adventure to those who have enough room in their lives for it. Little or not, the Min Pin’s big personality, sense of self-possession, and signature high-stepping gait make them the center of attention wherever they go. Those seeking an accessory dog are in for a big surprise!
Also Known As...
Zwergpinscher. Min Pin. King of Toys. "It's like a Doberman Pinscher, only miniature!"
Often mistaken for a miniature version of the Doberman Pinscher, the Min Pin actually predates that breed by some 200 years. Originating in Germany, where the breed is known as Zwergpinscher, Min Pins were bred to hunt vermin in homes and barns. “Pinscher” referring to dogs bred as guardians or ratters, and “zwerg” meaning “dwarf.” The Min Pin is a crossing between the Dachshund, German Pinscher, and Italian Greyhound: a recipe for spirited fearlessness.
The first Miniature Pinschers were imported to the U.S. around 1919, and was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1929 as part of the Terrier group due to their ratting history. They were reclassified as a toy breed in 1930, and were given the name Miniature Pincher in 1972.
The average height for male and female Miniature Pinschers is 10 – 12.5 inches.
The average weight range for Miniature Pinscher is 8 - 10 pounds.
There’s a reason Min Pins are known as the “King of the Toy” breed. These pups don’t want to be carried in a bag, they were born to prance with their signature high-step and elegant and confidant attitude. Up for anything, the Min Pin has plenty of energy and curiosity; a combination that can lead to plenty of mischief (and fun!).
Despite their pride, these pups are also very loving and loyal companions. They want to participate in family activities whenever possible, and are always happy to entertain. However, it is important to remain king of your household, or these tiny toys will become tremendous tyrants.
Intelligence / Trainability
Miniature Pinschers can be stubborn about training, but once they learn a command, they will follow it. Potty training with any toy breed can be a challenge. Start right away and try not to allow opportunities for accidents. Eager to participate in organized activities such as agility and obedience training
These pups are very smart and affectionate, but can also have a mind of their own. First-time dog owners will likely be overwhelmed by the energy and intelligence of the Min Pin. They can quickly overrun the household if not properly trained and supervised. Obedience training and socialization are a must. Start as early as possible in order to curb behaviors such as nuisance barking, nipping, and digging. Early socialization is also very important with this alert and fearless breed.
Due to their size, Min Pins do very well in apartments. They can, of course, thrive in larger areas, however they are very curious, and will investigate, and even eat, anything, and everything. Therefore, they require constant supervision. Also, be sure to keep small items, food, and especially medicine, somewhere they cannot get into it.
Min Pins are also amazing escape artists and will view a fence as a challenge. They can climb as well. If you have them outside, be sure that they are always leashed. If in a fenced yard, they still require supervision as weell as constant inspection and repair of any possible escape routes. Min Pins are certainly not suited for outdoor life due to stature, short coat, and a tendency to chase wildlife of all sizes. They need to live indoors as a family member.
Good For Families And Kids?
Min pins carry a deep love and loyalty for thier humans. They want to be included in family activities and for this. Can be great with older children and teenagers and anyone who knows not to manhandle them, especially due to their small stature. Young children who know to be gentle and how to approach animals can also win the trust and adoration of a Min Pin. But generally, these pups do better with children 10 and over. Always supervise young children around Min Pins (or any dog) to avoid rough play and teasing.
The average life expectancy for Miniature Pinschers is 12 – 16 years.
While Miniature Pinschers are generally a healthy breed, there are certain conditions and issues to be aware of and discuss with your veterinarian, including Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, Hypothyroidism, Epilepsy, and Patellar Luxation.
Min Pins are active and athletic dogs so they’ll require regular exercise. Playing indoors and outdoors along with a daily walk for mental stimulations are necessary to keep these pups healthy and to avoid boredom behaviors such as nuisance barking and digging.
Fearless and alert, though they love to relax with their family, Min Pins are pretty much “on” most of the time. Whether as a watchdog, hunter, investigator, entertainer, or playmate, these pups will usually tire out long after you do.
Friendly With... (Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
If socialized with other dogs and pets from a young age, Min Pins will most likely get along with them. Although being bred to hunt vermin, they may always have the notion to chase after animals that they view as prey, including cats.
They are excellent watchdogs, and will challenge strangers and intruders of any size with a bold bark (sometimes to a fault). Socialization can go a long way to help curb nuisance barking.
Coat & Grooming
Smooth, shiny – colors – solid red, chocolate and rust, or black and rust. With so little fur and body fat, Min Pins require sweaters and/or coats in cold winter weather to protect their chests and bellies. You’ll also want to keep their nails trim, their ears clean, and five their teeth a good brushing with a toothpaste for dogs 2-3 times a week.
Toys Miniature Pinschers Would Like Best
If you're looking for toys that'll easily fit in a Min Pin's mouth, check out our “What Are The Best Toys For Small Dogs?” post for more insight. And then take a look at our “What Are The Best Fetch Toys For Small Dogs?” post for recommendations for outdoor fun.
Recommended Diet Or Supplements
Feeding your Miniature Pinscher (or any dog) the freshest whole food diet you can afford (trying to eliminate fillers, grains, or inflammatory proteins such as chicken), can go a long way to decrease health issues and increase longevity.
Coconut oil can also help to prevent inflammation, and can help protect the nervous system, while locally-sourced, season-appropriate honey can help with allergies.
These delicious, vet-formulated chews are made with all-natural ingredients including Omega 3, 6, 9, and Vitamin E. They are designed to support immune health, provide relief from itchy allergic skin, and promote a healthy coat. ($19.99)
BARK's Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)
This joint supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your Min Pin with their hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)
For Min Pins with joint issues - or any dog who loves to lie around! - a nice comfortable bed with orthopedic support is probably a good idea.
This ultra plush orthopedic dog bed provides support for even the meatiest of most active of Min Pins! The combination ergonomic memory foam and gel foam relieves pressure points, and helps ease body aches caused by hip dysplasia, arthritis and other orthopedic issues. It offers the best therapeutic support for your Miniature Pinscher. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues To Find The Miniature Pinscher Of Your Dreams
- Internet Miniature Pinscher Service assists with the rescue, referral, foster, and transfer of Min Pins. Formed in 1998, their mission is to improve the lives of homeless and abandoned Miniature Pinschers through rescue and the love and respect that comes with humane care, compassion, and kindness.
- True Heart Pinscher Rescue is a volunteer organization of foster homes where Pinschers in need of homes are taken care of like family until they go to forever homes.
- Adoptable Miniature Pinschers on Petfinder
Notable Instagram Miniature Pinschers
Ernie is a spoiled (and adorable) Min Pin just living the good life!
Follow Georgie as he spends his days playing and napping at home in Montreal, traveling with his daddies, and, of course, chasing squirrels.
Atticus (or Atti) is an adorable Min Pin living it up in Cardiff, UK. His passions include new toys, treats and kisses. He also thinks he owns everything.
This insanely photogenic good boy is a go-to stress reliever. Follow his adventures in Vancouver to feel better instantly.
***Looking for a gift to blow your Min Pin's mind? Spoil them with BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <-- This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! :)
Featured image via ErnieTheMinPin/Instagram