16 January 2013
The Miniature Pinscher Breed, Characteristics and Attributes.
The Miniature Pinscher, or Min Pin, is often known as “the king of the toys.” This little guy is curious, outgoing, energetic, social and sometimes stubborn. Many breeders and obedience experts stress that the Min Pin is not a dog for beginners, but with proper training and socialization, they can make for an excellent family pet. The Min Pin can excel in agility and obedience, but they also make great watchdogs and companions.
The ancestors of the Miniature Pinscher are generally considered to be the shorthaired German Pinscher, the Italian Greyhound and the Dachshund. They are at least two centuries old, and were initially bred to help control rat populations in barnyards. Though they look like small Doberman Pinschers, they are not. The two dogs do feature the German Pinscher as a common ancestor, but a Min Pin does not share many personality traits with the Doberman. Though they were once bred to be smaller and smaller, resulting in substantial health problems, today the Min Pin is a generally healthy breed.
The miniature pinscher is a compact, lean, square dog with a head that is in proportion to its body. It features a strong muzzle with teeth that come together in a scissor bite. Ears are set high, but both ears and tails can be cropped according to AKC standards. Its coat is smooth, short, straight and shiny. When they walk, Miniature Pinschers move in a high-stepping, almost deer-like gait. Min Pins are animated, curious and alert dogs that are always acting upon their innate curiosity.
The Miniature Pinscher’s coat can come in several different colors and varieties, a few of which do resemble the Doberman Pinscher. They can feature a “solid clear red” coat that can range from tan to a rusty red. They can also be “stag red,” which is a rich red color with intermittent black hairs. They can also be black and tan or chocolate and tan.
Miniature Pinschers do well in houses, apartments and in the country. Their smell size lends them to small spaces, but they still have some reasonable exercise requirements. They are often “escape artists,” so they must be kept on a leash or in a well-fenced yard whenever they’re outside. It’s not that they don’t love and respect their humans, it’s just that they feel the constant need to explore and sometimes chase small animals. The Min Pin’s proud, stubborn, bold, independent, assertive and inquisitive nature make it seem less like a small dog-- and more like a big dog in a little dog’s body. Most Miniature Pinschers seem to prefer it when their families treat them like standard sized dogs. As stated previously, Min Pins are always high on energy and nearly fearless. Use caution when they encounter other animals.
Miniature Pinschers are smart and loyal, but they can also be stubborn and impulsive. It’s extremely important that the owner of a Min Pin is established as the pack leader early on, because Miniature Pinschers often exhibit the qualities of “small dog syndrome” and run with them to an intolerable level. If the Min Pin is a comfortable pack member, it is an excellent family pet. If properly socialized, it will do well with other dogs and will be great with children who know how to properly treat small dogs. They are feisty little bundles of energy, but they are also kind, friendly and affectionate toward their family. Even the most socialized Min Pins tend to be cautious around strangers, but if they are introduced to a true friend or family member, they will soon drop their guard. Essentially, some extra care has to be taken with Miniature Pinschers because they are small dogs that don’t know they’re small—treat them as you would any large, brash and assertive breed and they will be a perfect addition to your family.
Generally, the Miniature Pinscher is at least somewhat low maintenance. Though they are extremely energetic and curious, one good walk a day and several play sessions should keep them quite happy. They love fetching tennis balls, romps in a (fenced) back yard or just playing tag around the house. They are not happy if left alone for long periods of time during the day, so they’re not an ideal breed for someone who is rarely at home. If not properly exercised, they tend to act out and become problem children. The upside is that their exercise requirements are perfectly reasonable for most people, so that scenario is easy to avoid.
Early training and socialization are imperative for the Miniature Pinscher. This is a dog that absolutely needs boundaries, rules and limitations set for it. They need special care when it comes to potty training, interacting with other animals and their tendency toward excessive barking. If a little bit of extra time and care are put into a Min Pin’s training regimen, it will be an exceptionally well-behaved dog. Miniature Pinschers are stubborn little guys, but they also love to impress their humans, so once they learn something they will hold onto it for life. Even with the best training, the Min Pin will still likely be an expert escape artist and an enthusiast of chasing small animals. With proper socialization and training, the Min Pin is a small family dog with love and personality to spare.
Being a shorthaired breed with a naturally lustrous coat, the Miniature Pinscher does not have many grooming needs. Though it sheds an average amount, it is generally enough to wipe its coat with a damp, warm cloth once or twice a week. Its nails need to be clipped at least every two weeks to avoid discomfort for both dog and owner. Its coat does require occasional brushing, which should be done with a fine bristle brush when necessary. The Min Pin only needs to be bathed and shampooed once in a while, as frequent bathing can dry out its coat.
The Author is Dr Scott Nimmo MRCVS