Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Miniature Pinscher
Average Cost to keep/care for a Miniature Pinscher
The Miniature Pinscher hails from Germany where they have always been highly prized for their looks and their loyal, courageous natures. They have a very unique gait which sees these little dogs high-stepping, a trait that fits in with their self-assured and confident personalities. Often referred to as Min Pins, they are highly curious and inquisitive by nature and like nothing more than to be included in everything that goes on around them which makes them excellent watchdogs. Miniature Pinschers are intelligent and love to please which means in the right environment and with the correct amount of training, they make wonderful companions and family pets.
Although very similar looking to a Dobermann Pinscher, the Min Pin is not a descendant of these larger dogs, but a breed in its own right. They are in fact, a much older breed having been around way before the Dobermann. They are thought to have been developed in Germany by crossing various terrier type breeds with other dogs which included the Dachshund and the German Pinscher.
These handsome small dogs were originally bred to work as "ratters" and there are similar looking dogs depicted in sculptures and works of art that date as far back as the 1600's. They remained a popular dog until the turn of the 20th century, but during the two World Wars, like many other dog populations breed numbers fell dangerously low.
The breed was first recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1925 as a Terrier and in 1929, The Miniature Pinscher Club of America was founded. It was not until 1930 that Min Pins were classed as being a Toy breed. The breed was eventually renamed as being the Miniature Pinscher in 1972.
Over time, the Miniature Pinscher has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence in popularity both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world, but more especially in the United States. These charming dogs are recognised as a breed by The Kennel Club although very few puppies are registered every year. As such anyone wishing to share their home with a Min Pin would need to register their interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list.
Height at the withers: Males 25 - 30 cm, Females 25 - 30 cm
Average weight: Males 3.6 - 4.5 kg, Females 3.6 - 4.5 kg
The Miniature Pinscher is a compact, well-muscled and athletic looking small dog that resembles a small Dobermann, although the two breeds are not related at all. They are well-balanced and nicely proportioned having smooth, tight, close lying coats. Their heads are elongated and narrow being nicely in proportion to the rest of a dog's body. They have long, strong muzzles with nicely formed nostrils and black noses although chocolate and blue coated dogs can have lighter coloured noses to match their coats.
Their eyes are black or very dark in colour being neither too round or full and their ears are set high on a dog's head and small in size which dogs either carry upright or dropped. The Miniature Pinscher has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are powerful, strong and slightly arched giving the Min Pin their elegant and graceful appearance. They have well developed forechests that are moderately broad and their shoulders slope being clean with a moderate amount of angulation. Front legs are straight showing a moderate amount of bone.
The Min Pin has a square, compact body with nice straight topline and their bellies are moderately tucked up. Ribs are well sprung and deep. Their back legs are well developed and muscular showing a medium amount of bone. Min Pins have very cat-like feet and strong, dark nails. Their tails are set high which dogs carry high adding to their overall well-balanced appearance.
When it comes to their coat, the Miniature Pinscher boasts having a smooth, hard, close lying, shiny coat that covers their entire body. The accepted breed colours are as follows:
The Miniature Pinscher is a clever albeit strong-willed and often stubborn little dog. They boast having a ton of energy and true to their "terrier" roots, they can be extremely tenacious when it suits them. They are always alert and like to know what is going on around them which means they are excellent watchdogs. They form strong bonds with their owners, which once formed remain unbreakable throughout a dog's life.
Because they are so intelligent, in the right environment and hands they learn new things very quickly. The downside being they are just as quick to pick up bad habits and behaviours too. As such, their training has to start early and it must be consistent throughout a dog's life so they understand what is expected of them.
It cannot be stressed strongly enough the importance of early socialisation which has to include introducing Min Pins to lots of new situations, people, noises, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated so they mature into more relaxed and easy going little dogs. This is especially true as they can be a little aggressive towards other dogs if they have not been well enough socialised when young and will happily take on much larger dogs which often gets them into a bit of trouble.
It they are not given enough daily mental stimulation and exercise, a Min Pin would quickly show signs of boredom which could result in them developing all sorts of unwanted and destructive behaviours around the home. They are known to be prolific chewers so if left to their own devices for too long, a Min Pin would quickly chew through anything they find which could not only be quite destructive, but it could lead to dogs suffering from an intestinal blockage and if not caught early enough, it could prove fatal.
Miniature Pinschers need to know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. If they do not know who is the alpha dog, they would quickly take on this role which would make them harder to live with and handle. As previously mentioned, their courage and loyalty often gets these small dogs into trouble which is another reason why they need to be well socialised from a young age.
They are also known to like the sound of their own voices which is a behaviour that needs to be gently curbed when dogs are still young before it turns into a real problem. They also love to dig which owners need to bear in mind when they let a dog roam around a back garden. They tend to be suspicious of strangers and will bark when they meet anyone, but rarely would a Min Pin show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards anyone they don't know, preferring to keep their distance and bark.
The Miniature Pinscher is an intelligent dog, but they are quite strong willed and independent which can make them harder to train and why they are not the best choice for novice owners. They need to be handled and trained by people who are familiar with the needs of this type of active, smart dog because otherwise they might just get the better of their handlers. This can result in a Min Pin showing the more dominant and self-assured side of their natures which is something that needs to be gently curbed when dogs are still young and before it turns into a real problem.
The key to successfully training a Min Pin is to start their education as early as possible by teaching a puppy the "basics" as soon as they arrive in their new home. They have to be taught the boundaries which a Min Pin is likely to test throughout their lives just to see how much they can get away with. Training sessions should be short and very interesting because dogs would find it harder to stay focussed when things are too repetitive and when training sessions are that much longer.
Like other breeds, the Min Pin is known to be a sensitive dog and therefore they do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or heavier handed training methods. They do answer extremely well to positive reinforcement, especially when they know there is a high value food reward when they get things right.
Miniature Pinschers are generally well behaved around children, but they are best suited to families where the kids are slightly older and therefore know how to act around dogs. Any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure things stay nice and calm because Min Pins can get a bit snappy if playtime gets too noisy and/or boisterous.
They can be a little aggressive around dogs they don't already know, which is why early socialisation is so essential for Miniature Pinschers. If they have grown up with a family cat in the home, they usually get on well together, but a Min Pin would not think twice about chasing off any other cats they come across. Care should always be taken when they are around smaller animals and pets, just to be on the safe side.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Miniature Pinscher is between 10 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Min Pin is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Min Pins need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Miniature Pinschers are low maintenance on the grooming front, thanks to their smooth, short and close lying coats. A once or twice weekly brush is all it takes to keep their coats looking good and to remove any loose and shed hair. They shed steadily throughout the year, only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing is usually necessary to stay on top of things. A weekly wipe over with a chamois leather would keep their coats nice and shiny too.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
The Miniature Pinscher is an energetic, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need anything from 20 to 30 minutes exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Min Pin would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving the stress they may be feeling.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble bearing in mind there is nothing a Min Pin enjoys more than digging and they are excellent climbers too.
With this said, puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Min Pin puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be fed a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Miniature Pinscher, you would need to pay anything from £300 to over £700 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Miniature Pinscher in northern England would be £19.44 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.75 a month (quote as of July 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Min Pin and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Miniature Pinscher would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.
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