English Toy Terrier Or Miniature Pinscher, Which Makes The Better Companion?

If you are thinking about sharing your home with a small dog and one that will not only be a great companion, but a dog that needs and enjoys being given lots of exercise, two breeds worth taking a closer look at are the English Toy Terrier and the Miniature Pinscher. Both are quite similar looking and both breeds have been around for centuries having been originally bred to keep vermin under control, but over time the English Toy Terrier and the Miniature Pinscher have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people thanks to their loyal and dedicated natures.

English Toy Terrier origins

As previously mentioned, the English Toy Terrier is one of the UKs oldest terrier breeds having been around for centuries. They were originally called Miniature Black and Tan Terriers and throughout time, these little dogs have been highly prized for keeping vermin under control. The breed was almost lost altogether because of too much in-breeding to create smaller terriers, but thanks to the efforts and dedication of certain people, English Toy Terriers were saved from vanishing altogether.

It was during the 1800s that breeders introduced Italian Greyhounds into the mix and by the 1920s, the breed had gained popularity although at that time they were known as Black and Tans. Eventually, the breed was recognised as being different from the Manchester Terrier and as such the breed was established as being a separate one altogether. They were renamed English Toy Terriers in the 1960s, but to this day they remain one of the UKs vulnerable breeds with very few well-bred pedigree puppies being registered with the Kennel Club every year.

Miniature Pinscher origins

Miniature Pinschers are a much older breed than their larger cousins, the Dobermann Pinscher. It is thought the breed was developed in Germany when breeders crossed different terrier-type dogs with others namely the Dachshund and the German Pinscher. They were bred to be "ratters" with images of very similar looking dogs being seen in works of art that date back to the 16th Century.

Their numbers fell during and after the two World Wars, thanks to the breed's German connection, but thanks to the endeavours and efforts of breed enthusiasts these charming dogs were saved from extinction. They were originally called Min Pins when they were recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1925, but were renamed in 1972 to become known as Miniature Pinschers. Today, the breed is recognised by the Kennel Club and the number of well-bred pedigree puppies registered with the organisation is slowly rising as their popularity grows.

English Toy Terrier appearance

It would be easy to mistake an English Toy Terrier for a small Dobermann thanks to their similar black and tan colouring. They stand at anything from 25 to 30 cm at the withers and weigh around 3 to 4 kg. They are nicely compact, sturdy little dogs that boast having an athletic look about them thanks to their nicely tucked up bellies and clean lines.

The English Toy Terrier has a thick, close and extremely glossy coat and the accepted breed colour is as follows:

  • Black and Tan

Miniature Pinscher appearance

The Miniature Pinscher could also be easily mistaken for being a small Dobermann, thanks to their coat and colouring. They too stand at between 25 to 30 cm at the withers and can weigh anything from 3.6 to 4.5 kg. They are compact, well-muscled little dogs that also boast a very athletic look about them thanks to their lithe, nicely proportioned build.

They come in more colours than the English Toy Terrier with the accepted breed colours being as follows:

  • Black and tan
  • Blue and tan
  • Chocolate and tan
  • Red

English Toy Terrier temperament

High-energy, active, lively and extremely curious by nature, the English Toy Terrier is a true "terrier" at heart. They like to be busy which means they are better suited to people who lead active, outdoor lives rather than anyone who likes to take things a bit easier. English Toy Terriers are known to be high spirited and extremely intelligent which means their education should start early and be consistent throughout their lives because these little dogs need to know who to look to for direction and guidance.

They make great first-time pets for novice dog owners providing they have the time and patience it takes to dedicate to such a lively, outgoing dog. The saying a "good dog is a tired dog", is never truer than when describing an English Toy Terrier.

Miniature Pinscher temperament

Intelligent, loyal, inquisitive and strong willed, the Miniature Pinscher can be a little stubborn when the mood takes them. They boast having a tremendous amount of energy and can be extremely tenacious at times. Always on the alert, these little terriers like to be involved in everything that goes on in their environment and they form strong ties with their owners which remains an unbreakable bond for the rest of their lives.

They are not the best choice for first time dog owners because if not correctly handled and trained from a young age, Min Pins can become harder to live with and manage. They need to know their place in the "pack" and who is the alpha dog in a household otherwise they might start to show a much more dominant side to their natures.

They are known to like the sound of their own voices which is something that needs to be gently curbed when dogs are still young and before it turns into a real problem. They are also known to be quite destructive if they get bored which often sees a Miniature Pinscher chew on anything they can find.

Although Min Pins form strong ties with their families, they tend to be quite wary of people they don't know, but rarely would one of these small terriers show any sort of aggression towards a stranger, preferring to keep their distance and bark at them instead.

English Toy Terrier shedding

English Toy Terriers are low shedders, but they do drop more hair during the spring and the autumn when their new coats grow through.

Miniature Pinscher shedding

Miniature Pinschers are also low shedders and like other breeds tend to shed the most hair when their summer and winter coats start to grow through which is typically in the spring and the autumn.


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English Toy Terrier training

English Toy Terriers are highly intelligent which means they learn things quickly with the added bonus being they love to please. The downside is that they pick up bad habits just as quickly. Their education must start early as does their socialisation so they mature into well-balanced adult dogs no matter what situation they find themselves in.

They are known to be sensitive by nature and as such they do not answer well to harsh correction, but they do respond very well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these little terriers.

Miniature Pinscher training

Miniature Pinschers are known to be strong willed and they are also quite independent thinkers which means they tend to be that much harder to train. As such they are better suited to people who are familiar with the breed's specific needs, but in the right environment and hands, they learn things quickly and are very receptive to positive reinforcement training methods. Like their English Toy Terriers counterparts, they are sensitive which means they do not answer well to any sort of harsh correction or treatment which could result in dogs becoming withdrawn, shy and timid. Their education should start early and ground rules as well as boundaries need to be set so that a Min Pin understands what is expected of them. Their training and handling must be consistent throughout a dog's life so they understand who is the alpha dog in a household which also reduces the risk of them showing a more dominant side to their natures.

English Toy Terrier exercise

Being active and energetic by nature, an English Toy Terrier needs enough mental stimulation and daily exercise to tire them out. As such they need a good hours' exercise every day with as much off the lead time as possible so they can really express themselves as they should, but only after they have been taught to respond well to the recall command and dogs should only be allowed to run free is safe and secure areas.

Miniature Pinscher exercise

Min Pins too are high-energy dogs, but they need less in the way of daily exercise with a good 30 minutes being sufficient to keep them happy. With this said, it needs to be 30 minutes of vigorous exercise and again, they need to be able to run free for as much time as possible too, but only in safe and secure areas and after they have been taught to respond quickly to the "recall" command.

English Toy Terrier children and pets

English Toy Terriers become devoted to their families and seem to have an affinity with children. Providing they have been well socialised from a young age, they usually tolerate being around other dogs and if they have grown up with a family cat, they generally get on well together. However, it would be a mistake to trust an English Toy Terrier around smaller animals and pets thanks to their high prey drive.

Miniature Pinscher children and pets

Miniature Pinschers are usually good around children, but are better suited to households with older kids rather than toddlers. Even when well socialised from a young age, they can show aggression towards other dogs they meet, so care must be taken as to when and where they are allowed to run off their leads. They usually get on well with a family cat they have grown up with, but would think nothing of chasing any other cats they come across and care should always be taken when a Min Pin meets any smaller animals and pets.

English Toy Terrier health

The English Toy Terrier suffers from several hereditary and congenital health issues which are as follows:

  • Deafness - Test available
  • Eye disease including glaucoma, lens luxation and cataracts
  • Heat stress
  • Skin problems
  • Luxating patella - test available
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes
  • Von Willebrand Disease

Miniature Pinscher health

The Min Pin also suffers from a few hereditary health concerns with the main disorders being as follows:

  • Patellar luxation
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis
  • Diabetes
  • Congenital deafness
  • Progressive retinal atrophy - stud dogs must be eye tested
  • Glaucoma
  • Optic nerve hypoplasia
  • Alopecia

English Toy Terrier life expectancy

The average life span of an English Toy Terrier is between 9 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.

Miniature Pinscher life expectancy

The average life span 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.


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