Miniature pinscher hereditary health and health testing
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Miniature pinscher hereditary health and health testing

Dogs
Health & Safety

The miniature pinscher is also sometimes called the mini pin, and is a small dog breed that originated in Germany. The breed is thought to have a history going back for many centuries, but recorded information on the breed only goes back for a couple of hundred years. Ancestors of the breed are thought to include the dachshund, German pinscher and Italian greyhound.

The mini pin can stand up to 12.5” tall at the withers, and weigh up to 10lb, making them small, fine and lightweight little dogs. Males of the breed tend to be slightly larger than females, but with no significant degree of variance. The breed’s build is compact and sturdy, and well proportioned, with fine, neat lines and no exaggerations. They have a high stepping trotting gait, straight legs and a very neat movement.

The coat of the miniature pinscher is smooth and very short, with no undercoat. While they are most commonly seen in black and tan colour, they can also be seen in a wide range of variants, including stag red, blue stag red, chocolate stag red, and fawn stag red, although not all breed organisations recognise the full range of possible colours within their breed standards.

If you are considering buying or adopting a miniature pinscher, it is important to find out as much about the breed as possible, including learning more about the hereditary health of the breed, and if any health testing schemes are in place for the breed. We will look at these elements in more detail within this article.

Miniature pinscher longevity

The average lifespan of the miniature pinscher is up to fifteen years, which is considered to be a very long lifespan for a pedigree dog. It is certainly not unheard of for dogs of the breed to live well beyond this figure either, and so it is fair to say that the mini pin is a generally healthy breed with a good conformation and general health profile.

Genetic diversity

The coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the miniature pinscher is 11%, which indicates that the breed as a whole is subjected to a reasonable degree of inbreeding. The ideal figure for pedigree dog breeds is 6.25% or lower, and mini pin breeders are advised to reduce the coefficient of inbreeding statistic within their own breed lines where possible.

Conformation traits

The general build and structure of the mini pin is considered to be robust, healthy and well balanced, and not prone to exaggerations. However, blue and fawn dogs of the breed have a tendency to potentially suffer from a condition called colour dilution alopecia, which leads to partial hair loss of the coat.

Health testing

The British Veterinary Association, The Kennel Club and miniature pinscher breed organisations recommend that potential breeding stock be tested for certain conditions that are prevalent across the breed, and that are hereditary from the parent dogs to their litters.

Current schemes include:

  • Testing for progressive retinal atrophy, an eye condition that leads to a gradual loss of sight.
  • DNA testing for mucopolysaccharidosis, a condition that leads to a progressive and generalised paralysis in affected dogs.
  • Breed scheme testing for patellar luxation, with an open database held to collate results across the breed.

Other health issues

While the miniature pinscher is widely considered to be a robust, fit dog that is not prone to a wide range of ailments, potential buyers and breeders of miniature pinschers should make themselves aware of all of the potential health conditions that are considered to present within the breed as a whole.

Health testing is only widely offered for the conditions mentioned above, but collated data suggests that the following conditions may also affect dogs of the breed:

  • Cervical disc disease, a condition that affects the neck and can lead to pain and paralysis.
  • Colour dilution alopecia in dogs with fawn or blue colouration, which leads to patches of bald areas across the coat.
  • Patellar luxation, a condition of the kneecaps that causes the muscles and ligaments that hold the kneecaps in place to slip, leading to dislocation. This can often be corrected with surgery.
  • Cataracts of the eyes, particularly in old age.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which affects the hips. This condition is caused by the degeneration of the head of the femur bone, and can lead to lameness and severe pain.
  • Corneal dystrophy of the eyes.
  • Mitral valve disease, a degenerative disease of the heart.
  • Urolithiasis, or the formation of stones within the urinary system of male dogs of the breed.
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis, a testable condition mentioned above that progressively leads to paralysis.

Finding out about the general health and wellness of the parent and grandparent dogs of any litter you might be considering buying from can help to give you an informed insight into the health of the breed line as a whole, and enable you to make a decision on whether or not to make a purchase.

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