Owning a Miniature Pinscher
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Owning a Miniature Pinscher

For those of you who have never head of a Miniature Pinscher, let's just say they are a tiny breed of dog with a BIG attitude. Originating from Germany, many people think that they are just a miniature version of a Doberman, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Whilst indeed the black and tan variety do look like a pared down version of the Doberman, they actually are a much older breed and Pinscher simply means 'terrier'. It is thought that they originate from a cross between a Dachshund and an Italian Greyhound and certainly you can see both dogs in them. They have a very elegant body but the face of a Dachshund albeit with 'sticky up' ears! They were originally bred as hunting dogs and mainly used in barnyards to keep the rat population down. Believed to have first made an appearance in the UK in 1938 they are still a relatively unknown breed here, but certainly attract attention wherever they go. Their name is often shortened from Miniature Pinscher to Mini Pin or Min Pin and they have received many accolades; some titles they have been given include "The world's most energetic breed" and "King of Toys". One thing for sure, once seen never forgotten! So let's find out a little more about this enigmatic little dog.

Appearance

Mini pins are well balanced, sturdy and compact with a lustrous smooth coat varying in colour from different shades of red, to chestnut, to black and tan. Some have a small white patch on their chest. Naturally well, groomed, they normally stand between 10 and 12 ½ inches in height, with an ideal weight of around 8 to 10 pounds. They have very large ears, somewhat disproportionate to the size of their head, which normally stand high and erect. In the past their ears have been cropped, but this no longer happens. Add to this a very distinctive high stepping style of walking, which apparently comes from the Greyhound element in them and all in all, you have a very appealing little dog!

Temperament

High spirited, with a bright personality, they are proud, vigorous and alert. Busy, inquisitive and bold, it has been said that they need an experienced owner to keep them in check. I have never found this a problem. You just need to be firm with them and show them who is boss. Under no circumstances allow this sweet little pooch to believe he is pack leader or he will become headstrong, demanding and start to bark more often. He may even become more protective and aggressive with other dogs.They are assertive, outgoing, active and independent with a reputation for being great escape artists, so don't turn your back for a minute or they will be gone, off on an adventure. It is recommended that if you keep them in a garden or yard that you make sure there are no gaps in the fence or boundaries, they can sneak through the tiniest of places. They say "curiosity killed the cat" but never underestimate the curious nature of this little powerhouse. Clever and imaginative, he will go to extreme lengths to get something he wants. Mini pins are also extremely loyal and protective of their "family" and so make great watch dogs. Their deep bark belies their small size and they most definitely think that they are much larger than they really are. This is definitely a case of animal dysmorphia! Wary of strangers, they only have eyes for their masters and will often ignore petting or attention from people they don't know. Generally they are good with other pets and children, but they do need proper leadership and control. With this in place they are well behaved and eager to please. Oh and they love to playfight with you, usually with a lot of accompanying growling and barking. However because of their size, you should take care that children are not too enthusiastic when playing with them so that the dogs do not get hurt in the rough and tumble.

Care

Being short haired, Mini Pins are very easy to look after. Their coats need occasional brushing with a firm bristle brush to keep its lustrous sheen, but as bathing can actually dry out their skin, it is best kept to a minimum. If they need freshening up you can just wipe them down with a warm, damp cloth or some of the specially formulated doggy wipes now commercially available. Ears and eyes should be wiped regularly with damp cotton wool, always remembering to use separate pieces for each eye and each ear to avoid transferring any possible infections. As they are short coated they do tend to feel the cold and will need jumpers and coats in cold weather, especially if you take them outdoors. They will shiver pathetically so ensure they have a blanket in their basket or bed. They are an extremely active breed, they love to run and jump, so will require daily walking, unless you have a garden for them to run around in. Dogs that don't go on daily walks tend to be more likely to display behaviour problems. However because of their small size, they do make excellent apartment dogs.

Watch out!

This little dog is loving, a perfect lapdog, loves to sit close to you or preferably on your knee, but he loves to crawl under blankets, so beware you will find him in your bed if you are not careful. So if you fancy an attractive, intelligent, loving but never predictable small dog - try a Mini Pin. You will be glad you did.

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