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The Miniature Pinscher

A miniature pinscher stands on a pavement road

Claudia Bensimoun author of The Miniature Pinscher

It is believed that the energetic Miniature Pinscher, also known as the Min Pin, goes back several centuries. This dog breed originated in Germany in the 1600s. The Min Pin is not a miniature Doberman Pinscher, but is in fact much older in origin. This breed belongs to the AKC Toy Group.

The Miniature Pinscher is hundreds of years old, and clues as to its origin are few. The Min-Pin is a cat-sized dog breed that seems to always be in motion. This quirky dog breed is one of Europe’s favorite Toy dog breeds and has always been a popular dog breed in the U.S.

Brief History

The Miniature Pinscher was bred around 1895. It is part of the AKC/UKC, Toy Dog Group. Breeders believe that the Min-Pin is a cross of the Dachshund and the Italian Greyhound. There are numerous paintings about the Min Pin and talk about the possibility that the German Pinscher may have contributed to this dog breed.

WW1 affected the development of the Min Pin. That said, after the war, German dog breeders and dog fanciers continued breeding the Miniature Pinscher, but because of the war, there was a plunge in numbers, as with other European dog breeds. The future of this dog breed was left to dogs that had been exported before the war. The Min-Pin arrived in the U.S in the 1920’s. Although the Min-Pin is a small dog breed, it is also a superb watchdog.

Physical Description

The Min-Pin is a well-balanced, and compact small dog breed. This dog breed has a sturdy, muscular body, that is wedge-shaped. With a narrow, tapering head that has a flat skull, and strong muzzle, the Min-Pin’s head is well-balanced, with a black nose. This dog breed is proud, and oozes self-confidence! The AKC describes this little fellow as having a spirited presence with fearless animation!

The Chocolate colored Min-Pins have a self-colored nose. The eyes are alert and brown, oval-shaped, and almost black in color. The ears may be cropped or natural. The Min-Pin has a short, smooth coat, that is straight. The coat is either red, stag red (red with some mixed in black hairs), black with rust markings, or chocolate with rust markings.

The Min-Pin always looks well-groomed. This dog breed has a hackney-type movement that is high-reaching, and a free and easy gait. The tail and head are always carried high. The Min-Pin has total self-confidence, and is also a fearless, athletic dog breed.


10 to 12 inches


8-10 pounds

Life Expectancy:

12-15 years


The vigorous and fearless Miniature Pinscher is a fearless and energetic small dog breed. This very confident dog breed has tremendous spirit and may seem arrogant to other dogs. This breed may be wary of strangers and sometimes is aggressive with other dogs. That said, the Min Pin makes for a superb watchdog. The Min Pin is also inquisitive, playful, and has the typical terrier traits like stubbornness and independence.

The Min-Pin will be aggressive if provoked. This dog breed does well with positive dog training and socialization starting at puppyhood. That said, dog parents need to protect this super confident small dog from larger dogs, that may in turn get provoked by the Min-Pin. This breed may be a terror with other larger dog breeds, and may also chase other pets.

The Min-Pin does well with apartment living. Additionally, this spirited dog breed enjoys being indulged and is very popular with families because of its small size. The Min-Pin may be bold and brash at times and needs to have socialization and training.

Activity Level:

Moderate to high

Special Needs

The Min-Pin is a wonderful companion dog that is active and alert. Additionally, this dog breed needs plenty of socialization and training because it is alert and active. Because these dogs can escape easily, you’ll need to ensure secure fencing, and encourage several play sessions throughout each day to get rid of excess energy.

This dog breed does not do well in the cold and should be indoors with family and other pets. Encourage lots of interactive dog toy playtime and bonding with this terrific small dog breed.

Possible Health Concerns

The Min-Pin is an active dog breed that may be susceptible to the following health conditions:

  • Cervical Dry Disk: This is a common neurological problem found in Min-Pins. Cervical disk disease results in the loss of flexibility in the intervertebral disk. The discs no longer act as shock absorbers. Symptoms include stiff head and neck, severe muscle spasms, and possible paralysis.
  • Patellar Luxation: This may be acquired or congenital. Usually, this is congenital in Toy breeds like the Min-Pin, and may occur at the same time as other limb abnormalities. It is caused by the abnormal development of the kneecap(patella).X-rays will aid in seeing the severity of the displacement. Treatment usually involves surgical options. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: This is the deterioration of the top of the femur (femoral head), and is seen in Toy and smaller dog breeds. It is characterized by a lack of blood supply and the destruction of blood vessels of the bone. Some symptoms may include hind limb lameness, loss of muscle in the thighs, and pain when moving the hip joint. Treatment involves surgery.
  • Epilepsy: This is an inherited disease that causes seizures. The Min-Pin will need treatment with anticonvulsants. Consult with your veterinarian if your Min-Pin has seizures.
  • Hypothyroidism: A deficiency of the thyroid hormone that can cause weight gain in dogs, as well as constipation, and cold sensitivity. Treatment is with thyroid hormone supplementation.
  • Canine Mucopolysaccharidoses: The Min-Pin is prone to this. It is a group of metabolic disorders that are caused by an accumulation of glycosaminoglycans or mucopolysaccharides. Symptoms may include severe bone disease, dwarfism, degenerative joint disease, and eye cloudiness. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.


The Min Pin, because of its small size can be exercised indoors and out! This is a very active and energetic dog breed that thrives on interesting dog walks throughout the neighborhood for mental and physical well-being.

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The Min-Pin does well on high- quality dog food. If you’re opting for home-prepared dog food, consult with your veterinarian first. All dog food diets should have the approval of a veterinarian and should be appropriate to the Min-Pin (age puppy, adult or senior). Do not overfeed your Min Pin to avoid obesity issues. Avoid feeding unhealthy tidbits and check out which human foods are safe for your Min Pin to eat. Some dog breeds pick up weight easily and are prone to being overweight. 


The Min-Pin is a low maintenance dog breed with grooming kept to a minimal. This breed has a short, hard coat, that’s a dream to brush and maintain. Daily grooming with a soft brush is all that’s needed. 

Consult with your veterinarian as to the healthiest flea and tick products, and avoid those that may have side effects. Start grooming and bathing during puppyhood so that your Min Pin gets used to it, and has a positive experience from day one! In the beginning, give him lots of praise and treats, so that he looks forward to those puppy spa days while bonding with you!

Adopting a Miniature Pinscher

Because of the high-rate of dogs that need to get adopted, it’s important to look out for those dogs first before purchasing a dog. Today, there are so many dog breeds available at shelters. Some may need extra training when they come home, and most will need a few weeks to adjust to their new home environment. You’ll have the option of choosing between a puppy or an adult dog. Adult dogs will already have established behaviors and attitudes.

Expose your new Min Pin to non-threatening environments, and plenty of socialization. When visiting stores, bring your Min Pin along. Dog parks are awesome for meet and greet. If your Min Pin is nervous, walk him close to the dog park, and see how he interacts with other dogs. Offer him plenty of treats and praise.

As usual, make sure that you have the time and resources to take good care of your Min Pin before adopting it!

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Meet The Author 

Claudia Bensimoun author of The Miniature Pinscher

Claudia Bensimoun

Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.

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