Miniature Pinscher (Min Pin)

Originally from Germany, the Miniature Pinscher is a small, robust dog with a lively and lovable personality. Known as the “King of Toys,” this is a loyal, smart breed, but it also tends to have a stubborn streak. Despite its small size, the Min Pin is a strong, athletic dog with the spirit of a hunter and watchdog. It is prized for its unique “hackney gait“: almost trotting like a horse, it lifts its front feet up and out with a bend at the wrist. But unlike a horse, the Min Pin only trots this way with its front legs, not its hind legs.

Breed Overview


HEIGHT: 10 to 12.5 inches

WEIGHT: 8 to 10 pounds

COAT AND COLORS: Solid red; stag red (red with some black hairs); black with rust markings; chocolate with rust markings

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 16 years

Characteristics of the Miniature Pinscher

Affection LevelMedium
Exercise NeedsHigh
Energy LevelHigh
Tendency to BarkHigh
Amount of SheddingLow
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History of the Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher originated in Germany and dates back several hundred years, where it was used to hunt rats on farms. It was first called the Reh Pinscher because of its supposed similarity to the reh, or small deer, that once inhabited Germany’s forests.

It is thought that the breed descended from the German Standard Pinscher, as did the Doberman Pinscher. The Min Pin is not a bred-down version of the Doberman, however, as it actually pre-dates the Doberman. Dachshunds and Italian Greyhounds are also likely ancestors of Min Pins.

In 1895 German breeders formed the Pinscher Klub later renamed the Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub and the first breed standard was written. Min Pins were shown at the Stuttgart Dog Show for the first time in 1900.

Between 1905 and World War I, the Min Pin’s popularity in Germany grew. After World War I, breeders in Germany and the Scandinavian countries worked to improve the line. Around 1919, the first Miniature Pinschers were imported in the United States. Only a few were shown in American Kennel Club (AKC) dog shows at first. But by 1929, the Miniature Pinscher Club of America was formed. Officially registered by the AKC in 1925, the Min Pin’s popularity has continued to grow over the years.

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Miniature Pinscher Care

The Min Pin has erect ears that may be cropped and a tail that may be docked. Its coat is smooth, shiny, and very short. The Min Pin requires no more than basic grooming care. Its coat should be brushed weekly or more to maintain a healthy, shiny appearance. The breed tends to shed at a relatively low rate.

Min Pins are very active, energetic dogs that need plenty of exercise. The breed is generally fearless and bold. Proper training is an absolute must with this breed. The Min Pin is quite smart and tends to respond very well to training. Without effective training, the breed can also become stubborn and unruly. Either way, the Min Pin can be considered quite the character, so expect to be entertained by its antics.

The Min Pin’s lively attitude and dynamic personality make it a great companion for the right home. With appropriate socialization, Min Pins may be able to get along well with children if raised with them. Though the Min Pin can be an affectionate companion, this is no lap dog. The breed does best in an active but attentive household.

Miniature Pinscher training
 Violetastock / Getty Images 
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Common Health Problems

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to develop hereditary conditions. Some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed:

miniature pinschers as pets illustration
 Illustration: The Spruce / Kelly Miller
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Diet and Nutrition

Active, growing Min Pin puppies need one ounce of dry dog food per pound of body weight each day, spread out over three or four meals. Adults, on the other hand, require only around half an ounce per pound of body weight, and you can feed them all their food at once or in two daily meals.

Puppies and young adults that get plenty of exercises may benefit from a diet rich in protein, while older or less active dogs may need a diet with added fiber and reduced fat to prevent them from gaining weight. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Be sure to monitor the dog’s weight. Obesity will shorten your pet’s lifespan and predispose it to other health conditions. If you notice your dog is gaining weight, discuss this with your veterinarian. Get recommendations for feeding schedules, amount of food, type of food, and exercise to keep your dog healthy.

Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

11 Small Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

11 Small Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

  • Small size makes them easy to transport and carry
  • Lively, fun temperament
  • Easily adaptable to a variety of living situations (from small apartments to large houses)
  • High tendency to bark
  • Wary of strangers and can become aggressive
  • Can feel threatened by small children
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Where to Adopt or Buy a Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher Club of America is a great place to start your search for a Min Pin puppy. Their breeder referral list includes breeders throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as several other countries. If you are interested in a rescue dog, research local organizations or contact one of the representatives listed on the MPCA Rescue page.

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More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Before you decide on a Miniature Pinscher, be sure to do plenty of research. Talk to other Min Pin owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups to learn more.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, look into these to compare the pros and cons.

There is a wide variety of dog breeds out there. With a little research, you can find the right one to bring home.

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