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Miniature Pinscher: The Ultimate Guide

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Whoever it was that said good things come in small packages must have spent an inordinate amount of time around Miniature Pinschers.

The tiny toy hunting dog with a non-stop appetite for life, the littlest Pinscher loves nothing more than going for endless adventures with its human companions and then settling down to spend time with its family when the sun begins to set on a day that was filled with fun, frolics, playtime and new and interesting sniffs and scents to explore. 

“The King Of The Toys” is a bright, alert and fastidiously clean house dog, and epitomizes the idea of a big dog trapped in a small dog’s body. Fearless, proud, and devoted to their families, Miniature Pinschers (or Min-Pins as they’re more affectionately known), are all-purpose watchdogs and hunters with an absolute can-do attitude that’s a hangover from their early days as a working breed.

Miniature pinscher

And the Min Pin, more than any other toy dog proves that size doesn’t matter, as anything that the biggest dogs in the yard can do, the Min-Pin can do better.

The Miniature Pinscher, just like a lot of other dog breeds are, is the subject of all sorts of myths and half-truths, most notably that it’s a smaller, purpose-bred version of the Doberman Pinscher.

It isn’t, the Min Pin is an entirely separate breed that has its own rulebook, and in an attempt to finally dismiss all of the fables and folktales about this loyal little dog, we’ve compiled everything that you’ll ever need to know about the Min Pin in an easy to read, straightforward guide to this tiny no-nonsense, toy breed.  Are you ready to dive headlong into the world of the little dog that could? Then let’s get started…

Miniature Pinscher Key Facts

There are a few basic, and inescapable facts that anyone who wants to make room on their family couch for a Min-Pin needs to know about the breed before they add one of these teeny-tiny live wires to their family ranks.

They’re not the sort of toy dogs who are happy and content to spend all day being carried around in a backpack or handbag, they’re a strong and dominant, self-reliant breed with an independent streak as wide as the Danube. And they’re not afraid to be exactly who they are.

Min Pins are a life-long commitment, and as they’re a fairly long-lived breed, any prospective owner will need to be prepared to look after them and cater to all of their whims and needs, including their everyday exercise.

And it isn’t just time that they’ll need to invest, as a Min-Pin also comes with an inescapable economic burden that its humans will need to be able to happily and readily meet.  

Average Lifespan

Toy breeds tend to live longer than most of their canine cousins do and the King of the Toys is no different. Miniature Pinschers on average, live between twelve and sixteen years. 

Minimum Exercise (per day)

They’re little bundles of energy who are constantly ready to get out and see as much of the world as they can, and they need between forty-five minutes and an hour and a half of exercise a day, that ideally should be split equally between a morning and an evening walk. 

Coat Length

Like their much larger, and much more famous canine cousin, the Doberman Pinscher (even though they’re an entirely separate breed), Miniature Pinschers are smooth, short-haired dogs. 

Minimum Cost Per Month

After factoring in the cost of the right sort of dog food and a premium pet insurance plan (which can, and will, help to minimize any unexpected and unwanted vet bills), a Miniature Pinscher should cost a minimum of between sixty and eighty dollars a month. 


They’re tiny, well-muscled little dogs with a distinctive high step that’s often referred to as “hackney” gait because of the way it resembles a trotting show horse.

They have large, oval eyes, perky ears that are always standing to attention, and short, docked tails. And they’re usually either red, tan, or black or a combination of tan, brown and black in color. 


The AKC (American Kennel Club) classifies the Miniature Pinscher as a Toy Breed. There are small dogs, and then there are tiny dogs and the Min-Pin is the King of the Tinys. 

Average Height

The average Miniature Pinscher according to the breed guidelines established by the AKC should stand between ten and twelve inches ( or twenty-five to thirty-three centimeters) tall at the shoulder

Average Weight

And these tiny dogs should, ideally, weigh no more than eight to ten pounds, or for those more used to metric, three and a half to four and a half kilograms. 


Loyal, affectionate, and devoted to their families. Miniature Pinschers are energetic, independent dogs who are bright and always alert, and can be wary of strangers and people that they don’t know.

They’re also notorious “escape” artists who can and will let their curiosity get the better of them and will wander off if something interesting grabs their attention. 

Apartment Living

As long as their exercise needs are met and an owner manages to run their high-energy batteries down every day, Miniature Pinschers are ideally suited to apartment life. They’re small, and all they want at the end of a long, fun-filled day is somewhere warm to cuddle up with their human pack. 

Good For Novice Owners

They’re stubborn, independent little dogs and aren’t really suitable for first-time and novice owners. Miniature Pinschers need an owner who knows how to cope and deal with the breed’s innate desire to follow their own path in life. 

Sensitivity Level

They’re clever little dogs who don’t respond well to negative training methods and punishment and can, and do tune into their owner’s emotional responses. In other words, they’re an incredibly sensitive breed who will flourish in a positive environment but won’t do so well in a home that uses chastisement to punish “bad” behavior. 

Tolerates Being Alone

Miniature Pinschers are pack-centric dogs and incredibly prone to separation anxiety, so they shouldn’t be left alone for extended periods. If they are, they can, and will become incredibly vocal and disruptive, and can chew their way through a room full of furniture in a surprisingly short amount of time. 

Tolerates Cold Weather

Like other short-coated toy breeds, Min Pins don’t tolerate the cold very well. When winter arrives they’ll need to wear a coat when they go outside and if it’s too cold indoors, they may need to keep their coats on until the thermostat is turned up to a level that they’re comfortable with. 

Tolerates Hot Weather

They handle warm weather pretty well, but the general rule of thumb with a Min Pin, is the same as it is with other toy breeds. If it’s too hot for their owners, it’s too hot for them. 

Affectionate With Family

Min Pins are incredibly affectionate with their families, but only on their own terms. They’re not lapping dogs, but they like to cuddle and enjoy being made a fuss when they want to be stroked and smoothed. 


Even though they’re not aggressive dogs, because of their small stature, they’re not best suited to families with smaller children who can be incredibly heavy-handed with dogs, which a Min Pin won’t react well to.

Miniature Pinschers are fine with older children who know how to behave toward, and around them and are great house dogs for families with pre-teens or teenagers. 

Dog Friendly

They’re like most dogs, as long as they’re socialized with other canines from an early age, they’ll get along great with almost every other dog they meet. They can even live with cats as long as they’re introduced to them early on, even though they have a high prey drive. 

Friendly Toward Strangers

Min Pins are incredibly protective of their families and their territory and can be wary of and bark at strangers. But as long as they’re properly introduced to anyone who comes to their home, or they meet while out and about they shouldn’t be too reactive. They won’t bite strangers but won’t be their best friends either. 

Health & Grooming

Miniature pinscher

Generally hardy and healthy dogs, Miniature Pinscher can be susceptible to certain genetic conditions just like other breeds are, and we’ll talk about some of the most common of them a little further on, But before we do, we want to cover the everyday things that any would-be Min Pin owner needs to know about keeping the King of the Toys happy and healthy. 


Min Pins don’t shed a lot, their short fur tends to stay where it was supposed to, on their bodies, and they don’t need to be chased around their homes with a vacuum cleaner, as they don’t leave hair wherever they go.


Because they don’t shed a lot, they don’t really need to be groomed a lot. A quick five-minute brush a couple of times a week should be enough to get rid of all the dead hair and keep their coats shiny and healthy. 


And the news just keeps on getting better and better, as Min Pins don’t drool either. Oh sure, they might drool a little while waiting for their dinner bowl to hit the floor, but apart from that they won’t dribble and certainly won’t drool. 

General Health

As we’ve already said, Miniature Pinschers are generally healthy, strong little dogs who bounce from one day to the next without being plagued by any health issues or problems. 

Common Health Problems

  • There are, however, a number of genetic conditions that Miniature Pinschers can be troubled by, and these include hip dysplasia (where the ball joint of the hip is malformed and doesn’t fit properly in the socket of the joint), epilepsy (which can be controlled by medication) and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a degenerative condition that can eventually lead to a loss of sight and blindness. 
  • Even though a Min Pin is susceptible to these health issues, it doesn’t mean that they will be and a good health insurance plan can ensure that if a dog does end up suffering from one of them, at least the veterinary bills will be covered. 

Potential For Weight Gain

Miniature Pinschers have a huge appetite for life and a pretty big appetite for their food too. They can be prone to obesity, leading to joint problems as they age.

Any Min Pin owner needs to keep a careful watch on how much their dog is eating and any excessive weight gain needs to be addressed and dealt with as soon as possible. 


Regardless of their breed, all dogs benefit from being socialized and trained from an early age, and Miniature Pinschers because of their high prey drive and their wariness around strangers need to be trained and socialized from the moment they’re introduced to a family environment.

Easy To Train

They’re bright, clever dogs who love to learn, but because they’re stubborn and independent, they can be difficult to train and it can take some time, They respond well to positive reinforcement and reward-based training, and as long as their owners stay the course, they will eventually be able to train their dog.


They’re smart, intelligent little dogs but if they’re not properly trained, they can become unruly and disruptive and their intelligence can then be a curse rather than a blessing. Providing they’re properly trained and socialized, they’ll be happy, friendly little dogs. 

Potential To Bite

If they’re not trained or socialized properly, Miniature Pinschers can be aggressive toward people that they don’t know and while that aggression is likely to be limited to barking and growling, they have been known to bite people.

It’s one of the main reasons why it is important to train and socialize a Min Pin and to ensure that it’s under control at all times when it’s being exercised in a public area. 

Tendency To Bark Or Howl

They’re incredibly vocal little dogs and bark at the slightest provocation and anything they perceive to be a threat to their families, territory, or wellbeing.  Anyone who doesn’t like the sound of a Miniature Pinschers voice as much as the dog does should probably steer clear of the breed. 


This is where things tend to get a little bit foggy as the history of the breed can only be reliably traced to the end of the eighteenth century, even though the Miniature Pinscher (sometimes called the Rho Pinschers in its native country due to its resemblance to a deer) is thought to be far older.

Originally bred to hunt vermin and serve as watchdogs, even Miniature Pinschers were incredibly popular dogs in Germany during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, they didn’t actually reach American shores until a year after the First World War ended, 1919. 

It then took another ten years for the American Kennel Club (AKC) to recognize the breed, which was originally classified as a terrier in 1929. A year after they were first classified as terriers, Miniature Pinschers (then known simply as Pinschers), were reclassified as a toy breed and were eventually renamed Miniature Pinschers in 1972. 


Miniature Pinschers can command an incredibly large price for such a small dog. Depending on the reputation of the breeder and the bloodline of its parents, a Miniature

Pinscher can cost anywhere from one thousand to two thousand dollars. It’s an incredibly high price to pay for a dog, but worth every penny, as a  Min Pin will be a loyal and faithful companion for life. 

There is, however, a much more humane and less costly way to bring a Min Pin into your home: rescuing one. Granted, they don’t usually pop up in shelters, but there are dedicated Miniature Pinscher Rescues who have dogs waiting to be rehomed, and they’re always happy to hear from any prospective Min Pin parents.

And like we always say, it won’t just be the dog that you give a home to who’ll be eternally grateful to you. Your bank balance will be as well, as it’s always much more affordable to rescue a dog than it is to shop for one. 

Miniature Pinscher Fun Facts

  • Despite its relative lack of size, the Miniature Pinscher was bred to be both a hunter and a watchdog and will bark at the slightest provocation to warn its owners of any possible danger or threat. 
  • Even though the Miniature Pinscher looks like a much smaller version of the Doberman Pinscher, it’s actually a completely different breed of dog. They were bred for different purposes and while the true origin of the dog has been lost to history, the Miniature Pinscher is thought to be an older breed than the Doberman. It’s the canine version of the age-old chicken and egg conundrum – which came first, the Doberman or the Miniature? Nobody really knows… 
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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.