The Miniature Pinscher
Zwergpinscher "Min Pin"

descriptiveDog breed info
Miniature Pinscher
“Min Pin”
Weight: 8 — 10 lbs
Height: 10” — 12”
AKC Rank 2008 #32
Lifespan: 12—14 yrs
Group Toy
Origin Germany

  • Breeders And Rescue Groups
  • Dog Health, Dog Illness, Medical Problems

    Dog Breed Info - The Miniature Pinscher

    Breed Overview

    Original function, hunting small vermin. Today… Companion dog. Colors—Clear red, stag red, black and tan.

    Miniature Pinschers are not related to Doberman Pinschers. Min Pin’s are an older breed than the Doberman’s.

    During the nineteenth century, these dogs probably resulted from crossing a small short-haired terrier like the German Pinscher with the Dachshund and Italian Greyhound.

    The Min Pin could be one of the most energetic dog breeds. These little German spitfires were developed into a very distinct breed, the “reh pinscher” in the early 1800’s so named because of their resemblance to the small red German “roe deer.” “Pinscher” means terrier.

    The popularity of the Min Pin continued to grow in America and received AKC recognition in 1929. The Min Pin was one of the more popular toy breeds in the USA.


    Not easy, but the Miniature Pinscher MUST be obedience trained or you are in for trouble, the same as with the Doberman Pinscher. This breed leans toward dominance and without training will try to rule the house. The best method is clicker training and positive reinforcement which can be learned right here.

    The Miniature Pinscher has a stubborn streak and wants to dominate but if you keep at it, he will come around for you and become a wonderful little companion.

    Crate Training

    Want to crate train your Miniature Pinscher? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your Min Pin puppy will save many headaches and problems.

    Potty Training

    Miniature Pinscher puppies can be slow to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

    If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


    Miniature Pinscher's are among the most energetic of all breeds. It is busy, inquisitive and quite playful. He can be stubborn and independent. He can be testy with other dogs and may chase small animals. He tends to be wary of strangers.

    If you happen to get a Min Pin with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

    Miniature Pinschers -- Mother and puppy
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    Friendly Toward Other Dogs

    Generally, NO. Your Min Pin might find 1 dog out of 8 that he likes.

    Friendly Toward Other Pets

    NO. He should be the only dog in the house. He’s not crazy about cats, either.

    Friendly Toward Strangers

    NO. Your family coming to visit is okay—just assure the dog they mean no threat. The keyword here is “stranger.”


    Yes. Very playful I’d give this one 10 bars out of 10.


    Somewhat affectionate. A Min Pin needs companionship and should not be left alone for long periods. In return, he will act as watchdog and guardian and give all the affection he can.

    Good with children

    No. Maybe older kids, 10 and up. Their legs are very fragile and break easily. Kids can't play rough with this dog.

    Good with Seniors over 65?

    Yes. The Miniature Pinscher is well suited. A senior has the time to keep the dog busy and stimulated, thus out of trouble. The Min Pin requires little outdoor exercise other than some short walks which most seniors can handle.

    Miniature Pinscher's need lots of company. Seniors are home a lot. It’s a natural. Min Pins do well in a house and do not need to go outside for exercise if the weather is inclement.

    Living environment

    Apartment, farm, ranch, city life all OK.

    A small backyard would be nice for the dog to roam and sniff around. Maybe even play some fetch with a small ball.

    This breed must be kept in a warm environment. It can not tolerate the cold of winter. This breed also likes to sleep under the covers, so take it to bed with you.

    Alert Min Pin
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    Energy level

    Very high energy dog.

    The Min Pin needs lots of activities to keep it focused and provide an outlet for it’s energy.


    Exercise needs, daily

    Low. A walk or two a day or some play in the yard or house will get it done.Because of it’s small size, the Min Pin’s exercise needs can be met indoors or out.



    Guard dog

    No, mostly bark. He will bite but he’s so small that...




    Brush out the dead hair every week or so.



    Suggested Reading For The Miniature Pinscher
    Click on the cover photo for more book information.

    The 3rd book over is 101 tricks you can teach your dog. There are things for the dog to do I had never dreamed of!

    The book on the right is by the American National First aid and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It is a valuable book for all dog owners and I always keep my copy handy!


    Min Pin Breeders

    In the event you decide to go looking for Min Pin puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
    Min Pin Breeders with puppies for sale.

    Min Pin Rescue

    In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of a Miniature Pinscher and are looking for a Min Pin Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
    Petfinder - Min Pin Rescue - (Nationwide) When adopting, check the dog health records for any serious past illnesses if possible.
    Adopt A Pet The Min Pin is not that common. Surf the web for local Min Pin Rescue groups and of course look into local shelters.

    Dog Health Issues For The Miniature Pinscher
    Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Min Pin by various vets and books.

    This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

    The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

    • Legg-Perthes—A disease of the hip joint in young Miniature Pinscher's. It is a deforming of the head of the femur head where it fits into the pelvic socket and is generally noticed at around 6 to 8 months age. The disease affects small and toy breeds and can range from mildly debilitating to totally debilitating. It’s very painful and the dog will have a lame leg at the affected hip. Pain can become severe in some dogs and the dog will go from occasional limping to continuous carrying of the leg. Severe muscle atrophy can set in with the appearance of shortening of the affected leg. Restricted joint movement is also a common sign Legg-Perthes. Surgery will usually restore a dog to a fairly normal life but prevention at the breeding stage is the right solution.

    • Corneal Dystrophy—An inherited disease of the eye. A fluid buildup causing the outer part of the cornea to appear white and move inward toward the center. A very painful and difficult to treat ulcer will develop.

    • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

    • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. It’s most common in small and toy dogs. If your Miniature Pinscher has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

    • Urolithiasis—Excessive crystals (urinary stones or bladder or kidney stones) can form in the urinary tract or kidney, bladder or urethra, blocking the flow of urine. The crystals or stones irritate the lining of the urinary tract. They cause blood in the urine and pain and in severe cases make urination impossible. Symptoms are frequent urination, urinating in odd places, blood in urine, dribbling, depression, weakness, straining, pain, vomiting and loss of appetite. Miniature Pinscher's can be treated by diet, medications and surgery, depending on the dog, severity and other circumstances of the individual case.

    • Pannus—A disorder of the cornea of the eye affecting certain breeds in the 4 to 7 year range with an increase in dogs living at higher elevations. Not painful and treatable. If not treated for the remaining life of the dog, the cornea will slowly darken and scar causing visual impairment.

    • Cataracts - Hazy or cloudy vision and if not treated will lead to total blindness.

    • Glaucoma - Pressures in the eyes eventually leading to blindness.

    • Diabetes mellitus—Inadequate amounts of the hormone insulin are produced by the pancreas, or, in some cases the Miniature Pinscher is insensitive to it. The pancreas controls the production of glucose, the primary fuel for the body produced by the liver. With diabetes, there is not enough insulin to stop production of glucose by the liver and the build-up finally affects the kidneys which allow glucose to get into the urine, causing excess urination and thirst. Dogs with the problem may lose weight, develop cataracts, object to exercise, want more food, and have an increase in infections. Treatment is mainly through special diets and insulin injections.

    • Mitral stenosis (Mitral valve insufficiency)—Hereditary heart problem. A weak mitral valve allows blood to flow backwards and to simplify this, the net result is an enlarged heart and when the heart can no longer compensate, look for a loss of desire for exercise, trouble breathing, coughing at night and liquid in the lungs. As this progresses, the dog may collapse. There is no cure... but if you act quickly, the vet may be able to make the dog more comfortable with medication and diet.

    • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the dog's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the dog’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

    • Intervertebral disc disease—Biochemical changes in a young dog of certain breeds can cause at least one diseased or mineralized disc in the spine of the Miniature Pinscher. A disc that is not functioning properly will cause pain, problems walking, stumbling, severe neck pain and even paralysis. The Dachshund has an 80% chance of having this problem. Treatments can go from non-invasive doses of anti-inflammatory steroids, muscle relaxants and bed-rest to surgery. Pain meds are also given as needed. Mess with the spine and you have a serious situation and it’s tough on the dog!

    • Cerebellar abiotrophy—Brain disorder with no known treatment. It’s a degenerative condition that indicates loss of necessary nutritional substances. Cerebellar nerve cells form normally and then degenerate and die off causing inability to control distance and speed. Loss of muscular control is not seen at birth of the Miniature Pinscher, but gradually appears over time until finally disabling completely. Cause, unknown. The diagnosis is made when there is increasing neurological dysfunction seen day to day in the dog.

    • Deafness—Hereditary or caused by: Excessive loud noise, Intolerance to anesthesia, drug toxicity, and Otitis (middle ear infection), In some cases, one ear can have no hearing from birth and the other ear can be losing the ability to hear over time, undetected, then suddenly one morning the hearing is totally gone. There is no reversing once that happens.

    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

    • Epilepsy - A serious seizure disorder that usually shows up at around 2 to 4 or 5 years of age in the dog..

    Other problems could occur with your Miniature Pinscher. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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