Miniature Pinscher

"King of Toys"

Photo of Miniature Pinscher


The Minpin may look like a miniature Doberman, but he's not - the Miniature Pinscher actually came first. Probably related to the German Pinscher, the smooth Dachshund, and the Italian Greyhound, the Miniature Pinscher shows up in German art long before 1890, when the Doberman Pinscher was created. In fact, Louis Doberman created the Doberman Pinscher because he wanted a dog that would look like the Miniature Pinscher, but be “15 times heavier and larger.” In Germany, Miniature Pinschers are known as “Reh Pinscher,” after a small red deer once common in German forests. Watch a Minpin bound across the yard, and you'll see why Miniature Pinschers charmed the German dog show scene around the turn of the 20th century and came to the United States in 1919. Originally classified as a Terrier, the Minpin was moved to the Toy group in 1930 and the named was changed from Pinscher (Toy) to Miniature Pinscher in 1972. Today, the Minpin is the 23rd most popular breed in the U.S.


A lot of small dogs have a big attitude, but the Miniature Pinscher may just have the biggest attitude of them all. That's why it has the nickname “King of Toys,” because the Minpin really will try to rule the house, the yard, and you. Best for gentle but assertive owners who can spend plenty of time exercising, training, and interacting, Miniature Pinschers have so much energy that they can get into trouble if they don't have an outlet. Plenty of games, chew toys, brisk walks, and together-time should do the trick, but even so, Minpins can probably outlast even the kids when it comes to extreme play. Likely to chase small animals, Minpins might get along with large cats if raised with them. They usually try to dominate larger dogs, and must be protected from dogs they don't know, just in case the Minpin picks a fight. Minpin puppies can be delicate and don't make a good match for small children who may injure them unintentionally. If threatened or overly stimulated, Minpins might growl or nip, and some have been known to attack the pants legs of intruders, but for those the Minpin knows and loves, this breed is a never-ending source of fun and hilarity.


Small, sturdy, compact, and proud, the miniature Pinscher has a neat, well-groomed appearance and a sparkle in its dark eyes. Ideally about 11 inches, Miniature Pinschers have clean lines and a smooth, hard, short, shiny coat in red, stag red (red with black hairs intermingled), black with rust markings, or chocolate with rust markings. Minpins should look strong and athletic but also graceful and animated. Minpins advertised as “teacup” or “pocket” Minpins are not rare and are more prone to injury and health problems. These tiniest dogs may also not be purebred, possibly having been crossed with Chihuahuas. Minpins under ten inches are disqualified from dog shows. Some Minpins also grow to be larger and taller than the 12.5-inch height limit. They would also be disqualified from a dog show, but make sturdier pets for families with small children.


Can you really train a Minpin? Many have tried, and a few have even succeeded, but this self-possessed and independent little dog has to have a good reason to sit, stay, come, or lie down. Trainers must be creative, upbeat, and use lots of rewards. Punishment won't work with a Minpin, and could cause the dog to fear or mistrust you. Consistency, assertiveness, and never giving in to something you don't want the dog to do will eventually build a relationship in which the dog trusts you and wants to follow the rules. Structured obedience classes using positive methods can be a big help to stymied pet owners who can't seem to get through to their tiny tyrants. Miniature Pinschers can be incredibly challenging to housetrain. Keep them in a crate for short periods when they can't be supervised, take them out on a regular schedule, and clean up all messes immediately to eliminate odor, and the Minpin will learn the rules eventually. Remember, patience is a virtue.

Grooming & Care

Minpins may be hard to train, but they are easy to groom. Just brush weekly to minimize shed hair in the house. Trim nails, clean ears, and brush teeth, and you're done.

Health Concerns

Like many small dogs, Miniature Pinschers can suffer from luxating patellas (kneecaps that slip out of place) and collapsing tracheas. Because they tend to pull on a leash, use a harness instead to reduce injury to the trachea. Minpins also sometimes suffer from Legg-Calve Perthes (a hip joint disorder), epilepsy, and skin allergies. Ask your breeder about these issues.

Famous Miniature Pinscher

Actor Joey Fatone, formerly of the boy band ‘NSync, has a Minpin named Nakita.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 4
Schedule 6
Home 44
Children 49
Experience 54
Quick Facts
Grooming 13
Exercise 60
Challenges Can be anxiety-prone, excessive barkers, or extra defensive around small children and other animals.
Height 10 to 12.5 inches
Weight 8 to 10 pounds
Life 12 to 14 years
Home Alone 84
With Kids 89
With Strangers 113
Availability 23

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

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