Miniature pinschers, affectionately known as min pins, aren't little versions of the Doberman pinscher. In fact, they're no relation. However, if a min pin and a Dobie met on the street, the former might imagine he's the bigger dog. If you're looking for a small companion dog who also can serve as a good watch dog, consider the min pin.
The min pin's ancestors originated in Germany, where they served as rat catchers. Although he looks like a small Doberman and also resembles the Manchester terrier, the min pin actually descends from Italian greyhounds and dachshunds, according to the American Kennel Club. The breed first received AKC recognition in 1925 as a member of the terrier group. Five years later, min pins were reclassified as members of the toy group.
At maturity, min pins stand between 10 and 12.5 inches tall at the shoulder. Acceptable colors for their short, smooth coats include solid red; red with black hairs within the coat; black with rust markings on the throat, lower jaw, cheeks, a spot above each eye and two on the chest, lower half of the front legs, inside of rear legs and the anal region; chocolate with rust, with similar markings. The breed standard calls for docked tail and cropped ears.
Min pins are known for their "hackney-like" action, named for the fashionable carriage horses and ponies. This movement consists of high-stepping, with the front legs moving "straight forward and in front of the body and the foot bending at the wrist," according to the AKC
standard. The proud little min pin carries his tail and head high.
When you live with a min pin, no one gets near your house without you knowing it. That warning noise is a double-edged sword -- without proper training, min pins can become nuisance barkers. Although small, min pins aren't lap dogs -- they're high energy, inquisitive and love to play. He's not particularly good with cats, and be careful if you keep small rodents as pets. They're prey, as far as min pins are concerned. Other dogs can pose a problem, as the min pin thinks of himself as a big dog and leader of the pack. While he's not good with young children, he can be fine with older kids who know to approach and respect a dog.
Like other toy breeds, min pins aren't easy to housebreak. With time and patience, you can house train your dog, although he might have some "accidents" in the winter if you live in a cold climate. He's not suited to the cold, so you might need to put a warm doggie coat on him for winter walks.
By Jane Meggitt
About the Author
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.