The Miniature Pinscher is in general a healthy breed. Some of the breed’s health issues are patellar luxation (common in small/toy dogs), legg-calve perthes and epilepsy.
The Miniature Pinscher is now a participating breed in the OFA CHIC program for health testing. You can find out more about the program at http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/brdreqs.html?breed=MP.
Miniature Pinschers come in 4 recognized colours – Clear Red, Stag Red, Black and Rust (or Black and Tan) and Chocolate and Rust (or Chocolate and Tan). A reputable breeder does not charge a different price for the different colours or a different price for a male versus a female.
As you search the internet you may come across people breeding what they refer to as “rare” colours. These can include dilute colours of Blue and Tan, Isabella and Fawn. Then there are people breeding cross breeds and calling them “Merle”, “Brindle” or “Harlequin” Miniature Pinschers. These colours do not occur in the breed and can only happen when a Miniature Pinscher is bred to another breed that has the colour pattern – most often a Toy Fox Terrier or Rat Terrier. It does not matter how many generations ago the mix happened, the resulting puppies are NOT Miniature Pinschers and should not be sold to unsuspecting buyers as Min Pins. PLEASE do your research and make sure you are getting what you are paying for.
The Miniature Pinscher is not a scaled-down, smaller version of anything, especially the much larger Doberman. Both the Doberman and Miniature Pinscher likely descended from the Old German Standard Pinscher, (considered by many to be behind several German breeds) but there the relationship ends. Historians agree that the Miniature Pinscher originated in Germany several centuries ago as an efficient barnyard ratter. In an AKC Gazette column of 1935, Helen Coster stated that in response to her inquiry, the German Kennel Club in Stuttgart, said in their letter to her “the Zwerg or Dwarf Pinscher is a pure German breed from olden times, and that it has nothing to do with the Doberman or the Manchester Terrier.” The Club also calls him the “Reh” Pinscher, but this term is only used for a dog of stag-red color, “reh” referring to a small red deer found in German forests years ago.
The Miniature Pinscher has been pictured in old paintings and sculptures that unmistakably place him as a very old breed, but because factual documentation began less than 200 years ago, his actual origins cannot be stated in fact. In 1936 Dr. H. G. Reinchenbach, a German writer, stated that the breed was a cross of the Dachshund and Italian Greyhound. Many historians and those who have researched the background of the breed agree that the ancestors of the Min Pin most likely include a combination of the smaller German smooth-haired Pinschers, the Italian Greyhound and the Smooth Dachshund.
The Miniature Pinscher is part of the larger German pinscher family, which contained both large and small varieties as well as two distinct coat types. Efforts began to define and separate the varieties in the mid-1800’s when breeders no longer cross bred the coat types. The German pinscher family also includes the Affenpinscher and the Schnauzers.
With the formation of the German Pinscher-Schnauzer-Club (PSK) in 1895, there was a concerted effort to combine forces with other pinscher breeders and fanciers to promote and advance the distinct pinscher varieties. In a book called “Buch von den Hunden” by Bernard Wolphofer in 1895, the author recognizes four varieties of Pinschers then existing: 1. The rough haired German Pinscher; 2. The rough haired dwarf Pinscher; 3. The smooth haired German Pinscher; 4. The short haired dwarf Pinscher. The last is obviously the Miniature Pinscher. He makes no mention of the Doberman Pinscher. Another book by Bylandt, published in 1897, “Les Races des Chiens” says that the “German dwarf terrier with rough hair conforms to the German terrier with smooth hair, and so does the German Dwarf terrier with smooth hair.” Mr. Bylandt does not mention the Doberman either. It is clear from these books that at least four kinds of pinschers, (large and dwarf) and perhaps more, were common in Germany and regarded as firmly incorporated German breeds long before the Doberman was established.
Part of the confusion in origin comes from the word “pinscher”, which is a descriptive term like “settler” or “terrier” that denotes the dog’s method of working, not his heritage. “Pinscher” refers to a dog’s habit of jumping on, and fiercely biting its quarry. A definition in Henne’s “Dictionary of the German Language” indicates that Pinscher is “borrowed from the English word pincher, meaning one who pinches, nips or tweaks.” A member of the Toy Group in the U.S. and Canada, the Min Pin is included in guard dog Group 2 in FCI classification along with breeds such as the Boxer, Doberman, Mastiff, Rottweiler, and Great Dane (working trial not required).
For the sake of those who still argue that the Miniature Pinscher was bred down from the Doberman Pinscher, it was not until the year 1890 that Louis Dobermann, for whom the Doberman Pinscher is named, bred his first real Doberman. Mr. Dobermann was a German tax collector and dogcatcher. A skilled breeder, he set out to create a medium sized working dog that would accompany and protect him during the day on his travels. He stated a wish to breed “a giant terrier that would look much like the five-pound Reh Pinscher but that would be fifteen times heavier and larger.” Most educated guesses suggest that crosses of the larger type German Short Haired Pinscher (no. 3 in Mr. Wolphofer’s book) native German Shepherds, the Rottweiler, and perhaps the Greyhound and Black and Tan Terrier were used to perfect the Doberman by 1899. As we have seen, Miniature Pinschers were being produced in profusion long before this date.
The Miniature Pinscher’s popularity burgeoned toward the end of the 1800’s in Germany and it was particularly popular in that country from about 1905 to 1914. First exhibited at the Stuttgart Dog Show in Germany in 1900, Miniature Pinschers were almost unknown outside of that country. They were not extensively bred outside Germany, except in the Scandinavian countries until after 1918.
The breed was first imported into the United States about 1919, and the first one was registered with the AKC in 1925 under the breed name Pinscher (Toy). The official name was changed to Miniature Pinscher in 1972.
The Miniature Pinscher is structurally a well-balanced, sturdy, compact, short-coupled, smooth-coated, naturally well-groomed toy dog and he is proud, vigorous and playful even in old age. He is easy to train, alert, fearless when on guard and very possessive of his loved ones, which make him a great watch dog. Min Pins believe and act like they are, in fact, much larger!
Although the Min Pin has undergone many changes for the better over the years, especially as to shape of head, eyes and general conformation, his innate character and love of children is unchanged. He is the ideal playmate and companion for young and old alike – all that one could wish for in a house dog – really a big dog in one small beautiful package that is admired and respected wherever he goes. Mom likes him because of his easy to care for satiny, short coat and his naturally clean personal habits. The kids like him because he’s naturally inquisitive and wants to be where the action is, and Dad likes him because he’s a robust and naturally healthy dog, easy to keep in condition.