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The Miniature Pinscher (Zwergpinscher, Min Pin) is a small breed of dog developed in Germany. Miniature Pinschers were first bred to hunt vermin, especially rats. Pinscher, is German for terrier and Zwerg means Dwarf. The Miniature Pinscher is also known as the "King of the Toy Dogs".
The original Miniature Pinscher was more stout in appearance than today's refined dog. Its coat was more coarse and the dog was less refined. The refined look of today's dog was a result primarily of many whom neglected to realize that the breed was a working breed and not a toy breed. Much of the natural look went away with years of breeding for the refined small dog seen as today's Miniature Pinscher. The miniature Pinscher also tends to have very long legs, and small bodies, which can sometimes make it look quite comical. As a result of the flexible, agile body of the miniature pinscher, they are able to curl up in almost any position and almost always be comfortable.
Typically, the Miniature Pinscher stands 10 inches to 12.5 inches, with desired height 11 inches to 11.5 inches measured at the highest point of the shoulder blades. If the min pin is under 10 inches or above 12.5 inches, it is disqualified.
The coat is short and smooth, with colors, of red, stag red, and black or chocolate with tan or rust markings, in addition to the blue and fawn. Blue coats, while admitted into the UK Kennel Club, can be registered in the American Kennel Club but not compete in show. They still benefit from all of the other aspects of the AKC. The Miniature Pinscher frequently has a docked tail and cropped ears, although the AKC no longer requires ear cropping for shows. The AKC standard specifies a characteristic hackney-like action: a high-stepping, free and easy gait in which the front leg moves straight forward and in front of the body and the foot bends at the wrist. The dog moves smoothly and strongly from the rear. The head and tail are carried high. The standard in Europe does not require the high stepping gait, as the original Miniature Pinscher (zwergpinscher) did not walk in such a fashion.
The miniature pinscher will on occasion carry a small white patch generally located on the neck or breast area. This links directly back to original breed coloring. The Miniature Pinscher did come in Merle coloring, which in the Dachshund is referred to as Dapple, and in Harlequin like that found in Great Danes. The white gene is part of the makeup of this breed; though breeders for years have fought to eliminate this gene, it is accepted by the AKC in conformation and show so long as the area of white is limited to no more than 1/2 inch in direction.
The miniature pinscher is an energetic, playful, and friendly dog. They thrive on owner interaction and are very loyal dogs typically categorized as "one, or two person dogs". With socialization, they can be integrated into families, and get along with other dogs, pets, and children. Children, especially younger ones, must be encouraged to act gently and responsibly around this smaller breed to avoid injury for both. Socialization as puppies will help to ensure they can co-exist and interact with other dogs into adulthood. Min Pins are outgoing, responsive and very clever. They will be aloof around people they have never been introduced to, and very protective of their owners. This protective instinct can manifest into barking with challenging postures. Although originally bred for ratting, they are also excellent watchdogs, barking at all things that they deem a threat.
These little dogs will need lots of exercise every day. A backyard would be preferable so they can have an outdoor area to run in, but it will need to be securely fenced in as this breed is the Houdini of the dog world when it comes to escaping. This breed is a "terrier", not a "Toy Breed"; and as such, these dogs' energy level exceeds the traditional concept or idea of the standard toy breed. Daily walks are not enough for this breed to wear off their excess energy. Though dog parks can be a solution, the true Miniature Pinscher, being a terrier, will go on the hunt at any moment, so an off-lead dog is a serious challenge with this breed. This dog truly does not see itself as small and will therefore challenge anything, including larger breeds. The breed is rated the 3rd worst breed for apartment living due to overall lack of exercise as well as natural guarding instincts which lends to barking and leads to many noise complaints. In addition, the dog can be quite destructive to homes if the dog is not allowed time to expel its natural energy that gets pent up when no secure yard is available. These dogs are only suitable for apartments if they have regular exercise. A daily 45 minute walk with exercise regimen is a must in order to have this dog in an apartment.
Although the breed is not bad with children, care must be taken in educating youths about proper handling and play. The Min Pin is relatively sturdy for their size but can be easily injured by rough play. In addition, their high-strung temperament will leave little patience for such rough play.
Grooming is easy, the smooth, shorthaired coat requires little attention. Care must be taken in colder weather as the coat provides virtually no insulation from the cold.
Due to their instinct to hunt vermin, special care must be taken in preventing a Miniature Pinscher from "attacking" smaller objects, such as bottle caps, they could pose a choking hazard.
Miniature Pinschers are also prone to overeating and should have their diets monitored to prevent them from becoming obese.
This breed has an insatiable curiosity, so the best toys for Miniature Pinschers are ones that can stimulate their curiosity. Toys that move or make an interesting noise are a good choice. Miniature Pinschers enjoy having a collection of toys. They will hoard and spend much time in moving from one collecting place to another. Miniature Pinschers will chew and try to eat their toys, so avoid toys made of rubber or plastic. Small stuffed animals, rope toys, and interactive toys that pose a challenge will work. Cat toys (without catnip) are also suitable.
Miniature Pinschers are territorial, so they should be provided with their own place to rest and sleep, though they will stake a claim to a particular piece of furniture or curtain under or behind where they will sleep. They prefer to sleep on soft objects as well as under soft objects, a small blanket should be provided. Care should be taken not to accidentally injure a Miniature Pinscher while they are sleeping under covers. When in public this breed must be kept on harness and leash, as it is natural for this breed to give chase if something of interest catches its eye.
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