The misconception that the miniature pinscher is a "miniature Doberman" occurred because the Doberman Pinscher (a breed developed by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann around 1890) was introduced to the US before the miniature pinscher. In 1919 the miniature pinscher was introduced to the AKC show ring. At the time, not knowing that it was referred to officially in Germany as the zwergpinscher (little biter), the AKC referred to the breed as simply "pinscher" and listed it in the miscellaneous category. When the Miniature Pinscher Club of America (MPCA) was created in 1929 (the year of the breed's official introduction into the AKC), they petitioned for miniature pinschers to be placed in the Toy group. The AKC's description, that the dog "must appear as a Doberman in miniature", led to the misconception common today that this breed is a "miniature Doberman pinscher". The original name for this breed in the US was "pinscher" until 1972 when the name was officially changed to miniature pinscher.
Historical artifacts and paintings indicate that the "min pin" is a very old breed, but factual documentation begins less than 200 years ago, which leaves the breed's actual origins open to debate. There is a drawing by Jean Bungartz, published in 1888 comparing the Miniature Pinscher to the German Pinscher.
Gotti, a three-year-old Miniature Pinscher with cropped ears.
The miniature pinscher is structurally a well balanced, sturdy, compact, short-coupled, smooth-coated dog. They are naturally well groomed, proud, vigorous and alert. Characteristic traits are his hackney-like action, fearless animation, complete self-possession, and his spirited presence. Legs should be straight with no bending in or out. The miniature pinscher frequently has a docked tail and cropped ears, though the AKC no longer requires ear cropping for shows.
Miniature pinscher breed standard calls for 10 inches to 12½ inches in height allowed, with desired height 11 inches to 11½ inches measured at highest point of the shoulder blades. Females may be longer. The ideal weight for a miniature pinscher is 8-10 pounds.
A red min pin and a chocolate and tan min pin
Coat and color
The coat is short and smooth, with no undercoat. Available colors include solid red, stag red, blue stag red, chocolate stag red, fawn stag red, as well as black, chocolate, blue, and fawn with tan points or rust points. For showing in the United States, AKC disqualifies all colors but the solid or stag red and the black or chocolate with rust points. The Pinscher-Schnauzer Club, which maintains the standard for showing in Germany, has the same restrictions. In the UK, blue with rust points is allowed in the show ring. White spots larger than half an inch or black spots on the points are disqualifications for showing in most countries. Merle is not an accepted coloring of the breed.
A miniature pinscher chasing a squirrel up a tree
Miniature pinschers are for experienced dog owners. The miniature pinscher is an assertive, outgoing, active and independent breed. Miniature pinschers are energetic and need a fenced in yard to run in; they make great agility dogs. They are great escape artists and some recommend having a kennel with a lid on it for them to run around in. They are good watch dogs, are alert and wary of strangers. It is recommended that adults and teenagers, rather than young children, play with a miniature pinscher as younger children play rough.
Grooming is easy, as the smooth, short-haired coat requires little attention, needing only occasional brushing and shampooing. Care must be taken in cold weather. Sweaters or baby blankets for a miniature pinscher keep it from getting too cold. Miniature pinschers are an active breed and will need access to a fenced yard, or be given a daily walk.