Featured breed: Miniature Pinschers
by Diane Jessup

Cedar is a "red". He is quite large for a purebred. His ears are natural.

Despite a persistent myth, the miniature pinscher is not a miniaturized Doberman pinscher. It is a much older breed than the Doberman. Min pins, as they are sometimes called, were developed in Germany over 200 years ago, and 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. Whatever breeds were used in its development, the min pin deserves its nick name of "The King of the Toy Breeds."

Feisty, alert, fiercely loyal and smart in their "wash and wear" short coats, min pins come in black and tan, chocolate and tan, red and "stag red" (red with black hairs). They can be blue and tan, however this color is not recognized in the show ring. Their ears can be cropped or natural, and their tails are traditionally docked.

For those who own them, no breed touches the min pin for clownish fun, bravery far beyond their size, and a shocking intelligence. They are fun, good looking and easily trained companions.

On the down side, min pins are inclined to be noisy they simply must alert their owners to any and all strange sounds and sights. Like many toy breeds they can be wary of strange adults and children.

Most toy breeds have long life spans, and the min pin is no exception. However, the breed does suffer from some genetic health problems, the most common of which are patellar luxation, cervical (dry) disc, Legg-Calve perthes, epilepsy, thyroid, heart defects and eye problems in varying degrees of severity.

Min pins can vary greatly in size and appearance, based on the quality of the breeder from which which they originated. Min pins bred to AKC show standards range in size from 10 to 12 1/2 inches. Larger or smaller is undesirable.

Miniature pinschers do show up in shelters. As I wrote this article, we had two here at Animal Services. Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue can also be contacted about adopting a min pin in need. Their number is 206-654-1117. Staff member Heather owns two min pins, and is willing to share her knowledge of the breed with shelter visitors. Ask to see Baxter or Cedar if you visit!

For information check out www.minpin.org

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Baxter is a chocolate and tan. His ears are cropped.

This old girl is a black and tan. She was a stray at the shelter.


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Revised: 07/15/03