Miniature Pinscher (Zwergpinscher)

Pros Cons
  • easy to groom
  • fearless
  • intelligent
  • ideal for a city dweller 
  • tends to gain weight rapidly
  • dominant


The Miniature Pinscher (Zwergpinscher) is a vivacious, brave and sociable German breed, which enjoys popularity from dog lovers all over the world. The breed possesses a truly compelling personality, which merited it a nickname, «King of the Toys». Its original purpose was the eradication of household rodents, particularly rats but today the breed is kept almost exclusively as a lovely family dog.


Detailed and precise descriptions of the Miniature Pinscher initially appeared in the first half of the XIX century. This fact implies that the development of the breed was initiated somewhere in the XVIII and by the early XIX it had already been fully established. There is no reliable information as to its ancestry but some suggestions can be made with fairly high probability. The dog was surely bred down in size from the German Pinscher though it remains debatable whether other types of dogs were used in this process or not.

In 1936, the German writer Dr. H.G. Rainchenbach assumed that the Zwergpinsher was produced by crossing the Dachshund and the Italian Greyhound. Later on this version received more universal acceptance although it’s still considered that the German Pinscher played the major role in the breeding. Some dog’s experts also claim that the Affenpinscher and other breeds also made certain contribution in its creation.

The Miniature Pinscher quickly acquired numerous fanciers throughout German-speaking lands. The dog was prised for its charismatic personality and cheerfulness. Despite its miniature size it was a very capable exterminator of rats and mice, unafraid to confront rodents, which were almost as big as itself.

In the 70s of the XIX century Dog Shows became trendy across Europe. German breeders were keen to develop standards for national breeds as well as to create new ones in order to invent dogs of superior quality. The Miniature Pinscher had entered the official records by the end of the XIX century and gradually became an active participant of conformation shows. At that time Germany fell under the influence of industrialization and was facing rapid increase in urban population. A city dweller couldn’t afford to keep a large dog so the popularity of toy breeds soared up. The Miniature Pinscher was definitely among these breeds but it remained virtually unknown outside its native country until 1918 when it arrived to America.

The fame of the Miniature Pinscher in the United States steadily grew until the late 90s of the XX century. The breed was much appreciated for the combination of the bold, vivacious and outgoing temperament and a small size. It’s still fairly fashionable in this country although it’s not nearly as trendy as decade ago. The American Kennel Club (AKC) registered first breed member as early as in 1925 and in 1972 the club has officially recognised it under its current name. The United Kennel Club (UKC) granted its full acceptance to the Miniature Pinscher in 1936. Nowadays very few specimens are used as ratters but this dog hasn’t lost its passion for this kind of work.


The Miniature Pinscher stands out among other toy breeds with its daring, fearless and energetic demeanour. It’s very emotional in displaying its affection and loyalty to its master. At the same time this dog isn’t exceptionally fawningly and prefers to be on equal footing with people it loves. It commonly makes an excellent buddy for older children and will put up with some considerate teasing from them. This breed is an unsuitable company for a toddler because it won’t hesitate to defend itself in case of too much rough-housing.

The Miniature Pinscher is generally aloof and wary with unfamiliar people. Unlike most small breeds this kind of behaviour ensues not from shyness or fear but rather from desire to defend or to dominate. This dog is usually fully convinced in its strength and invincibility and in most cases will act accordingly. This means that it can fancy itself as a guard dog and will fearless confront any creature who will dares to invade its territory. That’s why early and heavy socialisation is a must for this dog. The breed has all necessary qualities to become a very good watchdog.

As an inborn leader the Miniature Pinscher is quite ready to do whatever it takes to assert its alpha status among other canines. This dog is prone to develop major issues with other dogs when things concern its aspiration for dominance. If needed, it will fight till end for superior position in the packing order with no regards to the size or power of its adversary. That’s why this dog should be always kept leashed while being walked. The breed demonstrates aggressiveness toward other small animals such as hamsters and gerbils. The Miniature Pinscher can get along with a home cat when brought up with it from its puppyhood. However its respectful attitude won’t spread on stray cats, which will be relentlessly harassed and chased.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· luxating patellas;

· cervical (dry) disc;

· legg-perthes disease;

· epilepsy;

· hypothyroidism;

· heart defects;

· eye problems.


The Miniature Pinscher has very low grooming requirements. Its super-short sleek coat should be brushed only occasionally and it will never demand professional grooming. It is also a very clean breed so it’s mostly quiet sufficient to rub its coat with a damp and soft cloth instead of full-blown bathing.

The breed is an average shedder and it will regularly leave some hair on your stuff including furniture, carpets and clothes. The Miniature Pinscher is not the best choice for an allergic sufferer or some extremely tidy person.


It’s quite possible to achieve big successes in the training of the Miniature Pinscher because of its unbelievable intelligence and quick-wittedness. That’s why the breed commonly thrives at agility and obedience trials. Nevertheless this dog is notable for dominant individuality and will use every tiny mistake of the handler to take control over the situation.

Lessons should be based on principles of consistency and repetitiveness and acceptable training methods should include firm and calm attitude to the dog, with a portion of food treats. The housebreaking of the Miniature Pinscher offers significant challenge. This process usually consumes much longer time in comparison with larger breeds so its owner should arm himself with patience in this particular case.


The Miniature Pinscher needs moderate amount of daily exercise. However, this small dog has much more vigour in it than it may seem at first sight. It should be taken on a long brisk walk every single day but it wold be grateful to spend some time off-leash in a safe area. The breed is always eager to take part in some typical canine games.

Be mindful that some specimens are pretty active at home even when their need for outdoor activity has been properly met. Anyway an under exercised dog shows such unwelcomed tendencies in behaviour as destructiveness, on-going barking, nervousness and even aggressiveness.

Dog Breeds