The miniature pinscher dog has a long history that is thought to extend back several centuries. The little dog's main job originally was to catch rats in barns and stables, but miniature pinschers have found their niche in the modern world as family companion dogs. Contrary to popular belief, the breed is not a miniaturized version of the Doberman pinscher, which it predates by centuries. The original short-haired German pinscher is believed to be included in the ancestries of both breeds. The miniature pinscher is fearless, intelligent, highly energetic and playful, sometimes dog-aggressive, and tends to be suspicious of strangers.
Miniature pinschers are intelligent dogs with great confidence and self-possession. Naturally adventurous, min pins need the close attention of their owners to prevent them from heading off to explore. The breed's inherent inquisitiveness frequently leads min pins into trouble, and many are struck by cars while darting across traffic in pursuit of an interesting object. Assertiveness is a characteristic of the breed, and the males are particularly dominant. They will try to dominate other family pets, and often will assert dominance over the humans in the family as well.
Courage and Fighting Drive
Sometimes called the “king of the toy breeds,” min pins appear not to be aware of their tiny size, and are exceptionally courageous. Male min pins are particularly territorial dogs, marking their home turf by urinating everywhere possible and kicking up the soil to leave the scent from their footpads. They will tackle a dog much bigger than themselves given the occasion, and they are fearless watchdogs. They are also bold, and will bark incessantly when defending the home. Min pins will not hesitate to attack an intruder, biting whatever body part they are able to reach. While min pins are good family dogs, they will not tolerate rough handling by young children, and will bite if necessary to defend themselves.
Miniature pinschers are lively, alert little dogs who learn quickly. Their high energy level demands plenty of physical exercise, as well as regular mental stimulation to keep their minds occupied. They do exceptionally well in obedience training and in fun disciplines such as agility and dog dancing. Training a min pin requires an understanding of the breed’s dominant personality and behavioral traits, such as their stubbornness and occasional aggression towards other dogs.
Min pins have worked in almost every canine discipline suited to their size. At the St. Mary’s Mayo Clinic rehabilitation unit in Minnesota, a min pin named Dr. Jack works with patients as a therapy dog, helping to relieve stress and providing speech therapy for 160 hours per year. Dr. Jack’s trainer says the dog behaves remarkably well by seeking out those patients who need help the most, and by showing exceptional empathy and compassion to them.