Mar 19

So You Think You Want a Miniature Pinscher?

Miniature pinscher puppySo You Think You Want a Miniature Pinscher?

Why I Love Miniature Pinschers

Miniature pinschers (affectionately known as min pins) are the greatest breed of dog on earth. They are graceful, charming, funny, smart, and endearing. I have happened to be lucky enough to own the three greatest miniature pinschers on earth, except yours of course. Seriously, min pins are great dogs, but I do like all dogs. However, it’s the min pin that has stolen my heart. Having spent over 13 years with miniature pinschers in my life, I have come to understand what the AKC miniature pinscher description (Meet the Breeds) means in real-world terms, and I want to share my experiences with you. This way, you can know both the joys and challenges of owning this feisty breed of dog and decide if the min pin is a match for your family.

Photo Credit: © Min Pin Mania 2013 Creative Commons Attribution

  • Miniature Pinscher Temperament

    • Fearless animation
    • Complete self-possession
    • Spirited Presence


Important Considerations

I chose to discuss temperament first because I think it should be one of the first considerations when choosing a dog, and the min pin temperament represents unique challenges (and rewards). Below are is the AKC definition of a min pin’s temperament with real world examples.

  • AKC Breed Standard: Fearless animation, complete self-possession, spirited presence: Miniature pinschers, like many small dogs, do not know that they are small, and they will take on big challenges. Because miniature pinschers are avid hunters, they could catch prey bigger than they are! (At least, mine have.) In addition, miniature pinschers have confidence in abundance and typically have two gears: on and off.

atty running copyPhoto: © Min Pin Mania 2013 Creative Commons Attribution

  • AKC ‘Meet the Breeds’ Description: Quick and active, with a lively curiosity Quick and active is an understatement. When your min pin is in a hurry, the most you will see go by is a blurry streak. Because they are so quick, they can catch a wide variety of prey: squirrels, mice, and moles, to name a few. They are also capable of dodging you when you try to catch them. In fact they may think “dodge the human” is a fun game.This is not a good scenario when they are out in the street. I think “lively curiosity” refers to the fact that they will get into anything. If you get a min pin, you will learn to keep your possessions out of reach or have them destroyed. I have learned (the hard way) to keep the cord to my CPAP machine put away. For those of you not familiar with sleep apnea, a CPAP cord is a plastic hose with a headpiece made of highly chewable silicon. It is especially important to put away things harmful to your min pin, like medicine bottles.


Big Dog Attitude in a Small Package

Miniature pinschers, as the name implies, are small in size: about 10 to 12 1/2 inches in height. AKC breed standard says that they should be about 11 to 11 1/2 inches at the withers (highest point on the shoulder blades). Miniature pinschers are square dogs; this means that their body length should equal their height (males) or slightly longer (females).

Because min pins are small, they are often recommended for people who live in apartments. While min pins can be very happy in an apartment, they will still need a fair amount of exercise. This can be accomplished with walks or active play in the apartment. While their exercise may not take much space, exercise is very important for this energetic breed and will take time.

Coat and Color

Colors Recognized by AKC

Coat and Grooming: The coat is smooth to the eye and touch. Hairs are short. In addition, the miniature pinscher doesn’t exude much oil from its skin. Thus, miniature pinschers do not require much grooming, and frequent bathing can dry their skin. The main grooming to be done is trimming their toe nails.

The following miniature pinscher coat colors are recognized by AKC:

  • Solid clear red
  • Stag red (red with intermingling of black hairs)
  • Black and rust
  • Chocolate and rust
  • Some coat colors are associated with a hereditary skin disorder

    Blue and Fawn Miniature

    Pinschers are Prone to

    Color Dilution Alopecia

Blue and fawn (dilute black and dilute chocolate, respectively) coat colors are genetically associated with a skin condition called “color dilution alopecia” and are not recognized by AKC. See the Color Dilution Alopecia post for details.

Min Pin Body and Gait

Some Physical Features that Distinguish Miniature Pinschers

This is a non-comprehensive list of physical features that distinguish miniature pinschers from other breeds.

  • Compact. Miniature pinschers are small, but every ounce of their little bodies are full of impact. Compact in the AKC definition is firmly joined union of various body parts.
  • Hackney-like gait: A high lifting of the front feet accompanied by flexing of the wrist like that of a hackney horse. The hackney-like gait of the miniature pinscher makes the min pin look as if it is prancing. This just enhances the proud attitude of the miniature pinscher. It’s hard not to laugh when a min pin has a “treasure” (e.g., prey it has caught, a toy it has stolen, etc.) and prances around the yard.
  • Short-coupled: In AKC terms, coupling refers to the part of the body between the ribs and the pelvis/hindquarters; the loin.

Is a Miniature Pinscher a Good Fit for Your Family?

Family Environment Makes a Difference

That your new puppy fit into your lifestyle is of the utmost importance. Several factors influence in what situations miniature pinschers do well. These include (but are definitely not limited to) space available, age of family members, activity level of the family, time and patience for training.

  • Space available. As discussed earlier, space may or may not be an issue. If you are able to engage in active play or go for long walks, apartment life will suit a min pin quite well. If not, a miniature pinscher must have enough space and attention to burn off it’s energy, which min pins have in abundance.
  • Young family members. First, remember that young children, especially babies and infants, should never be left alone with any dog, regardless of the age, temperament, or breed of the dog. That being said, miniature pinschers can be great with children. Miniature pinschers are sturdy dogs; however, they do have a fine bone structure, and cannot tolerate as rough play like bigger dog breeds can. Thus, play with young children should be supervised for the safety of both the children and the dog. Older children should be instructed so that they can play safely and not injure the dog.
  • Older family members. Miniature pinschers can live as long as 18 to 20 years, and people often have many changes in lifestyle over this time frame. Min pins are high energy, and will probably jump, run, and insist to be played with, especially in its younger years. Many older adults don’t like a dog jumping in their lap or wanting to play fetch for hours on end. Walks could also be limited. This could make it difficult to get in the min pin’s exercise requirements. However, if the situation allows, a min pin can be a great companion for an older person.
  • Activity level of the family. As discussed several times in this post, miniature pinschers are high energy. I can’t emphasize this enough. This characteristic is one of our favorite traits of the miniature pinscher breed. The energy min pins bring to our household add excitement, fun, and joy to our lives. Thus, a miniature pinscher is a good fit for a family with an active lifestyle.
  • Time and patience for training. When we adopted Zeus, our first miniature pinscher, we knew that min pins were smart. We thought that would make training easy. Silly us. It can, in fact, also make training more difficult. In addition to intelligence, miniature pinschers are stubborn, willful, and independent thinkers. Instead of coming when called, a miniature pinscher, even when it knows you want it to come, may think it’s time to run away (for example at bath time or when asked to go outdoors in the rain). This makes a great game of “chase.” It’s best if you have the time and patience to laugh at some min pin antics, but not to the extent of making training ineffective, of course.

Adoption Process

Application…Interview…Home Study?

When we adopted our first dog, an intact purebred male, my husband and I considered getting a female and breeding them. We quickly found out that we probably were not cut out for breeding dogs. One day, while discussing the subject, he expressed concern that I wouldn’t be able to bear parting with any of the puppies. I assured him that after the application, interview, and home study, I would be perfectly comfortable selling the puppies. He groaned and decided that maybe we should just keep pets.

While I was being facetious when I talked about the requirements I would implement, many breeders and rescue groups do have extensive pre-adoption requirements, and it is actually a good thing for not only the breeder or rescue group, but also for the adoptive family. If the breeder goes to the trouble it takes for an application, interview, and home study, it is likely that you have found a reputable breeder who is interested in the betterment of the miniature pinscher breed, which includes breeding healthy dogs. At the very least, the breeder probably has not mistreated or neglected his or her dogs.

Consider Rescue

Miniature Pinschers Need Loving Homes

As I’ve said earlier in this post, min pins can be difficult to train, have excessive energy, and can be little tyrants if you let them. Because many owners don’t realize this, min pins often get mistreated, neglected, or abandoned. If you want a miniature pinscher and are interested in rescue, there are many min pins in need of a loving home. A simple way to find a min pin is to tell nearby animal shelters that you are looking for a min pin. In addition, there are several rescue groups dedicated to min pins on the web. Here are some I have heard about:

Do You Have a Dog?

Tell Us About Your Dog

What is your favorite breed of dog? What are your dog’s favorite hobbies: napping, snuggles, fetch? Is your dog lively or sedate? If your dog is like mine, it may have two gears: off and on. If you don’t have a dog, are you considering getting a dog? Which breed and why? Or, leave a comment to just say “hello.” We’d love to hear from you.

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  1. susan wood

    i am looking for miniature pincher that is related to sire taulbee john boy taylor and dam Sadie taylor, came from flea world in Kentucky, desperately looking for one, any info I would appreciate. very sentimental to me, thank you so much,

  2. Finn

    I hate to see so many people having such a rough time with their Miniature Pinschers. I have had one for about 5 years now, and he has been the best dog I have ever owned. We got along almost straight from the jump. He has an ill temper toward strangers and he gets excited when keys jingle (he LOVES going somewhere), but he’s amazing and I don’t regret a moment. I bought him off of a family that didn’t want him and he has been so great. If I had the option of going back knowing then what I do now, I’d do it all over again! He is so loyal and protective and funny and smart. Amazing dog. He can be stubborn though, but all dogs have their issues. I absolutely love my dog, and when he dies I will be heartbroken. He is GREAT with my family. I can trust him around my elderly parents and my roommate. Wonderful, amazing dog.

    1. Jana

      I’m glad you are enjoying your Min Pin. Your are right–they are great dogs!

    2. Ana

      My Ruby is now 14 and is the best dog I’ve ever owned. She is gentle around all people and even does hospital visitation. Many Min Pins I’ve known have been a bit hyper. Not sure how much training actually mitigates this but I have had no problems in all the years I’ve had my fur soulmate. Glad you have a similar experience, Finn. Viva la Min Pin!

  3. Callista

    I adopted a three year old min pin four years ago. When I first got him he was lazy throughout the day and loved snuggling on laps. He is still this way. Every single time I look up a min pin they are described by sources and other owners as high energy. Unless high energy means couch potato, I don’t think he is normal. With his laziness, he loves snuggle time and bed time. He does his light weight prancing and sits on the couch for snuggle time. Right now, he is wrapped in a blanket and on my lap. Then at night, his bed time is 9 pm. He starts getting tired at 8:30 pm and by 9:30 pm he is ready for bed. Past 9:30 pm he is knocked out. When I go to bed, on time at 9 pm, his tail wags, he goes straight to my bedroom door and waits for me. If I’m past his bed time, it is challenging to persuade him it is worth getting him up. When he is snuggling, he loves his kisses and pressure.

    He doesn’t have separation anxiety. He loves chewing toilet paper. He is stubborn and sensitive. According to my vet and people whom are strangers, he acts and looks like a full min pin. He acts like a Italian Greyhound at home and a min pin in front of strangers. I’m not doubting he isn’t min in. He clearly is one, but I wouldn’t say he is full bred min pin.

    My question is do you have any explanation on what is going on. He came from a lady who got him off craigslist.

  4. Cheryl Arledge

    In 2005 I took in Min Pin as a rescue. She was strong willed, stubborn would run if she got out and frustrated me to no end for the first 6 months. I managed to housebreak her and get her to walk along with me with no leash using doggie cheese its. We had her until just the past Christmas Eve Day. Her last year had been fraught with illness. Diabetes, Cushings and those conditions caused her to go blind. I promised her when she started to suffer I would let her go. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. She brought us such joy, her personality was one off a kind. I am sitting here crying as I write this, I miss My Penny so much, but i know she is in a good place and no longer sick.

    1. Jana

      I’m so sorry to hear about Penny, although I know that she had the best home she could have while here on earth. I don’t know if you have heard of the poem “Rainbow Bridge” or not, but I set up a post so that you could read it (Rest in Peace Penny). I’m sure she was one of a kind and that she is waiting at the bridge for you.

      1. Cheryl Arledge

        We told her to wait for us at the Rainbow Bridge ans we would bring her her pig ears.

      2. Rick

        Jana, thank you so much for the Rainbow Bridge link. I adopted the most fantastic red min pin, Gunnar, in October of 2017. He was 3 months old at that time and has since developed into the most affectionate, fun loving, little hellion, lol. While I hope I’m very very far from the day he will no longer be in my life I still think with dread about that day. The Rainbow Bridge is beautiful and makes me feel much better. Based on Gunnar’s response when we reunite after just a few hours apart I can well imagine his response when we reunite at the Rainbow Bridge. Thanks again, 🙂

  5. Geannie

    I recently adopted a 2 and half min pin from the humane society. Oh boy I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. But we have fallen in love with her. I have had problems with her any tips would help. She truly has little man syndrome she will pick fights with other dogs? I have literally pulled her out of 2 fights while she was on a leash? While on leash she will pick fight with a dog that is along ways away, and try to pull me over there. She cries when I leave, and I only leave maybe a hour at a time. We are going on vacation for a couple of weeks I worried about her being boarded that long and praying she doesn’t pick fights while being there. I have yelled at her which she does hate. I have tried putting her on her back. I have tried putting her in another room by herself until shestraightens up. Then she will just pee on a bed. She can be this feisty when people come over too. If my husband hugs me she barks at him and tries to bite him if the kids fight she is all up in there business which I am not going to lie that part is nice. These are the only problems we have, she has truly brought a ton of joy to our home and we love her pieces. But I absolutely need to break her from picking fights with humans and dogs. Any ideas are appericated Thanks so much

  6. Faye

    After 1 week with a rescue minpin I am ready to throw in the towel. This dog will not let me get within 2 feet of him. I have had dogs for most of my life and have never had a dog that would not let me even pet him. He was not abused and tolerates my daughter and my husband. If I so much as move a foot the dog starts to bark and growl at me. How am I supposed to train this dog? I have not been harsh with him. I can walk him when he is on a leash but I can not be the one to put the leash on him. He growls and snaps if I even come close. He will eat food I give him just not out of my hand. If I can’t get tips on how to deal with him I am going to have to send him somewhere else because he is making my home hell for me.

  7. Kayla

    I own a miniature pinscher named Cal. I did not have him from puppyhood, I bought him from a family who no longer wanted him. He is the best dog I could have ever asked for, but he is min pin through and through. But he is a pretty good listener and potty trained. He has a bit of a habit for getting into the trash on occasion, but we have had to crack down on that as we discovered he has severe pancreatitis. He definitely has an alpha problem, doesn’t like other dogs in his face or territory and can be a bully, but he knows that I am boss and he listens to what I have to say. I allow him his own crate to be his own space where no other animal can enter so he can have breathing room if he needs it, and he seems to be okay with this. I love him to bits and he is my most favorite dog I have ever owned or will ever own. He’s my miniature.

  8. Rob

    Good article. I despised these dogs until I met the girlfriend and her minpin. Always found them to be psychotic, unbalanced etc but quickly realized they don’t have to be that way. We raised this minpin to be confident and let him be the dog he was meant to be. Offer these dogs respect, exercise and mental stimulation and they are simply amazing and endearing.

  9. Marjorie hebner

    I rescued my 2.5 year old baby boy Honey a year and a half ago. He is my world. This article describes his personality and antics to a T. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. I love my child with every fiber of my being

  10. Donette Kopke

    Hello. I’m a min pin owner. She is just over a year old and I received her as a gift at 6 weeks of age. I have 2 children who absolutely adore her but I’m afraid I may have to rehome her. No matter how hard I try and patient I am she just can’t seem to be potty trained. She messes all over the house and I’m just at my wits end. Also, she gets loose at times when we open the front door and just runs, runs, and runs. I have tried everything possible and with no results. She is so cute and loving but I’m to the point where I find her to be more of a nuisance then a joy. My heart is breaking but I fear there is no hope in training her and adoption is my only option. I was raised with dogs and owned several who I easily trained. I’m thinking now that she’s over a year old that she can never be potty trained and will always just go in the home.

    1. Vanna

      crate training crate training crate training. Look it up. It might be a little late so she will cry more when you first start but this is always the best way. My pup is tiny and only 9 weeks. Two days in and he is already getting it

      1. Shirley Cayce

        I adopted my Min Pin 3 months ago from a shelter and she had to stay in a crate and not get excited because she had heartworms which I had her on treatment and she was not housebroken and I had to take her out on a leash to go to the bathroom so she wouldn’t run wild and get too excited because of this medical problem bu
        t now I let her out on her own and she will go to the door and let me know if she wants out. She is 10 years old when I got her I truly believe in the crate system. I had a German Shepherd who is broke that way

    2. Sharon

      I don’t know if it’s too late for you but litter training has worked very well for our min pins. Our 1st little min pin was doing very well with potty training until she was attacked by another dog. Then her training went awry. Litter training was suggested so we went out and bought a large utility pan and filled it with litter for dogs. I spent 30 minutes in the room with her and the pan and she was trained. Our 2nd min pin took a little longer to train and our 3rd longer yet and she likes potty pads outside of the litter pan. She’ll use both. We live in Wisconsin with cold winters and often snow. The litter pan keeps her safe from the frigid weather. My husband was handicapped and not always able to get the dogs outside so this method works for us. In time I switched to a good clumping cat litter in the pan. It’s easier to clean. Our mini does love to go out for walks or just outside for potty but the litter pan is a great back up. I hope this helps.

  11. Jeremy


    Hi Everyone, I have a 4 year old min pin named Cappie. He has been licking his paw pads for the past three years and I have literally tried everything from switching foods, steriods, and other allergy medications. Nothing works for long. The best so far has been the steroids. Also another chronic issue is he will yell while defacating. He has been to several vets and I am running out of options. I believe it maybe just a chronic autoimmune issue.

  12. Matthew

    Hello all! I have a sweet 4 year old min pin who’s name is sasha. I rescued her 10 months ago and i can just tell she’s had a difficult life up to now. She absolutely loves going to the dog park and being the mediator to all the other dogs around. If any fighting breaks out, she sprints over to put an end to it. She has so much energy it’s incredible. Her favorite game is fetch the toy and don’t bring it back, and she loves to burrow in a warm blanket. She is not a fan of being left alone whenever i have to leave so in the coming months i plan to get another dog so that she has a playmate for when i am not around. Sasha is the sweetest little dog with quite the sassy attitude.

  13. Thea

    We have had our chipin little happy girl for 2 1/2months now. We had no idea what we were getting our self’s into when we rescued her. We named her Macie. We’ve had a Chihuahua Shiz-u- and a poodle terrier. So when we went through the next few days going (omg). I looked up minpins on this site and I read all of the characteristics, all, the exercise they need, which I was very glad of. We’ve never had such an active dog. But I’m loving her so much. She has a beautiful personalty, she looks just like a beautiful black and rust minpin,she also has the Chihuahua head and ears thats where the chi comes in, and I think that adds to that stubbornness. But I love the challenge. I’m retired and am at home all the time so I am able to spend all my time with her, which is so wonderful.
    I love the animated personality. And yes you have to show them who is boss right from the beginning or they think there the boss. Yes she does talk alot, she whines a little and barks. She lets us know when she is mad at us or if she doesn’t like something we just told her she can’t do. We are taking her some classes to get her socialized and help me learn to teach her some basic things. It’s fun to experience all kinds of things with her. Besides my husband she’s my world. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. 💞

  14. Jen

    I have 2 min pins my loves they are my life. We got squirt and instantly fell in love with her and got Tyson 3 months later. They are 9 years old and become a little lazy when inside … We go on a ton of walks at least 10 and long walks there never left alone I drop them off at my parents when I go to work. My parents have 2 black labs and a huge yard they look to explore in. Is it normal that they lay around when we inside. They are both healthy go for annual check up and dental etc. They are honestly the best such a happy loving breed.

  15. Mitchara

    I got my min pin, Whiskey, when he was 4 1/2 months. He is 8 months now and I am in the process of potty training him, something I believe his previous owners did not thoroughly begin with him. It has been two long months of training and I don’t believe he is quite getting the hang of it yet. He has good days and bad days. The vet has suggested that I get him neutered in hopes that will diminish the frequent soiling but I am hesitant on doing so. We are crate training and I do praise him with treats when he goes outside. Any suggestions on getting him potty trained much better??

  16. Jen

    Min pins are awesome if you have time to exercise them. Saddie is the best dog I’ve even owned. I’ve had rots and labs. Min pins need exercise and a blanket for burrowing and love. Plays ball and keeps mice and moles in check. They are mouthy( barking) but sweet and a good Watch dog.
    Good with kids!

  17. Frank

    Hi. Ozzie, my chin/pin in just a lil over 2 yrs old. I adopted Ozzie 7 months ago. By the time I got him home and in y Apt. it was like he has been with me for years. I am disabled and also have type 2 diabetes. Since Ozzie has been with me he has caught 6 low blood sugars, way in advance than when I would and 1 high. He is now registered as my medical alert dog.

    I have worked very hard with Ozzie and still teaching commands. The biggest challenge I am having with Ozzie is he is very protective of me, and the issue is with other dogs. He will let them get close, maybe get a few sniffs in and some times get excited to see them. But I swear he is Jeckel and Hyde. He then gets aggressive and will bite them in the ankle. This is with my neighbors dogs when we are all outside with our pets or my friends dogs too, they all are on leashes, and he is aggressive to any dog that is being walked or wanderers.

    I have been researching, studding and overwhelmed with all the info out there. I ran across this website in hopes for better luck.

    Heart broken owner,

  18. Ana

    I have an 11-year old Min Pin named Ruby. She is impeccably trained. Has never messed in the house, nor gotten into garbage, chewed on cords or belongings that are not hers. She knows the toys in her toy basket are hers and that’s where she goes when she wants to “rat something to death.” She is an avid retriever; playing ball is her favorite activity. It wasn’t always this way. Like all Min Pins, she is headstrong. You (the owner) need to establish dominance. In no uncertain terms can the dog think they are ‘top dog’ (and Min Pins think or KNOW they are). Daily exercise is a must as is good quality food. If you aren’t making your own, I recommended brands like Orijen or Acana. Obesity is common as they will eat everything in sight. Ruby is my soulmate. I even bought her a single wide trailer near my work (decorated in dog decor, of course) so I can come home to be with her on my lunch break. These are not leave at home dogs – they are companion animals in the true sense of the world. Not sure i’d get another one, as I know i lucked out on the most incredible dog in the world. I’m sure everyone feels that way about their Min Pin!

    1. Jam One

      Can you please clone her? The rest of us would love a Mini Pin like that. Mine will not stay away from garbage, and if you interfere, you will have a “dog fight” on your hands. I do worry about it, because I think she might one day eat something which is poisoned.

      1. Jana

        Jam One, You are right to worry about your Min Pin getting into the trash. One of my Pins, whom I had left alone in the house for 8 years without ever causing trouble, tipped over the trash can while we were gone one day. An empty bottle of teriyaki sauce broke and he licked up all the dribbles of sauce and glass shards with it. I was shocked. That trash can had been in that spot for 8 years, and he had never touched it, nor anything else in the house. Luckily, he wasn’t injured, but he gave us a big scare.

        We started crating our dogs after that, but we make sure to never leave them too long. I think they are happy in their crate. They see it as their “den” and it makes them feel safe. We just tell them “time to go” and they rush in and get their treat, of course.

      2. Ana

        You may need to purchase an industrial garbage can! Min Pins can be real stinkers; make sure he knows who’s boss, and watch your fingers. 🙂

        1. Jana

          Absolutely! LOL.

        2. Jam One

          @Ana – “make sure he knows who’s boss”, sadly that ship sailed a long time ago. I got my MiniPin when she was 2 weeks old. Literally on her way to be dumped by some kids, she had a Parvoviral infection and weighed only 250 grams. I took her from them, and with the help of a Vet we got her back to good health, that was in 2008. After two months, I had her in obedience training by a “dog whisperer”, he gave up after 2 weeks, and said, “this one fights back”. The one thing we did learn from her time at obedience school, is how much she loves being massaged and have her tummy rubbed. That apparently was the only time she fully cooperated with them. Her noncooperation was not due to lack of intelligence, as we know these dogs are too clever even for their own good. Her lack of cooperation was all about attitude, she would ultimately sit, or stand on her hind legs, but only when she felt like it, or if food was involved, but never on command.
          Anyway, it has been 9 years of fun, I had no problems with toilet training, mostly because I walk her twice a day for at least 30 minutes. She has to let every dog in the neighborhood know she owns the whole planet, so she refuses to waste her “calling card” at home, but rather use it at their gates. Which as you can imagine drives every other dog nuts.
          A few things I have observed after 9 years about MiniPins, 1) They have never met a Pit-Bull they didn’t think they could defeat. 2) No matter how big the bed, or wide the couch, a MiniPin will lie in the one spot, which makes it impossible for a fully grown human to lie down in comfort, and they will defend that spot to the death. 3) A MiniPin owner needs at least 3 pairs of slippers, just to have one pair available. 4) When your MiniPin steals your pens, eyeglasses, or anything else off your desk, just exchange it for a treat and be done with it. 5) My MiniPin lives to eat, rather than eats to live. So don’t over do it, and exercise them as much as possible. 6) MiniPins seem not to be afraid of fireworks. We had a German Shepard that every July 4th, we opened the closets so it could go hide for the entire day. The MiniPin wants to watch the fireworks, and seems thrilled. I was surprised by that behavior.
          Thanks for the website, I think having a MiniPin, is like having an adolescent, it requires lots of patience, and has its challenges, but it is ultimately rewarding.

          1. Lauren

            Hahahaha! You just described my min pin to a T! So funny. I hope someday she’ll get the hang of going potty outside on a consistent basis. That and digging holes in my couches are the only problems we’re having, that I can’t live with.

  19. Breonna

    Hey u guys I received my precious bundle of joy from my dad on my last birthday. She was a very tiny puppy when I got her. She was born on July 2. She has the color of light brown or rust color.
    I’m 16 and I have a female minpin named princess Chloe. She’s so much fun to play with.
    She’s the type of dog that loves to run,jump,and play. And she often plays keep away no matter if it’s with food,toys,clothes,shoes,or anything else she can get her paws on. She’s very exciting and energetic. I love how she makes this snorting sound with her nose when she spots food. She’s super funny with a lot of confidence and attitude.
    She’s such an awesome pup and I will always love her.

  20. Benjamin

    I have had my min pin for quite awhile he’s a very elderly dog that’s very proud and grumpy but still is affectionate as ever hes 10 years old so I hope he won’t die for another 5 years or so

  21. Syiresha

    Hi, I just saved my 6-7 week old Min Pin Rocky from going to the pound. He is very playful and hoppy which is part of the reason I fell in love with him. My 1yr black lab loves him, but I don’t know if the feeling is mutual. He is always growling at her, trying to bite/nurse from her, or climbing up her back. My lab thinks he is just playing, but I have no clue if he is. On top of that with such a different personality in comparison to my overly happy lab, I’m not sure how to get his attention long enough to begin training. He literally ignores all my enticing attempts of getting his attention. I trained my lab and a few other dogs for my family members, but this one is so strong willed and loves to bite. I have tried distracting him with chew toys, however he will go back to attacking my feet/hands no matter how much I pretend like he’s hurting me, and sometimes it does hurt. I am waiting for his next appointment to get all his shots before we can begin to go on walks. Even though he gets a lot of play in I’m hoping being able to go walking will help. Some helpful advice from any Min Pin owners?

  22. Cath

    How long is it ok to leave a min pin puppy for? We are planning on adopting a 1 month old puppy and we are trying to gather all the information we can.
    Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Jana

      As I’m sure you know, advice on how long to leave a puppy is plentiful, but highly varied. What you might want to do is create 2 areas. Have one area lined with piddle pads or newspaper where the puppy can go and a crate inside the large area where the puppy is not allowed to go. This set up is great because it works with a dog’s natural denning instinct and not against it. In the post, “How to House Train Your Dog,” there is a video about creating a set up such as this. There are also other training tips related to house training other than potty training. Good luck and have patience!


  23. Michael Chisholm

    Hi My name is Michael and recently i kinda inherited a minpin named Harley. I have to say that he has stolen my heart. This dog is so bright it kind of scares me LOL. Im 50 and my situation allows me to spend all day with him . When I got him he had a few different behavior issues, he wasnt treated very well which made me tell the prev owner give him to me and dont get any more dogs moron.He seems very conent now and will be my pal forever. It definetly takes commitment and patience but the reward is worth it

  24. Cindy

    Okay, Simon has been with me 3 weeks, He was a rescue from a suburban police dept. Was neutered the day he came here. I’ve never had a dog before, there are dogs downstairs, next door, and in the back of my house. We are surrounded. So far, walking has been 80% improved with and Easey Walk Harness, before that it was lunging and not a good experience. The Easey Walk is sooo much better, also I read lotsa tips from dog whisperer which made me better. He still goes nutso with cars, trucks, bikes, people, tho sometimes not so bad. We haven’t even attempted any dog intereaction tho, if I see one coming, we cross the street. I am wondering what I can do to speed up better social behavior. Don’t want a “Sid Vicious” which is what he seems like. He is sweetheart inside at home. Outside seems to be a sensory overload. What can I do to make better? I am hoping I can make him be just a nice dog.

    1. Breonna

      What type of dog do u have?

    2. Sabine Fleschutz

      If you go to ‘Leerburg Kennels’, there are tons of free podcasts and articles about how to establish pack order wiht a new dog in the home. All his behaviour is dominant behaviour, which sometimes arises because the human hasn’t taken leadership, so the dog does. If you look at ‘dominant dog’, you’ll find lots of support:)

  25. julie

    We just purchased two Merle min pin sisters born on my birthday (April 15th) One is a chocolate Merle and the other is a Red. My concern after reading this is that the father was a Blue/tan Min pin (Diluted) and the mother was a Red Merle. So do you think I should worry about the Color diluted alopecia? I would think since the Merle is the dominant gene that maybe it would be ok. Both parents are healthy thus far, but they are both still under 2 years of age (and they are MPS VI clear) Our Girls are now 12 weeks old, and I just would like to know what to look out for with these two. I am aware of some of the known issues with Min pins, but after reading this, I have a little concern about the father being a blue dilute.

    1. Jana

      Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the genetics of the merle coat. However, I am guessing that it is the genes conferring the chocolate and red coat colors (rather than the merle pattern) that correspond to the gene conferring diluted coat color. That being said, chocolate and red are both dominant colors, and since blue and fawn phenotypes develop from recessive genes, chances are likely low that your Min Pins will develop color dilution alopecia.

      That being said, I don’t want to sound alarmist to pet owners about their Min Pin developing color dilution alopecia. Many blue and fawn Min Pins never develop color dilution alopecia. This is because the gene that causes color dilution alopecia has several forms (alleles), and only one of them (d17) causes the disease. Thus, while there is one gene that causes color dilution, there are several highly similar forms of that gene, and only one causes color dilution alopecia.

      I find it unscrupulous that some breeders will call blue and fawn Min Pins “rare” and raise the price when what they are really giving you is a dog that is more likely to get a genetic disease than one with a standard coat color. The main reason that blue and fawn are rare is that reputable breeders want to better the breed, and that includes not breeding dogs that have a higher chance than normal of being carriers of genetic disease, like Min Pins with blue and fawn coats.

      Now that I am off my soapbox, let me reiterate that just because a Min Pin (or dog of several other breeds) has an ancestor with a blue coat does not mean that it will develop color dilution alopecia. Also, remember that Min Pins can be a carrier of the disease even if it does not develop color dilution alopecia, although this is only relevant if you plan to breed the dog. Min Pins of any coat color make a great pet!

      Do watch for signs of the disease. Even though there is no cure for color dilution alopecia, you can reduce secondary infections and other problems associated with the disease. Plus, close monitoring of your dog’s health never hurts. You might spot ringworm, mange, or other diseases early and cause you and your dog less suffering. Also, you may want to ask your vet about fish oil supplements. These will promote a healthy coat and skin for your Min Pin even in the absence of any problems.

      P.S., I’m glad to hear that your pups are MPS IV clear. I’m also glad you were conscientious enough to check. However, while both MPS IV and color dilution alopecia are genetic, they are caused by defects in very different genes, and thus, one gene being healthy says nothing about whether or another gene is healthy.

      It does sound like you have some great pups. I hope you enjoy them!

  26. Pea

    Hi! I had a 4 month old min pin Trek, and I am a newbie owner. After reading this post i was quite guilty not giving him enough play time. When i go out for work I left him at home and get back a little late, he would pick up his toys and ask for fetch. But i have noticed that once i left him longer hours he began to behave badly. He is really aggressive sometimes he would bite me even in our play time. Bossy attitude always strike especially when he is being corrected. He would howl at me as if retorting about what he did. He gets a sit down punishment, i place him on a stool and let him stay there for as long as he could. I don’t know if this is going to work i’m still on the process. I need help on his biting… he bites almost anything, my toes, pajamas, brush, slippers, shoes(rarely),pencils,charcoals!! wires!! even the concrete corners of our house! I can’t brush his teeth nor massage it with any tools because he will always end up biting..everything. HELP!

    1. Jana

      Min Pins are great dogs, but as you’re finding out, they can alsobe a handful! You are on the right track by increasing Trek’s play time. Min Pins are full of energy, and need an outlet. As for the biting, that’s a tough one. One of my dogs had a problem with biting, and we were at out wits’ end trying to stop it. One of the many things we tried was to get him in a submissive posture. To do this, we taught him to “play dead,” which is lying on his back. It took a lot of persistence, but eventually, it was so ingrained in him that he would do it on command even when he didn’t want to. BTW, the best way to train a dog is to limit training time to 5 minutes per session, but have at least one session every day.

  27. liza

    Well I never really wanted a dog as both of my kids have allergies to dogs. But eventually the kids bugged me so much I said that I always found Mini Pinschers very cute, so if we happen to come across one I would get it. Well, we found one. Dexter our Mini Pin, has become an integral part of our family, it is as though he has completed it. None of my kids have allergies to him, ( unless he licks one of my daughter). But we could not imagine life without him now. You can see him at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEEK2rAWmg4

  28. Debra DeLaVega

    I never heard of Min Pins until I found my sweetie in the middle of the road on my way to work. She had a big gash in her side so I took her to an animal hospital for surgery. They fixed her up and told me she was a Min Pin. I took her home and have fallen in love. Hadley is very spirited, she makes me laugh with her antics. We play a lot when I get back from work and boy does she love her treats!! I am thinking of getting her a companion since I have to leave her in the apartment while I’m at work. Luckily, I have a neighbor who walks her daily for free and for fun–what a blessing! She loves Hadley and Hadley adores her! Hadley acts like the apartment complex is her kingdom and she tests anyone who dare enter her realm. She cares nothing for men…however, once she has been around a person several times she becomes very loving. It just takes exposure and time. She is the same with other dogs. We went to PetSmart for training and she has the basics when we are alone but is easily distracted when she comes across strange dogs and people. She’s really too much of a Diva at times. I think I am going to have to take her training to the next level so she is not so territorial. Kids and adults want to approach her because she is so beautiful but she lets them know quickly that she is not interested. I take her to the dog park and she is slowly learning to play with certain other dogs. And not to be put off with strangers of the human kind.

    1. Jana

      Sounds like Hadley has stolen your heart. Glad to hear it! It’s also great to hear that you are socializing her as Min Pins can be less sociable than some breeds, but with training and desensitization, they can also be friendly pets. Have fun with your diva!

  29. Andi

    Hi my family and I adopted a 4 month old min pin back in Dec. so she is almost 8 months old now.
    She has some alpha problems.. even with my 11 and 14 year old she has growled and even snapped at each of them along with being very bossy to other dogs of all sizes.
    We have her in training and she is so very smart and picks up on commands very quickly I am concerned that this is a behavioral problem?
    When she gets held and let up on the couch to sit with someone she instantly goes back to thinking she’s the boss.. she doesn’t want to go into her kennel or get off of my lap she will growl..
    We are torn because we had a similar situation with a min pin a couple of years ago and do not want to go through that again.
    I know she knows what is okay or what is not because she is so smart.. can she be a part of our family the way we would love her to or is she just not the one for us?

    Thank you in advance for any comments or suggestions.

    1. Jordana

      Hi Andi,

      I have an 8-year old min pin Jace who can have the same tendencies if led to think he is the boss.

      I find every few months, Jace needs a “bootcamp” to reset training and establish myself as a leader again. We banish him from the sofa, his soft bed and snuggles, then he begins to take us seriously again. Once that happens, he gets his luxuries back and doesn’t take them for granted…until he does again a few months later and we go through another bootcamp.

      Min pins need strong leadership, and I will admit I’m more of a ‘cuddly mom’ which is why I have to go through re training jace every so often. It’s the price I pay! What I can say is when I am serious about something (and not emotional), he will do what I say. Once I get frustrated, or angry at him- its game over, he wont listen. They are so smart as you know, so I truly think anything is possible if you re-establish yourself as a leader again.

      Some things that help me snap Jace out when he is fixated or ignoring me:
      Clapping my hands
      Spraying him with a water spray bottle (like training a cat)
      A nerf gun (with the soft foam) if he is far away

      If he does something bad, he loses couch and cuddle privelages. If its really bad, he gets ‘time out’ in the corner (sitting, no blankets). It sounds like your girl loves snuggles and soft couches as much as Jace- so use it to your advantage and ‘ground her’ like the spoiled teen she is being!

      Hope this helps! Good luck and I hope you stick through it long enough to enjoy what an amazing breed they truly are!

      1. Jana

        Thanks for posting, Jordana. I use time outs, too, and they work! Isn’t it great when you find something that works? Thanks for your answer, and I’m sure Andi will appreciate it, too.


  30. Jonathan Altenhof

    Hello, I have a rotwieler, very mild mannered, and was thinking about getting a min pin because the rotwieler is coming close to his final years. He will not be replaced but have a companion ( hopefully) before he passes. I live in the country side so my min-pin will have a lot of room. I also have a neighbour who agreed to watch him while I go to work. I am excited to get my black and rust min-pin!.

    If you have any tips on what I should have to prepare for the coming of a min pin please email me!

    1. Jana

      It sounds like you have a great space for a min pin. Although min pins can live in apartments, they do love room to roam, too. I think the main preparation is to make sure you have the time and patience for lots of training. If so, you will have a sweet and well behaved dog, although it will still have the high spirits of a min pin. As far as dog gear, if you get just one thing, you will want a good hard-sided carrier to put in your car. I recommend these versus soft sided carriers or harnesses that strap into the seat belt system because stitching that holds the strap can break and potentially injure your dog.

      As an aside, it is common for dogs to go through a depression when one of their “pack members” passes. Be prepared to give extra love attention to your min pin when the time comes. This may help ease the transition. You can also read the post, Depression in Dogs for more info.

      Good luck and enjoy your new pin!

  31. Jana

    Hi Jon. We, too, have a chihuahua/min pin mix. Although he is a rescue, I gave his “breed” a designer name–chin pin, and we have also had purebred min pins. All of our dogs have had individual personalities, but behavioral differences because of breed have been subtle in comparison.

    I would love to see a photo(s) of Pancho, and I’m sure other readers would, too. I would be happy to post one from Flickr or Photobucket.

    There a lot of tell tale differences between min pins and chihuahuas. For example, eye shape and body length-to-height ratio are different.

    I also know that DNA testing is available to distinguish between breeds. I admit that I have not looked into this in great detail. However, what I do understand is that while the DNA technology for this type of testing is typically sound, there can be broad differences in the interpretation of the results. In the course of my day job, I have used technologies such as DNA sequencing. Thus, in the opinion of this molecular biologist, I would need to do a lot of research and concretely understand how the DNA is interpreted before I would believe any results. Instead, I typically rely on breed characteristics.

    The good news is that, unless you plan to breed her, min pins and mixes both make great pets!

    I suspect that you are not the only person who wonders if they have a chihuahua, min pin, or chin pin. Thus, you’ve inspired me to do a blog post on that topic. Be sure to check back because the post will be coming soon!

  32. Jon

    Hey all, lovely things about mini pins! Truly happy to know all the info out there regarding this amazing dogs.
    My question here would be I got chihuahua pin mix named pancho a 3 month old puppy she’s very cute and loves to play and be loved and cuddled all the time.
    Now I’m not sure she’s a mix, and what would that mean exactly I’m pretty sure she’s a pure mini pin is there any way I can find out? Or if I can send a photo so I get some feedback!

  33. niki

    I have a St Bernard pup.When I got him @ 8wks old, I had a 3 1/2 yr. old chihuahua,too.They always got along So Well! My chi suddenly passed away recently(blood clot).Since,the pup has been so bored & depressed!He loves going to dog park,but he’s only allowed in the “Big Dog” side,and I worry as he’s so playful the other dogs sometimes snap,I’m afraid he’ll get hurt.He loves little dogs,he acts so gently with them!He was used to being bossed around by a lil guy!Thinking now of getting another chihuahua,but have always been interested in min-pins.

    1. Jana

      Hi Niki, I’m so sorry that you lost your chihuahua. I know first-hand how devastating suddenly losing a dog can be. I’m also sorry that your St. Bernard is having such a hard time. I felt so helpless when one of my pins, Athena, went through a depression. However, depression in dogs is common, especially when they lose a pack mate, and it’s treatable. (If you haven’t already, check out my post on Depression in Dogs.)

      Another dog may be just the thing your St. Bernard needs. However, gaining a new pack member is also stressful, so be prepared to see some anxiety in your St. Bernard or the new dog. A little extra attention and love will help your dog(s) get through this stressful time.

      When considering what breed the new dog should be, a miniature pinscher may be a good choice, but I’m not biased 😉 I’m guessing that you are doing your homework and checking out breed characteristics and already know that they’re high energy, fearless, and sometimes just flat ornery. What I want to impart is how they can be loving, funny, and bring joy to your household. This may be the joy your St. Bernard needs. Most min pins would love the chance to play for hours on end. You might want to watch out, tho…they could become best buds and be partners in crime!

  34. Noelle

    Min pins are the best!!!! I can never get enough of them. I’ve had min pins since I was 17 and am now about to turn 37. I currently have a min pin/chihuahua mix who is mostly min pin. We are almost always together as I am very lucky to have a career in the animal field which allows me to spend most of my time with her. Got my first one at 17 and had no clue what I had gotten myself into, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Could not imagine life without one. It really is a lot of commitment, time, patience, and lots of love and discipline to raise one but I can’t think of anything more worth it as i have raised 4 of them so far. Min pins, to sum it up for me, simply the best!!!!

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