Jan 06

The Hackney-like Gait of a Miniature Pinscher

The Prance of the “King of Toys”

Have you ever seen your Miniature Pinscher trot around the room like it was prancing? You have likely just seen the characteristic Hackney gait of a Min Pin. My Min Pin, Nano, struts his stuff when he has a “prize,” like a toy or has just caught a small rodent. If you have done much reading about MIniature Pinschers, you have likely come across literature that mentions their “Hackney-like gait.” In this post, you will find a Miniature Pinscher strutting his Hackney-like gait in the show ring, a discussion of the gait of the Hackney horse, and how its gait differs from the Miniature Pinscher’s.

A Reigning “King”

Below is a video clip from the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2009. It shows a male Miniature Pinscher named Major strutting his best Hackney action. Major went on to win Best Miniature Pinscher at the show in Madison Square Garden. Check out his high stepping gait in this video:

Miniature Pinscher Westminster Best of Breed

Major, (Ch. Kimro’s Soldier Boy), showing off his best Hackney trot in the 2009 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as reported by Sandy Tomcho of the Times Herald-Record on You Tube

What is a Hackney Gait?

Miniature Pinschers have a Hackney-like gait. The term “Hackney” refers to the trot of a Hackney horse (or Hackney pony). Thus, looking at the gait of a Hackney horse gives insight to the prancing action of the Min Pin. A Hackney horse should, according to the American Hackney Horse Society,  exhibit “a very high, ground covering knee action” and “The hocks should be brought under the body and raised high. All joints should exhibit extreme flexion.” The photo below shows the high degree of flexion in the gait of a hackney horse.


Hackney horse parades around the track with its high-stepping trot

Hackney horses show off their high-stepping trot

Photo credit: Heather Moreton on Flickr

The Hackney horse was bred as a war horse, and thus, traits of being able to trot at high speeds for extended lengths of time were important. More recently, Hackney horse breeding has focused on suitability for carriage driving, and are often show horses.

The hackney-like action is a high-stepping, reaching, free and easy gait

Hackney-LIKE Action of a Miniature Pinscher

While the gait of a Miniature Pinscher is like that of a Hackney horse, it is not exactly the same. Below is an excerpt from the Miniature Pinscher Club of America‘s discussion on the proper Hackney-like gait of a Miniature Pinscher.

The correct hackney-LIKE gait is described fully in the standard. To paraphrase, the dog lifts his front feet up and out with a bend at the wrist while driving from behind. The dog should move forward quickly and smoothly with a minimum amount of effort. Judges must realize that the standard does NOT call for “true” hackney action, which is considered a mincing, inefficient gait with no rear drive.

Miniature Pinschers are proud dogs, and this high-stepping trot only enhances their personalities and lends credence to their title as the “King of Toys.” I hope you enjoy your min pin the next time it parades around your living room and “reign” in your house. They are fun to watch!

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  1. Pat Stewart

    Hello, could you please give me some tips on how to house train a miniature pincher?

    Thanks, Pat

  2. Pat Stewart

    I have just acquired a min pin, and was wondering if you could give me some tips on house breaking my dog please?

    Thanks, Pat

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