Get to Know the Miniature Pinscher: Hummingbird of Dogs

Known as the "King of Toys," the Min Pin buzzes and prances and is in perpetual motion.

Last Updated on June 23, 2022 by Carolyn Coile

The Miniature Pinscher (Min Pin to her friends) is the dog world’s answer to the perpetual motion machine. Like a cross between a hummingbird and a hackney pony, she struts and bounds her way through life with a distinctive hackney gait and a bossy attitude.

She may be confused with the Toy Manchester Terrier, but the Min Pin also comes in red, often has cropped ears and usually has a docked tail. She may also be confused with the Italian Greyhound, but the Italian Greyhound is taller and has an arched backline, ears folded back, a long tail, and she never comes in black and tan. And she may be confused with the German Pinscher, but the Min Pin is much smaller.

More interesting things about the Miniature Pinscher

  • The Miniature Pinscher is a miniature version of the German Pinscher (not the Doberman Pinscher, which was developed after the Min Pin). Dachshunds and Italian Greyhounds are also probably in the breed’s makeup.
  • The dogs were used to catch small rodents.
  • They were called the “Reh Pinscher” in Germany because of their resemblance to the German roe (reh) deer. “Pinscher” is used to refer to short-haired terrier-like breeds.

  • The Min Pin is known as the “King of Toys.”
  • The breed has a distinctive high-stepping gait seen in no other breed.
  • The Min Pin is the most self-assured dog for its size of any breed.

  • The Min Pin comes in three allowed colors: red, stag red (which is red with an overlay of black hairs) and black and tan. Brown and tans as well as blue and tans are sometimes seen, but these are not allowed to be shown in AKC conformation dog shows.
  • Ears are erect, whether cropped or natural.
  • Four Min Pins have won the Toy Group at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, but none has yet won Best in Show there. It’s a little hard to trace the Min Pin’s early history at Westminster because the dog was probably entered under different breed names (Reh Pinscher, Zwerg Pinscher, Toy Pinscher, Dwarf Pinscher and Deer Pinscher) between 1911 and 1929, when it competed in the Miscellaneous class. In 1930, it competed in the Terrier group, but was moved to the Toy group in 1931.

  • The breed was known as simply the “pinscher” until 1972.
  • The Min Pin is currently the 47th most popular AKC breed, down from 19th most popular a decade ago.
  • Oddly, only a few celebrities own Min Pins. They include Joey Fatone and Michelle Jones. And Min Pins are not popular movie stars — probably because they never stay still long enough to film!

Do you own a Min Pin? Have you spent time with one? Let’s hear what you think about this fascinating breed in the comments! And if you have a favorite breed you’d like us to write about, let us know that, too!

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About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier.

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