Miniature Pinscher: History and Appearance
It is believed that the Miniature Pinscher has existed for centuries, though serious breeding did not begin until the 1800’s. The Miniature Pinscher comes from Germany, though it is believed to have been bred in other Scandinavian countries as well. There are many pictures of the breed in paintings dating back hundreds of years, though the breed was not well known until the 19th century. Contrary to its appearance and name, the Miniature Pinscher is not, in fact, a relative of the Doberman Pinscher.
The breed was actually developed for the purpose of ferreting out and hunting rats in farms and stables. Developed primarily from terrier breeds such as the German Pinscher and Italian Greyhound, it is also believed to have some Dachshund in its bloodlines as well.
Documentation of the breed did not begin until the late 1800’s. In 1895, Germany’s first Pinscher club was formed. This club worked toward providing the breed with a standard, though the breed was still little known outside of Germany and Scandinavia. It was during this time that the Miniature Pinscher improved in both appearance and popularity in its home countries, though this was cut short by the arrival of World War I.
After World War I, Miniature Pinscher’s experienced a decline in popularity in Germany. Yet many breed fanciers from other countries began to show an interest in the dog, and efforts were made to advance the breed. The first Miniature Pinscher was imported to the United States in 1919. The Miniature Pinscher did not gain popularity in the United States until the 1920’s. It was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1925, though it was not officially called the “Miniature Pinscher” until 1972.
Over the years, the American standard for the breed has experienced some difficulty, as the dog was considered to be a miniature version of the Doberman Pinscher for many years. In fact, several of the standards written for the breed even went so far to describe it as such. However, breed enthusiasts worked toward defining the dog’s origins, and differentiating it from the Doberman. Citing the fact that the Doberman Pinscher was developed well after the Miniature Pinscher had already been in existence, and that the German word “pinscher” actually means “terrier” all references to the Doberman Pinscher were removed from the Miniature Pinscher’s standard. In modern times, it is noted that while the two do share a uniquely similar appearance, they are completely unrelated, with the exception of some possibly shared ancestry with the German Pinscher.
Today, the Miniature Pinscher is very popular as a family pet and a show dog in America, Holland, Denmark and other Scandinavian countries. Though small, the breed is valued as an exceptional watchdog. Originally bred as a working dog, the Miniature Pinscher is lively and intelligent. The Miniature Pinscher also experiences success as a dog performer and in agility trials.
The Miniature Pinscher is described as having a spirited personality and feisty presence. It is a confident dog. The Miniature Pinscher has an appearance that is balanced, sturdy, and steady. The overall look is sleek and compact.
Miniature Pinschers grow to roughly 10 inches to 12 ½ inches tall. The length of the body should be equal to height. The dog generally weighs around 8 to 10 lbs.
The Miniature Pinscher’s head is tapered and somewhat narrow. The eyes are oval and clear. They are expected to be deep, dark brown or black. The ears are set high on the head, and stand erect. Cropping of the ears is considered optional on a Miniature Pinscher. The muzzle is medium, with a black nose and teeth that meet in a scissor bite. The lips and cheeks are small.
The back of a Miniature Pinscher is either straight or slightly sloped. The body is considered to be wedge shaped, with a well-developed chest and muscular loin. The tail is set high, and is docked in proportion with the dog’s size. The legs are strong and straight. Dewclaws should be removed. The dog has small, cat-like feet.
The Miniature Pinscher has a coat that is short, smooth, and hard. It does not vary in length, and the overall appearance of the fur should be uniform. The fur is hard, shiny, and lies flat to the skin, giving it a lustrous or glossy appearance.
The Miniature Pinscher’s coat comes in a variety of colors and distinctive markings, including solid red and stag red with black hairs mixed throughout. Red coloring should be medium to deep. The coat may be black with red markings on the legs, jaw, throat, cheeks, and above the eyes and on the chest. Chocolate colored dogs may feature the same red markings as the black dogs. Black dogs have black striping on the toes and chocolate dogs have brown stripes on the toes.
Showing a Miniature Pinscher
When in show, size matters. Miniature Pinschers that are under 10 inches or over 12 ½ inches will be disqualified. However, Miniature Pinschers in show are expected to show an attitude greater than their size. The dog should display a temperament that is fearless and lively. The breed should appear animated and completely self-confident. The dog should not show any signs of fearfulness, shyness, nervousness, or aggression.
The gait of the Miniature Pinscher should be free and easy. The dog should carry both its head and its tail high. There should not be jerky or stopped movement. While confident, the dog should not appear stubborn. It should be able to follow commands and listen to directions.
Colors and markings on a Miniature Pinscher should remain specific to those described above. Any color combination other than those that are described is cause for disqualification. The Miniature Pinscher should not have black markings called “thumb marks” between the foot and the wrist. Solid red coloring should not be light or faded. White patches on any part of the dog that exceed ½ inch in dimension are cause for disqualification.