Miniature Pinscher Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Miniature Pinscher Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
The AKC Standard says that characteristic traits of the Miniature Pinscher are "fearless animation, complete self-possession, and spirited presence."
This sleek, elegant breed with the quick, prancing gait is perhaps the "busiest" and most intense of the toy breeds. Assertive and proud, athletic and agile, the Miniature Pinscher is convinced that he's a big dog. He seems to be in perpetual motion and enjoys brisk, vigorous, interactive games.
He also demands cuddling and often must be surgically removed from your lap or chest whenever you rise from the couch. He is a lover of comfort -- usually that lump under the blanket is the resident Min Pin.
Outdoors, he must be kept on-leash or in a securely fenced area at all times, for he is sharp-eyed, curious, and extremely quick. Unless exceptionally well-trained, Min Pins don't come back when you call them, and often they don't stay where you leave them -- they are artful climbers and clever escape artists.
Keenly observant and territorial, the Miniature Pinscher takes his watchdog role seriously, often showing strangers his backside accompanied by defiant kicking of the ground with his rear feet. Early and frequent socialization is required so that he doesn't become sharp or shrill.
Min Pins can be dominant with other dogs, and smaller creatures will be pursued with determination.
In the right hands, this bright breed is very trainable, but he has a mind of his own and can be headstrong and demanding. Miniature Pinschers are tough on toys and will rip squeakers and stuffed animals to shreds. They love to bark, and housebreaking can be difficult.
If you want a dog who...
- Looks like a tiny Doberman, with the same colors, sleek elegant build, and keen expression
- Moves swiftly with a quick prancing gait
- Has a short easy-care coat
- Is energetic and "busy" -- athletic and agile
- Is feisty and assertive -- not a submissive or delicate lap dog
- Makes a keen watchdog
A Miniature Pinscher may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- A dynamic dog who seems to be in perpetual motion, observing, thinking, and planning what to do next
- Providing enough exercise and activities to keep them busy
- Destructiveness when bored
- Extreme suspiciousness toward strangers
- Aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
- Escape attempts and running away
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Notorious housebreaking difficulties
A Miniature Pinscher may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Miniature Pinscher
If I was considering a Miniature Pinscher, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Miniature Pinschers are active go-getters. They MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. Bored Min Pins can be extremely noisy and destructive.
I strongly recommend that you get your Miniature Pinscher involved in obedience classes -- not just basic obedience, but challenging classes at the intermediate or advanced level -- or in agility (an obstacle course for dogs).
- Suspiciousness. Standoffish by nature, Miniature Pinschers need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become extreme suspiciousness. Many Min Pins will put on a display of excited ferociousness (i.e. they "pitch a fit") when other people or animals approach what is THEIRS. It's not funny, because if you don't curtail it, your Min Pin may end up suspicious of everyone in the world, which is a short step to biting.
Miniature Pinscher puppies are NOT suited to small children, no matter how well-meaning the child. Children cannot help being clumsy, and that a child meant well is little solace to a Min Pin puppy who has been accidentally stepped on, sat on, rolled on, squeezed, or dropped onto the patio. Even Miniature Pinscher adults may feel overwhelmed by the loud voices and quick movements that children can't help making -- and defensive biting may be the result. Finally, many Miniature Pinschers will not tolerate any nonsense and are quick to react to teasing. Many are possessive of their food and toys and will defend these from all comers, including children.
- Animal aggression. Most Miniature Pinschers are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs. Most have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster!
Miniature Pinschers cannot be trusted off-leash. They will take off -- oblivious to your frantic shouts -- after anything that runs.
- Fence security. Many Min Pins are clever escape artists who will go over or under fences in search of adventure. You may need higher fences than you might imagine for their small size. Some are climbers and will go right up and over a chain link fence of any height. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging.
- Mind of their own. Miniature Pinschers are very bright and willing to work with a confident trainer, but they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. They can be manipulative, and some are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Min Pin to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Miniature Pinscher Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Housebreaking. Toy breeds are almost always difficult to housebreak. It is so easy for them to sneak behind a chair or under a small table, and it takes only a few seconds for the deed to be done. The results can be hard to see. When you don't see it, you don't correct it -- and so the bad habit becomes established. If you hope to housebreak a Miniature Pinscher, consistent crate training is mandatory. They should not be loosed in the house for many months, until their small internal organs become strong enough for reliable control.
- Barking. Miniature Pinschers are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. If you work all day, Min Pins are not the best choice for you -- or for your neighbors. For the same reason, Min Pins should never be left outside in your yard, unsupervised.
To learn more about training Miniature Pinschers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book,
Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Miniature Pinscher the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Miniature Pinscher puppy. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Miniature Pinscher might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Miniature Pinscher home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Miniature Pinscher...
When you're acquiring a Miniature Pinscher PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Miniature Pinschers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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