Other names: Miniature Pinscher, Zwergpinscher, Medium Pinscher, German Pinscher, Deutscher Pinscher, Min Pin, King of Toys


The Pinscher exists in two varieties: the medium one, commonly called German Pinscher, and the miniature one, also known as “toy”. The main elements that differentiate them are their size, but also the watchdog aspect of the German variety. Otherwise, they are as energetic and lively as one another and both resemble a miniature Doberman, even if they have little in common with the latter.

Key facts about the Pinscher

Life expectancy :





Temperament :


Size :

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Origins and history

As archeological elements dating back to the neolithic era can attest to, these dogs have prehistoric roots. The origins of the miniature variety, however, are recent: it was created in Germany, in the second half of the past century. The standard was established in Germany in 1895, and the first Breed Club was founded in the same year. Both varieties are descendants of the Doberman. Both varieties were officially recognised by the FCI in 1955, and possess their own, distinct official standards.

Physical characteristics of the Pinscher

  • Pinscher

    Adult size

    Female : Between 18 and 20 in

    Male : Between 18 and 20 in

    Miniature variety size

    Male: Between 10 and 12 inches
    Female: Between 10 and 12 inches


    Female : Between 31 and 44 lb

    Male : Between 31 and 44 lb

    Miniature variety size

    Male: Between 9 and 13 pounds
    Female: Between 9 and 13 pounds

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    They are proportionally-built dogs, with a clean-cut profile and harmonious traits, generally harmonious-looking. The medium-sized variety resembles a miniature Doberman. The miniature breed should never present signs of dwarfism (such as saggy eyes, enlarged back of the head, etc.). The anatomy of the torso must be as square-shaped as possible. The head is robust and elongated, with a straight muzzle, and a subtle but perceptible stop. The eyes are medium-sized and oval. The ears, when they are whole, are attached quite high, and can hang into a V-shape folding forwards, or be naturally erect. The limbs are straight and perfectly upright. The tail hangs high.

    Good to know

    The miniature Pinscher is a consequence of crossing several breeds, including the German Pinscher (medium-sized variety), the Italian Greyhound, and the Dachshund.


    Medium Pinscher ( German Pinscher, Deutscher Pinscher)

    Miniature Pinscher (Zwergpinscher, Toy Pinscher)


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      This little german dog is very close to his family members and will prove to be very affectionate. 

      However, he is also very capable of understanding when it’s not the time to disturb his family. He knows how to distance himself if needed.

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      This miniature dog is very playful, overflowing with energy. He takes a lot of pleasure in interacting with both children and adults on a regular basis, it is a way for him to expend himself and reinforce his bonds to the group.

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      Whether of miniature or medium variety, both kinds are particularly animated and do not stay still for an instant. Naturally excitable and lively, this dog is a real live wire.

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      This little german dog is intelligent, cunning enough to trick you into giving him what he wants. He’s very brave and unafraid of anything, which will allow him to be able to adapt to many environments.

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      The miniature version was initially used in hunting rodents, such as rats and mice. A faint predatory instinct is still remnant, but remains very easy to control since contemporary breeding favours the selection of companion dogs.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      This mini Doberman is very gentle within the family but particularly suspicious towards strangers. He needs a lot of time to give his trust and can become quite the ‘barker’ if he doesn’t immediately ‘click’ with someone.

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      This little ball of energy can prove to be as independent as it is clingy. This will vary depending on his training and the relationship he has with members of his social group.

      Behaviour of the Pinscher

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        Tolerates solitude

        If this german dog gets plenty of exercise and has been accustomed, in a gradual and positive manner, to staying on his own from his youngest age, he can absolutely tolerate his owner’s absences.

        Be careful, however, that the absences don’t drag on for many hours, because a bored dog, whether small or big, can rapidly cause damage in the house.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        Both varieties are relatively easy to train. Attached to their owners and eager to please, these miniature Dobermans are very cooperative if the training methods are respectful, fair, and coherent. 

        Brutality must never be part of the tactics used by the owners as this little dog cannot stand violence or groundless reprimands. With a moderately firm hand, you will have to prioritise the reinforcement of good behaviours. 

        This dog is known to be stubborn, but if the proverbial “iron fist in a velvet glove” is applied, nothing should stand in the way of a good interaction between master and dog.

        Be wary regarding the Zwerg (the miniature version), as one often tends to be indulgent with him, citing his small size as a reason- letting them tug and jump etc. This is in no way a good solution! Diligence and consistency must be at the core of training a dog, no matter its size.

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        This little dog is very brave and is not scared of anything, he’s a ferocious ‘barker’ if he perceives imminent danger. In this way, he is a good, alarming watchdog.

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        Tendency to run away

        If he is walked outside everyday and all of his needs are met, there is no reason why this dog would want to run away.

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        The Pinscher puppy can be somewhat disruptive and destructive but this problem can be kept under control thanks to good training, stress-management work and appropriate responses to the dog’s energy-releasing needs.

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        This dog won’t skip meals, but isn’t much of a glutton, so might not necessarily be very fond of snacks during training sessions. The best way of encouraging/motivating this dog is by way of games and playfulness.

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        Guard dog

        The medium-sized dog can be an appointed watchdog, while the Zwerg (german for ‘miniature’), for obvious, size-related reasons, cannot be much more than a companion dog, or, at most, an alarm in canine form by virtue of his barking.

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        First dog

        We often tend to think that for a first adoption, a little dog is more appropriate. In certain cases and depending on the breed, yes, but you should never consider this particular little dog to be an easy-going couch potato!

        He will only appeal to those owners ready to devote a lot of time to satisfying this little ball of energy’s needs for expenditure, but also to invest themselves in training them, because without the latter, this little dog can quickly become a big burden.

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          Pinscher in a flat

          Life in a flat is absolutely possible for this miniature Doberman. Be it the Zwerg variety, or the German variety, this dog can virtually adapt to any living condition without a problem. 

          A house with a garden is desirable of course as well, given how active this dog is, but he should under no circumstance stay outside in extreme weather conditions. 

          At any rate, whether he resides in a flat, a house, in the city or in the countryside, this dog will need daily outdoor walks to satisfy his need for exercise.

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          Despite his little dimensions, this dog is very high-performance. He needs an owner who is available and active to satisfy his needs in terms of exercise. 

          This dog will have to be provided with several walks a day, otherwise his large stores of energy could lead to behavioural issues. 

          The walks will have to be coupled with games, meaning dog activities that are specifically targeted and adapted, and general playtime that reinforces the master-dog relationship and consolidates the training process.

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          Even though it is very energetic, the miniature variety can easily be transported in a travel bag, if it has been gradually and positively conditioned to this means of transport ahead of time. 

          For the german version (medium size), the travel bag won’t be possible, but an effective training in leash-led walking and staying at rest/ staying static will allow it to travel without a problem. 

          Be wary of transporting the latter, medium-sized variety by plane though- given how sensitive he is, travelling in the cargo hold could be very difficult for him.


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            Pinscher and cats

            Rather sociable with other animals by nature, a good relationship with cats is possible if the Pinscher is introduced to them at a very young age.

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            Pinscher and dogs

            The Pinscher doesn’t like other dogs much, but if he grows up with another pup, it could give way to a beautiful friendship… and perhaps a “barking brotherhood” too!

            Actually, if the pup is socialised well ahead of time, before he even turns 3 months old, he will have absorbed a good canine ‘code of conduct’, that will allow him to communicate respectfully with his fellow dogs.

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            Pinscher and children

            This little dog gets along well with all members of his social group, as long as all the latter respect him. Children will therefore have to learn to leave the dog be when he is in his bed, to play with him only when the parents deem it appropriate and, above all else, not to tease him or treat him like a toy.

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            Pinscher and the elderly

            This little dog can be very appealing to the elderly, but can under no circumstance live a sedentary day-to-day life. The presence of his owners will constitute an advantage, but they will nevertheless have to meet the dog’s expenditure needs. Resorting to dog-walking services for the dog will have to be considered in case of difficulty.



            The price of a Pinscher varies depending on its origins, age, and gender. You have to count an average of £730 for dogs subscribed to the Kennel Club. 

            The monthly budget required to cater to this dog’s physiological needs wavers in between £20 and £30, depending on the dog’s size, with quality nutrition and necessary yearly basic care (vaccines, deworming, etc.) taking priority.


            This dog is very easy to maintain because the absence of an undercoat does not require daily brushes, not even during the typical moulting seasons. This short-haired dog will nevertheless need weekly brushes to maintain his quality, pristine coat.


            The absence of an undercoat renders moulting seasons irrelevant.

            Nutrition of the Pinscher

            Rather rustic, this dog is not difficult to feed but does nevertheless require quality nutrition. 
            Premium kibble or homemade rations (home-cooked meals) can be provided. For homemade meals, a good knowledge of the dog’s needs is necessary. It is advised to have the recipes consulted and/or approved by a veterinary. 

            The nutrition will have to be adapted to the dog’s age, physical activity and health. Veterinary supervision is recommended in order to guarantee the pup’s seamless growth. 

            One meal a day, preferably in the evening, is enough to satisfy this dog’s appetite.

            Health of the Pinscher

            Life expectancy

            The average life expectancy is 14 years.

            Strong / robust

            It is a rather robust dog who nonetheless, on account of his size, remains somewhat fragile in certain aspects.

            Withstand heat

            Even if he is quite resistant to heat, fresh water must always be made available to the dog, especially in times of significant heat. 

            Withstand cold

            The absence of an undercoat renders this little dog quite vulnerable to bad weather and humidity. It’s not rare to see certain representatives of the breed sporting coats during wintertime.

            Tendency to put on weight

            This athletically-built dog’s dynamic nature and constant activity, coupled with a moderate appetite, make it unlikely to gain excessive weight.

            Common illnesses

            • Cancer (canine histiocytoma)
            • Skin conditions (color dilute alopecia)
            • Diabetes mellitus, especially in elderly non-sterilised females
            • Immune mediated hemolytic anemia
            • Cystine stones (a consequence of renal anomalies)
            • Acral mutilation syndrome
            • Progressive retinal atrophy 
            • Cataracts 
            • Corneal dystrophy
            • Dislocation of the lens 
            • Dislocation of the patella
            • Eclampsia or puerperal tetany (a consequence of difficulty in labour)
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