Although it closely resembles the standard Doberman pinscher, the miniature pinscher is a toy breed not actually related to the larger dogs. Described as spirited, loyal and headstrong, miniature pinschers are also sweet and intelligent, making them wonderful companion dogs. Because they are so bright, miniature pinschers require interaction and stimulation, much of which you'll provide when you train them properly and socialize them with people and other dogs. A healthy diet and proper grooming round out the requirements of caring for a "mini-pin."
Feed your miniature pinscher high-quality dog kibble formulated for smaller breeds. Small-breed dogs have special nutritional requirements, and the smaller-size kibble is easier for a toy-breed dog to chew. The food should have optimal protein for strong muscles and high energy needs, balanced calories for reasonable body weight, and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat. Special treats now and then are fine, but keep them to a minimum to avoid weight problems.
Shelter your miniature pinscher from the cold. She should live indoors; allow her outside only in a securely fenced yard -- as mini-pins are notorious escape artists -- or on a leash or harness for a supervised walk. If the weather is chilly, you may want to put a sweater or coat on your miniature pinscher to avoid extreme discomfort and possible illness.
Walk your dog at least once daily and twice if your schedule allows. Miniature pinschers have a lot of energy, and they need exercise to keep them healthy and to avoid destructive behaviors that will develop if they grow restless and bored. In addition to leashed walks outdoors, you can supplement exercise with indoor games such as playing with balls, ropes and other exercise-minded dog toys.
Brush your miniature pinscher once a week to remove loose hair and keep her coat shiny and healthy looking. Infrequent bathing -- just a few times a year as needed -- is recommended. More regular bathing than that can cause these short-haired dogs' skin to dry out. Routine visits to a groomer are suggested to have your dog's nails trimmed.
Schedule yearly examinations with your miniature pinscher's vet for vaccinations and to stay on top of possible health issues. Mini-pins are prone to joint problems, seizures and eye disorders such as retinal atrophy. Having the veterinarian examine your dog regularly will allow you to possibly avoid such problems; if they arise, you'll be able to treat them before they can grow.
Consult with the breeder and your veterinarian in choosing a food that is right for your mini-pin and what feeding schedule you should follow.
Puppy kindergarten is a useful measure to take to help you and your miniature pinscher to bond. It also gives you the opportunity to provide the structure, intellectual stimulation and interaction the miniature pinscher breed requires. Ask the breeder or your vet about classes offered locally.
Items You Will Need
- High-quality dog kibble
- Fenced yard
- Dog toys
- Soft-bristle dog brush
- Kirsten Nickisch, DVM; Alta Animal Hospital; Pocatello, Idaho
- Dog Training Central: Miniature Pinscher Puppy Care and Training
- The Miniature Pinscher: An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet; Ian Dunbar and Rose J. Radel
- Rescue Every Dog: Miniature Pinscher Breed Profile
- Miniature Pinscher image by Jessica Triplet from Fotolia.com