From the November 2018 Issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe. Above photos from ShowSight April 2015, courtsey of Judges Education Chair, Miniature Pinscher Club Of America.
Do you remember blowing bubbles on a breezy spring day when you were a kid? You would giggle with delight as the bubbles bounced along with the wind, rising high and plunging low, swirling and dancing and chasing each other as the current swept them along. Just as you reached for one it would dart off in another direction, alluding your grasp. Sometimes the sunlight and the bubble crossed paths at just the right moment and the bubble took on a special glow. The instant I stepped outside at my very first Miniature Pinscher Club of America National Specialty and saw the ex-pens filled with Miniature Pinschers I giggled with that same delight! I went from pen to pen wanting to reach in and touch them as they bounced and wiggled and swirled as only Min Pins can do. Something about Miniature Pinschers makes people smile and giggle and feel young and energized. If you don’t believe me just watch the faces of spectators, both young and old, when they approach the Min Pin ring at any show.
Min Pins are sometimes mistaken for a small version of the Doberman. In fact, a co-worker saw me out with my Dobe and my Min Pin and asked how we got some of them to stay so small. I jokingly mentioned something about a special potion when they were a few days old but realized she was serious, so quickly recanted and offered her correct information. Miniature Pinschers are definitely not a small, scaled-down Dobe. While both breeds originate in Germany, Min Pins are an older breed, likely coming from crossing German Pinschers, Italian Greyhounds and Dachshunds. The Min Pin ancestors provide our wonderful breed with feistiness, fearlessness, speed, grace and tenacity.
Min Pins require little grooming for their short, straight, lustrous coat. They need bathing and brushing to keep their coat free of loose hair and dirt. Nails need regular trimming to keep them at the proper length. Teeth need regular brushing or cleaning by a professional in order to keep the Min Pin’s mouth healthy and prevent issues
Min Pins require early and consistent socialization and training. They need opportunities to greet the world and see, hear and smell all it holds. Exposing Min Pins in a safe, non-threatening manner to the world around them will help ensure they grow up confident and comfortable in all kinds of situations. Min Pins are highly-intelligent and respond best to patient, positive training methods. Sometimes their enthusiasm and knack for getting into things can be challenging but meeting those challenges with patience will end better for the dog and the human. Training is an absolute must for Min Pins.
Min Pins are a relatively healthy breed, living an average of twelve-fifteen years. If you are considering purchasing a Miniature Pinscher please take the time to speak with reputable breeders. A good breeder can provide you with information regarding health concerns and specific information regarding any health testing they have obtained for their dogs. The MPCA (Miniature Pinscher Club of America) provides breeder referral information on their website.
The Miniature Pinscher is nothing short of a perpetual motion machine. That in itself is motivation enough for judges to go over them briefly on the table and then let them move. I am always grateful to judges who do the three T’s and then let my dogs strut their stuff because the floor is where the magic truly happens.
Miniature Pinschers are energetic and bold. They strut around the ring as if time has stopped and all eyes are on them. This can be an advantage if you have a wonderful special, or a full day’s entertainment in only two minutes if you happen to be showing an active puppy. Try to get a mental picture of “Flight of the Bumblebee” and you can easily picture a Min Pin puppy. Exhibitors and judges have to maintain a sense of humor with the antics of puppies learning to show.
There are few things prettier or more thrilling to a Min Pin fanatic as a properly moving dog with his head up and neck arched cruising around the ring. Comments heard around the ring from spectators typically include “look at that dog that trots like a pony.” That simile maybe helpful to those unfamiliar with the standard but it is incorrect. Miniature Pinschers are well-known for their hackney-like gait; the key part of the statement is hackney-like. The MPCA standard defines the gait as “high-stepping, reaching, free and easy with the front legs moving straight forward in front of the body and the foot bending at the wrist; the dog drives smoothly and strongly from the rear. The hackney-like action in a Min Pin only refers to the front movement; whereas a hackney pony displays the hackney gait in the front and rear with what appears to be little forward movement. The idea of ‘more is better’ is not necessarily true regarding the amount of lift a Min Pin has. Extreme lift in the front is inefficient, choppy and does not propel the dog forward. The Miniature Pinscher Club of America provides excellent video examples of correct front and rear movement in the presentation developed for mentors and judges’ education. The presentation is available on the AKC website, at judges’ education seminars, and on request from the MPCA for judges and judge applicants.
Min Pins are like the Duct tape of dog breeds—versatile and appropriate for many things. They can be trained to participate in rally and obedience trials, scentwork, lure coursing, tracking, dock diving, agility and conformation. I have certified Min Pins to be therapy dogs for visits to hospitals, senior centers, schools and libraries. They make excellent companion dogs for those who seek an energetic, intelligent, loving, loyal dog, that quickly finds its way into your heart and under your blankets.
Min Pins are square, short-backed, bundles of energy with a level or slightly-sloping topline. Tradition calls for self-stacking in the ring to allow their self-possessed personalities to shine through. They stand and move proudly with their head held high, their neck arched, maintaining their topline and always, always, always with their tail up. Their energy, animation and keen expression are enormous parts of their charm. Min Pins with their unique gait and proud carriage announce to all who are present that they are indeed the “King of Toys”.
About the author
I have been loving, living with, owned by, and exhibiting Miniature Pinschers for about nine years. My dogs have been awarded Top Twenty and Top Ten medallions, multiple group placements, Reserve Best in Show, multiple owner-handled group placements, and multiple Bests in Specialty Show. I teach obedience classes, behavior modification and conformation classes. I am currently a board member and the chairperson for public education for the MPCA.