Archive for December, 2008

Is a Miniature Pinscher the Dog for You?

Kota the Miniature Pinscher
Kota the Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher is among the spunkiest, peppiest dog breeds out there. They bounce, they bark, they’ll chase cats, other dogs and small children if you let them. Min Pins are fiercely faithful to their humans, and most will eagerly take on the role of protector and doorbell. They’re a breed like no other; a breed that will either win you over or drive you nuts.

The Miniature Pinscher Appearance

Min Pins are a toy breed that’s commonly mistaken for a sized-down Doberman Pinscher. In fact, the two breeds are not closely related; the Min Pin is actually believed to be the older of the two breeds.

The Miniature Pinscher comes in two colors: a red rust or black and tan. The coat is short, soft, sleek and virtually maintenance-free, though this is not a breed that you can send out into the snow “naked” – your Min Pin will need a jacket, as they chill easily due to their relatively thin coat.

Most Min Pins top out at a weight of approximately 12 pounds. Their build is muscular and trim. And the Miniature Pinscher’s gait is among the most distinctive in the dog show ring. A Min Pin does not walk; she prances with a graceful high-stepping gait that gives this breed a light-on-her-feet appearance. A very bouncy breed, jumping is among the Miniature Pinscher’s specialties, though their fragile build makes these dogs prone to injury from too much jumping.

The Miniature Pinscher Personality and Temperament

In Germany, the Min Pin is known as the “Reh Pinscher,” for their strong resemblance to the small red Reh Deer. “Pinscher” means terrier. Spend five minutes with a Min Pin and you’ll have no doubt that this feisty breed has terrier roots.

Min Pins tend to be very passionate dogs and they approach life with gusto. True to those terrier roots, Miniature Pinschers often have yappy tendencies, so barking is something that must be kept under control from day-one, lest you one day find that your dog is a serious neighborhood bother. But when trained properly, the Min Pin can make a wonderful doorbell or fire alarm.

Many Min Pins are also a bit scrappy; they tend to be outgoing dogs who are prone to giving chase and many will not back down from a confrontation with a human, another dog or even the family cat. In fact, in the early days of the breed, this scrappy and brazen nature was harnessed and Miniature Pinschers were bred for use as ratters.

Miniature Pinschers are some of the most loyal and devoted dogs out there. They are very people-oriented dogs and to own one is to be the center of her universe. A Min Pin is not truly happy unless she’s in the company of her humans; she’ll want to spend every minute in your company. And if you let her, she’ll be quite content to sleep with you in your bed (under the covers, of course).

Is The Miniature Pinscher a Dog for You?

Due to their terrier heritage and their brazen outgoing nature, Miniature Pinschers are not a dog for beginner dog owners. The Min Pin is an extremely smart breed and she will manipulate her humans if given the opportunity. A Min Pin needs a firm, yet loving hand. She is a dog who requires consistent training from an experienced dog owner.

But if you’re an experienced dog owner who is looking for a peppy, spunky dog; a fiercely devoted companion, then the Miniature Pinscher may just be the dog for you.

Looking for a more laid back toy breed? Consider the lovable pug!

Rare Breed Profile: The Hungarian Pumi

I’m a firm believer in biodiverisity. Variety is the spice of life, after all! For that reason, I’ve decided to start occasionally profiling a rare breed on Petlvr: The Blog, in hopes of encouraging dog lovers who’ve decided on a purebred dog to investigate rarer dogs. Of course, I always encourage adoption as a first choice for most pet parents, but for those who want a purebred, owning a rare breed can be fun. It’s a great conversation starter, too!

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the Hungarian Pumi!

Pumi Dog by Lake

Pumi Dog by Lake

Photo by Voff.

If you love the look and attitude of spunky terriers like the Wheaten Terrier, but enjoy the energy and intelligence of herding breeds, the Pumi (not to be confused with the Puli, another Hungarian breed) might be your perfect dog. The breed originated in Hungary and was originally developed to herd sheep. Although the Pumi is first and foremost a herding breed, its terrier traits are more than skin deep. Like many terrier breeds, the Pumi also eagerly combats rodents and other prey, even wild boar, and can easily learn to hunt by scent.

Allergy sufferers like Malia Obama might also consider a Pumi the perfect pet. Its harsh, curly topcoat and soft undercoat grow continuously, but the dog has little or no shedding, making it potentially less likely to trigger dog allergies. No breed is truly “hypoallergenic,” but breeds like the Pumi and Poodle with coats that do not shed are generally more likely to be compatible with owners who have dog allergies.

Pumis aren’t perfect for everyone, however. The high energy levels of a herding breed, combined with the boldness and confidence of a terrier, make the Pumi a dog not suited for a meek pet parent or a couch potato owner. They need frequent, high intensity exercise to stay calm. Obedience training is mandatory for this breed. Without training and frequent practice, they may become defiant and ignore commands. Like all herding breeds, Pumis are happiest when they have work to do, whether it’s herding, hunting, or something else.

If you think a Pumi might be the right dog for you, answer the following questions:

  • Can you commit to exercising a Pumi every day?
  • Would your Pumi have a job, like hunting with a member of the family, competing in dog agility, or taking herding lessons?
  • Will you take an obedience class with my Pumi and reinforce lessons at home with at least one short training session daily?
  • Are you willing either to learn to groom a Pumi at home or to pay for professional trimming and grooming every 8-16 weeks?
  • Can you wait anywhere from a few months to 2 years to add a Pumi to your family? Rare breeds can be hard to find, and good breeders have long waiting lists.
  • If you choose to get a Pumi from a breeder, will you commit to keeping the breeder updated on the dog’s health and temperament, to help the breeder make better decisions in breeding future Pumi generations?
  • Can you afford treatment for hip dysplasia or patellar luxation if necessary, both of which are unfortunately fairly common in Pumis?
  • Can you commit to the care and keeping of a Pumi for at least 12-15 years?

If you answered “yes” to all of the above, consider contacting the Hungarian Pumi Club of America and locating a Pumi fancier in your area who can introduce you in person to the breed.