Miniature Pinscher Breed Magazine - Showsight


Let’s Talk Breed Education!








The Miniature Pinscher A Beautiful Picture of a Profile Breed in Motion

T he Miniature Pinscher is a profile breed. In my opinion, this means they should be judged with the most emphasis put on the picture you see when they are moving. From this view, you can easily assess overall balance: How do they look going around the ring? How do they use themselves? Do they move with smoothness and effortless coordination? It’s a pretty picture when you see this combination—it really catches your eye. The Min Pin is called the King of Toys; they show that they know this by their active and spirited demeanor. Anything less than an attitude of dynamic self-posses- sion should not be rewarded. The Min Pin must always stand (though standing still is not really in their vocabulary), move freely with defined lift and wrist bend, and bait with head held high. They have the regal presence of a king. As a judge, he or she individually examines each dog on the table, most notably checking bite, and testicles, and perhaps, feel for smoothness of shoulders. It is inap- propriate for judges to run their hands all over this small, smooth-coated breed. The judge can see the Min Pin’s expression, head, eye color, neck length, and length of leg, together with seeing the rear angles, depth of thigh, flat croup, and tail set— without ever touching the dog. One can see overall balance and quality. A beautiful Min Pin has a well-angulated stifle, together with a well-angulated rear end. This proper structure will be seen in the profile movement. Of course, soundness on the down and back must be given adequate consideration. The topline should be level or slightly sloping while standing and moving. The Min Pin, according to the standard, does not have


equal angles in the front and rear. The standard calls for a moderately angled shoulder and a well-angulated rear. It is my opinion that these differing front and rear angles allow for movement with a lot of lift, reach, bend of wrist in the front, and strong drive in the rear. So much of the cor- rect movement is determined by foot timing. (And in the Min Pin’s case, there is a strong genetic component.) By virtue of this high lift in front, the strong driving rear has time to move for- ward without overtaking the front legs in a relatively short-bodied, square dog. The front has a lot of reach with no up-and-down hack- ney-like movement (which goes nowhere) and the rear covers ground without piston-like up- and-down movement (also going nowhere). For a balanced Min Pin, therefore,

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Katie has been breeding and showing since 1970, first with a champion Weimaraner bitch, then with many winning champion Whippets and Miniature Pinschers. She is a judge of Whippets and Min Pins.

it would call for a high-reach- ing, wrist-bending front movement, together with a strong driving rear, to propel the body forward—this is the beautiful picture.


We also not only have beauty but brains. AGILITY, RALLY, SCENTWORK & OBEDIENCE TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS.







I t is an honor to be asked to write about Miniature Pinschers, as they are one of my favorite breeds. My love of this breed began in the late 1960s and continues to this day. Their spirit and pres- ence captured me. Hopefully, some of you judges who are newer to this breed will understand the Min Pin better after reading this article. I’m hoping that some of you breeders out there will also benefit from my “words of wisdom.” However, my opinions are just that— my opinions. Judging the Miniature Pinscher can be challeng- ing as they are not shown stacked motionless like most other breeds. They are very animated, with complete self-possession and a spirited presence. If you have one in the ring without these characteristic traits, please do not reward it. I bought my first Miniature Pinscher in 1968. What an experience that was! She was fearless in my arms and fearless on the ground, but a real wimp on the table. Not being an experienced handler, I would get so embar- rassed every time my wonderful Min Pin would shrink from examination. I was told by those with more longev- ity in the breed to simply exclaim, “Oh my, I don’t know why she is doing that, she has never done that before!” Well, that worked fine until the day she won the Breed and then wimped on the table to the Group judge (same judge). Before I knew what I was saying, I declared, “Oh my, I don’t know why she is doing that, she has never done that before!” Well, needless to say, I learned my lesson to keep my mouth shut. So, in a further effort to learn about this breed, I actu- ally talked to people who really knew them. Mr. John McNamara of Jay-Mac fame was one. I spent quite a bit of time listening to him at the shows, and he graciously let me come to his home for more Min Pin education. Most are now better trained for the table than the dogs of old. New techniques and a concentrated effort can pro- duce stability on the table. However, they are big little dogs and should be examined on a table—and judged on the ground.






Some advice for you breeders is to get a grooming table and put your puppies on it (one at a time, of course) on a leash, and play with them using some bait and toys. You could even take it a step further and feed them on the table. If they are com- fortable on the table at home, you have a much better chance of them being happy on the table in the ring. Take the time to do this even if you have to put the table in front of your couch or chair and do it while you are watching TV. I know I don’t have to mention this, but I will anyway: Never leave a Min Pin alone on the table. Other breeds you can leave alone on a table, but NOT a Min Pin! Mr. McNamara used to pay the kids a dollar a dog to take his extra dogs in the ring. My daughter, Angela, was so thrilled when she became one of them. At one of her first shows as a “handler” for Mr. McNamara, she came out of the ring with a reserve ribbon—so proud of her accom- plishment! She actually got the dog to stand still. However, when I casually men- tioned that she got the Reserve because there were only two in the ring (of course, the one Mr. McNamara took in got WD) her reply was, “The judge didn’t have to give it to me.” Nothing was going to dis- turb her happiness with that Reserve and, of course, her dollar. Back in the early ‘70s, you could actually purchase something with a dollar. She was correct, the judge did not have to give her the Reserve. Since that time, I have bred some cham- pion Miniature Pinschers. However, most of my accomplishments with them came as a handler. I finished many and won some Groups. My grandson, Seth, traveled with me quite a bit. When he was about 8 or 9 years old, we were showing a Min Pin bitch that did not take to strangers too easily. I was awarded WB with her. I had a spe- cial, however, so I made a snap decision to let my grandson take her back in for the Breed. Even though he was not an experi- enced handler, the bitch knew and loved him. So, I thought she would look better for him than with a stranger. I was right. He won Best of Breed! One of the things to realize when judging this breed is that they are totally devoted to their people. They are

great show dogs whenever they are com- fortable with the person on the other end of their leash. Many years ago, we were training sev- eral puppy Min Pins for a client and decid- ed to take them to a fun match. I got a youngster to practice with them and take them in the ring. They, of course, walked quite nicely outside the ring, but in the ring… walk a step, spin, walk another step, spin twice, walk another step, jump, another step, jump twice. Get the picture? The judge said, “Why don’t you train your dogs?” My little handler’s response was, “They are Min Pins.” That explains it! So, in judging them, there are times when you will need patience and the ability to look beyond the spinning and jumping. They can be walking along perfectly and, quick as a blink, they can do a total spin around and then walk perfectly again. When examining the breed on the table, just walk right up to them. You can have the handler show the bite or you can gently do it yourself. As a judge, I do pre- fer to do it myself because, sometimes, the handlers are inexperienced and they let go of the dog to show the bite. This causes the dog to move, and time is lost waiting for the handler to get the dog back under control so that you can finish the examina- tion. It is more beneficial to use the time watching the dog move than waiting for the handler to restack it. Min Pins should be shown on a loose lead. They should not be stacked on the ground, but should stand and either focus on something off in the distance (only they know what fascinates them so much), be baited, or they can stand and look at each other. They can flit from one position to another from one second to the next. Please don’t penalize this type of behavior, for to do so would be overlooking the very essence of this breed. The trick is to catch them being still enough to look at them. Of course, I understand you can’t put up a dog that doesn’t stand still long enough for you to see it, but don’t expect them to be still the entire time they are in the ring. As an interesting aside, since I have lived with many Min Pins, they are great pets. My first went to dog shows with me all her

life, and she lived to the wonderful old age of 17-1/2. Min Pins love their owners and friends. The flighty attitude that you see at the dog shows is not there at home. They are totally devoted and focused on you at home, but at the shows they see imaginary objects that demand their attention, caus- ing them to flit from one position to the other rather quickly. One of the most important attributes to look for in judging the Min Pin is its hackney-like action. Without its hackney- like gait, it is NOT a Min Pin. From the standard: “The hackney-like action is a high-stepping, reaching, free and easy gait in which the front leg moves straight forward and in front of the body and the foot bends at the wrist.” This gait, combined with “cor- rect temperament of fearless animation, com- plete self-possession and spirited presence,” is very important. These characteristics set this breed apart from all others. I would like to go a bit further to explain that the true hackney-like action is one of reach and break. This is very hard to get, but should definitely be rewarded when found. Many will break in front of their nose, but will not reach out at all. And then you have those with plenty of reach, but absolutely no break whatsoever. If faced with two exhibits that are equal in all other aspects, I would choose the one that does have break, thus making it a Min Pin. No hackney? It’s not a Min Pin!! Simple as that. Also, this is a powerful, confident breed that struts its stuff—the tail should be up. After examination and after your exhibits have been moved, you may have a few dogs that, in your opinion, look equal. Move these around the ring (not down and back) and look for the true hackney as a decision maker. Remember, head and tail carried high, high-stepping, reaching, free and easy, with a bend at the wrist. The Miniature Pinscher is a compact dog with a level or slightly sloping topline and a tail set high, and held erect. The whole package is one of confidence, author- ity, and presence. The breed has an unmis- takable take-charge attitude. He’s a remark- able little guy, full of energy and drive. This breed is the “King of Toys.”



LARRY & PENNY DEWEY Ruffian Min Pins came to be when we were looking for a small, smooth-coated breed in 1978. Our mentor, Carol Garri- son of Carlee Kennels in Florida, sent us her best bitch puppy in her current lit- ter. Ch. Carlee Love Unlimited HOF. With Carol’s guidance, we bred and handled the #1 dog in 1984, ABIS BISS Ch. Ruf- fian’s Starbuck HOF. Since then, we have continued to breed on a small scale, ABIS, BISS and Group Winners. Larry is now an AKC Judge and we have three Min Pins. We still show our dogs ourselves. Ruffian Min Pins is located in Katy, Texas, west of Houston. CHRISTINE SMITH My name is Chris Smith and my kennel is Aztex Min Pins. My partner is Dan Bayless, who co-owns and co-breeds with me.

Terrier, Pomeranian, just to name a few. I have shown and bred Miniature Pinschers since 1980. I am the Miniature Pinscher Club of America/AKC Breeder Referral, Vice President of The Miniature Pinscher Club of Northern California, member of the Pacific Northwest Minia- ture Pinscher Club, Board of Director of Del Valle Dog Club, and a member of Nor-Cal Toy Dog Fanciers. I also am active in Miniature Pinscher Rescue, Senior Dog Rescue as well as various other rescues. I am working towards obtaining my Judges License in a few breeds. Dogs are my passion. 1. When and where did you first become interested in your breed? L&PD: We were at the Astroworld Series of Dog Shows in Houston and fell in love with the Miniature Pinscher in 1978. CS: I got my first Min Pin in the early 90s in New York as a wedding gift. JZ: 1980. 2. What attracted you to the breed? L&PD: We loved the unpredictability, attitude, smooth coat and unique movement. CS: I loved their intelligence and beauty pretty much from day one. JZ: Attitude and ease of care. 3. Do you inbreed, linebreed or outcross? Why? L&PD: We have usually linebred with an occasional out- cross. We look at dog and bitch and try to focus on type and soundness. If you are breeding for the hackney-like action, you must include a sound driving rear. CS: Linebreeding to maintain the aspects that I cherish in the breed and outcross to try and improve aspects that are missing in my current lines. JZ: I linebreed with an outcross periodically. Linebreed- ing stamps type/traits etc, but you need an outcross to enhance, contribute qualities and to keep from inbreed- ing. When I outcross, that outcross is linebred to itself but not my dogs. 4. How do you house your dogs? L&PD: Our dogs live in our office in our home with access to our covered patio and backyard. Usually we have not more than six dogs and at this time, we only have three. CS: In my home with individual crates for feeding and sleep- ing at night.


I am a multi-generation dog show breeder/exhibitor and retired from the medical field. I have shown many breeds, Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Basset Hound, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, French Bulldog, Maltese, Chihuahua, Yorkshire



JZ: My dogs are house pets. They are crated when we are not home, but that is usually only for six hours maxi- mum. We rotate a different pair of dogs to sleep in bed with us every night and the rest are in crates. 5. Do you feed supplements? L&PD: We feed a high quality dry dog food. Supplements are not usually necessary. CS: Vitamins only. JZ: No. 6. Where do you whelp your bitches? L&PD: Puppies are whelped in our office or in our bedroom. CS: My bedroom usually. I set up an enclosure that I can sit inside of along with a large round bed, that the dam can get in and out of as she needs to but the puppies cannot get out of until they are old enough. JZ: My bitches are whelped in my bedroom and they remain there until the puppies are two weeks old, then they are all moved to the main part of the house to develop sensory skills. 7. How and when do you determine a show quality puppy? L&PD: We usually determine a show puppy at six months of age, but there is that occasional precocious puppy that will catch your eye at 12 weeks. You watch and study their movement from six weeks on. CS: I pick out the best structure starting around eight weeks. I watch and video by 12 weeks, when cropping is required. Then finally I assess their movement around four months. Those that meet all of my requirements become show dogs. JZ: I start evaluating at birth, looking for any DQs, if there aren’t any then I watch them daily, taking pictures weekly. I typically know by six-eight weeks on my line- bred litters. If I am working with a new outcross I make my final decision by 12-14 weeks. 8. At what age do you begin training? L&PD: At six weeks we start on the table for about ten seconds and then play. We increase the time on the table as they mature. There are some Min Pins that will never stand very long on the table. Judges who know and like the breed will not expect them to be statues and will judge them on the floor. We have had some who were rock solid on the table. Leash breaking starts at six weeks. Some love the lead and respond to toys and food. Others is a long battle. You just repeat and repeat. Be patient. CS: As soon as the puppies are old enough to get around, say two weeks of age, I start stacking them, strengthing their little legs into a stack pose. By eight weeks, they are well stack trained. I usually don’t start lead training until their ears are healed. I use soft lead on the neck and only work them for five-ten minutes at any one time. I usually use

bait to get them to go along and to reward. If you mean potty train, I use cat box and pine pellet litter and the puppies are potty trained by six weeks of age. JZ: I start basic table work as soon as they can stand, by using “the puppy drop”. I start using my in ring words for bait when I start weaning and other words when they are babies so they associate these words/commands as “good, fun stuff”. I start crate training at five weeks old. I start litter box training when they get their first taste of mush and the housebreaking starts as soon as they start to run with adults—supervised of course, at six weeks old. I do not push my puppies for ring training per say because they are puppies and need to be puppies—its all integrated as play. 9. Do you think your current standard is adequate? L&PD: Our standard is fine. Breed to it. CS: Absolutely. JZ: Yes. 10. What is the greatest health concern to breeders today? L&PD: Min Pins are the healthiest toy breed. If we have an issue, we spay and neuter and place as pets. We have an active health and research committee and there are usually research grants that are taking place constantly. There are stifle problems, leg perths and some demodex. CS: in the Min Pin, I think number one is the lack of willing- ness of breeders to publically share their issues, for the betterment of all. Number two is that markers have not been discovered for most of our disease genes, so with- out open communication, its Russian roulette. JZ: LCP—Legg Calve Perths. 11. Is dental care important? L&PD: Dental care is important, especially with toy breeds. We are fortunate in that until recently, we had an excel- lent dental vet in the area. CS: It’s very important and its very difficult to maintain— small breed dentals are dangerous (from being over anaesthetized) and extremely expensive. JZ: Yes, Min Pins tend to inhale food as opposed to chewing it. The chewing action helps scrape daily build up from the teeth; as a result their teeth tend to need cleaning more often. 12. What do you enjoy most about owning this breed? L&PD: It is like living with a two-year-old. Keep them safe because they will find a way to get in trouble; but you laugh a lot. CS: I love the affection they give and the joy of seeing truly beautiful creatures running around JZ: Their personalities, they are curious and into everything. They are so charismatic and loving, its never a dull moment living with them.



13. What grooming tips or hints would you like to share? L&PD: Grooming is minimal. We use a dremel grinder for toenails. We trim muzzle and eyebrows, ears and some require grooming in the neck area. CS: Min Pins are “wash and wear”—not much to comment on there. JZ: Do their nails weekly, otherwise they are a very clean by nature breed and the short coat typically requires little care. A bath when necessary. 14. What makes this breed a great show dog as well as a companion? L&PD: Fearless attitude and unique movement. With most Min Pins you just hold on to the lead and they will take you there. We had a dog in the 80s who could do the pat- tern himself and he did once when the lead was dropped. Starbuck was a loyal companion and ultimate show dog. CS: Min Pins are self possessed. If you want a great show Min Pin, they have to be super animated with sound movement. As long as the puppies are well-socialized, they all make excellent companions. Again, this is a super smart breed. A must is keeping them entertained. JZ: This is a self possessing attitude dog—when socialized properly as a puppy (as all dogs should be) the Min Pin will “command attention” in the ring. They are not “wall flowers”. As a companion they will be your best friend, your comic relief and annoying brat all wrapped up in a pretty little package that will steal your bed pillow while you sleep. 15. What tips for advice would you offer the newcom- er? L&PD: Read the books available for the breed. Talk to sev- eral breeders. Newcomers are the future of our breed. A good breeder will talk to you and give you information on showing and caring for your dog no matter where you bought your dog. If they don’t, talk to another breeder. We still talk to other breeders and continue to learn. CS: The most important thing to get yourself a mentor. Someone who has had a lot of success, who is willing to work with you. Once you have that, the rest will fall into place. JZ: Research, ask questions—there is never a wrong ques- tion, listen and be patient. 16. How do you determine the stud dog you select to breed to your bitch? L&PD: You need to find a stud dog that compliments your bitch and her pedigree. We try to look at previous get. We try to find photos of some of the dogs in the pedigree, if we have not seen the dog. Study the pedigrees and talk to people who have seen some of the dogs in the pedigrees. CS: 50% genotype and 50% phenotype. JZ: I usually take three years to plan a breeding. I am always researching pedigrees. Health clearances are a primary factor for me—regardless of whether a puppy is a show

prospect or companion only, they must be healthy—there is absolutely no reason to breed a dog who is affected by serious/debilitating health issues. Yes it can get expen- sive to health test, but with clinics at shows the cost has come down significantly. Save the money from entering two weeks of shows and use that money to get your test- ing done. I look at how the dogs produce, as well as how their siblings produce, uncles, aunts etc and what lines they were bred to. I look at cross faulting/complimenting each other as well as whats in the pedigree. 17. If you were starting a kennel, would you buy a dog or a bitch first? L&PD: We got our foundation bitch from an outstanding breeder, Carol Garrison. We had seen her dogs. She had lovely type and outstanding reputation. Her guidance was invaluable. CS: The best of either that was available that was from a line with minimal disease genes. JZ: I’d start with a dog. I feel you need to show and really study the breed itself, develop an “eye” firsthand, for a few years before you take on the responsibility of breed- ing, whelping/raising puppies. After such time then buy the best bitch possible—do not settle for second best, third best, geographically closer etc and definitely don’t take one over another due to price, even if they are siblings. They may not produce the same. No one will ever know everything there is to know about their breed, heck after having this breed for 38 years I still see new things. 18. What three words best describe your breed? L&PD: Fearless, animated and unique movement. Sorry that is four. CS: Self-possessed, animated and fearless. JZ: Fearless, funny and loving 19. What is the single biggest misconception about your breed? L&PD: That they are miniature Dobermans. CS: That they were bred down from Dobermans. JZ: They are mean and biters by nature. 20. What is the most defining characteristic? L&PD: The hackney-like gait with head and tail carried high and a smooth-driving rear. CS: Hackney side profile gait. JZ: That is really a two part answer. Visually, without meet- ing one—they are the only breed that is supposed to have hackney like movement. Meeting one—the self possess- ing big dog attitude in a small package.




D o 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 plung- ing low, swirling and dancing and chas- ing 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 Minia- ture 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. Some- thing 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 cor- rect 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 from bacteria.





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 move- ment; 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 Amer- ica provides excellent video examples of correct front and rear movement in the presentation developed for mentors and judges’ education. The presenta- tion 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, track- ing, dock diving, agility and confor- mation. I have certified Min Pins to be therapy dogs for visits to hospitals, senior centers, schools and librar- ies. They make excellent companion dogs for those who seek an energetic,

intelligent, loving, loyal dog, that quick- ly finds its way into your heart and under your blankets. Min Pins are square, short-backed, bundles of energy with a level or slight- ly-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”.

Min Pins require early and consistent socialization and training. They need opportunities to greet the world and see, hear and smell all it holds. Expos- ing 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 train- ing methods. Sometimes their enthusi- asm and knack for getting into things can be challenging but meeting those challenges with patience will end bet- ter 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-fif- teen years. If you are considering pur- chasing 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. Exhibi- tors and judges have to maintain a sense

ABOUT THE AUTHOR I have been loving, living with, owned by, and exhibiting Miniature Pin- schers 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 place- ments, and multiple Bests in Special- ty Show. I teach obedience classes, behavior modification and conforma- tion classes. I am currently a board member and the chairperson for pub- lic education for the MPCA.



By Madeline K. Miller JEC, Miniature Pinscher Club of America


o you want to Judge Min- iature Pinschers!? Many believe that “Hackney” is the only thing to know about Min Pins. Th ey also think Min Pins are ditzy

nicely arched neck blending smoothly into the shoulders, the level or slightly sloping topline, with level croup and high tailset in a muscular, wedge shaped body combine to form a beautiful picture. Equally important are alertness, spirited presence, and self-possession. Th e head must fi t the body. From the front, the head appears narrow and taper- ing. Th e skull is fl at. Th e foreface is strong with a slight but de fi nite stop. Th ere is a de fi nite underjaw. Eyes are full, slightly oval, clear bright and dark. Nose is black, except in chocolates. Th e teeth meet in a scissors bite. One or two teeth slightly out of line should not be penalized if the bite is otherwise correct. Th ese little livewires often don’t stand like statues on the table or the ground. Never judge them on the table. Judge them on the ground, and use the table only for a quick examination to check bite, testicles on males, eye color, and for disquali fi ca- tions. As this is a short-haired, single coat- ed breed, their physical traits and condition are easy to evaluate with a bare minimum of touching, prodding and poking. What you see is what you get! Dogs and handlers

and hyperactive! Th ey are high energy, but that’s not the same as “hyper”. Successful Breeder-Judges like me will tell you there’s a great deal more to this remarkable breed! By the way, they are not bred down Dober- mans but, in fact, a much older breed from the German Pinscher family. Th e most important factor in judging the breed is the overall package. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Breed type includes out- line, balance, movement, correct structure and soundness. Th e all-important proper temperament combined with breed type make the Min Pin a unique, wonderful breed. Hackney-like gait is signi fi cant and a hallmark, but is not the only consider- ation in judging, as some think. Min Pins are the “King of Toys”. In the ring, they must look and act like aris- tocrats. A well-balanced, smart, sleek, square dog, all parts gracefully fl ow together; the well-proportioned head,


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Head Red


are grateful if table time is kept brief ! Don’t fault Min Pins for moving or wiggling on the table. Standing still on the table (or not) has nothing to do with quality and should not in fl uence your placements. Very important: DO NOT FORCE THE SINGLE ENTRY RIGHT UP ON THE TABLE! Just as you send a class of fi ve around the ring once before tabling, the singleton should be granted the same courtesy. Th is is only fair, relaxes the dog and, contrary to what some believe, takes no extra time. On the ground many Min Pins are eas- ily distracted and don’t stand still for long.

I don’t care if they stand perfectly in a row like little toy soldiers facing the same direction. However, I want to see them “show o ff ”. Th ey may do this by baiting for the handler, watching a dog in the next ring, watching a bird or butter fl y at an outdoor show, or whatever else catches their eye!! Th ey are active and curious, but tend to have a short attention span. Not knowing what they will do next is part of their charm. Don’t be annoyed by their behavior; relax and learn to enjoy their antics! Also remember Min Pins are not hand stacked on the ground, they should be taught to show themselves. If handlers

are down and hand stacking, ask them to stand and allow the dog to show o ff . Min Pins often stop and shake at least once when moving. Th ey should gait with head and tail up. Ears do not have to be up while moving. Some exhibitors string up the dog tightly in an e ff ort to hide a poor front or in the mistaken belief that the dog will have better front action. Don’t hesitate to ask for a loose lead. A Min Pin moving out smartly ahead of the handler is delightful, but this is “icing on the cake” and not all of them can or will do this. A Min Pin who “slinks” around the ring or moves with tail down should

“They are active and curious, but tend to have a short attention span. NOT KNOWING WHAT THEY WILL DO NEXT IS PART OF THEIR CHARM.”

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“Puppies may be a little unsure of themselves, but never fearful. ADULTS MUST HAVE THAT ‘LOOK AT ME’ ATTITUDE.”

Natural Ears

gait in which the front leg moves straight forward and in front of the body and the foot bends at the wrist. Th e dog drives smoothly and strongly from the rear.” Th is is a good description. Note: the Standard does not call for extremely high leg lift. In fact, dogs with exaggerated front action, usually exhibit unacceptable traits when seen straight on, such as out at the elbow, crossing over or “mix-masters”. Th e high-stepping front action occurs because of the moderately angled front and slightly more angulated rear of a properly built Min Pin. Th e pasterns are fl exible enough to allow the wrist to bend. Th e Hackney-like action is described for FRONT legs only. Th e rear should not lift. Th e Standard states: “the dog drives smooth- ly and strongly from the rear”. Th e side gait is correct if the dog moves in a straight line with good rear drive, front reach and exten- sion with the pastern bending before the foot comes down. Th e amount of lift and bend may vary greatly from dog to dog. Lift and bend are called for, but there is no requirement as to how high the lift or how much bend! Remember, if the leg lifts and

bends, it is correct. Th e degree or amount of lift and bend is unimportant. While fl ashy front movement may be dazzling, it’s NOT ENOUGH. Min Pins must also have breed type, be sound com- ing and going, and have strong rear drive. Th e Min Pin must be between 10 and 12 ½ inches at the highest point of the shoulder, with disquali fi cations under and over these limits. All dogs within this height range should be judged equally. If a10 inch dog or a 12 ½ inch bitch have the best conformation and movement, they should be rewarded. Th e Standard makes no distinction between genders, except that bitches may be slightly lon- ger than dogs. Height and muscle do not di ff er for dogs and bitches. If there is any question about height, please measure the dog. Th e exhibitors will appreciate this far more than putting a dog at the end of the line because you “think” it looks too big or too small. All colors must be judged equally. Min Pins may be solid clear red, ranging from dark mahogany to light red. Stag is a red base coat with an intermingling or overlay

A lovely Min Pin

NEVER be rewarded. Th is is an indica- tion of poor temperament and must be discouraged. Remember, the Standard calls for “fearless animation” and “com- plete self-possession”. Puppies may be a little unsure of themselves, but never fearful. Adults MUST have that “Look at Me” attitude. Th e correct hackney-like action causes a lot of confusion. Th e Standard describes it as a “high stepping, reaching, free and easy


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of black hairs. Amount and placement of black hairs is not important. Red Min Pins may have lighter shading or “bisking” on the neck, over the shoulder blades and near the vent region. Th is is perfectly acceptable and should not be penalized. Black with rust-red markings and Chocolate with rust-red markings are often at a disadvan- tage because the broken colors create an optical illusion and may make the dogs APPEAR to be built di ff erently than their red counterparts. You must be careful to examine and assess them fairly. Th e Stan- dard describes correct markings and states a preference for rich, vibrant medium to dark shades on the Reds. However, color and/or markings must never take prece- dence over conformation and soundness. About “man-made” faults: Min Pins may be shown with natural or cropped ears as long as the ears are erect. Give equal consideration to both. Some ear crops are unattractive; i.e., short and wide, uneven lengths. Th is is man-made and should not be used to fault the dog. Th is is true for tails docked too short or too long. Tail set and carriage are important, length is not. White exceeding ½ -inch in its longest dimension is a disquali fi cation, but a scat- tering of white hairs or “frost” on the chest is a deviation, not a DQ. Th umb marks, a patch or island of black (or chocolate) hair, completely sur- rounded by rust-red on the front of the foreleg is a DQ. In summary, judge the WHOLE dog, reward the virtues, penalize faults to the extent of the deviation from ideal and don’t make Min Pins one-dimensional by looking only at side gait! BIO Growing up, my family always had purebred dogs, mostly Boxers. Attend- ing my first dog show in 1968 and show- ing a Doberman the following year, I became “ hooked” and began showing and breeding Dobes. I acquired my first Min Pin in 1974, intending it to be a “ fun” diversion but soon became more and more involved with Min Pins and less so with Dobes. I bred the first “Madric” litter in 1976. I no lon- ger actively breed and show, but in 20 plus

Side Gait 1

Side Gait 3

Side Gait 2


“About ‘man-made’ faults: MIN PINS MAY BE SHOWN WITH NATU RAL OR CROPPED EARS AS LONG AS THE EARS ARE ERECT. Give equal consideration to both.”

years bred and owned over 75 Champions in three di ff erent countries (U.S., Canada, & Philippines) including a U.S. all-breed Best in Show winner, Group winners and two Westminster Breed winners. I started judging in 1995 and am pres- ently approved for Best in Show, the Toy Group, 12 Working breeds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Poodles. I’ve judged a num- ber of Toy and Working breed Specialties. I became the Judges Education Chair for the Miniature Pinscher Club of Amer- ica after being an approved mentor and

member of the Judges Education Commit- tee for many years. I was Awards Chair for over 20 years and served on the Board for four years. I’m a founding and charter member of the Motor City Miniature Pin- scher Club, a member of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America, the American Dog Show Judges and the Michigan Dog Show Judges. In my non dog show life, I’m a Senior Tax Advisor for H&R Block. I currently share my home with a rescue Doberman and an 18 year old Min Pin.

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By Kim Byrd

or those of us who live and play with Miniature Pin- schers, our first inclina- tion is to holler a great big emphatic “No!”, but we don’t. We gently smile and

creatures). Th eir size, 10 to 12 ½ inches, and speed enabled them to get close to the home threats and keep the pests from eating food and destroying man’s home. Th e Miniature Pinscher is a square- proportioned, well-balanced little dog with a level topline. He has a hackney-like gait, with head and tail held high. Th e Miniature Pinscher Club of America and the Ameri- can Kennel Club have accepted the colors Red, Stag Red, Black and Rust, Black and Tan, and Chocolate and Rust, in a short, straight and lustrous coat. Miniature Pinschers are versatile and can adapt to just about any situation you put them in. Th ey are small enough to be a portable companion that is able to be a part of your life no matter what you do. For short we call him the Min Pin, but in reality he is the King of Toys. He is fearless, feisty, quick to run after the ball or rabbit. He can be trained to sit quietly in a travel crate, walk politely on the leash and cuddle with chil- dren and friends. Th en with a smart bark and jump he is o ff to investigate anything that moves, be it leaf or critter in his yard. Th e Min Pin is a great dog for small homes and apartments. Although, he requires exer- cise to keep his energy level down or long walks in the park work just as well.

say, “No, this is a Miniature Pinscher. He is a totally di ff erent breed from the Dober- man.” Now let me explain why. History tells us the Miniature Pinscher breed originated in the far away country of Germany. Th e first appears in a 17th century painting showing a picture of a cat-sized dog resembling the Miniature Pinscher of today. Th e Miniature Pinscher is in fact an older breed than the Dober- man pinscher which doesn’t come into play until the late 1800s. Th e breed was developed in Germany and agreement among dog historians tells us the Miniature Pinscher breed comes from genetic crosses of the German Pin- scher, the Dachshund and the Italian Grey- hound. From these ancestors the Min Pin (as we lovingly call him) gets his feistiness, fearlessness and his playful speed and grace. By the 19th century, the Reh Pinscher, as he was called in Germany, was developed. Th e feisty and quick little dogs were used as vermin hunters (rats, mice, moles and such

Th ey are protective and will loudly announce company either good or bad. Until the company has thoroughly been inspected, sni ff ed, bumped with a quick hop, sni ff ed again, barked at again, they are then allowed to stay. Th e greatest gift you can give your dog is the gift of socialization. Take him everywhere as a puppy. Let him hear cars, horns, trucks, banging pans, loud noises, smell his environment. Have every stranger you meet, touch him and pet him. Be sure to hold him o ff the ground so he is not intimidated. He has to know the world won’t hurt him and he really is the toughest kid on the block.

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You’ll be doing very little grooming to keep him tidy. A good brushing to remove loose hair and a bath on occasion. Be aware he does not like to be cold and some will bury themselves under the blanket even in the warmest weather. Do you need a fenced in yard? Abso- lutely! A four-foot fence is not too high for a Min Pin looking for adventure. Th ey are a curious little dog and will try something new just to see if they can do it. Chewing is a game that needs watching, as they can choke on small objects that they find in the house or yard. When training a Min Pin, you must be extremely patient and be able to teach them using a firm, but gentle hand. Th ey bore easily and can be distracted. You must be able to guide them back into their lessons and keep them focused. Once focus is lost, time to do something else! Many who are owned by a Min Pin will tell you they are flexible and can learn how to do many things. Th ey are excel- lent at obedience competition at all levels and will thrill those watching them work through agility. Go ahead! Train basic obedience and earn your CGC title. Th is title will help getting permission for the both of you to go into senior homes and hospitals to visit with folks that just want to hug your Min Pin. Oh, did you say you wanted to show your Min Pin in the conformation ring? Standing on his own in the ring and show- ing o ff is how it’s done. Don’t get down on your knees to stack or pose, he is only stacked on the table. Th at’s the rule and we old-timers will tell you right o ff . Th e Min Pin is not a one dimensional breed, breed type and sound typical hackney-like move- ment is paramount. Go to the shows, whether it be for obe- dience, agility or conformation and meet

the folks standing around the ring. Ask questions and watch every dog in the ring. Outside the ring you are interested in will be a person that will be your mentor. Ask questions, spend the time researching, and watch, watch, watch. Learning from a men- tor is the best way to get involved in the competitions. A mentor will give you the tool kit to start you on the way to achieving your goal with your Min Pin. Miniature Pinschers are a pretty healthy breed. Th eir life span is 12-15 years. When you bring your puppy home, have a bowl for food, bucket for fresh water, good hard puppy kibble, sturdy collar and leash, warm blanket and crate ready. Remember training begins as soon as you bring him home. Major issues are patellar luxation, cer- vical (dry) disc, legg-calve perthes, epi- lepsy, thyroid, heart defects and eye prob- lems. Talk to your breeder and ask them what health issues are in the pedigree of your puppy. Keeping your Min Pin in shape and not overweight will help him live a long and busy life. Mentoring is a very important to this sport and part of the enjoyment of being a mentor is being involved in stories such as this story…he stood outside the ring and watched the dogs move around the ring with their handlers. I could do that he thought. He had been to many shows with his breeder, but had never thought about entering into the ring himself. She excitedly came out of the ring with a handful of ribbons and breathlessly said he could do this! Look how much fun we are having. Th e next day, she called and said she needed his help and it was time he stepped up to the plate and showed his own little dog. He basically understood the workings of the ring, but was he ready? Did he have the “right stu ff ”? Th e training?

He dressed in a nice shirt, tie and slacks, bathed his dog and headed to the show. He was a bit on edge and so was his dog, but into the ring they stepped. It was so exciting! He listened to the judge intently, and followed his instructions to the letter… as they started to go around the ring, the lead slipped o ff his dog’s head! He bent down, called his dog to him and slipped the lead back on. Th ey finished going around and he hid in the corner for them to relax. To his surprise the judge was calling him to the front of the line! He was in the fourth spot! What did that mean? He and his dog were Select Dog! He definitely would have to talk to his mentor, where was she? At the end of the line? Oh this is really good. Remember, a mentor can help you understand the competition you wish to begin. Th ey will teach you how to train, enter the show, and share ideas how to succeed and enjoy yourself. So you say, ‘What makes us want to believe what you just wrote?’ 25 years of experience handling, showing, breeding, playing and just living with Miniature Pin- schers. Currently, I write for the American Kennel Club Gazette and prose many other articles for di ff erent magazines. I have been honored with many cham- pions who have competed to Best In Show, Best in Specialty Show, National Specialty winner, and have shown all over the world. Most of all breeding and show- ing has allowed me to meet wonderful people, enjoy some great times, and most of all live with some great dogs that will remain in my heart forever. Join us! For more information on this amazing little breed, please check out the Miniature Pinscher Club of America website, www.

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