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Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman: Which of These Two Powerful Pups Is Right for You?

miniature pinscher vs doberman

The Doberman is a popular companion canine for individuals and families who want a family pet as well as a faithful guard dog.

Dobermans are also popular in a variety of working K-9 roles, including security, military, service, therapy, and search and rescue.

Many standard-size dog breeds are also being bred in smaller sizes today. It might seem like size is all that separates the standard size Doberman Pinscher and the Miniature Pinscher, but is this really the case?

Let’s find out now! Read on to learn everything you need to know about the Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman dogs.

Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman

The miniature Pinscher and the Doberman Pinscher, or Doberman, are often thought to be the same dog breed just bred in different sizes.

However, as PetMD points out, the two dogs may only be distantly related and are actually two different breeds.

Watch a MinPin vs Full Size Doberman

In this short YouTube video, you can get a good visual idea of the size difference between a Miniature Pinscher, or “MinPin,” and a full-size Doberman Pinscher.

But the video also highlights differences beyond that of sheer size. As you can see and hear, the Miniature Pinscher clearly has no idea he is a small dog!

A Brief History of the Doberman Pinscher

As the Doberman Rescue League explains, the Doberman Pinscher dog takes their breed name from the breed founder, a German tax collector by the name of Louis Dobermann (with two “n”s).

In many places outside the United States, the Doberman breed name is still spelled with two “n”s at the end, and the term “Pinscher,” which means “terrier,” is dropped from the breed name altogether.

The Doberman Club of America (DPCA) states that the Doberman breed is actually a relatively recent creation that only dates back to the 20th century.

Louis Dobermann wanted to create the perfect guard dog to protect him while he traveled as a tax collector.

He succeeded so well that the Doberman became a top pick for military, police, K-9 private security and guard work as well as service and search and rescue jobs.

Breed development records indicate the Doberman may have evolved from crossbreeding the Manchester Terrier, English Greyhound, Rottweiler, German Pinscher, and Weimeraner.

Today, the Doberman (spelled with one “n”) Pinscher is the 40th most popular AKC-registered purebred dog breed (out of 197 registered purebred dog breeds).

A Brief History of the Miniature Pinscher

According to Vetstreet, the dog breed that is known as the Miniature Pinscher today was first classified as a terrier, not as a Doberman!

In fact, not only does the miniature Pinscher quite possibly pre-date the standard size Doberman Pinscher by at least two centuries but they are genetically related only in passing.

The Miniature Pinscher has a genetic history that includes the Dachshund, the Manchester Terrier, the German Pinscher (a predecessor to the Doberman Pinscher), and the Italian Greyhound.

Historically speaking, the Miniature Pinscher breed first began to take shape in Europe, predominantly in Germany and Scandinavia. The MinPin didn’t even make it to the United States until the early 1900s.

Today, the American Kennel Club (AKC) lists the Miniature Pinscher as the 77th most popular purebred dog breed in their registry, which includes 197 different registered breeds.

Traits the Miniature Pinscher and Doberman Share in Common

As the above brief breed histories highlight, the miniature Pinscher and the standard Doberman do share some genetic background in common.

In particular, both dog breeds have been influenced by the Manchester Terrier and the German Pinscher, a now extinct dog breed.

The influence of these two shared dog breeds gives both the Miniature Pinscher and the Doberman lightning-quick reflexes, above-average canine intelligence, and superior guarding and watchdog instincts.

Both the Miniature Pinscher and the Doberman are also considered to be highly affectionate with their families – to the point of being clingy and demanding – but guarded and aloof towards strangers.

And both the MinPin and the Doberman Pinscher are superior guarding and watchdogs who will not hesitate to sound the alarm at the first sign of a possible threat.

But while the Miniature Pinscher and the standard Doberman Pinscher do share some wonderful traits in common, there are also some significant differences you will want to keep in mind.

In the following sections here, we will review these differences by category so you can get a side-by-side look at the miniature pinscher vs Doberman.

This is one of the best ways to decide which of these dogs is the best fit for you.

Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman Size

Perhaps the most obvious difference between the Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman is in terms of sheer size. One dog is big and the other dog is, well, miniature!

So let’s take a look at exactly how much of a size difference we are talking about here.

Miniature Pinscher size

According to the official breed profile published by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Miniature Pinscher belongs to the Toy Group of registered purebred dog breeds.

MinPin adult dogs typically weigh eight to 10 pounds and stand 10″ to 12.5″ tall (paw bottoms to shoulder tops). Overall, they are neat, compact, and slim yet sturdy in their build.

Doberman size

The AKC Doberman dog breed profile states that male and female adult Doberman dogs do tend to differ in terms of height and weight.

Female adult Dobermans typically stand 24″ to 26″ tall (shoulder tops to paw bottoms) and weigh between 60 and 90 pounds.

Male adult Doberman dogs typically stand 26″ to 28″ tall and weigh 75 to 100 pounds.

Dobermans are also said to be sturdy and compact in their build, appearing tall and slim yet muscular and powerful.

Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman Temperament

Whether you are planning to invest in a puppy or you want to rescue an adult dog, you can count on spending a lot of time with your new companion canine.

So it is important to think about whether your new dog’s temperament will be a good match with your own temperament as well as your time availability and lifestyle.

In this section, we take a look at the defining temperament for the Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman dog breeds.

Miniature Pinscher temperament

What is so interesting about the miniature Pinscher is that these dogs are typically not recommended for beginner dog owners. The MinPin might be small in size, but that is the only thing small about this dog breed.

Miniature Pinschers don’t appear to know they are small. They bark often and loudly. They have extremely high energy and are very athletic. They need lots of attention. They can be destructive inside the home if bored or left alone.

Some people love the high-intensity temperament of the Miniature Pinscher. As the Miniature Pinscher Club of America (MPCA) points out, if you enjoy the terrier and schnauzer dog breeds, you might find yourself falling in love with the MinPin.

Doberman temperament

According to VCA Animal Hospital, Dobermans have a reputation for being playful, gentle with children, easy to train, sensitive and loving with their people.

They are also known to be brave and fearless in serving and protecting their charges, whether human or animal, from any threats.

However, Dobermans are also naturally energetic and really crave mental and physical activity. A Doberman will want to get lots of activity and exercise and may become destructive if bored or lonely.

This is worth considering if you have to be away from home a lot or do not enjoy an active lifestyle outdoors.

Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman Training Needs

So what is it like to train a Miniature Pinscher vs a Doberman dog? Here we can learn a lot just by studying canine intelligence test scores.

Miniature Pinscher training needs

Miniature Pinscher dogs are smart. But they don’t have the kind of smarts that translates readily into training.

According to Science Alert, MinPins are ranked 37th out of 79 purebred dog breeds in terms of overall canine smarts for training purposes.

This means that Miniature Pinschers have less natural drive to learn quickly to please their humans. It may take more persistence, more training sessions, more patience, and more discipline to train a Miniature Pinscher.

This is why MinPins generally is not recommended as a top pick if you have never owned or trained a dog before. An inadequately trained and socialized Miniature Pinscher can develop problem barking, nipping, or even biting behaviors.

Doberman training needs

In the same study of training-related canine intelligence, Science Alert reports that the Doberman ranks fifth out of 79 purebred dog breeds.

This is considerably higher than the miniature Pinscher ranks!

Doberman dogs score much higher because they have a higher drive to please their humans.

As a true working dog breed bred to guard and protect their people, Doberman dogs have a high drive to learn and master new skills quickly and repeat them flawlessly as needed.

So while the standard Doberman dog is large and powerful, which can feel intimidating in this respect, this is a much better breed pick for a first-time dog owner when training time arrives.

Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman Shedding and Grooming

The area where the miniature Pinscher and Doberman are perhaps the most alike is in coat type and shedding.

While the majority of miniature Pinscher dogs will be single-coated and the Doberman is typically double-coated, both dogs will shed lightly year-round. The Doberman may also shed more intensely as the seasons change.

Both dogs will be easy to brush and groom and neither needs to be bathed frequently unless they roll in something.

Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman Life Expectancy

For general purposes, the smaller the dog breed, the longer the life expectancy.

This seems to hold true even though canine researchers still don’t fully understand why. And it certainly is the case for the Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman dog breeds.

The miniature Pinscher typically lives 12 to 16 years, while the Doberman typically lives 10 to 12 years.

Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman Genetic Health

The number one criteria for selecting a new puppy or rescue dog should always be health. In other words, if your new dog comes to you with undetected genetic health issues, you may be in for an expensive and heartbreaking journey together.

The Canine Health Information Center, CHIC, maintains a database of known genetic health issues that affect different purebred dog breeds. You can learn a lot by reviewing known health conditions for different dog breeds.

In this section, we review the major genetic health issues known to affect the Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman dog breeds.

Miniature Pinscher genetic health concerns

CHIC states that the MinPin can have the following heritable health problems.

  • Patellar luxation.
  • Congenital cardiac and cardiac issues.
  • Eye issues.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis.

Doberman genetic health concerns

According to CHIC, the Doberman, or Doberman Pinscher as this breed is called in America, may be affected by these major genetic health issues.

  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Cardiac concerns.
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis.
  • von Willebrand’s disease.
  • Eye issues.

Deep-chested large dog breeds like the Doberman can also contract bloat (stomach torsion) where the stomach twists. Canine researchers do not understand exactly why this occurs but it is frequently fatal even with prompt veterinary treatment.

VCA Animal Hospital explains that there is a preventative operation, gastropexy, that can protect your Doberman from bloat. Often, dog owners have the operation done when their dog is spayed or neutered.

Miniature Pinscher vs Doberman: Which is Right for You

Now you have a comprehensive overview of the MinPin vs Doberman so you can compare and contrast and decide which dog is the right pick for you.