Why Are Miniature Pinschers So Aggressive (And Nine Things To Do About It)

Why are Miniature Pinschers so aggressive? That’s a good question. Have you ever met a Chihuahua? Mini Pinschers are dogs where you can firmly say, “Do not judge something by its cover.” Being a little guy in the hands of an amateur owner could be mischievous at best, earning itself the question, “Why are Mini Pinschers so Aggressive?”.

Some say that Miniature Pinschers are aggressive for a breed of dogs. Although some studies have shown characteristics in smaller dog breeds that suggest higher levels of aggression, the Miniature Pinscher may be nothing more than misunderstood.

Let’s dive into what makes the Miniature Pinscher tick, from its history (which we need to know to understand the breed now) to what studies have told us. This article is a deep dive into the Miniature Pinscher and the rumors of their high aggression. Let’s get to the bottom of this!

A Miniature History Of Miniature Pinschers

In contrast to the common belief that the mini Pinschers are related to the Doberman due to their similar appearance despite the difference in size,  Pinschers are considered much older and distinct. 

A breed of dog bred in Germany specifically to help keep rats and rodents in farmhouses and stables in check back in the 1800s, that’s the Pinscher, all right. 

What’s In A Name? Or Should We Say, Was Ist In Einem Namen?

It was also once called Reh Pinscher due to its similarity to the Reh; a tiny female deer once inhabited Germany’s forests. 

As with its name, the term “Pinscher” means “biter” in German and has derived from the dogs’ habit of jumping and fiercely biting at rodents. 

Additionally, the name also came from the English Language “Pinscher.” Meaning “one who seizes or pinches” a dog when it deems its owner unfit for being the pack’s alpha may take and dominate it.

Doggy Personalities – Why Are Miniature Pinschers So Aggressive?

Despite their small size, Mini Pinschers have a dominant and protective personality. Taking a fearless attitude toward other dogs or animals 15 times their height, earning them the title “King of Toys.” 

The breed is often oblivious that they are classified as a toy breed, believing they are the “big guy” among the other species. 

Learn about dog personalities at GermanPinscher.Dog.
What a cute crew of misfits. Every dog is different, just like us.

Also, the Min Pin is very curious about its surroundings. Hence, when taking care of one, a rule is to safely put all things essential, which could harm the Min Pin, away in a safe place.

Being a breed of dog with the primary purpose of hunting and killing rodents, Mini Pinschers have an upbeat attitude and an energetic lifestyle and tend to get aggressive the more time they remain stagnant at home, making them prone to biting and showing aggression. 

Additionally, you could also say that they are “Houdini” in their respective way. Finding ways to escape, this dog is a master of the art, so better to secure the areas where they usually stay and rest to avoid such events.

Daily Exercise Is Essential To Lower Aggression

Like with other dogs, it is advised that they have at least 20 minutes of exercise per day. Not just to keep them healthy and avoid any health issues regarding obesity. But mentally and emotionally stimulate them and prevent any destructive behaviors from forming since being a very active dog is inherent with the Mini Pinschers. 

Letting them run around the backyard or having a stroll in the neighborhood will suffice. Mini Pinschers could also be a little loud with their incessant barking when stimulated. 

And it is just their way of showing affection to their owners or being cautious of other animals and strangers unfamiliar to them. 

Territoriality And Aggression

A Miniature Pinscher stands tall and proud in this image on GermanPinscher.Dog.
Miniature Pinscher. A tough little cousin of the German Pinscher.

Since Miniature Pinschers are very territorial and protective, socializing them with others would greatly help in the long run. Especially with children who are also present in the household may tend to roughhouse a little too much. 

Min Pins, with their personality, will not just let it go and could retaliate and show aggression which is a big no for dog owners—giving the generalized question, “ Why are Mini Pinschers so aggressive?”.

Dispelling Myth With Science

There is further to consider in contrast to the common belief that Mini Pinschers are naturally aggressive. It has also been observed that dogs, whatever the breed is, could exhibit and be naturally aggressive due to genetics or the environment they grew up in (that helped form their current behavior).

Researchers also found that the breed of smaller dogs is less destructive than larger breeds due to differences in size. And owners pass it also the dogs’ energetic behavior and find it cute, leading to dire consequences if left unchecked.

Miniature Pinschers can be more aggressive than typical German Pinschers. Find out more at GermanPinscher.Dog.
Miniature Pinscher dog

Breeding In Aggression

The research study “Breed Difference in Aggression” by Deborah L. Duffy, James A Serpell, and Yusing Hsu also concluded that the difference between the line of distinct breeding lines could also be a root cause. 

That is a possible root cause of why Mni Pinschers or any other breed may show aggression, with fear-induced aggression as its main culprit—having 30% and 20% ratings respectively on their chances of biting. 

Researchers found that for smaller breeds, the kind of aggression is Human Directed Aggression. Due to the size of these dogs, almost all owners tolerate it passing it off as their dogs are energetic before it’s too late.

Studies Show They Tend To Be Aggressive Compared To Other Breeds

According to a Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science study that surveyed 30 dog breeds, Mini Pinschers, Dachshunds and Chihuahua are most likely to bite because they are smaller breeds that tend to be more fearful and may lash out in self-defense. Alternatively,” small dogs” reactivity could also result from their owners’ behavior.

” Owners tend to infantize small dog breeds and think of them as being helpless infants,” Serpell told Live Science. Due to this reason, pet owners may be overly protective of small breeds and may not correctly socialize them or teach them how to react to stressful situations appropriately.

Aggression And Growth Factor Gene

Another theory supported by the studies found a link between aggressive behavior and the growth factor gene that makes small dogs small. But the research has shown that smaller dogs are not just more aggressive than larger dogs. They also tend to bark more and exhibit separation anxiety, credence that genetics could also influence a dog’s behavior.

According to The Humane Society of the United States, there are different types of aggression. These behaviors apply to Mini Pinschers and all dog breeds and define the three most prominent ones below. As responsible dog owners, we’ll follow with another six forms of aggression that we must be aware of in our interactions with dogs.

The 9 Forms Of Aggression In Dogs

  • Redirected Aggression is considered the most common form of aggression in dogs. According to The Human Society of the United States, owners often misunderstand it. It commonly occurs when dogs get provoked by something and cannot retaliate, redirecting their aggression onto someone else.
  • Fear Motivated Aggression occurs When a dog believes that he may be in harm’s way. It may bite or show aggression, perceiving that it’s the only way to protect himself, activating the fight or flight response.
  • Protective or Territorial Aggression is a type of aggression where dogs protect their “territory” – food, home, owners, or even toys. And may growl, snarl or even snap at someone they perceive as a threat.

Besides the three most prominent ones stated by The Humane Society of the United States, some of the remaining types of aggression are as follows:

  • Possessive Aggression happens when dogs protect food, chew toys, bones, or other objects of value to them—commonly known as Resource Guarding. Dogs can typically adopt this behavior from their parent or littermates. Even pups a few weeks old could exhibit growling over food, especially when they perceive another dog or someone as their rival.
  • Defensive Aggression: Like fear-motivated aggression, dogs may attack in self-defense instead of running away first. Dogs also tend to indicate that they want to be left alone before biting.
  • Social Aggression: Dogs without proper socialization with other dogs may exhibit aggression in social situations they are not accustomed to dealing with in their everyday lives.
  • Frustration Aggression: One’s dogs may aggressively behave when restricted on a leash or in a fenced yard. Since when dogs become stimulated and cannot act on that stimuli, they may find other ways to redirect it.
  • Pain-related Aggression: Like humans, dogs may also redirect their pain into a way of aggression when injured or suffering an illness.
  • Predatory Aggression mainly occurs when dogs chase wildlife, resurfacing its predatory behavior, which could be particularly dangerous when a child plays chase with a dog. Dogs think it is merely an innocent game of chase but may quickly bite the child due to predatory aggression.

Recognizing Aggressive Warning Signs

Do we recognize all of the warning signals and actions that a dog may exhibit hostility with now that we know the different types of aggression? 

Based on an article written by the American Society for the Prevention of cruelty to animals (ASCPA) that a dog may show signs of an attack that can exhibit some of the following varying intense behaviors : 

  • Snarling
  • Snapping
  • Showing Teeth
  • Biting
  • Becoming still and rigid
  • Lunging Forward
  • Growling

Knowing these warning signs could help us to avoid any possible dangerous situation. According to an article written by Kelsey Cruz back in 2015 on Policy Genius, there are different steps to ensure someone can safely combat aggression in dogs. 

Since handling aggression in dogs is no easy task, there is no simple magic trick to resolve it overnight, especially if the intensity is severe. But with a lot of patience, planning, and affection, you can resolve aggression in most dogs.

What To Do When Aggression Starts (8 Steps To Peace)

Learn what to do when a dog is aggressive at GermanPinscher.Dog.
Don’t be afraid. Be informed.
  • Relax. Having an aggressive dog, whether a tiny pinscher or another breed, can be incredibly exhausting. Not just for the owner but also for the dog, since dogs, like humans, can absorb and feed off some of our energy and may assume that they are protecting their owner by being aggressive. 

So take a deep breath, relax, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It just passes to the dog!

  • Assess your dog’s behavior. Consider the possible causes of a dog’s aggressiveness before taking severe actions. Is it possible that your dog is in discomfort? Is it simply the way he grew up in case he was adopted? Is he prone to exhibiting aggression merely when being fed, which is known as resource guarding? 

Assessing one’s dog may be beneficial since one can easily plan precautions and measures by tackling the main root of why he is aggressive—avoiding all the reasons your dog exhibits aggression while resolving it.

“When managing aggression in dogs, it’s essential to identify the trigger and pay close attention to his behavior,” says Dr.Jill Sackman, Bluepearls Specialty + Emergency Pet Hospital head of behavioral medicine. He also stated that it is best to treat dogs’ aggression immediately when the warning signs arise.

  • Talk to your Vet. Because dogs cannot communicate with people, sending your dog to the veterinarian can be a lifesaver when determining if the dog’s aggression is related to discomfort or an underlying ailment, as even the friendliest dog in agony may lash out and channel its suffering onto others.
  • Seek Professional Training Help. We all know that aggression issues do not go away quickly by themselves overnight, and contacting a behavioral specialist like a qualified trainer might do the trick to make the situation less stressful and dangerous (and better for the dog, too, of course).
  • Be considerate. If you think your dog might bite someone, as its owner, you must consider keeping him confined and away from possible situations that may trigger his aggression.
  • Neuter your dog. Besides helping control the pet population, fixed dogs are less likely to display dominance, territorial, protective and sex-related aggression.
  • Exercise. Dogs have tons of energy (like a rambunctious child) they need to burn, and lack of proper training could be one of the reasons for them to be frustrated and show aggression. 

A 20-minute walk around the block or letting a dog run around the yard could do wonders for their personality (it might even help you, too!). Primarily breeds like a Miniature Pinscher who is energetic require exercise to burn off some of that energy.

  • Refrain from punishment. Punishing dogs due to bad behavior could make things worst, especially for the breed of dogs that are dominantly aggressive. Instilling fearful thinking that you are a threat and the only way to protect yourself is by showing aggression through snarling and biting leads to a dangerous situation.
  • Encourage Positive Reinforcement. Use rewards ( treats, toys, praises, or anything your dogs find rewarding). It could make dogs think that by repeating any actions that owners find pleasing, they believe you will reward them. It is one of the most powerful tools when shaping one’s dog’s behavior.

My Last Thought On Aggressive Min Pins, GPs, And Other Breeds

Overall, aggression in German Pinschers, Miniature Pinschers, and all breeds of dogs is a complex problem to solve, and it may take time and patience to do so. Even the most aggressive ones could be pleasant with early observation and action. You may even want to consider the help of a behavior specialist.

I’ve found in my experience that nine times out of ten, we can blame the human misunderstanding of dog behavior as the primary cause of the dog’s torment. 

We, as humans, often tend to look at things with a very jaded and centric perspective. If we step back and look at the dog’s needs and focus on helping them and understanding them, we find that there may be things we could do differently to help adjust their behavior. 

Most importantly, we must seek help from others like our vet or a qualified trainer. Remember that you will likely require as much training as the dog. 

Sources

  1. Santora Et.Al. (2021) Why are small dogs so fierce? <https://www.livescience.com/why-small-dogs-are-fierce.html>
  2. Duffy, Hsu , Serpell Et.Al. (2008) Breed Difference in canine aggression. <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233995885_Breed_differences_in_canine_aggression>
  3. Bender Et.Al. (2021) How to Stop Aggressive Behavior in Dogs. <https://www.thesprucepets.com/dogs-and-aggression-1118229>
  4. Roberts Et. Al (2016) Stop Your Dog Being Aggressive to other Dogs. <https://www.animeddirect.co.uk/advice/stop-dog-aggressive-dogs/>
  5. Blue Pearl (2017) Understanding Aggression in Dogs <https://bluepearlvet.com/pet-blog/aggression-in-dogs/>
  6. Miniature Pinscher (n.d) <http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/miniature-pinscher#overview>
  7. Dogtime.com:  “ Miniature Pinscher” Miniature Pinscher (n.d) <https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/miniature-pinscher#/slide/1>
  8. American Kennel Club (n.d) Miniature Pinscher <https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/miniature-pinscher/>
  9. Cruz Et.Al ( 2015) How to Handle an Aggressive Dog <https://www.policygenius.com/blog/how-to-handle-an-aggressive-dog/>

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