Theo is a Miniature Pinscher living in London.
This little lady is the CEO of Litos Banditos Dog Walking, enuring that dogs of London are getting sufficient daily mental and physical stimulation.
With help from mom Amie, Theo has built her Instagram page to nearly 11,000 followers.
While she may be a business owner, Theo likes to do some part-time modelling around the English capital.
We spoke to Amie to learn more about Theo and the Min Pin breed as well as her dog walking business.
1) How did you first encounter the Miniature Pinscher breed?
I grew up alongside my grandmother’s Doberman. She was the sweetest dog and I absolutely adored her. A few years after she passed away, I became obsessed with getting my own. It was when I realized that it wasn’t feasible for me to take care of a Doberman to the standard I would want to, that a friend said some fateful words to me: “Why don’t you get a Miniature Pinscher?” Up until that point, I had never heard of the breed. A quick Google search and I was obsessed.
2) What attracted you to the Miniature Pinscher breed?
Originally, it was the look of the breed because they resemble pocket-sized Dobermans. I was immediately smitten. As I began researching them though, I found out that their believed ancestors are actually German Pinschers, Italian Greyhounds, and Dachshunds. The more I read about them, the more I wanted one. They are known as “The King of Toys” and everything I read mentioned their intelligence which I thought would make for a great balance between physical exercise and mental stimulation.
3) How did you end up with Theo?
That’s actually a funny story. It was roughly 10 years after I found out that Miniature Pinschers existed that I got Theodore. Firstly my mother refused to let me get one while I was living with her (she will say now that she did it so that I would find Theodore one day.) I spent 10 years Googling them, watching YouTube videos about them, and generally longing for one. I moved around a couple of times in those years too, and it never seemed like the right time to introduce a new dog into my home. Once I had settled down into my flat close to Clapham Common with my partner, the longing for a Min Pin came back with a vengeance and I didn’t have anything holding me back! It still took almost a year of trying to find the right Min Pin. I knew already that I wanted to call my Min Pin Theodore because that’s the name that appeared in my mind the first time I saw a photo of one. My partner and I even registered her Instagram page a year before we got her. I had contacted a few breeders and for whatever reason, things hadn’t worked out. Then when I was at work one day, a lovely breeder from Lymington that I had e-mailed and not heard back from replied and told me that she had just had her iPad repaired and was able to access her e-mails again. She said that she had received many enquiries about her two Min Pin puppies, but because the timestamp of the e-mail showed I was one of the first to contact her, she would offer the chance of getting one to me before replying to the others. The day then became a scramble. I don’t drive, but I had friends who did who had said they would take me to collect a puppy once I had found one. But they were all busy. Out of nowhere, one of my best friends who I hadn’t spoken to at that point in ages called me and said “Hey, are you working in Sutton today by any chance? I wondered if you wanted to grab a coffee as I’m there at the moment doing some shopping.” I remember practically yelling “Paige, do you have your car?!” She did, and she agreed to drive me and my partner all the way to Lymington on a whim for the puppy. Once we got there, we were able to meet both of Theo’s parents (I found out Blue Min Pins are a thing) and then I realized I hadn’t confirmed with the breeder which puppy was still available. Originally I had wanted a boy, hence the name Theodore. But upon arrival we discovered only the little girl was still for sale. While discussing everything with the breeder, the female puppy pawed at the my leg and went to sleep in my lap once I had picked her up. I fell in love. And that’s how we ended up with a female Miniature Pinscher named Theodore.
4) Can you give us an insight into Theo’s personality?
Theo is without a doubt the most well-balanced dog I have ever spent time with. In a large part. I thank the friend who drove me to collect her for that. Paige is a qualified behaviorist and she spent the duration of the drive to Lymington giving me a crash-course in dog behavior because I had a loving Dachshund at home that suffered from fear anxiety. We wanted to make sure we did everything we possibly could right for Theodore, and Paige’s insights were genuinely eye opening. I’ve grown up with dogs my entire life; I don’t think there’s ever been a time where there wasn’t a dog in my home, and I thought I was the perfect dog lover until that drive with Paige. Before that journey, I had no idea about the social repercussions of continuously picking your dog up for example. We followed all of the advice Paige gave us when it comes to raising a new puppy, and it was incredible seeing what a difference it makes when you go in properly informed from the start about dog behavior.
Theodore is sociable with both humans and other dogs. She’s incredibly confident (her favourite breed of dogs to play with are Great Danes, and other than her Pomeranian pals, she doesn’t really seem too interested with dogs smaller than her, or those of her own size.) She’s athletic and curious; we happily walk around together for hours with no sense of an end destination as we both love to explore, and she so so so smart. I joke with people that I meet that Theodore is smarter than me. This is not an exaggeration. She learns new tricks and behaviours with ease, and seems to love performing them for people as much as she loves any kind of physical activity. She likes to cuddle on her own terms, but is also independent and happy to wander off into another room to entertain herself.
5) What does an average day look like for Theo?
Theo sleeps in our bed, and everyday without a doubt she emerges from beneath the duvet, lays on my chest, and gives me a morning cuddle. We then get up and I make her breakfast. She eats raw and I’m vegan so I keep as much of a distance as possible while maintaining a line of sight while she licks her bowl of Paleo Ridge clean and eats her sprats like a little seal. After she’s eaten she chooses to excuse herself from the room and will go back to bed for an hour or so while I go about my own morning routine in the living room. At some point she’ll make a reappearance and we’ll go for a short morning walk before I head out to work. Being a professional dog walker myself, it’s great because Theo can be outside for most of the day with her “clients” (we call her the CEO of the company). Once we’re finished work for the day, Theo goes to “school.” This is where we spend 30 mins or so practicing a new trick we’re working on for the week, or doing some free-shaping. She snoozes for a lot of the afternoon, and then it’s dinner time in the evening (where this time I’m treated to the sight of her spreading webbed duck feet at me) and then it’s cuddles and play until bed time. On the weekends, we usually head out for a wander around London with my camera. Theo loves exploring as much as I do and she makes the perfect model for my photography. Before Covid-19 we spent a lot of time seeing our friends at dog-friendly events too, which we miss so much.
6) Are Miniature Pinscher good family dogs?
I don’t have any children so I can’t answer this with certainty but I can’t see why they wouldn’t be if you take into consideration the comments I will make in the upcoming questions. I will say though that Theodore has always behaved perfectly with any children she has met. The only thing I could think of being a problem is that a Min Pin would know that it could outsmart a child and get away with whatever it wanted.
7) Does Theo get along with other dogs?
She sure does. We have yet to meet a dog she hasn’t liked or at least tolerated. As I mentioned before, she’s quite the character that shows more interest in certain breeds of dog over others, but we’ve never had any negative issues with her. On the contrary, she seems to have quite a positive effect on dogs that have their own behavioral problems. Through my dog walking business, we have worked with the owners of a couple of dogs who weren’t able to properly socialise with others. Both the owners and I have noticed that Theodore seems to have quite a calming effect on their dogs, so it’s nice that after a few sessions she becomes a friend to them so that they don’t have to walk alone and avoid other dogs at all costs.
8) Are Miniature Pinschers easy to train?
Yes and no. The first thing you need to know about training a Miniature Pinscher is that they are a lot smarter than you think. Do not underestimate their intelligence otherwise they will boss you around. The second thing you need to know is that they are not as stubborn as the internet would have you believe (more of Min Pin myths later.) If you speak to a behaviorist beforehand about how to establish a respectful relationship between you and a puppy, I would think that a Miniature Pinscher is one of the easier dogs to train. Theo seems to enjoy mental stimulation over running around outside, so from the start we made obedience training a game full of positive reinforcement and rewards. As an example, she learned to do a handstand off of the wall in around 20 minutes and has been able to retain every trick she’s ever learned enough to go through them one by one during free-shaping.
9) Do Miniature Pinscher require a lot of exercise?
Not really. I will say though that I would recommend at least 30 minutes to an hour a day as they gain weight very quickly and can become quite restless inside if they don’t get enough exercise. Theo is obviously out a lot longer than that as she enjoys it and we make sure she has lots of rest breaks throughout the day. Min Pins do have quite spindly legs that they trot around on, and do like to jump around quite a bit, so we make sure to try and build muscle on Theo to reduce any risk of injury.
10) Is there a big Miniature Pinscher community in London?
There never used to be, I don’t think. Before getting Theo, I had never heard of any or seen any around, though obviously they existed! In the last year though, I’ve seen a noticeable growth of people owning them in London. Before Covid, I was organizing a Miniature Pinscher meet-up in London for anybody with one who wanted to attend and we were able to get into contact with quite a few people! On Instagram there seems to be quite a lot of new puppies in and around London too; we even found out two of them are Theo’s cousins! It’s great to see more people with them, and on Instagram especially there’s a few owners we talk to that are training them the right way and it’s so beautiful to see that they’ll no doubt end up with well-balanced dogs like Theodore.
11) Are there any stereotypes surrounding Miniature Pinscher that you’d like to debunk?
Yes, there are, and my answer here may be quite controversial in the Min Pin community. There are certain myths about Min Pins that I just don’t believe. The biggest one is that separation anxiety is unavoidable and the statement I hear in the community every day that “all Min Pins pick one person to love and become obsessed with and will be aggressive towards anybody who isn’t them.” I even had a vet ask if Theo needed to be muzzled the first time he met her because he had heard the same. Now, I can’t say for certain as I’ve only ever owned one Min Pin, but all the others I have met in person are being trained in what I consider the right way from the get-go and don’t have any aggression issues. I believe that separation anxiety and dogs becoming overly protective of their owners is an issue that isn’t breed specific and is down to initial training. Theodore loves being close to us as much as she seems to love leaving the room and hanging out on her own whenever she wants. Laying in our bed and looking out of the window is one of her favorite things to do and she’s not interested in company when doing it. Min Pins being too stubborn to train is something I hear every day too, which just isn’t true. I was told to never, ever, even consider letting Theodore off leash because Min Pins are too stubborn to be recall trained. I spent over a year training her with a long line, and when it was time unhook her, it seemed she had been ready a long time before I was. You’ll also hear that they bark a lot. Or yap. This one I’m unsure of as Theo is very quiet the majority of the time even when other dogs are barking around her, but I never trained that behavior specifically in any way.
12) Would you recommend Miniature Pinscher to a first-time dog owner?
I would. However, as much as I don’t believe a lot of the unwanted stereotypes I read about in the Min Pin community, I do believe that if considering a Miniature Pinscher you should research the breed thoroughly and want a dog that will be an intelligent companion to spend your time with and not a lazy cuddle buddy. They don’t need an abundance of outdoor exercise and are so compact, they make great apartment dogs. But remember their curious nature and keep an eye on them (Theo has a secret love for socks, toilet paper, and… door stops). You may think you’re the alpha in the relationship, but remember the Min Pin thinks it’s as big, if not bigger than you. Instead talk to a behaviorist or do some intensive reading, and aim to have a relationship with your Min Pin that is built on a foundation of mutual respect. And socialise them early. If done correctly the Miniature Pinscher will become a fantastic member of your family.
13) Can you give us an insight into your dog walking business?
As I mentioned before, I’ve always had dogs and have fallen in love with pretty much every dog I’ve ever met. Not too long ago, my Dachshund fell ill and passed away and I was overcome with guilt by how much I was working at my previous job at the end of his life. He had done so much for me through the time that I had him, and him passing away combined with the mental exhaustion that the job was causing me resulted in me making a choice to shift careers. I had always wanted to be a professional dog walker, but wasn’t too sure about the logistics of becoming one. One of the good things that had come from my last year in my previous job role, was that I learned so much about running a business and after I met a new friend who was a dog walker, I felt confident enough to take the leap to starting my own business. I saved enough money to be able to support myself through the transition and used my down time to start preparing everything. The dogs are at the forefront of my company; it’s called Lito’s Banditos Dog Walking and Theo is the CEO (a play on Min Pins being the boss and her instagram name being @litogodfather) and the catalyst for me finally doing it was wanting to ensure Theo lived the best possible life I could offer her. I vow to treat every dog in my care as if they were my own, and Theodore gets to meet and spend her time with lots of friends. I work with so many different sizes and ages, and I especially appreciate being able to bring joy to the senior dogs while their owners are at work. I want to make sure every dog I walk feels as much love and joy as possible in the day. I’ve also started offering pet photography sessions, as photography is another love of mine and I love capturing the personalities of the dogs that I walk. I take my DSLR with me on walks, and love sharing our adventures with their owners throughout the week. In the future, I would like to do a behavioral course, as I truly can’t stress the value of knowing the distinction between what a behaviorist can offer you vs a trainer. I live in Battersea, operate completely on foot, and the groups I walk are carefully considered with the owners input and their dogs social needs are paramount. I also do solo walks if necessary, and spend my days between Clapham Common and Wandsworth Common.
14) What advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now if you could go back to before you got Theo?
I’m lucky enough that I had all the information I needed right from the beginning. I was borderline obsessed with the breed so I did an incredible amount of research, and was fortunate enough that the person I ended up in a car with for six hours was a behaviorist who was willing to share a wealth of knowledge with me for free. The only thing that stands out in my mind, is that when they say Min Pins are escape artists, that is the one stereotype that is not exaggerated. Once they know how to get out of a harness, they will not hesitate or struggle to show off their Houdini moves whenever they want you to get where you’re going quicker. Invest in a secure harness (we use the Ruffwear Webmaster and Flagline) with a belly strap, as once they know they can back out of a harness, it will happen before you even know they are considering it.
Miniature Pinschers Pros And Cons
Miniature Pinscher Pros
• Intelligence – Incredibly smart and thus easy to train if you’re interested in tricks and agility.
• Easy Coat – Min Pins have a single coat and are easy to maintain with minimal need for grooming.
• Loyal – Min Pins will become your best friend regardless of how they’re trained. Do it correctly to ensure mutual respect.
• Size – Their compact size makes them great for any home.
Miniature Pinscher Cons
• Escape Artists – Will figure out how to escape any situation and most harnesses if not secure.
• Sun Lover – Your Min Pin will try to cook themselves in the sun without fear of repercussions.
• Overly Curious – Min Pins always want to know what’s going on around them. This means they need strong recall training to make sure they don’t bother strangers while they’re eating etc because though they don’t want to eat the food, they need to know what it is.