› Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer
Alert, Loyal, Intelligent

Miniature Schnauzer

Once used to patrol stables from intruders and vermin, the Miniature Schnauzer is now a very popular companion dog. This is a breed with much variety of temperament. 

You might hear words such as active, calm, quarrelsome, timid, high-strung, gentle and stubborn when describing this breed.  

Sometimes the dichotomy is striking—friendly and reversed; suspicious and accepting; great with kids, poor with kids, are all characteristics of the breed placed on it by schnauzer owners. 

Much of the problems of the breed are its popularity. 

When a breed gains fame, it tends to be over-bred especially by puppy mill breeders who do not make wise mating decision.  You end up with puppies that have some of the worse temperaments and dogs with health problems. 

Buyer beware—

the only way to adopt a schnauzer puppy is from a

reputable breeder and not a pet store.

Miniature Schnauzer Doing Agility

The breed was named for its distinctive muzzle; schnauzer means snout or small beard in German.  It is an intelligent, confident dog and responds well to training. 

They are eager to please and loyal to his family; they make great watch dogs but not guard dogs.  Being smart, active, and athletic helps this breed do extremely well in obedience and agility trials. 

They are active and do appreciate a daily walk and romp in the yard.  Since they are so versatile, they make great pets for people in apartments, city living, or suburban and rural locations.  Best of all, this breed screams Personality! 

They are eager to be a part of everyday life of their favorite family but if you are looking for a lap dog, the schnauzer may not be your best choice. 

These dogs usually do well with other dogs, but not with small pocket pets such as mice, gerbils or hamsters. 

Their prey instinct is just too great for them to distinguish other pet family members from vermin.

Appearance wise, the schnauzer is a sturdy dog with tail docked and often ears cropped.

Miniature Schnauzer Puppy

Ear cropping is controversial lately.  The AKC standard calls for either cropped or natural, but almost all winners at conformation shows have cropped ears.  Many people view this practice as cruel and painful with no other purpose than for cosmetic appeal.

In the UK, it is illegal to crop dog’s ears and in the most of continental Europe, the Miniature Schnauzer retains their naturally long tail and floppy ears.   In the U.S., Cropping usually is done around 8 weeks of age. 

Their coat is a typical terrier one with harsh, wiry outer coat and thick under coat.  They do not shed much which make them a good choice for people with allergies. 

Quick Facts

Other Names Used:  Mini Schnauzer

Affiliation:  AKC: Terrier UK: Utility

Size

        Weight  14-18 pounds

        Height:  12-14 inches

Coat Type:  Rough, wiry; thick undercoat

Colors: Black, White, Salt and Pepper, Black and Silver

Country of Origin:  Germany

Activity Level:  Moderate

Life Expectancy:  14 years

Good with Children:  Yes

Good with other pets:  Yes, but not with small pocket pets

History

The Miniature Schnauzer’s history dates back to the late nineteenth century where it developed from the Standard Schnauzer with the help of a little mixing of the Affenpinscher and the black poodle.

German farmers need a good assistant around the farm, but the standard schnauzers took up too much space and were costly to feed.  A smaller version was perfect. 

Its main purpose was to guard the farm and take care of any vermin problems although it was never breed to dig underground as most other terrier breeds.

Miniature Schnauzer

It was first shown as a separate breed in 1899. 

Breeding programs were nearly halted during World War I and II, but the Schnauzer was brought to the United States soon after the First World War.

It was recognized by the AKC in 1926 in the Terrier group, and it became very popular as a companion dog. 

In the UK, the breed is classified under the Utility Group.  The breed’s popularity still remains high even today.   

In 2012, the miniature schnauzer ranked 13 in the list of AKC popular dog breeds.

By 2014, the breed was listed as being 16th in popularity.

Personality

The Miniature Schnauzer’s charm and personality is hard to resist.  He is intelligent, hardy, and relatively healthy making him an easy dog to own. 

They do well around children if socialized properly and make a good choice for people who live in the city, suburbs or country.   (Basically anywhere). 

He is not only a great family dog, but is very popular with singles and seniors as well.  He is a self-confident, devoted family member although; he is just as likely to choose one member of the family to be his special person. This is a very social breed and individual members don’t like being left alone for very long. 

Many schnauzer owners will have more than one as they tend to do well with each other.  But small pets, beware.  He is not likely to be so friendly to your favorite guinea pig.

He is alert and quick to announce visitors, but due to his size, he could not be used as a guard dog.  Some are a little wary of strangers, but others are quite friendly and outgoing. 

His favorite activities are following his favorite people around, playing, and taking walks. If you want a devoted friend, someone who will keep you laughing, and a companion who will keep you active throughout your life, then you may have found your perfect breed.

Grooming the Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer

If you are not willing to groom yourself or have your dog professionally groomed, this is not the breed for you.  Anyone can learn how to clip their Schnauzer but most choose to visit the groomers every couple of months. 

Miniature Schnauzers have a double coat that consists of a soft undercoat and a top coat that is hard and wiry.  Grooming usually consists of clipping with an electric clipper or plucking or hand stripping which can be very time-consuming. 

Show dogs are usually plucked where companions are shaved.  Shaving the coat will leave it softer, whereas the hand stripping method retains the wiry feel. 

Schnauzers have a typical look or clip which is not too difficult to learn to do it yourself.  There is an excellent article on how to groom the schnauzer on the National Breed Club’s internet site. 

It is well worth the read if you think you’d like to learn how to clip the schnauzer.  The link is given at the bottom of this page.

Nails will need to be clipped and filed, teeth cleaned regularly, and the dog bathed whenever he is dirty. 

Before bathing a dog, whether it is a schnauzer or any other breed, it is always advisable to brush them out completely.  If brushing is not done, the bath will set in any mats and tangles making them much harder to remove afterwards.

Health

Miniature SchnauzerMiniature Schnauzer

Well-bred miniature schnauzers are healthy, but like all dogs they are prone to certain inherited diseases. 

Just because the disease is listed below does not mean your dog will get them.  There are many tests that breeders can do that will point out problems in their breeding stock. 

If you are interested in a schnauzer, ask the breed which genetic tests have been done on the parents. 

Allergies

Diabetes

Cataracts

Entropion

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

Melanoma

Urinary Stones (Urolithiasis)

Congential megaesophagus

Von Willebrand's disease

Comedone Syndrome is so common among Miniature Schnauzers that it's referred to as Schnauzer bumps. Dogs with this condition develop blackheads and scabs, usually involving the hair follicles on the back.

Pros

  • Relatively healthy breed
  • Easy to train
  • Good around children
  • Does well in practically any setting
  • Does not shed much—good for allergy sufferers

Cons

  • Can be yappy
  • Beware of questionable breeders
  • Needs extensive grooming

Did You Know?

The Miniature Schnauzer and the Australian terrier are the only Terriers not to come from the British Isles?

The Miniature Schnauzer is the most popular of the three Schnauzer breeds. (Giant, Standard & Miniature)

Resources

Breed Club: 

The American Miniature Schnauzer Club

Breed Rescue: 

Visit the national club to get a listing of local rescue organizations in your area

A to Z Small Breed Dog List


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