An overall friendly, smart, and obedient breed, the Miniature Schnauzer ranks highly as one of America’s most popular dog breeds. A member of the Terrier group, the Miniature Schnauzer is the smallest of the three Schnauzer breeds, and his adorable personality makes him the ideal family dog. This breed originated in Germany in the 15th century and may have been developed from the smallest dogs of the Standard Schnauzer breed, or from crosses between other small breeds to form a rat-hunting farm dog. The Miniature Schnauzer is unique from other Terrier breeds in that he has no British blood in his veins.
Characteristics of the Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer is a beautiful, bright breed with a distinct appearance and personality.
The Miniature Schnauzer is called “miniature” for a reason- he only weighs between 11 to 20 pounds and stands between 12 and 14 inches tall. He is the smallest of the Schnauzer breeds, and many love him for his convenient, portable size. Fans of the breed admire his “sporty good looks”. The Miniature Schnauzer has a “square-shaped”, sturdy build with a wiry double coat that can be seen in black, pepper and salt, black and silver, and pure white, although the pure white color is not officially recognized. His tail is naturally slender and short but may be docked if necessary.
The Miniature Schnauzer has a temperament that is never overaggressive, nor timid. The Miniature Schnauzer is alert and spirited, friendly and intelligent, and eager to please his owner by his strong sense of obedience. This breed can make good watch dogs because, although they have a strong territorial instinct, they are not prone to act on this instinct in an aggressive manner. For instance, when encountering a stranger, the Miniature Schnauzer is much more likely to bark than to bite. However, this can become quite annoying for your neighbors if your Miniature Schnauzer is left outside to bark all day. They are also very playful and will often invent their own games to play if they are left bored.
Because Miniature Schnauzers were previously bred as rat-catchers, they do not make good pets in homes that already have rodents as pets. They may also chase cats and other small animals. Unlike most other Terrier breeds, the Miniature Schnauzer can adapt to living in households with other dogs as pets. Miniature Schnauzers can make great family dogs and can play well with children under supervision, but due to their prey drive, babies and very small children should not play with the Miniature Schnauzer without supervision.
The Miniature Schnauzer can suffer from separation anxiety. He will love to follow you around all day, especially if you’re his favorite person of the household, and Miniature Schnauzers have been known to choose favorites. Miniature Schnauzers have a very high energy level and must be played with frequently, lest they get too bored and begin tearing up the couch.
You can expect your Miniature Schnauzer to live between 12 and 15 years of age.
Caring for the Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzers require their specific needs to be met in order to maintain a life of health and happiness.
Your Miniature Schnauzer will require a high-quality dog food- wet or dry– that is appropriate for his age- puppy, adult, senior, etc. Treats can be a valuable tool to use during training but avoid feeding your pet too many treats as this can cause obesity, which can lead to many other problems. In addition to high-quality food, make sure that your Miniature Schnauzer always has clean, fresh water available to drink, as he is an active breed. You should consult your veterinarian if you are concerned about your pet’s diet or weight.
Despite their small size, Miniature Schnauzers do not make for great lap dogs due to their high energy level. They can live in apartments or large homes, but don’t expect them to lounge around in their doggy bed all day- your Miniature Schnauzer will want to be up and moving around. A walk each day and possibly a trip to the dog park to run around and play fetch will give your Miniature Schnauzer the exercise he wants and needs. Your dog will especially love any physical activity that involves his owners. Be careful not to let him off a leash when not in a fenced-in area, though, because of his tendency to chase small animals.
The Miniature Schnauzer is one of the easiest breeds to train. He is lively and eager to please you and will learn very quickly. However, make sure that the training sessions are fun and engaging, as the intelligent and active nature of the Miniature Schnauzer can produce a tendency for boredom. Historically, Miniature Schnauzers have done very well in competitions of agility and obedience. It is a good idea to provide your pet with puppy socialization classes starting from an early age.
Your Miniature Schnauzer’s thick double coat (a wiry topcoat and a soft undercoat) will require rather frequent brushing and combing for an optimal appearance. The breed is considered hypoallergenic and sheds very little. Because the grooming required for your Miniature Schnauzer will be extensive, many owners opt to have their Miniature Schnauzer professionally groomed once every five to eight weeks. During grooming your Miniature Schnauzer will also receive a bath, but you should aim to bathe him at least every month. Nails, teeth, and ears should all be cleaned regularly as well, either by his owners, a professional groomer, or a veterinarian.
There are a few conditions that the Miniature Schnauzer is prone to, despite being a generally healthy breed. These conditions include cataracts, hyperlipidemia, pancreatitis, liver shunts, and urinary stones. But the chance of your Miniature Schnauzer developing one or more of these conditions decreases significantly if you have purchased your Miniature Schnauzer puppy from a responsible breeder that performed genetic scans on your puppy’s parents.
In addition to visiting your dog’s veterinarian for regular check-ups, make sure to visit the veterinarian whenever you have a concern about your pet’s health.