Breed Type: Terrier
Country of Origin: Germany
Also known as: Mini Schnauzer, Zwergschnauzer
Males: Height: 30 to 36 cm Weight: 5.4 to 9.1 kg
Females: Height: 30 to 36 cm Weight: 5.4 to 8.2 kg
Exercise Requirements: Medium
Care Requirements: Medium
Lifespan: 12-15 Years
Best Suited as: Family Pets
While he might look like a grumpy old man with his distinguished eyebrows and beard, the Miniature Schnauzer is a friendly, loving and social pet. Known for its alert bark, the highly intelligent and exceptional hearing Miniature Schnauzer makes for a keen watchdog.
The Mini Schnauzer is easily distinguished by their long beards and expressive eyebrows. They have a unique rectangular muzzle and it is no wonder that the Germans named them for this defining characteristic -the word Schnauzer comes from the German word for muzzle. Their coat comes in three recognized colors: salt and pepper, black and silver and solid black. Their coat is stiff and wiry and they rarely shed.
The Mini Schnauzer is sturdy and square with an easy gait. Their ears are often cropped and their tails docked. The eyes of the Miniature Schnauzer are small, brown, oval shaped and deeply set. Their teeth meet in a scissors bite but can be hard to find under their mustache and beard.
The Schnauzer has a long history and records of the first Schnauzers date back 600 years. The Standard Schnauzer is the original type of Schnauzer and the breed was developed from other herding and vermin catching breeds such as the Wirehaired Pinscher, black German Poodle and Gray Wolf Spitz. From the Pinscher, the Schnauzer most likely inherited its soft undercoat while the Wolf Spitz contributed to its wiry salt-and-pepper coat common in many Schnauzers. The black poodle contributed its coloring to the black colored Schnauzer.
In the late 19th century, the Standard Schnauzer was developed into three different breeds/sizes: the Miniature, the Standard, and the Giant. In 1888, the first recorded Mini Schnauzer was whelped. She was a black female named Findel. The AKC accepted registration of the breed in 1926. In 1948, the United Kennel Club also recognized the breed. In Australia, the breed is classed as a utility type and in the USA as a Miniature Schnauzer terrier. In England, they are classified as a working dog. Whatever their class, the breed remains one of the most popular worldwide.
There are many words to describe the Schnauzer – sociable, intelligent, alert, loyal, comedian, guard dog and lovable companion. Never boring, your Mini Schnauzer will expect to be treated like an important family member. They are true pack animals and often bond equally with all family members. Wherever you go and whatever you do, your Schnauzer will want to tag along. At home, it will not be hard to find your pet, as he is rarely a few feet away.
Mini Schnauzers are easy to train due to their intelligence and loyal spirit. Your Mini Schnauzer puppy will keep you on your toes – they are constantly exploring, learning and testing their limits. Training should start early and your puppy should quickly learn a number of commands.
Mini Schnauzers are alert and protective watchdogs. Do not expect them to greet strangers enthusiastically until you have shown them that a person can be trusted.
Care and Grooming
The Mini Schnauzer requires a great deal of grooming and for those who take their pet to a professional groomer, quite a large expense. Many Schnauzer owners like to have their dog trimmed with the typical Schnauzer cut with longer furnishings on the legs and face and a skirt on their underbelly. These areas need to be brushed daily to keep them from getting mats. Matted fur is both painful and difficult to cut out. Ready to take on the grooming yourself? Good luck – the Schnauzer needs the fur cut around their paw pads (which they detest), their nails trimmed and their ear hair plucked.
After several meetings with the shears, their coat loses some of its wiriness and become much softer. The Salt and Pepper variety actually loses its black and white banded color of fur and in its place is an entirely gray coat. This tradition is much more common in the United States then in Europe.
Prone to overeating, make sure your Schnauzer does not have access to a full bowl of food whenever he wishes. Measure out his food and feed him twice a day and no more.
Mini Schnauzers have very few health problems but like any breed, they have some more common health issues associated with their breed. Some may suffer health problems associated with high fat levels while others may develop diabetes, bladder stones, urinary infections and eye problems. While less common in Miniature Schnauzers, still some develop hip dysplasia.
If you have something to say and do not want your Mini Schnauzer to hear you, write it down. They have exceptional hearing – especially for high frequencies.
More minor issues related to the Schnauzer are Schnauzer bumps, which are bumps that look similar to human blackheads or pimples and are found on the Schnauzers back. While they are not a sign of a serious problem, they should be examined by a veterinarian. Some Schnauzers are also prone to urinary tract infections, ear infections and pancreatitis.
Suitability as a Pet
Many consider the Mini Schnauzer to be one of the best family dogs. They are adaptable and can thrive in any environment if given the proper attention and care. Many Mini Schnauzers love to snuggle and are very protective of their people. They do very well with children and other dog siblings. If raised with a cat, they naturally adopt it into their pack.
Due to your pet’s exceptional hearing, be conscientious of loud noises that might frighten them. A high-pitched squeal from a smoke detector can send them shaking under the blankets for hours.
While they are a high-energy breed as puppies, they tend to mellow with age. This is not to say they do not need daily exercise and constant mental stimulation. Like other high-intelligence breeds, a bored Mini Schnauzer is a destructive one.
Due to their intelligence and willingness to please, the Standard Schnauzer is easy to train. Able to sense weakness, they need a strong leader who will not allow them to take the job of “ruling the roost.” If you treat your Miniature Schnauzer with dignity and love, you will have a best friend forever.