Miniature Schnauzer

Breed At A Glance


Perky, loving and intelligent

Life Expectancy
Approximately 15 years

Average Height
12-14 inches

Average Weight
10-15 lbs

Coat Color
Red & pepper, black & silver, black

Coat Length/Texture
Harsh outer coat with a soft undercoat

Shedding Propensity
Little or not at all

Also known as Zwergschnauzer, Dwarf Schnauzer, Mini Schnauzer

General Temperament

Most well-bred Miniature Schnauzers are highly energetic and spirited and make excellent family pets. They love all family members and are gentle and playful with children. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them easy to train, and they can excel in agility and obedience competitions.

Miniature Schnauzers love to bark, but their bark is not “yappy”; it often sounds almost like they are trying to talk to you. They choose appropriate times and places to bark, particularly when meeting a stranger or when they sense danger. They will generally be suspicious of visitors until their owner welcomes them, at which time they become friendly. Such behavior makes them excellent watch dogs, but their bold and fearless nature can get Mini Schnauzers into trouble. They will sometimes unwisely challenge dogs much bigger than themselves, leading to potential fights. They can get along with other family dogs as along as they are socialized with them during puppyhood, but they may be guarded with non-family dogs.

This is a very energetic and playful breed, and if left to their own devices, Miniature Schnauzers can become mischievous and destructive in an effort to create their own fun. They will function best within an active household, and can do quite well in an apartment if given enough play time.

The temperament of Miniature Schnauzers can be somewhat variable, so it’s good to choose a puppy from parents whose personalities you enjoy. Some pet-store or puppy-mill specimens can be timid, neurotic or overly-aggressive. As with all pure-breeds, it’s important to locate a reputable breeder and be willing to spend a little extra for a great dog.

Breed History

The Miniature Schnauzer found it’s roots on German farms in the late 1800’s, originally bred to keep rats and other rodents out of the barn. The Standard Schnauzer served as the basis for the breed, with other smaller breeds such as the Affenpinscher and Miniature Pinscher added to reduce the size. The inclusion of these smaller breeds had the additional effect of various colorations that were not acceptable to the final goal. As a result, parti-colored or white puppies were excluded from breeding programs. In addition to pest control, the Miniature Schnauzer’s bold courage and love of barking lent it to work guarding herds, small farms and families.

Miniature Schnauzers were introduced to the United States in 1924, and were accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1926.

Body Structure and Composition

The Miniature Schnauzer is a distinctive dog with a square body, wiry coat, and a rectangular head. The head tapers slightly to a blunt nose, and thick whiskers cover the muzzle and accentuate the eyebrows, giving the dog it’s characteristic “Schnauzer” look. The tail of the Miniature Schnauzer is often docked, and the ears are sometimes cropped. The practical purpose of docking the tail is to help prevent injury as they wag vigorously in the bush, although this is done more for vanity in dogs that are strictly companions. Ear cropping serves to help focus sound and can make them easier to maintain, and although again is largely done for appearance in companion pets. Docking and cropping have been outlawed in many countries.

Medical Information

The Miniature Schnauzer is a generally healthy breed, although some lines are prone to hereditary medical conditions. These can include various eye problems, including cataracts, corneal disorders and eyelid problems. They can also be prone to the autoimmune diseases Hypothyroidism and Von Willebrand’s Disease (VWD). Hypothyroidism causes underactivity of the thyroid gland, affecting the dog’s metabolic rate. This can cause lethargy, weight gain, skin infection and hair loss, cold intolerance, chronic ear infections or severe behavioral changes. Hypothyroid dogs who receive proper treatment, including a daily dose of synthetic thyroid hormone, can have a normal life span and are able to maintain good health well into their golden years. VWD is an inherited blood clotting condition which causes hemorrhaging from a simple injury or illness. This condition can be identified through a blood test when the dog is a puppy, and reputable breeders will provide this information to you prior to purchase.

Miniature Schnauzers can also be prone to diabetes, kidney/bladder stones, liver disease and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

Grooming is a bit more involved with a Miniature Schnauzer than many other breeds. They should be professionally clipped twice per year to an even length, and their whiskers should be cleaned after meals. The whiskers and eyebrows should be trimmed with blunt-ended scissors. Although they shed little to no hair, their wiry fur should be brushed or combed regularly to prevent matting.

Anecdotal Information

The Miniature Schnauzer is a relatively popular breed in the United States. They ranked 11th out of 157 dog breeds according to 2007 registration statistics provided by the American Kennel Club.

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