Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is a delightful family dog. These energetic terriers make a welcome addition to many families, especially those with children. The are pretty easy-going, happy in a variety of situations, and are equally well-suited to apartment or country living and nearly anything in between. Wherever they happen to live, they are active dogs who do require a fair amount of exercise, so it's important that you have they time to devote to them. Fortunately, they love to play, so exercise time is always a joy. They enjoy playing with both human and canine companions, and rarely have the aggression towards other dogs that other terriers tend to have. But, they think they're big dogs, so should be watched carefully when playing with their larger pals.

One of the first things you may notice about this adorable dog is the Schnauzer "look". It's not easily achieved, however, and unless you are willing to learn to create the look yourself, your Miniature Schnauzer will require regular grooming by a professional. But, their complicated coats come with a bonus - they shed very little and are practically hypo-allergenic. Miniature Schnauzers are smart dogs and will pick up training quickly, but their stubborn personality may require an experienced dog owner. If you choose to bring one of these dogs into your home, you will be rewarded with an affectionate, happy, snuggly companion, equally pleased to play outside and cuddle next to you in bed.

Key Breed Stats

Alternative names: The Miniature Schnauzer breed is also commonly known by the names Zwergschnauzer.

Popularity: Very popular

Life expectancy: 12 - 14 years

Breed group: Terrier Dogs (AKC), Utility Dogs (KC), Pinschers and Schnauzers, Molossoids and Swiss Mountain Dogs Dogs (FCI)

Size: Small

Male Female
Height 12 - 14 in 12 - 14 in
Weight 11 - 18 lbs 11 - 15 lbs

Coat:

Colors: Black, Silver, White

Key Breed Facts

Shedding: Not a heavy shedder

Grooming requirements: High

Good with children: Average

Good with other pets: Yes

Intelligence / Trainability: High

Exercise needs: Very high

Tolerates being alone: Yes

Hunting drive: High

Suited as Guard dog: Average

Sensitivity: Very sensitive

Good for novice owners: Average

Hypoallergenic breed: Yes

Drooling: Very low

Barking: Average

General health: Average

Cost to keep: Low

History

Similar to the Miniature Poodle, the Miniature Schnauzer is simply a smaller version of the standard size Schnauzer. In the late 19th century, Standard Schnauzers were bred in Germany as medium-sized farm dogs. Their purpose was as a general farm dog and they were used for purposes like ratting, herding, and guarding property. There was eventually desire for a smaller version of the breed, suitable as a companion and an excellent ratter. The Standard Schnauzer was crossed with the Affenpinscher and Miniature Poodle to achieve the smaller breed. The first record of the Miniature Schnauzer came about in 1888 and they were first shown in competition in 1889.

Miniature Schnauzers were introduced in the United States in 1924 and accepted for registration by the American Kennel Club in 1926 under the name "Wirehaired Pinschers". Interestingly, Miniature Schnauzers have different classifications throughout the world. In the United States, they are classified with the Terrier Group, in the United Kingdom and Australia they are classified in the Utility Group, and in Canada they are part of the Working Group.

Nearly every modern Miniature Schnauzer's roots can be tracked back to the dog Ch. Dorem Display, who was the first Miniature Schnauzer to win Best in Show at the famed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Appearance

You will first notice a Miniature Schnauzers uniquely trimmed coat and then will be charmed by its friendly and intelligent expression.
Typical characteristics are:


  • Rectangular head with bushy beard, mustache and eyebrows, dark, oval eyes, naturally forward folding ears, and a "scissor bite".

  • Square shaped body, 13 to 14 inches tall.

  • A docked tail that is carried slightly above horizontal when alert.

  • Double coat with wiry outer fur and soft undercoat.

  • Colors: black, salt and pepper, black and silver, and pure white.

Temperament

Intelligence/Trainability

Miniature Schnauzers are intelligent dogs, quick to learn, but they are not considered easy to train. They tend to have a stubborn streak and benefit from a firm, kind, and consistent hand. They will grasp concepts very quickly and training this breed involves staying one step ahead. They do not respond well to harsh training methods. Miniature Schnauzers are not recommended for novice dog owners.

As with all intelligent breeds, Miniature Schnauzers require an outlet for their energy and intelligence. In short, they do best with plenty of exercise and a job, even if that job is simply chasing a ball or accompanying you on walks.

Activity

Miniature Schnauzers are affectionate, playful, comical, and fairly high-energy dogs that require a fair amount of exercise. This adorable dog needs 30-60 minutes of playtime per day to remain happy and healthy. Without enough exercise, this breed may develop destructive behaviors and Miniature Schnauzers are particularly prone to nuisance barking.

Miniature Schnauzers are susceptible to certain bone disorders like hip dysplasia. Keep your puppy on soft surfaces like grass and keep play on hard surfaces to a bare minimum until your puppy is at least two years old.

Independence

Miniature Schnauzers are wonderful family dogs and need to be around their people as much as possible. They will not appreciate being left alone for long periods of time. Loneliness and lack of attention/exercise may result in undesirable and destructive behaviors.

Protective

Miniature Schnauzers are small in size, and therefore not really suitable for protection. They are quick to bark at intruders, however, so make excellent "alarm" dogs.

Living Conditions

Because of their small size, Miniature Schnauzers adapt well to apartment living, as long as they get enough exercise. This means multiple walks per day in all types of weather.

They are happy with a yard to play in to run off some of that excess energy.

Children and Other Pets

Miniature Schnauzers make wonderful companions for children and are happy as family dogs. They are happy to run and play with energetic small humans and because they are not tiny, there is less concern of being injured by being stepped on or picked up. However, special consideration should be taken with small children (under the age of 6).


  • Young children may unintentionally invade the personal space of your dog and are unable to interpret the warning signals of your dog.

  • Dogs consider the family as a pack, and may consider the younger children as subordinates and may try to correct them.

  • Young children are very time-consuming. They may take away from the time you have to spend with your dog and he may become bored or frustrated.

Keep in mind that all children should be taught how to interact correctly with ANY dog and should never be left unsupervised.

Miniature Schnauzers get along well with other dogs, especially if they were raised with them. They tolerate other dogs better than most terrier-type dogs and are rarely aggressive, though they are unaware of their small stature which can get them into trouble with larger dogs. However, they do have the typical terrier prey drive, so they may not exist well with other small mammals. As with any dog, early, proper socialization is important.

Health

The average life expectancy of a Miniature Schnauzer is between 12 - 14 years. Like all breeds, the Miniature Schnauzer is prone to certain hereditary health conditions. A responsible breeder will only breed with dogs that have been cleared for these conditions. A Miniature Schnauzer is prone to these diseases:
  • Von Willebrand's Disease (VWD) (hereditary)
  • Cataracts (hereditary)
  • Entropion (hereditary)
  • Urinary Stones (hereditary)
  • Myotonia Congenita (hereditary)
  • Congenital Megaesophagus (hereditary)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) (hereditary) : Progressive retinal atrophy refers to a group of inherited degenerative eye disorders, which lead to loss of vision. PRA affects both eyes simultaneously and is not painful More info»

Grooming

The Minature Schnauzer has a double coat with a wiry top coat. They shed very little, practically not at all, which is a bonus for people with allergies or those who don't appreciate dog hair on their clothing and furniture. However, their coats do require a fair amount of maintenance. They require extensive grooming every five to eight weeks, likely by a professional unless you plan to learn the considerable skill it takes to properly groom your dog.

In addition, Miniature Schnauzers should be brushed two to three times per week to eliminate any matting and bathed when necessary using a pH balanced shampoo designed specifically for dogs.

Ears should be checked regularly for dirt, redness or a bad smell that could indicate an infection. Clean your dog's ears when needed with an ear cleaner made specifically for dogs.

Consider brushing their teeth with a soft toothbrush and dog toothpaste two or three times a week. Daily is even better. This helps prevent tartar build up and teeth problems. All puppies should become accustomed to having their mouths and teeth checked regularly.

Nail trimming is an important part of grooming if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. Once or twice a month should suffice. Trimming a dog's nails too close can cause bleeding and pain, so it is important to trim carefully or seek the help of a vet or groomer.

All puppies and dogs should be groomed regularly (preferably weekly) and have their paws, ears, and mouth handled and examined frequently so that they become comfortable with the process. This way, you will quickly become aware of any problems that arise and your dog will be easy to handle for the vet, groomer, and any treatments that are required throughout its lifetime.

Feeding

Recommended feeding: 1/2 to 1 cup of high-quality, dry dog food fed in two daily meals is a good starting point, but other factors need to be taken into consideration. Higher quality dog foods may require less food, as more of the food is digested properly. In addition, higher energy dogs will require more food, while more sedentary dogs may require less. Special attention should be paid to ensure that your dog doesn't become overweight, which can cause health issues in both the short and long-term.

Puppies have special feeding requirements. Use food specifically designed for puppies. Adult dog food contains too much calcium, which will increase the risk for hip and elbow dysplasia. Don’t overfeed your puppy, as overweight puppies also have an increased risk for dysplasia. Puppies need to be fed 3 to 4 times a day. This might seem like a hassle, but it will help when it comes to housebreaking. A puppy’s digestive system works very fast. Five to 30 minutes after his meal, he will need to go out to do his business.

Just like any other breed, they need to have free access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Older dogs, like puppies, might need a diet adapted to their needs. In some cases, it is advisable to feed them smaller portions 3 to 4 times a day.

When changing your dog’s diet, it’s recommended to do it gradually over a period of a few days to avoid stomach problems.

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