About the Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer, or Mini Schnauzer, originated in Germany where it is known as the Zwergschnauzer (“Zwerg” means “dwarf” or “midget”). The breed is thought to be a cross between the Standard Schnauzer, the Affenpinscher, and, some say, the Poodle. They were bred to retain the same look and characteristics of the Standard Schnauzer with a more manageable size. They were primarily used on farms for hunting vermin, pulling carts, guarding flocks and children, and serving as watchdogs. Mini Schnauzers were exhibited as a distinct breed as early as 1899 and were introduced to North America in 1925.
The Mini Schnauzer is classified in the Terrier group.
Mini Schnauzers typically range from 12 to 14 inches high at the withers.
Mini Schnauzers typically weigh between 11 and 18 pounds. They like to eat and often put on extra pounds easily, so they should not be allowed to over-eat and should be given plenty of opportunity for exercise.
There are three accepted colors in relation to the “standard” for a Mini Schnauzer: salt and pepper, black and silver, or black. While there do seem to be a lot of white Mini Schnauzers, this color is not recognized in the U.S. or Canada in terms of conforming to the standard for the breed.
The Mini Schnauzer has a square-shaped body, a wiry coat , bushy eyebrows, a prominent beard and a large black nose. In past decades, the ears of the Mini Schnauzer were cropped to a point and its tail was docked. While this is still common for show dogs, it is not uncommon to see family Minis with “natural” floppy ears and longer tails.
The Mini Schnauzer sheds very little, but needs to be brushed two or three times a week and trimmed every four to six weeks to stay looking his best. If not brushed regularly, the coat will become tangled and matted. In this case, knots should be clipped out. The Mini Schnauzer’s coat is usually shorn short on the body with the hair left longer on the chest, underbelly and legs. The face is clipped to emphasize the Mini’s distinctive beard and eyebrows. Mustache and beard should be cleaned after meals.
Mini Schnauzers are friendly, affectionate, inquisitive and intelligent. They are loyal and eager to please, and they make a good family pet. They are generally good with children, but should be supervised with young children who might tease or play too roughly. If not properly trained and socialized, Mini Schnauzers can have problems with other dogs but usually get along well with their peers. Minis can be stubborn and sometimes bossy, but they are lovable, smart and easily trainable. Obedience training should be started at an early age.
The Mini Schnauzer is a superior sniffer and possesses an excellent nose for tracking vermin. Some airports use Mini Schnauzers as drug-sniffing dogs. The Mini Schnauzer also has superior hearing and makes a great watchdog. He will generally notice the approach of a visitor long before his human does. Excessive barking at visitors can be a problem, but one that can be corrected with consistent discipline. With proper training, the Mini Schnauzer can do very well in obedience and agility competition. The Mini is also eligible for Earthdog competitions and can excel at them.
Mini Schnauzers have a life expectancy of between 12 and 15 years. While generally healthy, Minis can develop diabetes, pancreatitis, liver disease or bladder stones. They are also susceptible to allergies, skin disorders and cysts, and can develop eye problems.