It’s difficult to miss the walrus moustache on the Miniature Schnauzer. This small dog breed from Germany is popular for his big heart, outgoing personality and playful humour. Enthusiastic and affectionate, the Mini Schnauzer loves people and is incredibly loyal.
Origin & History
Developed to be a ratter and a farm guard on farms, the Miniature Schnauzer was a result of crossing the Standard Schnauzer with small breeds like Miniature Pinscher, Affenpinscher, Poodle or Pomeranian.
Although he looks like a smaller Standard and Giant Schnauzer, this breed is distinctly unique.
Known as the Zwergschnauzer in his native land, the first Miniature Schnauzer recorded was born in 1888 and a decade later, the first breed club was formed.
The World Wars were a tough time for dog breeding and this breed was almost lost. Interest was restored after the Wars and he continues to be popular today.
This wonderful dog has a long beard, walrus moustache and bushy eyebrows. His small body is robust.
This dog has a double coat with a wiry topcoat. Coat colours include:
- Black and tan
The American Kennel Club does not show white Miniature Schnauzers and some fanciers believe that white terriers should be restricted to the West Highland White Terrier breed.
Some Mini Schnauzers have their ears cropped for cosmetic reasons.
Size & Weight
When fully grown, this breed stands 13 to 14 inches (30 to 35cm) at the shoulder with a weight range from 11 to 20 pounds (4 to 9kg).
Character & Abilities
The Mini Schnauzer is a people person and he loves to be in the centre of all the fun. He has a lively mischievous personality. He loves to be in physical proximity of his people and is not afraid to run up to them for a cuddle.
He is devoted and thrives on a lot of attention. Fairly good with children, he is energetic and spunky. He is a terrier after all and he needs to be active.
Though petite and not delicate, the Mini Schnauzer is not afraid to challenge bigger dogs. He should be kept in line when out in the dog park to avoid getting injured. He cannot be trusted around small mammals because of his past as a ratter.
Protective of his family, this small dog is suspicious of strangers and makes an excellent watchdog. He is alert and will give out a loud piercing bark for any perceived threat, slight noise or movement.
This feisty little dog is a bit of a spitfire. He can keep himself amused but is not independent. He has been termed as a Velcro dog because he can follow his humans around the house just to maintain physical contact.
Exercise & Nutrition Needs
The Miniature Schnauzer is at risk of excess weight gain when not exercised or fed appropriately. He thrives on physical activities and exercise.
Keeping this small dog physically and mentally stimulated will prevent boredom and he won’t develop destructive behaviour or become ill-tempered.
When indoors, he will play with plush and interactive toys. He needs at least an hour of daily activities because a tired dog is better behaved.
This beautiful dog can easily become obese and his bowls should not be left with food all the time. All he needs at maturity is ½ to 1 cup of high-quality dry food a day. Avoid giving table scraps or too many dog treats even when he begs.
This small dog is low shedding but high maintenance. The undercoat catches any loose hair making this breed a good housedog for people suffering from asthma.
The coat needs clipping every five to eight weeks to keep it in the best shape. Professional groomers have tricks to get a beautiful form but it can also be done at home with practice.
Schnauzers that are shown in conformation are hand stripped to remove dead hair.
Trainability & Intelligence
The Mini Schnauzer is intelligent, easy to train and loves to learn. He is smart enough to learn new tricks or other athletic feats that involve jumping.
Crate training is a good tool to keep this Schnauzer from having potty accidents or getting into trouble. He should stay in the crate for only a few hours at a time unless he is sleeping.
Like other terrier breeds, this dog can be annoyingly stubborn and rebellious. He needs a firm hand, that is kind and consistent to show him who is in charge. He might bark loudly to drown out any commands and should not be allowed to get away with any unwanted behaviour.
Even though this dog is not aggressive, he is a master manipulator and not recommended for new owners. For a well-rounded personality, early socialization is necessary.
This small dog excels in earthdog trials, obedience and agility shows.
Living Conditions & Adaptability
Because of his size, the Mini Schnauzer makes a good city dog and can adapt to small living spaces or larger homes. He will be happy to be a ratter in a home with a farm.
This small dog loves to dig. Like a cat, he might also bring home dead rodents from his outdoor adventures.
Taking this dog out is better on a leash because when he sees something interesting, he will try to chase after it and won’t listen when called.
Health & Life Expectancy
Generally healthy, the Mini Schnauzer is prone to developing health conditions like:
- Eye cataracts – usually occur in the senior years and can be surgically removed
- Entropion – manifests after 6 months of age where one or both eyes have an eyelid that rolls inwards and irritates the eyeball
- Progressive retinal atrophy – causes night blindness and progresses to day blindness
- Congenital Megaesophagus – food and liquid is retained in the esophagus and regurgitation blocks the esophagus and can cause aspiration pneumonia
- Von Willebrand’s Disease – blood disorder affecting the clotting process
- Myotonia Congenita – skeletomuscular disorder similar to muscular dystrophy
- Bladder or kidney stones – may pass on their own but needs veterinary intervention
- Diabetes – can be well regulated with the vet
- Portosystemic shunt – affects the liver’s ability to grow and function properly
The Miniature Schnauzer has a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
The full of life Miniature Schnauzer is a fine addition to any active family. This vigilant dog is highly intelligent, friendly and devoted. Although not classified as hypoallergenic, this breed is ideal for homes where dander and heavy shedding are a concern.
The team at All The Small Dog Breeds does not lump all dogs in one box. Our small dog breed descriptions show that each tiny ball of fur has striking different personalities and needs. We hope we can guide you to match up with the pup that suits your household and lifestyle.