The Miniature Schnauzer is a distinctive looking dog with its beard, long moustache and bushy eyebrows. They are often described as a square shape, with the face being trimmed to highlight the straight lines and features. The coat is wavy or wiry and almost harsh to the touch but the undercoat is dense and soft. The breed may be black, black and silver, white or salt and pepper. The American Kennel Club or AKC does not recognize the white color variation. The dogs are sturdy and athletic looking without appearing overly muscular or cobby. The ears are either cropped and very erect or slightly folded over at the tip. Traditionally the tails have been docked but many countries now prohibit the practice so the tails are left natural.
Temperament of a Miniature Schnauzer
The breed is very endearing and lovable, with lots of energy for playing and a high level of intelligence. They can be easily trained but tend to try to be quite independent so need firm training. As a general statement the breed loves children and does well with kids of all ages. The breed tends to retain its puppy like behavior until it is a senior dog, enjoying outings and runs until very late in life. A true “people dog” they need to be with humans as much as possible and do not do well left alone for long periods of time. The Miniature Schnauzer can be rather dog aggressive if not socialized properly, but with the proper socialization will be a great companion for other dogs and non-canine pets. They are good watchdogs and will bark at strangers, but usually will quickly settle down and accept new people. They have a unique bark that almost sounds like a low rumble, and many will “talk” to their owners for attention and when excited.
Grooming & Shedding of a Miniature Schnauzer
The wiry over coat is easy to care for with regular grooming, but the soft dense inner coat tends to mat and tangle if not properly and regularly groomed daily. All mats need to be removed to prevent irritations and large mats and knots. The coat is usually clipped in non-show dogs and stripped for those that are going to be competing in shows. Care needs to be taken to keep long hairs trimmed around the eyes and mouth to avoid messy tangles and irritations.
History of the Miniature Schnauzer
The first Miniature Schnauzer was shown in Germany in 1899. The breed originates from the crossing of the Standard Schnauzer and the Affenpinscher and Poodle breeds. Historically the breed was used for hunting rats and vermin, hence its position in the terrier group. Currently the breed is used as a companion dog but is also seen in competitive obedience events, agility events and hunting trials.
Health Issues with a Miniature Schnauzer
Major Concerns: progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), urolithiasis
Minor Concerns: von Willebrand’s disease, follicular dermatitis, esophageal achalasia