Miniature Schnauzers shed only a tiny bit, and might be a good choice for some people who are typically allergic to dogs. However, it’s not a dog’s hair that triggers allergies, but dander (dead skin flakes) and saliva. There’s no escaping any of those when you live with a dog, no matter what breed it is. The best advice for an allergic person is to spend some up-close and personal time around the breed to assure themselves that there won’t be a problem living with them.
Despite his small stature, the Miniature Schnauzer is not a lap dog. He’s athletic and energetic, and needs more daily exercise than just going around the block.
- The Miniature Schnauzer is people-oriented and wants nothing more than to hang out with you. He’s incredibly affectionate.
- A Miniature Schnauzer is intelligent, mischievous, and often stubborn. He’s full of life.
- He’s low-shedding, but high-maintenance in terms of grooming. He needs to be clipped every five to eight weeks or so.
- He’s noisy. Protective of home and family, he’ll bark even at slight noises.
- He’s good with kids and other dogs, but not to be trusted around small mammals.
- Always keep your Miniature Schnauzer on a leash when you’re not in a fenced area. If he sees something and wants to chase it, he will likely ignore your calls.
- A bored Miniature Schnauzer is an unhappy Miniature Schnauzer. Because he’s intelligent and energetic, he thrives on varied activities and exercise. Make sure that you give him both, or he’ll become destructive and ill-tempered.
- To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
Is this breed right for you?
Miniature Schnauzers are highly versatile and known to fit in well in most environments. Whether they are part of a big family with lots of kids or in an apartment with one or two owners, this breed simply loves companionship of any sort. Apartment dwellers should be aware that this is a very vocal breed, and unless training starts early on, you may have barking issues to work through. This highly intelligent breed does very well with training, from basic commands to more advanced teachings. Owners must dedicate ample time and money toward grooming this breed’s unique and high-maintenance coat.
Did You Know?
Miniature Schnauzers can only be shown in American Kennel Club conformation shows in salt and pepper – by far the most common color – black and silver, or black. White Miniature Schnauzers cannot be shown in conformation in the U.S., although they can in some other countries.
Miniature Schnauzers were originally bred to be ratters and guard dogs on farms. They were developed in the mid-to-late 19th century in Germany by crossbreeding the Standard Schnauzer with smaller breeds, such as the Miniature Pinscher, Affenpinscher, and perhaps the Poodle or Pomeranian. In Germany, he’s known as the Zwergschnauzer (zwerg means “dwarf”).
There aren’t any records on how the Miniature Schnauzer was developed, but it’s clear the intent was to create a smaller version of the well-established Standard Schnauzer. The earliest record of a Miniature Schnauzer was a black female named Findel, born in October 1888. In 1895, the first breed club was formed in Cologne, Germany, although it accepted several types of dogs.
World Wars I and II were hard on dog breeding, particularly in Europe, where some breeds were nearly lost. But interest in Miniature Schnauzers boomed after WWI, and the dog’s popularity has never waned since.
One aspect that has changed since the early days is the preferred colors. You used to be able to find a Schnauzer of almost any size in red, black and tan, yellow, or parti-color — but not today, when shades of black and silver are the rage. Just as feelings about ear cropping shift with the times, the Miniature Schnauzer’s look may change again.
An interesting aside: While the Miniature Schnauzer is considered a Terrier by the AKC, the Standard Schnauzer is classified as a member of the Working group.
A Miniature Schnauzer is full of life. An extrovert, he loves to be in the thick of the family action. He may even run up to you while you’re sitting down and throw his paws around your neck. He wants to touch you and be next to you all the time, and you can bet he’ll want to sleep plastered to your side.
A bit of a spitfire, the Miniature Schnauzer is a terrier , that means he’s full of himself. He’s a feisty type A and his work involves amusing himself. He is not aloof or independent but needs to be with people, and what’s more, he wants to be in close physical contact.
He’s very intelligent, which makes training easy, but it also means he’s a master of manipulation. That combined with his stubbornness will keep you on your toes. He’s not as feisty as some terriers, however, nor as dog-aggressive.
As with every dog, the Miniature Schnauzer needs early socialization,exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences , when they’re young. Socialization helps ensure that your Miniature Schnauzer puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
Children and other pets
The Miniature Schnauzer likes hanging out with his people — he lives for it, as a matter of fact. He’s good with children, particularly if he’s raised with them. He’ll play with them and protect them and they’ll help each other burn off steam: kids and Miniature Schnauzers are a great combination.
As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
A Miniature Schnauzer usually plays well with other dogs — he isn’t one of those terriers who can’t play nicely with others. He typically isn’t as aggressive toward other dogs as many other Terriers are, but he is brave and fearless around large dogs, a trait that can get him into trouble. He is large and in charge, at least in his own mind.
Small mammals such as rats and gerbils, however, aren’t good matches for the Miniature Schnauzer, who is hardwired to kill them. Training won’t change that; that’s what he’s bred for.
The Miniature Schnauzer, with a lifespan of 12 to 14 years, sometimes suffers from health problems like mycobacterium avium infection, cataract and retinal dysplasia. Other major health issues that may affect it are urolithiasis and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), while some minor health problems include von Willebrand’s disease (vWD), myotonia congenita, Schnauzer comedo syndrome, and allergies. A veterinarian may run DNA or eye exams to identify some of these issues.
The Miniature Schnauzer is active when inside the house, playing with toys and following you from room to room. He loves to have a yard to play in, but he’ll do well without one if you give him a long walk every day. He needs 45 minutes of daily exercise — remember, a tired Miniature Schnauzer is a good Miniature Schnauzer.
Crate training benefits every dog and is a kind way to ensure that your Schnauzer doesn’t have accidents in the house or get into things he shouldn’t. A crate is also a place where he can retreat for a nap. Crate training at a young age will help your Miniature Schnauzer accept confinement if he ever needs to be boarded or hospitalized.
Never stick your dog in a crate all day long, however. It’s not a jail, and he shouldn’t spend more than a few hours at a time in it except when he’s sleeping at night.
The Miniature Schnauzer’s grooming needs are fairly extensive. He needs regular clipping or hand stripping. Pets are usually clipped because hand stripping is a time-consuming effort typically reserved for show dogs. Clipping will soften the coat, though, so if you like the hard texture, resign yourself to stripping it.
Miniature Schnauzers have a double coat. The undercoat is soft and the top coat is wiry. They can either be shaved with an electric clipper by you or a professional, or plucked (hand stripped), which is a labor-intensive process that is best done while he’s on your lap watching television. Most hand strippers do it one section at a time, and do it throughout the year. For some, hand stripping takes too long to be affordable at a professional groomer’s. Fortunately, it’s not hard to learn to use a clipper, and you can buy the equipment for the equivalent of a few grooming sessions. If you want to learn how to get a typical Miniature Schnauzer cut, check out the AMSC grooming chart.
Because he’s small, his dental needs can be significant unless care is taken to brush his teeth regularly with a vet-approved pet toothpaste, and schedule dental cleanings with your veterinarian.
A dream day in the life
This happy go lucky breed is content doing just about anything that involves being with you. The perfect size for a tag-a-long companion, you can bring this friendly pooch just about anywhere. Whether it’s at the park playing with other dogs, at a training class learning new tricks or simply snuggling on a cozy lap, the Miniature Schnauzer is easy to please. To keep it extra happy, each day should involve a light coat brushing to prevent uncomfortable mats in its double-coated fur.