Miniature Schnauzer

Type: 

The Miniature Schnauzer was developed from the Standard Schnauzer in the late 1800’s.  The Standard Schnauzer had long been a working farm dog and ratter.  However, Germany was rapidly industrializing and by the end of the 19th Century was largely an urban society.  City dwellers desired a considerably smaller breed which could work in the confines of a house or apartment.  They began an organized breeding program to reduce the size of the Standard Schnauzer.  Their goal was to create a dog which was identical to the larger breed in everything except for size.

Breed Information

Breed Basics

Country of Origin: 
Size: 
Small 8-15 lb
Medium 15-35 lb
LifeSpan: 
12 to 15 Years
Trainability: 
Moderate Effort Required
Energy Level: 
Medium Energy
Grooming: 
Professional Grooming May Be Required
Protective Ability: 
Good Watchdog
Hypoallergenic Breed: 
No
Space Requirements: 
Apartment Ok
Compatibility With Other Pets: 
Generally Good With Other Dogs
Generally Good With Other Pets If Raised Together
Not Recommended For Homes With Small Animals
Litter Size: 
2-6 puppies
Names: 
Zwergschnauzer (Dwarf Schnauzer), Miniature Wirehaired Pinscher, Schnauzer Nain

Height/Weight

Males: 
12-20 lbs, 12-14 inches
Females: 
Same

Kennel Clubs and Recognition

American Kennel Club: 
ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council): 
CKC(Canadian Kennel Club): 
FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale): 
KC (The Kennel Club): 
NZKC (New Zealand Kennel Club): 
UKC (United Kennel Club): 
History: 

 

 

The Miniature Schnauzer was initially created by taking the smallest examples of the Standard Schnauzer and then crossing these dogs with similar breeds of a smaller size. Exactly what breeds were used is unknown.  Either the Affenpinscher or the Miniature Poodle were certainly used, and most likely both.  The Miniature Pinscher is also a suspect likely to have played a key role, especially as the Standard Schnauzer and the German Pinscher were considered to be two different varieties of the same breed when the Miniature Schnauzer was created.  It has also been suggested that the Brussels Griffon, the Pomeranian, various terrier breeds, or even mutts were also used.  However, given German breeding practices and goals, this is highly unlikely.  The introduction of Poodle blood may explain the origin of both soft-coated and white Miniature Schnauzers.  It is unclear exactly when the first Miniature Schnauzers were created, but the first recorded dog known as a Miniature Schnauzer was a black female named Findel who was born in 1888.  In 1895, the first Miniature Schnauzer breed club was formed in Cologne, although it accepted several types of dog.

 

Although World War I was devastating to most canine populations, the popularity of the Miniature Schnauzer took off afterwards.  Thousands of servicemen had encountered this delightful companion animal while on duty in Germany and decided to take them home with them.  Additionally, the still rapidly urbanizing European populace desired smaller breeds.  Although the Standard Schnauzer had been present in the United States since the late 1800’s, the first Miniature Schnauzers to arrive in America were imported in 1924.  In that year Mrs. M. Slattery of Marienhof Kennels imported four of these dogs.  In 1925, the Schnauzer Club of America was founded to promote and protect the Standard Schnauzer and the Miniature Schnauzer.  The following year, the AKC recognized the Miniature Schnauzer as a unique breed.  In 1933, the Schnauzer Club of America split in two, and the American Miniature Schnauzer Club (AMSC) became dedicated solely to the Miniature Schnauzer.  The UKC first recognized the Miniature Schnauzer in 1948.

 

In recent years, the Miniature Schnauzer has frequently been used to create so-called designer dogs.  These dogs are typically mixes of two pure bred dogs.  Although most of these mixes neither breed true nor are intended to, it is possible that some will eventually become distinct breeds.  Among the most common crosses is between a Miniature Schnauzer and a Miniature Poodle, a cross known as a Schnoodle.

 

The Miniature Schnauzer has steadily grown in popularity and is now one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the entire world.  For the last quarter century, the breed has always ranked in the top 20 in terms of dogs registered in Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and has often ranked in the top ten in all three countries.  In 2011, the Miniature Schnauzer was the 11th most commonly registered breed in the AKC.  The Miniature Schnauzer retains its working instincts, and a surprisingly high number of these dogs are still tasked with vermin eradication.  However, modern methods of pest control have largely eliminated this need.  Nowadays, the vast, vast majority of the Miniature Schnauzer population is comprised of companion animals, a task which this breed both enjoys and excels at.

 

Appearance: 

 

The Miniature Schnauzer was bred to resemble the Standard Schnauzer to the greatest extent possible except for size, and the two breeds are nearly identical.  This breed is a solid and muscular animal and should not appeal frail or “toyish.”  There are a few minor differences.  In general, the back legs of a Miniature Schnauzer tend to slope slightly farther back than in common in the Standard Schnauzer.  This breed also comes in additional colors.  Besides the solid black and salt and pepper, the Miniature Schnauzer also comes in black and silver and white.  Black and silver is identical to salt and pepper except that the salt and pepper areas are entirely black. 

 

White Miniature Schnauzers are acceptable in all countries except for the USA and Canada.  This is because American and Canadian kennel clubs believe that the white color was introduced into the breed by introducing foreign blood while other kennel clubs believe it was the result of a mutation.  The Miniature Schnauzer is a small breed.  Both males and females should be between 12 and 14 inches tall at the shoulders.  While breed standards do not indicate ideal weights, healthy Miniature Schnauzers weigh between 12 and 20 pounds, with females typically weighing slightly less.

 

Because of the popularity of the Miniature Schnauzer, a large number of breeders have bred lower quality dogs.  Because of this, The Miniature Schnauzer is considerably more variable in appearance than the other Schnauzer breeds, and fewer of these dogs conform to breed standards.


 

Temperament: 

 

Miniature Schnauzers which have been carefully bred are almost identical in temperament to the Standard Schnauzer, with two primary exceptions.  Miniature Schnauzers show considerably less dog aggression than Standard Schnauzers and are more comfortable being around other dogs.  Additionally, the Miniature Schnauzer is considerably more likely to develop barking problems, and must be properly trained, exercised and entertained to avoid noise complaints.  It must be said that well-bred Miniature Schnauzers tend to be better with children than most dogs of similar size because they are more robust and less likely to be injured.  Additionally, they tend to be less snappy and more tolerant.

 

Unfortunately, poor and careless breeding practices have resulted in the Miniature Schnauzer having one of the most variable temperaments of any breed.  Some members are almost terrier-like: snappy, hard-tempered, and tenacious.  Other Miniature Schnauzers are Poodle-like: responsive, easily trained, and calm.  It is very important to carefully select a Miniature Schnauzer breeder to avoid dogs from lines with known behavioral problems.  Poorly bred Miniature Schnauzers have given the breed an undeservedly bad reputation for shyness and viciousness.

 

Miniature Schnauzer owners have to be careful when training their dogs to avoid Small Dog Syndrome.  Small Dog Syndrome occurs when owners do not discipline a small breed in the same way that they would a larger one because they think that negative behaviors are cute, funny, or not dangerous.  This favorable treatment creates dogs that think that they are in charge of the world.  Miniature Schnauzers suffering from Small Dog Syndrome tend to be dominant, aggressive, vocal, and out-of-control. 

 

Grooming Requirements: 

 

The Miniature Schnauzer has the same general grooming requirements as the Standard Schnauzer but may have to be groomed more frequently because their smaller size exaggerates mats and longer hair.  Miniature Schnauzers are considerably more likely to have a soft coat which cannot be stripped as a result of careless breeding practices.

 

Health Issues: 

 

Well-bred Miniature Schnauzers are very healthy dogs, and regularly attain advanced ages of 14 and over.  The life expectancy for a well-bred Miniature Schnauzer is among the highest for any breed.  Unfortunately, poorly bred dogs which are bred only to satisfy consumer demand are likely to suffer from a number of severe health conditions.

 

The most common health problems experienced by the Miniature Schnauzer are related to high fat levels.  This breed has a problem dealing with high fat diets that are common in most commercial dog food brands.  Most reputable breeders recommend higher quality diets to help prevent these problems.  Some conditions which Miniature Schnauzers may develop as a result of having a diet which is too high in fat content include hyperlipidemia and pancreatitis.

 

Hip dysplasia and hereditary eye problems such as entropion and cataracts are common in some lines of Miniature Schnauzer, but luckily, tests for these conditions do exist.  As with the Standard Schnauzer, it is highly advisable that you have OFA and CERF tests done on any Miniature Schnauzer that you intend to breed.

 

Many different health problems have been detected in Miniature Schnauzers including:

 

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