Miniature Schnauzer

Just how smart is the Miniature Schnauzer? They are the smartest breed in the Terrier Group—and get this—they aren’t even Terriers. 

The smallest of the Schnauzer trio, but certainly the most popular, it is easy to see why so many people love this dog. How can you not?

Perhaps it’s their beard, their feisty nature and incredibly loving spirit; that makes them such an ideal family companion.

So where does this breed come from? More Importantly, are they the right dog for you and your family?

Here is what you need to know about the Miniature Schnauzer.

History

While there’s no doubt that the Yorkie is America’s favorite Terrier, this full beard German isn’t far behind. Although most people agree that the breed began really appearing in Germany during the 1890’s; some insist that the Miniature Schnauzer dates far back. Just how far back?

Records and historical documents point this breed to the 15th century. Albrech Durer, in his water color art, with the title, “Madonna With Many Animals,” depicts a dog resembling the Miniature Schnauzer. Indeed, there was another depiction of this breed in 1501 tapestry as well.

Bred from the headstart to chase vermin and rat away and preserve their family’s property, people quickly found out that the Miniature Schnauzer was really good at other things. Companionship. In Germany, this breed would have to earn their stripes on the farm. And they did just that.

Many historians suspect that the Miniature Schnauzer is a cross between the Affenpinscher and Standard Schnauzer. There is also a chance of Poodle, a Wurttenberg Cattle Dog and black spitz dog. 

While it is likely that the first true Miniature Schnauzer to make a public dog show appearance was back in the early 1890s; as a distinct breed, the first appearance on record dates back to 1899.

A breed with a beard, instantly, the Mini Schnauzer became a hit sensation. A dog that could work hard, stand brave as a watchdog, perform and learn dog show tricks and of course, a pet. Yet, for the longest time, a Standard and Miniature Schnauzer would come from the same litter. At that time, the breed went by the name, Wirehaired Miniature Pinscher. 

According to multiple breed enthusiasts, the first Mini Schnauzer on record was back in October 1888.

Moreover, certainly the 1890’s and early 20th century was the most crucial point in this breed’s development. Meanwhile, in the United States, without proof, there is a chance the breed began appearing in the early 1920’s. However, the American Kennel Club claims that the Miniature Schnauzer first came to the states in 1924.

It wouldn’t take long to find suitors and fans, and in 1926, the American Kennel Club gave the Mini recognition. The second biggest kennel in North American, United Kennel Club, did the same in 1948. The breed could be found with competing at dog exhibitions, appearing with celebs and in suburban homes. Ever since the formation of the American Miniature Schnauzer Club in 1933, the future has been bright.

Today, the breed really enjoys a lifestyle of bonding with their family as true companion dog. This is where you’ll likely see the breed, but it won’t be shocking to find them out in the field working either. According to the American Kennel Club, the Miniature Schnauzer is the 17th most popular breed.

Size

With their big hearts and proclivity of being vocal, the only thing small about this big personality of a dog is their size. Both male and female dogs, according to standard, can weigh the same between 11 and 20 pounds.

As a small breed, you should expect the Miniature Schnauzer to stand between 12 to 14 inches.

Personality and Temperament

Some people try to seel this breed as a toy dog but that’s clearly incorrect. There is no such thing as a toy Schnauzer, because the Miniature Schnauzer is small enough. Small but with a big heart and personality. This is a breed that can be quite silly and loves to play. They love to get foolish and have fun being the center of attention.

Affectionate and loyal, this is a breed that enjoys a close relationship with their family. They are very simple to train being one of the most intelligent breeds out there, and owning the ability to obey commands a majority of the time. The Miniature Schnauzer is a tireless and courageous worker but as an athlete, they love to face a challenge.

Yes, they do make watchdogs due to their proclivity of barking. And yes, they may be a little mouthy at times, but that’s to let you know that you’re not spending enough time. However, you can leave this breed alone throughout the day but keeping them busy with plenty of stimulation will be key. 

This is a breed with spirit, they have that distinct muzzle and will always come off charming. That’s because the breed is charming, alert and responsive. They love to be outdoors and go for long walks. Dog parks won’t be a problem as this breed get along quite well. Smaller children should have plenty of fun chasing around the Miniature Schnauzer in the backyard.

Finally, this is an adaptable breed, that is willing to go wherever the family decides. Country farmhouse or apartment, it won’t matter. They are sweet, they love to cuddle and will protect you from intrusion. All in all, just a wonderful versatile family dog, that is sure to make you and your family smile.

Health

Just like any breed pawing around on Earth, the Miniature Schnauzer has problems as well. However, most experts suggest them as being a healthy breed, overall. 

When you purchase a Mini Schnauzer from a breeder, you should only buy from someone who is reputable. This person should be able to provide you with the proper documentation and health clearances. Don’t be afraid to ask around, check out reviews about the breeders and inquire about their breeding practices. In addition, you should schedule regular visits with the veterinarian to ensure your dog’s good health. If all goes well, it isn’t unreasonable to expect your Mini to live between 12 to 15 years.

Perhaps the biggest issues facing this breed is Liver Shunts. It is serious and can be life threatening. According to PetMD, the portal system, which is a group of veins, has a job of draining blood away from the digestive tract. The liver, on the other hand, needs nutrients, hormones and waste minerals, which travels with the blood and processes it. This is to detoxify and also to get the essential nutrients it needs. The Portosynthetic Shunt is this abnormal vessel which connects the portal system to the circulatory system, therefore, bypassing the liver and causing a corruption. Common symptoms can be loss of weight and appetite and vomiting amongst many others. Your dog may require surgery depending on the liver shunt they have. Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Irish Wolfhounds are also breed that suffer from this serious complication.

Other issues involve the breed’s eyes. The Miniature Schnauzer may suffer Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which is retinal degeneration, that causes progressive vision loss and possibly complete loss of vision. Irish Setters, Briards and Siberian Huskies also suffer from this condition.

Cataracts can be a nuance for a dog, especially if they work or perform at shows. The clouding of the crystalline lens can reduce the amount of light to the retina and can lead to vision impairment. There are dogs with Cataracts and do live normal lives. The Mini Schnauzer has a 4.98% incidental rate. Cocker Spaniels and Boston Terriers also suffer from this nuance.

According to a U.K. Health Study, the breed’s leading cause of death was cancer with over 20 percent of the dogs dying from it. This breed may also face issues with Canine Diabetes, Pancreatitis and Schnauzer Bumps, which is essentially acne or blackheads.

Care

This is a fun dog for people with experience or novice owners. You don’t need a big home out in the country, although the Miniature Schnauzer could certainly have a ton of fun with it. This is an adaptable breed, which means you may live in a condo or apartment. Just be aware, that his breed is vocal and does bark quite a bit.

They love play time and will require regular exercise. Make sure you put a fence in as this breed does have a high proclivity to prey drive. Always keep your Mini on a leash. You’ll want to walk your Mini Schnauzer at least 25 to 45 minutes per day to keep them from boredom.

Early socialization and training is a good idea. Crate training can help with boundaries. Training and socialization will introduce them to new situations and dogs. This can result in a much more social dog as an adult. The Miniature Schnauzer should be getting a firm, fair and consistent hand who will treat them well. They need a loving family, that is close and together.

Trim their nails, bathe as necessary and check their ears for any sort of bacterial infection.

Feeding

Many owners will suggest that their Miniature Schnauzer is a pig that can burn calories. This may be true, but how much your dog eats will depend on a few factors: age, metabolism, and activity rate. Even spaying or neutering your dog can play a role in the volume of their appetite.

That said, most owners find it suffice to feed their Mini Schnauzer between 3/4 cups to 1 cups of high quality dry food. The formula should have a value of protein in it of 18 to 27 percent. Also, meat should be the first ingredient. Like  most dogs, chicken, turkey, beef and fish should suffice their dietary requirements.

Calories are as important as veggies and fruits. For a dog between 11 to 20 pounds, that is a typical companion dog, you should expect feeding them until their calorie count is 420 to 660 per day. Of course, you should break that up into two meals per day, which will help reduce the chances of overgrowth and Bloat.

As always, you should provide your Miniature Schnauzer with fresh, drinking water.

Coat

For a person with Allergies or is sensitive to pet dander, this is the dog you want. The Miniature Schnauzer shed infrequently. Yet, don’t let that fool you. This is a breed that needs continuous grooming.

The breed does have a double coat with a wiry topcoat and a soft undercoat. Most owners recommend a professional groomer, as they find that their dogs need a trim every month or two and a strip regularly.

The American Kennel Club claims the breed has three coat color options: black, black and silver, salt and pepper.

Fun Miniature Schnauzer Facts

  • According to the intelligence of Dogs by Stanley Coren, the Miniature Schnauzer is the 12th most intelligent breed around.
  • The first Mini to win a Best in Show from the Terrier Group is a dog by the name of Display back in 1947.
  • Canada and the United States are the only two countries that locate the Mini Schnauzer in the Terrier Group.
  • This breed began appearing in Canada around 1927.
  • Many celebrities love their Mini Schnauzer including: Mary Tyler Moore, former Senator and presidential candidate, Bob Dole, martial artist, Bruce Lee and comedian, Bill Cosby.

Closing Words

From chasing rats along the fields in Germany to playing fetch all over the world. The Miniature Schnauzer is a breed to reckon with. They are charismatic, smart and very athletic. 

With all of the tools in the proverbial belt, this family dog is sure to be a welcoming addition in your family for years to come.