The mischievous miniature schnauzer has become very popular of late. After all, who can resist the distinguished pointy eyebrows and marvelous mustache of this plucky little fellow?
Originally bred in Germany during the 19th century as a farm dog or ratter to keep a farms vermin at bay, the miniature schnauzer is less accustomed to working for a living these days.
But if you think that he has become a dainty lapdog, you are sadly mistaken.
The miniature schnauzer is a sturdy, square set dog with muscular legs and a strong stance. He is far from delicate and meek. Instead, he is feisty and brave yet loving and loyal.
Basic Breed Information
Height: 12 to 14 inches
Weight: 11 to 18 pounds
Life Expectancy / Life Span: 12 to 14 years
Health Conditions: Main health problems relate to high fat levels, diabetes and hip dysplasia
Coat: Double coat, with a wiry hard topcoat and soft undercoat
Coat Color: Solid black, salt and pepper, black and silver, white
Recognized by the American Kennel Club as a separate breed from the Standard Schnauzer
But before you fall for a miniature schnauzer and go and get yourself the cutest of puppies, there are some things you should know about the breed. Here are my top eleven.
1. The Miniature Schnauzer is Very Affectionate
The miniature schnauzer likes nothing more than to snuggle with his human family. He simply loves a good cuddle. One thing’s for sure, you will never be alone again with this nosey parker in the house. He will follow you everywhere you go and want to know what you’re up to. And, when I say everywhere, I really mean it.
Meet Rodney, my miniature schnauzer. He’s such a happy boy.
2. The Miniature Schnauzer is Friendly
This chirpy character is exceedingly sociable and wants attention from everyone. He is a people pup but does get on with other breeds as long as he’s been socialized from a young age. He is usually good with well-behaved children as well as older humans and so makes a great all-around family pet.
3. The Miniature Schnauzer likes to Be a Comedian
There is never a dull moment with a mini schnauzer around. Don’t be surprised if this cheeky chap pinches your socks or sneaks of with a slipper. He is likely to use them to pounce on you later. A toilet roll addict too, nothing is safe. Be prepared to laugh at your mischievous monkey every day.
4. The Miniature Schnauzer Dog Breed is Clever
This highly intelligent breed is eager to please which means that he does well with obedience training. Positive reinforcement training with treats work well. He thrives when his mind is made to work and enjoys mastering new tricks. His intelligence though can mean that he can be stubborn and even bossy at times.
Here we can see Rodney having mastered the ‘Backup’ command.
5. Miniature Schnauzers Can Be Active
This lively little man moves fast, very fast. If he sees a rabbit in the park he is likely to be off. He is cheeky and playful and may well play-attack you armed with a cuddly toy without warning. His high energy level and quick mind make him a good candidate for agility training.
Having said that, the miniature schnauzer is adaptable so will fit in with your lifestyle. Consistency though is key. Your pup won’t be happy to suddenly go hiking for hours after spending weeks curled up on the sofa with you.
Either way, he does require daily exercise.
6. Miniature Schnauzers are Definitely Vocal
A quiet mini schnauzer is a very rare thing. This makes sense as they were used as alarm dogs to alert their farmer masters to intruders. They are therefore suspicious of strangers to their home. They can certainly be noisy at times but are unlikely to bark for no reason.
7. Miniature Schnauzers Can Be Greedy
There is no getting away from it, a mini schnauzer is a greedy guts. He is always looking for food and will eat anything. He is though prone to weight gain and so pet parents should be careful with portion sizes and treats. Feeding him scraps from your plate is a definite no-no. Plenty of exercise will help keep him fit and healthy.
How could you say I’m greedy when I’m so cute?
8. Miniature Schnauzers Can be Prone to Health Issues
The mini schnauzer is generally a healthy and hardy breed with an expected lifespan of 12 to 15 years. But, as with most purebred pups, there are certain issues to be aware of including:
- Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis
- Canine diabetes
- Hereditary Eye Issues (PRA)
- Hereditary Cataracts
- Urinary stones
This list may look a little scary but many can be avoided with responsible breeding and health checks. Therefore it is imperative that, if searching for a puppy, you obtain health screening results from both parents.
A healthy diet is also a must so keep an eye on what you’re feeding your mini. As they say, always read the label, to ensure that his food is nutritious and junk-free.
It is important to note that it is always a good idea to make sure that you have comprehensive health insurance for your pooch.
9. The Miniature Schnauzer is Not a Hypoallergenic Breed
Mini Schnauzers are often marketed as a so-called hypoallergenic breed but sadly this term doesn’t really exist. There is simply no such thing. They are though low-shedding which means that they are often suitable for those with allergies. Unfortunately though, there is no guarantee.
10. The Miniature Schnauzer Needs Regular Grooming
The trade-off for the minimal shedding is that they need to be groomed regularly, every five to six weeks ideally. A professional groomer is recommended but, as their fur can become easily matted, daily brushing and combing, in addition, is a must.
A well-groomed miniature schnauzer is very smart sight indeed.
Aren’t I a smart boy?
11. The Miniature Schnauzer is Confident
With extrovert tendencies, this brave bearded breed is a little dog in a big dogs clothing. He is a show-off and has absolutely no idea how small he really is. He is not at all phased by larger dogs, a trait that could get him into trouble. It is your job to keep him safe by socializing him from puppyhood so that he can safely strut his stuff.
I hope that I have helped you to decide whether to bring a delightful miniature schnauzer into your home.
As long as you go to a reputable breeder and pick a puppy wisely, there is no reason why you should not enjoy a long and healthy life together.
There are almost always schnauzers in need of homes at rescue shelters so why not take a look.
Whichever age you decide and from which background, a miniature schnauzer will, without doubt, make a loyal and faithful companion.
Can you resist me?
- Xenoulis et al. 2008. Chronic Pancreatitis in Dogs and Cats. Compendium Vet.
- Mortimer et al. 2015. Acute haemorrhagic diarrhoea syndrome in dogs: 108 cases. Veterinary Record.
- Guptill et al. 2003. Time Trends and Risk Factors for Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs: Analysis of Veterinary Medical Data Base Records (1970–1999). The Veterinary Journal.
- Parshall et al. 1991. Photoreceptor Dysplasia: An Inherited Progressive Retinal Atrophy of Miniature Schnauzer Dogs. University of Pennsylvania. School of Veterinary Medicine.
- Barnett. 1985. Hereditary cataract in the Miniature Schnauzer. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
- Stevenson et al. 2001. Comparison of urine composition of healthy Labrador Retrievers and Miniature Schnauzers. American Journal of Veterinary Research.
- Mori et al. 2009. Predisposition for primary hyperlipidemia in Miniature Schnauzers and Shetland sheepdogs as compared to other canine breeds. Research in Veterinary Science.