Breed Category: Utility
Country of Origin: Germany
Average Size: 30-35 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 5-9 kg
Average Life Span: 12-15 years
Grooming Requirements: High
Exercise Requirements: Medium
The Miniature Schnauzer is the smallest and most popular of three Schnauzer breeds that include the Standard and Giant Schnauzers. It first appeared in Germany in the mid-to-late 1800s, when the Standard Schnauzer was crossed with smaller breeds such as the Miniature Schnauzer in order to create a Standard Schnauzer in a smaller size. German artwork dating back to the 1400s depicts a dog similar in size and appearance to the Schnauzer, so the breed is thought to have a long and rich history in Europe.
Though the breed is best known as one of the most common companion pets today, it was initially prized for its abilities as a farmhand dog. The Miniature Schnauzer has a strong prey instinct and has a history of hunting rodents, snakes and other small animals.
The colouring of the Miniature Schnauzer comes in four varieties: black, salt and pepper, black and silver and, more rarely, white. This breed has a double coat with a wiry outer coat and a thick, soft undercoat.
The Miniature Schnauzer tends to be groomed in a traditional style for the breed that is characterised by a short cut throughout the body and longer fur on the legs and parts of the face such as the eyebrows, beard and mustache. Regular grooming is necessary to maintain this style and regular brushing or hand-stripping will also help reduce tangling and shedding. If its fur is left to grow naturally, it is curly and prone to tangling.
Small in size, the Miniature Schnauzer is approximately 30-35 cm in height and weighs an average of 5-9 kg. The body is lean, yet muscular and has a boxy shape to it. Its head gets narrower in width from ears to muzzle. Its ears are naturally folded and its eyes are dark in colour.
The Miniature Schnauzer is intelligent and good-natured, forming very close attachments with its owner or family. It is eager to please and thrives on being obedient and receiving positive feedback from its owner. This is an energetic breed that enjoys running around indoors or outside and likes to play with toys. It also does well with agility tasks and at minimum requires exercise in the form of regular walks.
This is a naturally reserved and territorial breed and will generally warm up to new people when it senses that they are not a threat. Until it does so, it may be shy and standoffish. Proper socialisation will help to ensure that this breed does not become overly timid or aggressive towards other people.
The Miniature Schnauzer has roots as a watchdog, so it has a tendency to bark at activity near its yard or home. This characteristic can be tempered with proper training, though it will likely always behave in a protective manner due to the loyalty it has for its family. It generally does well with children and other animals with proper supervision and socialisation at a young age.
If this breed is not properly trained by its owner, it may develop undesirable personality characteristics such as separation anxiety, nervousness or aggression. With training, this is an even-tempered and wonderful companion dog.
This breed is generally healthy, but has a history of several known health problems. The Miniature Schnauzer is prone to weight gain, so it is important to keep it on a well-balanced diet. This breed may also be susceptible to hip dysplasia, vision problems, ear infections, diabetes, skin sensitivities or liver problems. It also has a history of a genetic bleeding disorder called von Willebrand disease.
Barring these or other health problems, the Miniature Schnauzer may live 12-15 years of age or longer.
Miniature Schnauzer Organisations in Australia
Miniature Schnauzer Club of NSW Inc
Miniature Schnauzer Organisations in the UK
Schnauzer Club of Great Britain
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