Schnauzers are Super

by PetBond Veterinary Surgeon

Miniature Schnauzer Highlights

Miniature Schnauzers are extremely smart
Very affectionate and loyal by nature
They shed a minimally
They are very playful and remain so well into their senior years
Great around children of all ages
Miniature Schnauzers make great watchdogs
They don’t have that “doggy” smell about them
Miniature Schnauzers are not too big or too small
Good with other dogs and cats they have grown up with
Thrives in a home environment

Factors to Consider

Miniature Schnauzers like the sound of their own voices and are known to be “barkers”
Prone to suffering from dry skin and allergies
High maintenance on the grooming front
Can be stubborn and strong willed at times
Can suffer from separation anxiety
Can be territorial if not well socialised from a young enough age

Where did the Miniature Schnauzer originate?

The Miniature Schnauzer is a smart looking little dog that’s native to Germany. They are the smallest of the three Schnauzers being the more recent addition to this charming breed. Since they first appeared in the show ring, they have become one of the most popular of all the Schnauzers thanks to their size as well as their charming looks and kind, loyal natures. The Miniature Schnauzer is a low shedder which is another reason why they have gained popularity not only here in Ireland, but elsewhere in the world too.

They are sturdy, robust in appearance with an almost square look about them being just as tall as they are long. Miniature Schnauzers are very adaptable being just as happy living in an apartment as they would be living in a country house providing they are given the right amount of mental stimulation and daily exercise. Always alert and eager to please, the Miniature Schnauzer is a real crowd pleaser in the show ring both with audiences and judges alike.

Tell me more about the Breed?

The actual origins of the Miniature Schnauzer are a bit vague although the breed is thought to be an ancient one with their ancestry dating back to the 15th century. Similar dogs can be seen depicted in works of art that date back to that period in history, but one thing that is certain is that they have always been highly prized in their native Germany thanks to their loyal characters, even temperaments and the fact they are able to distinguish between a friend and a foe which makes them excellent watchdogs. This together with their reputation for being exceptionally good “ratters” has always meant that Schnauzers were always in demand with people who lived in the country and in towns too.

Some breed enthusiasts believe that Miniature Schnauzers were created by breeders only using the smallest examples of a Standard Schnauzer in their breeding programmes to achieve a smaller version of the breed. However, other people feel they came about by crossing a Standard Schnauzer with the Affenpinscher as well as other small breeds. These charming little dogs were first exhibited at a dog show in 1899 and they were an immediate hit thanks to their size and their charming looks.

Interestingly, the Schnauzer takes its breed name from a dog that won the International Show in Hanover that took place in 1879. The dog’s name was “Schnauzer” and he was a wire-haired Pinscher. The name “Pinscher” was used after the first Breed Club was established in 1895 in Cologne which included the wire-haired Schnauzer as well as the smooth coated Pinscher. The name is believed to be a reference to “terrier”.

However, a breed standard had already been drawn up for Short-haired Pinschers around 15 years earlier which was to become the “prototype” for many German breeds. Miniature Schnauzers were officially recognised as a unique breed in 1899 in their native Germany and were first introduced to America in the mid-twenties where they were an immediate hit.¬† In 1901, the Bavarian Schnauzer Club was founded which a few years later in 1918 joined with the Pinscher Club and became known as the Pinscher-Schnauzer Club.

Over the years, the Miniature Schnauzer earned a reputation of being an excellent watchdog with the bonus being that they are not aggressive, but rather very vocal “barkers” with an excellent ability of determining who was out to do mischief and who was a friend.

The breed was officially recognised by The Kennel Club in 1948 when a breed standard was established. Today, Miniature Schnauzers remain a very popular choice both as companion dogs and family pets thanks to their charming looks and loyal, affectionate natures both here in Ireland and elsewhere in the world.

Did you know…

Is the Miniature Schnauzer a vulnerable breed? No, they are among the most popular in Ireland and elsewhere in the world
Miniature Schnauzers were first bred to be ratters and watchdogs in their native Germany
The breed came about by crossing Standard Schnauzers with small breeds which included the Miniature Pinschers as well as Affenpinschers and even Pomeranians and Poodles or so it is thought
Miniature Schnauzers like their bigger cousins do not shed
They are extremely intelligent which makes Miniature Schnauzers highly trainable

What should a Miniature Dachshund look like?

Height at the withers: Males 30 – 36 cm, Females 30 – 36 cm

Average weight: Males 5.4 – 9.1 kg, Females 5.4 – 8.2 kg

The Miniature Schnauzer is a charming looking little dog with their bushy eyebrows and whiskers. They boast a compact, athletic appearance with nicely proportioned heads which are a good length and quite broad between a dog’s ears. Their foreheads are flat with Minis having well-muscled cheeks and a medium stop that accentuates their eyebrows. Muzzles are powerful and blunt with lots of bristly hair that forms their charming moustaches and whiskers. Noses are black with nice open nostrils and lips are tight.

Their eyes are dark and oval shaped being medium in size with dogs having lovely bushy, arched eyebrows which adds to their charming appeal. Their ears are V-shaped being set high on a dog’s head and dropping forward. The Miniature Schnauzer has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Necks are strong, slightly arched and moderately long before merging cleanly into a dog’s shoulders.

Minis have strong forequarters with well laid back, flat shoulders and they have nice straight, well-muscled front legs. Chests are deep and moderately broad with dogs having a quite noticeable breastbone that reaches as far down as the elbow. Their backs are straight and strong being slightly higher at the shoulder than over a dog’s hindquarters. Loins are short and well developed with dogs having well sprung ribs.

Their hindquarters are powerful with dogs having well-muscled thighs and strong back legs with both upper and lower thighs being well developed. Feet are round and very cat-like being compact with nicely closed, arched toes, strong dark nails and firm black coloured pads. Their tails are set high being thicker at the base before tapering to a tip and which dogs carry straight.

When it comes to their coat, the Miniature Schnauzer boasts having a harsh, wiry, short coat with a dense, softer undercoat. The outer coat being short adds to the smart look of a Mini. The hair on a dog’s neck, shoulders, ears and skull is clean, but harsher on their legs with furnishings being thick but never silky to the touch. The accepted breed colours for registration with the Kennel Club are as follows:

Black
Black & Silver
Pepper & Salt
White
Miniature Schnauzers should always have a nice pigmentation no matter what colour coat they happen to have.

How should a Miniature Schnauzer move?

When a Miniature Schnauzer moves they do so with a vigorous, balanced and free-moving gait covering a lot of ground with their front legs and having excellent drive from their hindquarters. A Miniature Schnauzer always keeps a nice level back when they move.

What will the kennel club look for?

The Kennel Club frowns on any departures or exaggerations in the breed standard and would judge any faults on how much they affect a Miniature Schnauzer’s overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.

Male Miniature Schnauzers should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums. It is also worth noting that a dog might be slightly taller or shorter and that they can be a little lighter or heavier than stated in their breed standard which is issued by the Kennel Club as a guideline only.

Does the Miniature Schnauzer Have a Good Temperament?

Miniature Schnauzers are intelligent, lively little dogs and they thrive in a home environment. However, they do have a bit of a stubborn streak in them which is why their socialisation and training has to start as early as possible so they understand their place in the pack and who is the alpha dog in a household. Their training also has to be consistent and they need to be handled with a firm yet gentle hand. These little dogs are never happier than when they know who they can look to for direction and guidance.

They are quite vocal and are always very quick to let an owner know when there are strangers about or when something they don’t like is going on in their environment which in short, means the Mini is a good watchdog. They tend to be a little wary and aloof around people they do not know, but rarely would one of these little dogs show any sort of aggression towards a stranger, preferring to keep their distance and bark.

Because they are so intelligent and energetic, they do well with people who lead active, outdoor lives. The good news is they are not known to suffer from separation anxiety and providing they have been given enough daily exercise and things to keep their minds occupied, Minis are quite happy to be left alone although never for too long.

Is the Miniature Schnauzer a good choice for first time owners?

Miniature Schnauzers are a good choice for first time dog owners providing the people have enough time to dedicate to socialising and training their canine companions. Miniature Schnauzers are active, energetic and intelligent and they form strong bonds with their owners. However, they can be stubborn and strong willed when the mood takes them which is why their education must start early and it must be consistent throughout a dog’s life.

What about prey drive?

The Miniature Schnauzer was originally bred to be an expert ratter and this is a trait that is deeply embedded in a dog’s psyche. In short, if given the chance, a Miniature Schnauzer would chase anything that moves which is why care should always be taken as to where and when a dog can run safely off their leads.

What about playfulness?

Miniature Schnauzers are smart and playful dogs by nature and thoroughly enjoy taking part in interactive games. They also excel at all sorts of canine sports which includes agility.

Is the Miniature Schnauzer adaptable?

Miniature Schnauzers are highly adaptable little dogs and thanks to their size, they are just as happy living in an apartment as they would be living in a house with a back garden, providing they are given lots of daily exercise and enough mental stimulation to keep them occupied.

Will a Miniature Schnauzer show separation anxiety?

Miniature Schnauzers form extremely strong bonds with their owners and families which means they hate being left on their own for any length of time. All too often when a dog is left to their own devices for too long they develop separation anxiety which sees them developing lots of unwanted and destructive behaviours around the home and this includes barking incessantly.

Will a Schnauzer bark too much?

Miniature Schnauzers are known to be “barkers” and will use any excuse to be vocal even if owners gently attempt to curb this trait when dogs are still young which is why they make great watchdogs. However, incessant barking or barking for no reason can turn into a real problem more especially as it might upset and disturb neighbours.

Do Miniature Schnauzers like Swimming?

Some Miniature Schnauzers like swimming whereas others don’t even like getting their feet wet and it would be a mistake to make them go in the water when they don’t want to because it would just end up frightening them. Anyone who shares a home with a Miniature Schnauzer that enjoys swimming should take great care when walking their dogs off their leads anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case they decide to leap in.

Are Miniature Schnauzers good watchdogs?

Throughout history, the Miniature Schnauzer has always been highly prized as being an excellent watchdog. As previously mentioned, although not aggressive, the Schnauzer is very vocal when they are strangers about or when something they don’t like is going on around them.

Is a Miniature Schnauzer easy to train?

Miniature Schnauzers are intelligent and they are always willing and eager to please which makes them easy to train. However, the key to successfully training one of these active and alert dogs is to make training sessions short and extremely interesting. Longer more repetitive sessions do not bring the best out of these little dogs because they would soon lose interest in what is going on.

They are quite sensitive dogs by nature and therefore they do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or heavier handed training methods which could end up making a dog shy and timid rather than have any positive outcomes. They do answer very well to positive reinforcement training which always brings the best out of a Miniature Schnauzer.

Puppies need to be taught the basic commands as early as possible so they understand the ground rules and it also helps a young dog establish their place in the pack. The commands a young Miniature Schnauzer should be taught are as follows:

Come
Sit
Stay
Quiet
Leave it
Down
Bed
Once a dog is older, they can be taught other more complicated commands to ensure they grow up to be more obedient and well-behaved.

Will a Schnauzer be good with Children and Other Pets?

Miniature Schnauzers are known to be wonderful family pets being tolerant and well behaved around children of all ages. However, younger children should be taught how to behave around a dog. With this said, any interaction between a dog and children should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure things don’t get too noisy or boisterous. This is particularly true of toddlers and younger children who may want to pull their pet around.

They also get on well with other dogs and especially if they have been well socialised from a young enough age. If they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they generally get on well together, however, a Mini would think nothing of chasing off any other cats they come across. Care has to be taken when they are around smaller animals and pets just in case they see them as prey so any contact is best avoided.