With its coarse wiry fur and bushy beard and eyebrows, the Miniature Schnauzer is a smaller version of the Standard Schnauzer. However, it isn't inferior to its big brother whatsoever in terms of its endurance, vigilance and courage.
In short, the Miniature Schnauzer can be described as lively, smart, vigilant, sometimes stubborn but also friendly, good-natured and affectionate. In this sense, it strongly resembles its big brothers, the Standard and Giant Schnauzers, but considering its small size, it is surprisingly how tenacious, intelligent and fearless the baby of the Schnauzer family is.
Little bundle of energy
Despite its size of just 30 to 35cm, the Miniature Schnauzer has remarkable exercise requirements. Be it walks, fetch, ball and search games, tracking work, jogging, swimming or doing their own cycling, these lively little dogs just can not get enough and love being on the move. They like to be entertained and occupied - lazing around the sofa is not their thing. However, they are found to be highly adaptable, affectionate and cuddly at home in the vicinity of their human family.
Nevertheless, Miniature Schnauzer are more than just a pocket-sized sporty family dogs. They are by nature extremely vigilant and reliably inform their owner of each and every unfamiliar noise. This too makes them good watchdogs for their family, and they doesn't need to shy away from comparisons with other watchdog breeds. Their courage and fearlessness are remarkable when considering that they weigh just 4 to 8kg. They are initially reticent to reserved towards strangers in line with their nature.
Stubborn family dog
Miniature Schnauzers have an even closer connection to their family. Although they are said to have a certain stubbornness – like all Schnauzer breeds – they like to please their human companions. Their people-focused nature, intelligence and desire to learn make them grateful and obedient students – of course, provided that they are sufficiently stimulated on a physical and mental level. If this is not the case, their stubbornness may come to the fore. If they receives too few tasks from their owner, smart and headstrong Miniature Schnauzers happily seek out their own diversion – which is unlikely to be in their family's interest.
Appearance: typical Schnauzer!
The Miniature Schnauzer has also inherited the typical Schnauzer appearance from its big siblings, along with the distinctive nature of the breeds. This primarily entails the bushy beard and thick, long eyebrow hairs that slightly overshadow the eyes. Giant, Standard and Miniature Schnauzers also share a powerful stature that is stocky rather then slender with a sloping back, as well as coarse wiry top hair that lies flat to the body.
Four colour tones
In contrast, the Miniature Schnauzer is somewhat more varied in terms of colour than the rest of the Schnauzer family. Along with the most renowned Schnauzer colours salt-and-pepper and pure black, the smallest members of the family are also found in “silver black” and “pure white”. These colour tones can be summarised as follows:
- Pure black with a black undercoat. Light markings on the head, chest and limbs are undesirable.
- Salt-and-pepper: evenly distributed and well pigmented peppering in medium colour tones ranging from iron to silver grey, with a grey undercoat and dark mask on the face. Clear light markings are likewise undesirable.
- Silver black: black top hair and undercoat, white markings above the eyes, on the cheeks, beard, throat, two separated triangles on the front of the chest, on the midfoot of the front legs, on the paws, on the inside of the back legs and anus. The brow, neck and outsides of the ears should be black.
- Pure white with a white undercoat. No dark mask on the face.
Parti or Schecken Schnauzers
Parti Schnauzers – also called Schecken Schnauzers – are popular and well-known in the US. Parti means any colour on white, including liver (brown) and chocolate, since they possess the Parti gene. In contrast to the FCI standard, the American Kennel Club (AKC) does recognise these colour tones.
Although the Miniature Schnauzer is just 30 to 35cm in height and only weighs 4.5 to 8kg, it is very strong and powerful. Deficiencies or vulnerabilities are not known among the smallest schnauzers. Their square-shaped body, strong head with flat brow, muscular throat and powerfully stocky legs are testament to immense strength and endurance. The lively, forward-facing and constantly alert eyes emphasise this impression and make it clear that these four-legged midgets should not be underestimated.
The Schnauzer's ancestors needed to be resistant, courageous, intelligent and vigilant. Since they belonged to farmers and carters, they didn't just have to keep rats and mice away from house, home and carriages, but also thieves and other uninvited guests. They had to show endurance in order to accompany carters on their journeys and needed weather-resistant robust fur. Thanks to their diversity as potential rat-catchers, stable dogs and watchdogs, wiry-haired Pinschers were very popular at the end of the 19th century. In the country of origin Germany, most specifically Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, almost every village had a Pinscher during this period.
Onset of targeted pedigree breeding
Targeted breeding of the miniature version of the wiry-haired Pinscher started around 1880 in the Frankfurt am Main area. Schnauzer schnauzer that is fully connected to his big brother, from appearance to nature. The small size of the wiry-haired Miniature Pinscher, as the breed is still called at its onset, which is presumably achieved through crossing Affenpinschers and Miniature Pinschers. In 1888, the first Miniature Schnauzer was officially registered. Though it was initially in its big brother's shadow, the miniature Schnauzer conquered the hearts of numerous dog lovers and shot up the popularity scale no later than the Second World.
Health and breeding
Although many breeding experiments were carried out with Miniature Schnauzers in the US in particular – where the controversial Toy and Teacup sizes were bred alongside Miniatures – they were never true fashion dogs in Europe. Serious breeders working to the FCI standard avoid a desperate battle for the Toy format and instead focus on maintaining healthy, robust Miniature Schnauzers that are strong of character.
Why a pedigree dog?
Even if you don't value paperwork, you should absolutely steer clear of unscrupulous offers giving away puppies at a bargain price without proof of their pedigree. A pedigree dog from a responsible breeder who works under the strict criteria of a breeding association will definitely cost you. However, this is the only way to guarantee that your dog is of healthy genetic stock, has undergone all recommended vaccinations and precautionary examinations and has experienced a good upbringing and socialisation in the crucial first few weeks of its life.
Are there breed-specific diseases?
A good pedigree, species-appropriate rearing and care and a balanced diet are the most important prerequisites for your dog living a long, healthy and active life. However, even if you stick to this strictly, you will still have to see your vet regarding a few aches and pains. Thankfully Miniature Schnauzers are considered a highly robust and resistant breed, which only rarely suffers from severe breed-specific diseases despite its small size. The insufficient production of tear fluid, which can lead to infection and inflammation of the eyes, is irritating but not life-threatening. Other ocular ailments, such as PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) are every now and again an issue for Miniature Schnauzers. In addition, rare cases of epilepsy and luxating patella are known amongst Schnauzers.
Diet for Miniature Schnauzers
Although some animal food manufacturers promise otherwise, Schnauzers don't have any breed-specific dietary requirements. A dog food especially for Miniature Schnauzers, as you can find online or in animal trade stores, is not necessarily wrong, but it isn't absolutely necessary. Like all other dogs, Miniature Schnauzers are descendants of wolves, making them carnivores. Their whole organism is set up to consume meat – even raw meat is no problem for them. Of course, this doesn't mean that they should exclusively eat meat though. Just as wolves consume the whole prey animal – along with blood, bones and the contents of the intestines – dogs also need further nutrients and minerals, some of which are found in vegetables, fruit and rice. For instance, a good mixture is made up of around 70% meat, 20% vegetables and 10% rice.
What food do Miniature Schnauzers need?
Exact needs differ greatly from dog to dog, since just as with humans, dogs' calorific and nutrient requirements depend on their age, sex, weight and level of activity. For instance, a young dog that spends several hours outdoors or doing dog sport needs more protein than an elderly dog that enjoys spending time on the sofa most of all. In order to find out what is the best food for your dog, you can take advice from your vet or an animal nutrition expert.
Wet food, dry food or BARF?
Many dog owners don't just ask what the food should contain, but also in what form they should give it to their dog. There are greatly diverging opinions on this topic that are often linked to personal preferences and experiences. In principle, each form has its advantages and disadvantages, be it wet, dry, self-cooked or raw food. Wet food gets stuck in the Schnauzer's beard, with dry food they consume too little fluid and self-cooked food is too time consuming. There are plenty of factors in favour of or against different food types. Hence, you have to find out for yourself what form of food is best tolerated by your dog, what it finds tastiest and what is practical for you. There's no point deciding to cook it yourself if it's going to make you stressed and have to spend time on the preparation that you would rather devote to outdoor activity with your dog. You can certainly feed your dog in a healthy and balanced manner with mass-produced ready-made food – provided that it's a high-quality food without fillers (e.g. grain), sugar, artificial flavour enhancers and chemical preservatives.
It goes without saying that appropriate grooming is just as important a part of a healthy canine life as a balanced diet. When it comes to Schnauzers, grooming is somewhat more time-consuming than with some other breeds, since the breed's coarse fur needs to be brushed regularly and also trimmed two to four times year. You can either get a dog salon or your vet to do the trimming or learn how to do it yourself so that you can do it at home in future. With the right equipment and a bit practice, which you can obtain through a special course, for instance, this should be no problem. In addition, the beard should be trimmed regularly and the eyes, ears and claws need to be checked. The good news for allergy sufferers is that Schnauzers barely moult and their coat does not change in different seasons. Hence, they are also suitable for dog owners with a slight fur allergy.
Miniature Schnauzers are one of the most popular dog breeds worldwide. This is not least because of their convenient size, which allows them to also be kept in smaller homes. However, don't forget that their need for exercise is comparatively high. Miniature Schnauzers need several hours of exercise per day, be it long walks outdoors, accompanying their owner jogging or cycling or doing dog sport. Only if this need is met is it possible for a Miniature Schnauzer to be kept in an apartment.
Is a Miniature Schnauzer the right dog for me?
The high activity and exercise requirements of this lively pedigree breed require an equally active and sporty owner. Elderly people who are no longer good on their feet or people who are at work for several hours a day and therefore have little free time for doing sporting activities with their dog would be advised to refrain from purchasing a Miniature Schnauzer. Dog lovers with time and motivation for joint activities with their little four-legged bundle of energy who are sporty themselves will definitely take great joy in the playful and intelligent Miniature Schnauzer. This breed is also well suited for families with children.
Are Miniature Schnauzers easy to train?
The prerequisite for living in harmony with the Miniature Schnauzer and its dominant tendencies is good socialisation and consistency training. Especially during the puppy phase, your dog should be cautiously exposed to as many different animals, humans, vehicles and noises as possible – only in this way will it learn how to calmly confront different situations of day-to-day life. You should also lay down limits from the start on the widespread concept of Schnauzers barking loudly at every little noise. Along with consistency and a certain know-how, love and patience are required above all. Miniature Schnauzers are very sensitive dogs and are extremely unsettled by excessive severity or even violence.
Good-humoured companions and reliable guardians for the whole family
Thanks to their quick comprehension, playful nature and close connection to their family, Miniature Schnauzers are very open to the attempts of their owners to train them. They consider training exercises a kind of play session and happily take part, as long as variety is on the agenda. If drills are always the same, their stubbornness will soon come to the fore. If you find the right way to approach your Miniature Schnauzer, you will find in this breed a wonderful companion dog that will guarantee plenty of family fun and also reliable protection against intruders to the home.