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Miniature Schnauzer breed – Facts and traits

Approx. 3 minutes read

Friendly, obedient and smart – it’s no surprise why the miniature schnauzer is the most popular of the three schnauzer breeds. The miniature schnauzer is an active and robust terrier resembling his larger cousin, the standard schnauzer. They are conveniently-sized and have a sturdy and square-shaped build, yet are elegant and athletic.

Miniature schnauzers have a wise expression on their whiskery face. The head is rectangular in shape with a bushy beard, moustache and eyebrows. They have dark, round eyes and v-shaped, natural forward-folding ears. The teeth meet in a scissor bite. They have a double coat with wiry exterior fur and a soft undercoat, which luckily does not shed too much. The coat colours are generally black, silver and black, and ‘salt and pepper’. Pure white is not universally recognised as being true to the breed. Their tails are naturally short and thin. They also have very straight, rigid front legs and feet that are short and round with thick black pads.

Early schnauzer

The earliest records surrounding the development of the standard schnauzer in Germany come from the late 19th century. They were originally bred to be medium-sized farm dogs suited to ratting, herding, and guarding property. As time passed, farmers bred the standard schnauzer into a smaller, more compact size for ratting, by combining it with the affenpinscher and miniature poodle. The first recorded miniature schnauzer appeared in 1888 and the first exhibition was held in 1899.

Big personality

Miniature schnauzers vary tremendously in personality, so much so that they seem like a different breed, from friendly and extroverted, to serious and reserved. Some individuals are very terrier-like: highly energised, stubborn and tend to be ‘scrappy’ towards other dogs. Others are much calmer, easy-going and sweet-natured. With such a variety in temperament, it’s difficult to predict which kind of mini schnauzer you’ll end up once they reach maturity.

Miniature schnauzers are very smart and capable of learning a great deal, but they must be taught at an early age that they are not the rulers of the world. The toughness that makes them suited for killing vermin (chasing instincts and barking), can frustrate you when trying to train and discipline them. Some miniature schnauzers can be manipulative and/or dominant (they want to be the boss). You must show them through absolute consistency that you mean what you say.

Health and exercise

Miniature schnauzers love their walks and require a fair amount of exercise and dog toys. Mostly, they just want to participate fully in the family activities. They’re alert watchdogs and may welcome strangers with enthusiasm or be a bit distant, even suspicious, if not well socialised.

Although you may experience a resistance to walking on a leash, the miniature schnauzer responds well to obedience training. Many individuals win top awards in advanced obedience.

To keep their wiry coat free of mats, miniature schnauzers require regular brushing, clipping and trimming. You can learn to do this yourself or pay a professional groomer, but it must be done regularly to keep your schnauzer happy, and healthy.

Adaptable companion

Most miniature schnauzers are good with other family pets. They may chase the family cat for fun, but they’re seldom serious about it. Some can show signs of aggression towards other dogs of the same sex, but they can often be grouped together with little or no bickering. This breed is adaptable, makes an excellent travelling companion and even if slightly spoiled, doesn’t take as much advantage of it as many other terriers do. They can be vocal (barky) as is characteristic of a keen watchdog, but are usually polite with everyone.

Breed Miniature schnauzer
Country Germany
Average Adult Height 33 – 36 cm
Average Adult Weight 4 – 7 kg (males being larger)
Life Expectancy 12 – 14 years
Exercise Requirements Needs regular daily exercise
Similar Breeds Airedale terrier, wirehair fox terrier, affenpinscher
Rescues in South Africa
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