As most of you know, my furry son is a miniature schnauzer named Remington. He could perhaps be one of the most spoiled dogs in Kansas and also one of the more popular ones having over 4,000 friends on his personal Facebook page. As a miniature schnauzer lover and owner I can tell you that they are are a joy to own, despite the stereotype as being a heavy barker. He does have his small-dog-syndrome moments when he thinks he is a St. Bernard, but for the most part, he is an extremely loyal and even tempered boy who aims to please and spends every chance he can snuggled in my lap. I highly encourage you to learn more about this breed if you are in the market for a non-shedding, loving and obedient best friend.
Miniature Schnauzers have a squarely proportioned build, measuring 12 to 14 inches tall and weighing 11 to 15 pounds for females and 14 to 18 pounds for males. They have a double coat. The exterior fur is wiry and the undercoat is soft. The coat is kept short on the body, but the hair on ears, legs, and belly are retained.
Miniature Schnauzers are often described as non-shedding dogs, and while this is not entirely true, their shedding is minimal and generally unnoticeable. They are characterized by a rectangular head with bushy beard, mustache and eyebrows; teeth that meet in a “scissor bite”; oval and dark colored eyes; and v-shaped, natural forward-folding ears (when cropped, the ears point straight upward and come to a sharp point). Their tails are naturally thin and short, and may be docked (where permitted). They will also have very straight, rigid front legs, and feet that are short and round.
The Official Standard of the Miniature Schnauzer for the American Kennel Club describes temperament as “alert and spirited, yet obedient to command…friendly, intelligent and willing to please…should never be overaggressive or timid.” Usually easy to train, they tend to be excellent watchdogs with a good territorial instinct, but more inclined toward barking than biting. They are often aloof with strangers until the owners of the home welcome the guest, upon which they are typically very friendly to them. However, they will often express themselves vocally, and may bark to greet their owner, or to express joy, excitement, or displeasure.
The breed is generally good with children, but as with any dog, play with small children should be supervised. They are highly playful dogs, and if not given the outlet required for their energy they can become bored and invent their own “fun.” Miniature Schnauzers can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, and tracking. Schnauzers have a “high prey drive” (appropriate for a ratting dog), which means they may attack other small pets such as birds, snakes, and rodents. Many will also attack cats, but this may be curbed with training, or if the dog is raised with cats.
The earliest records surrounding development of the Standard Schnauzer (or Mittelschnauzer) in Germany come from the late 19th century. They were originally bred to be medium-sized farm dogs in Germany, equally suited to ratting, herding, and guarding property and children. As time passed, farmers bred down the Standard Schnauzer into a smaller, more compact size perfect for ratting around the house and barn. Several small breeds were employed in crosses to bring down the size of the well-established Standard Schnauzer, with the goal of creating a duplicate in miniature.
Health and grooming
Adult black-and-silver with natural ears; the long eyebrows and full beard are trademark grooming characteristics
A UK Kennel Club survey puts the median lifespan of Miniature Schnauzers at a little over 12 years. About 20% lived to >15 years. While generally a healthy breed, Miniature Schnauzers may suffer health problems associated with high fat levels. Such problems include hyperlipidemia, which may increase the possibility of pancreatitis, though either may form independently. Other issues which may affect this breed are diabetes, bladder stones and eye problems. Feeding the dog low- or non-fatty and unsweetened foods may help avoid these problems. Miniature Schnauzers are also prone to comedone syndrome, a condition that produces pus filled bumps, usually on their backs, which can be treated with a variety of protocols. Miniature Schnauzers should have their ears dried after swimming due to a risk of infection, especially those with uncropped ears; ear examinations should be part of the regular annual check up.
Here are a few of my favorite miniature schnauzer photos from past shoots.