THE MINIATURE SCHNAUZER
The miniature schnauzer is a true terrier in every sense of the word: Plucky, big-hearted, and active. Woe to the person who appears to pose a threat to this pup’s loved ones: This courageous, bright-eyed little dog is loyal to the end.
The Schnauzer is a very old German breed, having been depicted in paintings as far back as 1492. The German word for muzzle is, “schnauzer,” with all schnauzer varieties being bred to have bristly hair on the nose and mouth. The standard version of the breed originated in Germany, pulling vegetable carts from the farmers’ fields to markets in town. The dog was also put on guard duty.
The brilliance of the schnauzer lies in its versatility. They were used as an all-around stock dog — herding sheep, cattle, and pigs. They kept vermin at bay and were the quintessential farmer’s best friend. Even today, German Schnauzer Clubs will promote “ratting” trials, keeping the schnauzer as a pragmatic working breed. In America, schnauzers are a common choice for barn hunt and earthdog trials.
The miniature schnauzer descended from a cross between its standard-sized relative and an Affenpinscher. While even breed fanciers are not sure whether the cross was intentional, they treasure the results. The mini has enjoyed breed recognition since first being entered in shows around 1899. The first miniatures were bred in the United States in 1925 and officially gained AKC breed recognition the following year.
According to the AKC breed standard, the miniature schnauzer is “a robust, active dog of terrier type, resembling its larger cousin, the standard schnauzer, in general appearance, and of an alert, active disposition.”
The AKC allows only three coat colors: Salt and pepper, solid black, or black and silver.
The miniature schnauzer is high-spirited, friendly, and eager to please. They are courageous like most terriers, but generally obedient.
Although they thrive apartment-sized environments, miniature schnauzers require a regular exercise schedule. Their genetics as a hunter make them want to dig holes and bark.
Possible Health Concerns
If adopting a miniature schnauzer from a breeder, look for a background with clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease. Breeding schnauzers should also be tested for thrombopathia and have an eye certification.
Schnauzers are active, athletic dogs. They can excel at dog sports such as agility and obedience. They tend to love activities like rally and barn hunt. If you are considering life with a schnauzer, prepare to keep moving!
Like many other small dogs, overfeeding can be a problem. A schnauzer’s diet should be monitored closely, including quality kibble, meat, and blanched vegetables. Monitor their weights to make sure they are maintaining the correct numbers for their size, and be sure they gets plenty of exercise.
If you are considering adding a miniature schnauzer to the family, be ready for new adventures. These playful, happy dogs are game for just about anything you want to do. They are not couch potatoes by any means! Be prepared for a good, long lifetime filled with fun.