Miniature Schnauzers

At a glance
miniature schnauzerThe Miniature Schnauzer is a small dog with distinctive bushy eyebrows and moustache. Like a terrier, the salt-and-pepper-coated schnauzer is always on the go, yet friendly and obedient. The dog resembles the larger Standard Schnauzer.


  • Names – Zwergschnauzer (Dwarf Schnauzer), Mini Schnauzer
  • Group – AKC: Terrier Group; KC: Utility
  • Size – small
  • Life expectancy – average of 13; range of 12 to 15 years
  • Cost of ownership – low
  • Ease of ownership – high
  • Aggressive tendency – low
  • Amount of Exercise – medium
  • Amount of Grooming – low
  • Ease of Training – high
  • Obedience level – high
  • Suitable for Children – medium
  • Amount of Care Required – medium
  • Susceptibility to Health Problems – low

The Miniature Schnauzer is a small dog. They have a sturdy and muscular build and are very alert. Most people immediately recognize the dog’s eyebrows and mustache.


  • Bitch: 11 to 13 lb (5.0 to 5.9 kg)
  • Dog: 12 to 15 lb (5.4 to 6.8 kg)


  • Bitch: 12 to 14 in (30 to 36 cm)
  • Dog: 12 to 14 in (30 to 36 cm)


  • Color – Black, salt & pepper, black & silver and white
  • Coat – Soft and curly when unclipped, harsh and wiry when groomed
  • Shedding – low
  • Allergies – medium
  • Causes Allergies – low

The Mini Schnauzer is active and lively. He is also an ideal family pet and watchdog, having been among the top ten most preferred dog breeds in 2005 and 2006. They are quite vocal and will bark at strangers who enter their territory. The Miniature Schnauzer is also said to have the best temperament among all three equally talented Schnauzer breeds.

  • Separation Anxiety – low
  • Barking tendency – medium
  • Aggressive tendency – low
  • Compatibility with other animals – medium
  • Suitable for children – medium
  • Watchdog suitability – medium

The Schnauzer can be aggressive with other dogs but if raised with them this breed can do well. They are not recommended for a home with smaller animals like cats and especially not rodents, as these tiny creatures will excite them and bring out their hunting instincts.

They can be stubborn and independent and require a firm and consistent trainer. These little dogs often enjoy the challenge of agility training. Those looking into obedience titles will find a well-bred Schnauzer to be a bright, perky obedient dog, as long as he respects and recognizes his owner as the pack leader. Nevertheless, Schnauzers will not hesitate in taking over the part of pack leader if a half-hearted human allows him. Some of the Miniature Schnauzer’s talents include: hunting, tracking, watchdog, competitive obedience, and performing tricks.

  • Obedience – high

Exercise required
The Mini Schnauzer enjoys exercise and play, and will readily adjust to the pace of the home’s daily activity.

  • Energy – medium
  • Amount required – 40 to 60 minutes per day.

Socialize your miniature schnauzer at an early age to accustom him to being with other people and dogs. Bring your pup with you everywhere: to the workplace, to dog shows, to the park and for little walks around the neighborhood where they can familiarize themselves with different environments, dogs, and people.

Take care of your miniature schnauzer’s coat with a daily brushing. Have him professionally trimmed twice a year. Trim nails every two to three weeks.

Other issues which may affect this breed are diabetes, bladder stones and eye problems. Giving the dog food that is low- or non-fatty and unsweetened may reduce the chances of these conditions. All Miniature Schnauzers should have their ears checked regularly and dried out after a bath or swimming to avoid the risk of infection. This is especially important for those with un-cropped ears.

Feed your Miniature Schnauzer high-grade dog food. Crude meat protein should be no less than 30 percent and crude fat no less than 20 percent. The fiber content needs to be 4 percent or less. If a dog seems to be suffering from itchy skin, this may be overcome by changing the dog’s diet. Wheat, corn and soy tend to be ingredients Schnauzer’s are allergic to.

Some Miniature Schnauzers have sensitive stomachs, so table scraps or anything rich, spicy or greasy should not be given to a dog of any age. A Mini Schnauzer with no health concerns has a robust appetite and they will happily enjoy treats, extra pieces of dog food or a dog cookie. Occasional slices of fruits or vegetables will also be good for them, such as raw carrots or apple.

The Miniature Schnauzer’s thick coat should be brushed or combed on a daily basis or at least once a week to avoid tangles and knots found in his coat need to be clipped out. A maintenance clipping must be done twice a year, especially during autumn and spring, to keep the coat in uniform length. Instead of clipping, the coat can be plucked or stripped to maintain the wiry texture. Clipping will destroy not only the texture but the peppery part of the salt and pepper hairs, leaving the dog a lighter shade of gray. The breed almost never sheds hair.

The facial hair may also be trimmed to bring out the distinct square build of the breed.

  • Ease of grooming – medium
  • Amount of grooming – medium

There are some health issues that affect the breed. Breeders are strongly advised to thoroughly research and study these diseases before breeding. A few major problems often seen in the breed are allergies, bad skin, pancreatitis, diabetes, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases and bladder stones. In practice, serious breeders remove dogs from their breeding program who are affected by any of the above conditions.

There is also a muscle disease in the breed known as Myotonia. There is a new DNA blood test to determine carriers. With regard to rooting out eye problems in the stock, eye checks are recommended. In some ill-planned litters, a certain type of cataract can be observed at eight weeks of age, which explains the importance of early eye exams. Retinal Displasia and Retinal Folds can also be seen at eight weeks of age.

  • Litter size – average of 4; range of 3 to 5
  • Puppy cost – average of $1,095; range $730-$1,168

The Schnauzer is generally a healthy and hardy breed. Major problems include hereditary cataracts and pulmonic stenosis.

  • Life expectancy – average of 13; range of 12 to 15 years
  • Susceptibility to illness – low
  • Common health problems – kidney stones, liver disease, skin disorders, Von Willebrand’s disease, diabetes, liver ailments, cysts and hereditary eye problems.

The mini-Schnauzer can be a good choice for a first time owner. He is a versatile pet with undeniable intelligence and excellent watchdog and guard dog skills. He enjoys being active but is happiest to be in the company of his family. He does require considerable grooming but is otherwise a very accommodating breed.

  • Living conditions – The Miniature Schnauzer is a happy housedog and enjoys constant interaction with his people. Though he will enjoy a yard, he can comfortably dwell in an apartment, as long as he is provide with some outdoor exercise and activity.
  • Good with Children – They can be very accepting of children and other household pets if they are socialized at an early age. Rough kids and younger children need to be supervised and taught how to handle, play and interact with the breed.

The Miniature Schnauzer is reportedly a result of crossing the Standard Schnauzer, the Affenpinscher and perhaps the Poodle. The dog is of true German breed, named after the German word for muzzle, “Schnauze.” The Miniature Schnauzer was once bred for, and still excels at, hunting and rooting out vermin but today it is a highly prized and very loyal companion dog.

  • Country or origin country: Germany
  • AKA KC name and group – Terrier (AKA), Utility (KC)

Did you know…

  • Some famous Miniature Schnauzer owners include:
    • Avril Lavigne (Sam)
    • Janet Jackson (Madison)
    • Bob & Elizabeth Dole (Leader)
  • Schnauzer comes from the German word “schnauz”, which means “Snout”
  • A Mini Schnauzer is quite versatile, capable of being a Signal/hearing dog, Scent dog, and Therapy dog. However, it makes a poor Seeing-eye dog.
  • From 1991 to 2000, all of the police dogs in the state of Delaware were Giant Schnauzers; blood relatives of the Mini’s. Living proof that not all police dogs have to be German shepherds.
  • Of the three Schnauzer breeds, Minis bark the most.
  • “The Night Watchman”, a German statue erected in 1620, features a Schnauzer.
  • In 2005 and 2006, they were considered the 10th Most Popular Breed in the U.S.
  • Cropping Schnauzer ears is illegal in the U.K.
  • Winsor Pilates

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