The Miniature Schnauzer is derived from the Standard Schnauzer and is said to have come from mixing Affenpinchers and Poodles with small Standards. The Mini’s were exhibited as a distinct breed as early as 1899, and were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1926.
Miniature Schnauzers should be no less than 12 inches in height, and no more than 14 inches. They are sturdily built, nearly square in proportion of body length to height with plenty of bone. The weight should range between 14 to 18 pounds depending on height.
Schnauzers may be several colors. Salt and Pepper is the most common, though blacks and black & Silvers are being seen in increasing numbers. Their “Show Coat” differs from their “Pet Coat.” The show coat is a thick wiry coat, which is obtained through stripping the dog-pulling the hair out with a stripping knife. The pet coat is a much softer clipped coat. The breed has a soft undercoat, and if the dog is clipped, in time only the undercoat will remain. Pet owners are not recommended to try for a show coat on their dogs-not only is it very expensive to have done ($150+ each time), but it may be very difficult to find a groomer who is knowledgeable enough about the breed to do it. Having your pet clipped is best, and this should be done on a regular basis. The grooming schedule for a Miniature Schnauzer is normally every 4 to 8 weeks, depending on their hair growth. They will need to be combed and brushed in between full groomings to help prevent matting of their furnishings, and especially their beards. Just brushing the dog is not enough- they must be combed as well or their long furnishings will matt.
Miniature Schnauzers are hardy, healthy, intelligent, and fond of children. They were developed as a small farm dog, used as ratters. Their small size has permitted them to adapt easy to city living, though they still do quite well in the country, and can cover a large amount of ground with little tiring. They make wonderful family companions, and are extremely easy to train. They do well not only in conformation events, but also in obedience and agility.
Health concerns in the breed include Urolithiasis which is bladder stones. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) which is a degenerative disease of the retinal visual cells which leads to blindness. Cataracts which is Lens opacity that may in part or in total affect one or both eyes. Blindness results when cataracts are complete and in both eyes.
Panosteitis which is a developmental problem associated with too rapid growth. Lameness can occur in one limb or over time in all limbs. Typically the dog will stand with one leg up- a day or so later the dog will hold another leg up. The pain associated with Pano will often switch legs several times. Treatment usually involves resting and sometimes an arthritis type pain medication for a few days. This is not life threatening nor will it affect the dog throughout it’s lifetime.
Other concerns are immune dysfunction’s, heart problems and diabetes. For a full list and description of Miniature Schnauzer health concerns, please click here.
A reputable breeder will screen for inherited health problems and will be able to discuss if there has been any problems in their lines.
NOTICE: Despite what you may see on some websites, the only Miniature Schnauzers recognized by the AKC are blacks, salt and pepper and black and silvers. White Schnauzers (as well as the 3 AKC permitted colors) are recognized by the FCI. As with all breeds, please screen breeders carefully to assure you are getting a healthy, well balanced dog. There are many breeders out there only looking to make some money and will fool you into believing that their dogs are of the proper type. We have personally seen some “badly bred” Schnauzers that barely resemble the breed at all, and you must realize that when they lack one quality, they will most likely lack others- and health and temperament are extremely important qualities! Quality is important- proper structure, health and temperament. I’ve personally seen many illbred dogs who were loaded with health problems, and were noisy, and biters, so please be careful!
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