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Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is a small terrier originally bred in Germany in the 19th century. Its appearance is distinguished by its "small beard." Known for being less aggressive than the typical terrier, Miniature Schnauzers are lovable members of many families today.

Physical Characteristics

The Miniature Schnauzer dog has a double coat comprising of a close undercoat and a wiry, hard outer coat, which is longer around the eyebrows, legs, and muzzle. The abundant facial "furnishings" compliment its keen expression. The Mini Schnauzer, with an almost square proportioned and robust body, has a sturdy build. As it was developed to catch rats, it is tough and quick, with a far-reaching stride.

Personality and Temperament

The companionable, playful, spunky, curious, and alert Miniature Schnauzer is a well-mannered and gentle house dog that loves to be surrounded by engaging activities. It is less aggressive towards dogs than many terriers, and less dominating than other larger Schnauzers. And although it is generally submissive, it can be stubborn or sly. Some Miniatures occasionally have a tendency to bark a lot, but all enjoy the company of children.


The Miniature Schnauzer's wire coat requires combing every week, plus shaping and scissoring. Stripping is good for show dogs, while clipping (or styling) is sufficient enough for pets, as it softens the texture of the coat. The exercise requirements of the energetic Miniature Schnauzer can be met with a moderate on leash walk or a playful game in the garden. And although the dog is capable of living outdoors in temperate or warm climates, its emotionally needs are best met with a cozy "dog area" indoors with its family.


The Miniature Schnauzer, with a lifespan of 12 to 14 years, sometimes suffers from health problems like mycobacterium avium infection, cataract and retinal dysplasia. Other major health issues that may affect it are urolithiasis and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), while some minor health problems include von Willebrand's disease (vWD), myotonia congenita, Schnauzer comedo syndrome, and allergies. A veterinarian may run DNA or eye exams to identify some of these issues.

History and Background

Developed in Germany in the late 19th century, the Miniature Schnauzer was originally bred as a small farm dog to keep the rats and vermin away. It was not only the most popular Schnauzer, but the tiniest of its class, and touted to be the only terrier that did not originate from the European Isle stock. It is also believed the Mini Schnauzer was derived from crossbreeding Affenpinschers and Poodles with small Standard Schnauzers. Incidentally, the name "Schnauzer" comes from an eponymous show dog exhibited in Germany in 1879; translated from German, the word schnauzer means "small beard."

In Germany, the Miniature Schnauzer was displayed as a distinct breed from the Standard Schnauzer in the late 1890s. However, it was not until 1933, that the American Kennel Club grouped Miniature and the Standard into separate breeds. In the United States, the Miniature is the one and only Schnauzer under the Terrier Group. In England, this breed became part of Schnauzers under the Utility Group.

The Miniature Schnauzer dog was introduced to the United States much later than the Standard and Giant Schnauzers, but after World War II, the Mini became more popular than the other Schnauzers, eventually becoming the third most popular breed in the U.S. This alert and smart-looking family pet and show dog remains a constant favorite among dog lovers.

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  • A Top Breed
    04/29/2014 05:31pm

    I have had many breeds, and the Mini Schnauzer is the tops. They have strong personalities, and feel more like little humans, than dogs. I fall in love with every Schnauzer I meet. They can be emotional, and moody at times. But always a great companion. If you scold them, they may sulk for a while. If they did something bad, they will look shameful, and wait for you to forgive them with a big hug. My dog is an average barker, not really yappy. They are talkers as well, and people who are not familiar with the Mini Schnauzer may think they are barking, when in fact they are talking.
    Schnauzers love activity, they love to go on drives, walks, they love visitors, and I forgot to mention, they are also very intelligent.
    If you are a small dog person, this is an excellent dog to have, but never, never abandoned them, they are part of the family, as all dogs are. Never abandoned a dog, unless they are still puppies, and you are rehoming them. And even then, it can be traumatizing for one.

    I could write a book, about how wonderful Mini Schnauzers are, there are too many things to mention. The "only" negative, is that they are prone to certain health conditions. So feed them quality food, I recommend home cooked, not dry commercial foods. Dry food most often contains corn, high in carbs, our oldest Schnauzer has diabetes now, and is blind. We do not give any vaccine that is not legally necessary. No flea treatments, only natural. Dry food is also refined, so if it isn't good for us, it must not be good for our dogs.
    Love a Schnauzer, or send him to me.

  • 08/15/2014 09:42pm

    I agree as my babies are my family and I love them so much as they keep me going as I'm disable and they help me feel better. I have a question I have been trying to find an answer to and thats is a natrual flea treatment to use on my babies as I won't use anything that will hurt them do you know of anything to use?

  • 08/18/2014 02:26pm

    This is a difficult one.
    I have been trying now for two years to find a natural treatment for fleas.
    There are many, but for me, not one so far, has been truly successful. This
    year with the extreme hot weather and humidity, it is worse. We have tried
    essential oils, citrus mixtures....etc.

    However, to help my Schnauzer feel more comfortable, I give him a
    bath every night, or every other night before bed. This keeps him from
    being miserable during the night scratching. It is only a temporary
    solution, but it makes them feel good while it last. Soap smothers
    the fleas, and they fall off. But once the dog goes out in the morning
    to potty, they pick up more.

    I am still searching, maybe soon, I will find something that works.
    I have made a commitment not to use the Vet flea treatments at all.
    They contain an insecticide, and it cannot be good
    for them, but bad, which will most likely affect the
    dog later, perhaps cancer. I'm not willing to take the chance. I'm not
    a vet, but as a former nurse, I know about medications, vaccines, and
    the side affects of treatments. I know if humans are at risk, so are pets.

    Candy, I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this, or more so that
    your Schnauzer is. There are many natural treatments I have not got around
    to trying yet. A Holistic Vet, once said, the healthier a dog is, the more
    likely their own body is going to fight certain health problems. If their
    immune system is strong, they are not going to develop things like
    heart worms. That is why, I decided to put my dogs on a healthy whole
    diet, not the refined dry dog foods, in which nutrients have been depleted.
    Candy, I wish I knew something that worked a hundred percent..

  • 03/23/2015 03:08pm

    Try Grandpas Diatomaceous Earth!!

  • 03/23/2015 02:46pm

    This is my first mini schnauzer and I am so in Love with her, what do you think is best for heartworm? I started Trifexis got no problem for the 5 months given but stopped since the weather was cold, but living in FL and weather starting to change gave her a dose of course after test negative; she started to vomit every single day, (day 3 today and taking her to the vet) after the Trifexis, now I am desperate need to find something not that toxic!!

  • 05/09/2015 06:44pm

    I replied to your comment which was rather long, but the page reloaded and all was lost. I will however reply with a quick suggestion now. Have you tried flea repellant plants, placing them in you yard? Sage, Lavender, a Rosemary, most mint plants will do, and some are non toxic, so perhaps you could make a spray using the same process as hot tea.

    It has been difficult finding something that works, but even so, I refuse to use toxic treatments. My dogs trust me, so I cannot give them something I know is not safe. I ave also used Trifexis, and felt guilty. These treatments usually work, and helps them to be more comfortable eliminating flea bites, but the long term affects aren't worth it.
    I wish you the best in finding something that works which may also be safe, and perhaps you have found an alternative by now. I can hear just how much you love her, and they are so easy to love.

  • 07/18/2016 03:17pm

    Miniature schnauzers are great companions. Our 'old man' who is ten years old is still grieving for his sister who died of pancreatitis in February.

    We got a 5 month of chocolate mini last month. On occasion he will play with her as we take an afternoon walk but not always. Generally, he doesn't want to be bothered with her rambunctious playfulness. I am hoping this will change with time.

    Is there anything I can do to help them form a relationship or must they do it on their own?

  • My Sophie
    11/25/2014 11:41pm

    My 6 year old miini schnauzer Sophie had some teeth extracted a year ago and then 2 weeks ago I took her to get her teeth cleaned and get a check up as she was drinking water excessively. The Vet put her on gabapentin, granadilla and an antibiotic. A week later I took her back in and was told to make an appt for teeth cleaning. The vet called me and said they need to extract the rest of her teeth. After his was done I noticed Sophie was loosing equilibrium and bumping into things... I Thought it was the pain meds, but once off all meds she continued to bump into walls, doors etc. I tookg her immediately back to the Vet who said Sophie was almost totally blind!!!! She said it is probably SARD.So now she has no teeth and is blind, my poor baby. I took her today to an Opthamologist who now is going to run more tests. I'm just sick over this. Has anyone experienced anything like this before?

  • 05/09/2015 06:33pm

    I am heart broken for you and Sophie. How is she doing? I know it has been a few months since you posted.

  • 01/25/2016 07:30am

    My little girl Millie went blind when she was 8 years old. She didn't have SARDS she just lost her sight. I never found out why. I'm thinking maybe the hair that covers their eyes is there for a reason. She never did adjust to her blindness, she was so scared all the time and shook constantly. I couldn't stand to see her so scared so I had to put her down. It was like loosing my child.

  • my schnausers eyes
    01/25/2016 07:10am

    I had a mini schnauzer her name was Millie. She went blind when she was 8 years old. she didn't have SARDS which is common in schnausers at 8 years old. I never found out what caused her blindness. I was wondering if maybe the hair over their eyes should be left covering them. it may be there to protect them from the sunshine?

  • 07/04/2016 03:56am

    I had honestly never heard of SARDS before reading this thread, learn something new every day. My mini schnauzer Lexi, she is now around 13 yrs 4 months old. She's always remained in good health, though our vet did detect and diagnose her with glaucoma shortly after her first birthday. Initially her intraocular eye pressures were fairly high and we tried 2-3 different eye drops before we found just the right one that worked beautifully and brought her eye pressures to well within normal limits. The vet said that blindness can occur in as little as 3 days with uncontrolled eye pressure. Her vision has remained stable, glaucoma wise, to this day with daily eye drops. She is beginning to develop those pesky cataracts now that many of us will have to contend with when we are as old as she is, in people years ; )

  • Newbie
    03/22/2017 11:57pm

    I just got my first Miniature Schnauzer puppy. Her name is Heidi. I've always had Chocolate Labs in my life, so this is a first to me. She seems so smart already. She is almost 7 weeks old, which is a bit young, but there were some circumstances involved where it was best I took her now.

    I'm happy!


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