The Miniature Schnauzer is a little larger than the toy dog breeds and is actually classified as a separate breed from the Standard Schnauzer and the Giant Schnauzer. This down-sized miniature breed has a similar look to its larger schnauzer cousins and the same grooming requirements. This miniature breed’s outer coat is rough and wiry with a dense undercoat. It has the characteristic ‘Schnauzer look’ with long hair on the beard, eyebrows, moustache and legs. Colors range from light and dark grey (called ‘salt and pepper) to black or black with silver markings.
Miniature Schnauzers stand 12 to 14 inches tall at shoulder height and usually weigh less than 16 pounds. In the U.S., the American Kennel Club (AKC) puts this small breed in the Terrier Group.
All three Schnauzer dog breeds originated in southern Germany and were all-purpose dogs. The larger Schnauzers were used as guard dogs, coach dogs and watchdogs. The down-sized miniature breed or Mini was originally used as a rat catcher and watchdog but now is a popular household pet. Minis were ranked 11th out 154 dog breeds in 2004 AKC registrations.
This miniature breed is lively, pleasant and playful with an expressive personality. These loyal and devoted small dogs want to be totally involved in all family activities and love to go for walks. Most of these Minis are good with children but are a little too small to be a toddler’s pet. They will generally get along fine with other family pets. Early socialisation and obedience training will help with controlling excessive barking and a reluctance to walk on leash. This breed can be taught fairly easily and can even excel at advanced obedience competitions. Minis are somewhat cautious around strangers and they make good watchdogs. This breed does fine with novice or first-time dog owners.
Minis have lots of energy so they need to get outside and play in the yard as often as possible. These mini-Schnauzers also appreciate a daily walk.
Show dogs need to be professionally groomed every 6 to 8 weeks when they will hand pluck the dead hair. Pet owners should brush and comb the coat several times per week and give a daily brushing and cleaning of the Mini’s beard and moustache and bottom. Excess hair should be clipped between the pads of the feet and excess hair removed within the ears. Some Mini owners may opt for a more convenient clipping. Miniature Schnauzers do not shed and if properly groomed can be suitable for someone with allergies. This breed is sometimes referred to as ‘hypoallergenic’.
The Mini lives for about 14 to 16 years and is generally very healthy. Some health problems include hereditary eye disease, diabetes, liver ailments and kidney stones.