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Breed Profile: Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer regularly makes the top breeds list, and is definitely the most popular size of the Schnauzer family. It’s also a very recognizable breed, when it’s had its haircut that is!

Miniature Schnauzers are small in stature compared to their larger breed cousins, but what they lack in height, they absolutely make up in spunk. They’re playful, generally friendly, and easy to live with, and they’re cute to boot!

History of the Miniature Schnauzer

Like many terriers, the Miniature Schnauzer was bred to be a ratter, and they got their start on farms in the late 1800s, in Germany. It owes its existence to several ancestors including the Standard Schnauzer, the poodle and the Affenpinscher, and their name is derived from one dog, who was named Schnauzer for his small beard.

The beard stuck, and so did the name, and the first official Miniature Schnauzer was recognized in 1888. They stayed fairly obscure until the 1940s, when a Miniature Schnauzer named Dorem Display won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show.

They remain the only Schnauzer classified as terriers in the US, and they are consistent features on the most popular breed lists.

General Physical Characteristics

Miniature Schnauzers are salt and pepper, black and grey or pure black. They tip the scales at about 13-15 lbs., and they are about 12-14 inches tall, making them a very manageable size for even smaller homes.

They are famous for their beards, bushy brows, and pantaloons, but that famous coat does require regular clipping to maintain. Left untrimmed, they will still have the beard and the wiry coat, but it’s all a lot less pronounced.

Miniature Schnauzers usually have docked tails, and while some people choose to crop their ears, as always, however, we think their natural, slightly floppy, always high, and alert ears are much nicer, and much less cruel.

Temperament and Character

Mini Schnauzers are the friendlies of the family in general. They’re curious, adventurous, and a lot less assertive and stubborn than their larger cousins.

They are playful, and generally get on much better with other dogs than most other terriers. They’re also better with kids than their larger cousins, and they make fantastic family pets.

Like larger Schnauzers, the Miniature does tend to bark a lot, and while he may not be a big deterrent to burglars or lurkers, he’ll definitely let you and the rest of the neighbourhood know that something is afoot.

They are fairly easy to train, and because they are eager to please, training will be fun for you and for them.

Lifespan of the Miniature Schnauzer

Mini Schnauzers usually live between 12 and 14 years.

Common Health and Personality Issues

Like most terriers, Miniature Schnauzers are tough little dogs, and they generally enjoy good health. Some of the concerns that are common in this breed include:

  1. Miniature Schnauzers are particularly prone to urolithiasis, or the formation of urinary stones.
  2. Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is another concern.
  3. Cataracts and retinal dysplasia are two more visual issues to look out for.
  4. Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome, which is a skin disorder that relates to the formation of blackheads, can be a concern, but is not serious or dangerous.
  5. Schnauzers are also prone to Von Willebrand’s Disease.
  6. They are also more prone to allergies than some other breeds.
  7. Finally, while not common, the breed does sometimes experience heart related issues, and it’s worth watching for signs of trouble, and having cardiac testing done if you are concerned.

As terriers, bred to be ratters, the Miniature Schnauzer is generally an active little dog, who will keep themselves busy enough to keep the pounds off. They do benefit from regular walks though, but they don’t usually need excessive amounts of exercise.

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