The Miniature Schnauzer is the smallest and most popular of the Schnauzers. Originally developed in Germany in the 1800s as a ratting and small farm dog, the Miniature Schnauzer has gained considerable popularity as a companion dog. The Miniature Schnauzer is said to have derived from the crossbreeding of smaller Standard Schnauzers with Affenpinschers and Poodles to develop a smaller Schnauzer. An affectionate, vocal canine, this breed will make a great addition to a family who likes to keep busy. Moderately intense exercise is a must to keep this pup content; socialization is necessary, as is keeping small animals out of his reach. A natural hunter, inquisitive and spritely, the Miniature Schnauzer is ready for action at all times.
The Miniature Schnauzer's popularity took off after WWI, and the breed had even risen to the third most popular breed in the United States at one point. This breed was brought to the United States in 1924 and was accepted by the American Kennel Club only two years later in 1926. In America, the Miniature Schnauzer was once recognized as the Wirehaired Pinscher and to this day remains in the small Terrier group, despite being closely related to the Standard Schnauzer of the utility group. Unlike the Terrier, the Miniature Schnauzer did not develop on the British Isles in ancient times, so its disposition is quite unlike the Terrier who is known to “go to ground” with zeal and courageous devotion. The Schnauzer, on the other hand, is a jolly, happy breed. The name, Schnauzer, means small beard and is particularly fitting for this serious-looking breed that often reminds people of a little old man. However, grumpy old man is far from this breed’s disposition. The Schnauzer has also changed coat color appearances over its two centuries of breeding. Once considered a dog of colorful variety, the Miniature Schnauzer now comes in black, black and silver, and salt and pepper.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a double-coated breed featuring an all-black coat or two toned black and silver or salt and pepper. Longer hair grows along the face, neck, ears, chest, and tail giving this breed an old man look. The Miniature Schnauzer has small dark oval-shaped eyes set deeply, and ears set high on the head, which can be cropped or uncropped. The head is rectangular-shaped and strong looking with a muzzle in proportion to the head. The muzzle has a blunt ending, and thick whiskers adorn the Miniature Schnauzer’s face. The teeth meet in a scissor bite. The Miniature Schnauzer’s forelegs are straight and parallel as viewed from all angles and end in short round feet with catlike toes and thick black pads. The hind legs are well-muscled with slanting thighs that are set below the level of the shoulders. The tail is set high, carried erect, and usually docked short.
Maintaining a Miniature Schnauzer’s coat is slightly more work than other breeds and requires brushing two to three times a week. Additionally, this breed should be professionally groomed every six to eight weeks to keep his coat and long hair looking its best. The upside to the excessive grooming measures is this breed does not shed heavily. The undercoat does its job to capture the loose hair and dander, making this breed hypoallergenic. While grooming, the Miniature Schnauzer’s ears should be checked and cleared of debris. Ear cleaning will help keep the Miniature Schnauzer health as well as prevent “doggy” odors from developing. After checking his ears, brush through the long hair of his arms and chest to prevent or work out any matting. As with other breeds, brushing the Miniature Schnauzer’s teeth will keep them healthy and free of dental disease. The Miniature Schnauzer is an all-weather dog and tolerates both hot or cold climates. This breed also does well in an apartment or with urban living though the Miniature Schnauzer does require moderately intense exercise. When it comes to feeding the Miniature Schnauzer, this is a relatively small dog who needs between ½ and 1 cup of dry food divided into two meals daily. The amount of food fed to a Miniature Schnauzer will depend on activity levels, metabolism, and age. Keeping a close eye on your dog’s nutritional health and adjusting food as needed will ensure your Miniature Schnauzer stays healthy.