The Miniature Schnauzer is a small German breed. They are well known for their wiry coats and thick whiskers. This breed is friendly, energetic, and intelligent. Plus they can suit lots of different homes!
Today we are going to take a look at the pros and cons of life with a Miniature Schnauzer. Helping you to decide whether this is the perfect pup for your family.
What’s In This Guide
Miniature Schnauzer FAQs
Here are our readers’ most popular and frequently asked questions about the Miniature Schnauzer.
- Are Miniature Schnauzers good family dogs?
- Do Miniature Schnauzers shed?
- Are Miniature Schnauzers easy to train?
- Do Miniature Schnauzers bark a lot?
Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: 17 out of 193 on AKC
- Purpose: Terrier Group
- Weight: 11 – 20 pounds
- Temperament: Intelligent, friendly, outgoing
Miniature Schnauzer Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose of the Miniature Schnauzer
- Fun facts about Miniature Schnauzer
- Miniature Schnauzer appearance
- Miniature Schnauzer temperament
- Training and exercising your Miniature Schnauzer
- Miniature Schnauzer health and care
- Do Miniature Schnauzers make good family pets
- Rescuing a Miniature Schnauzer
- Finding a Miniature Schnauzer puppy
- Raising a Miniature Schnauzer puppy
- Popular Miniature Schnauzer breed mixes
History and Original Purpose of the Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzers come from Germany. They are an old breed that are recognized in pictures from the 15th century.
There, Standard Schnauzers were bred with smaller dogs, such as the miniature poodle and the Affenpinscher. The aim was to create a farm dog that could hunt rats.
The first recorded Miniature Schnauzer appeared in 1888.
Fun Facts About Miniature Schnauzers
Their name comes from a unique part of themselves – can you guess which?
“Schnauze” in German means muzzle, or snout. Their name refers to the bushy face and whiskers that this breed is so well known for!
Miniature Schnauzer Appearance
They have a long foreface and a strong muzzle, with thick whiskers. Their bodies are short and squat.
They have small, dark, deep-set brown eyes.
Miniature Schnauzers are 12-14 inches in height. They range in weight from 11-20 lbs
Coat and Colors
The Miniature Schnauzer has a double coat. They have a hard, wiry outer layer and a softer undercoat.
Miniature Schnauzer Temperament
These super-cute pups are friendly, smart, alert, and active. They have spirit!
These lively pups have a medium amount of energy. But can be happy living in many areas.
And if well exercised during the day will still be a bit of a lap dog in the evenings.
They are also eager to please, which makes them obedient. Although these little cuties can also be stubborn.
Miniature Schnauzers are curious and use their intelligence to get into trouble!
Because they were bred as ratters, they are spunky and fast. They have big personalities!
Training and Exercising Your Miniature Schnauzer
Training is a good idea for Miniature Schnauzers. They need to exercise their minds.
However, their independent nature means that you may have to be patient and firm. They do not react well to punishment.
These dogs are food-motivated. Keep training sessions short, as Miniature Schnauzers can be bored by repetition.
Once your dog starts to obey you, try to curb any barking. You won’t be able to stop it completely, but you may be able to reduce it.
Lively Miniature Schnauzers may enjoy the challenge of agility training, too.
Miniature Schnauzers are smaller dogs. But this doesn’t mean they don’t need exercise.
Exercise is important to maintain both mental and physical health. Especially in these clever, active dogs!
Miniature Schnauzer Health and Care
Unfortunately, Miniature Schnauzers may suffer from a number of health issues.
These cute pups are more genetically likely to develop disorders like the ones below.
Schnauzers are prone to allergies. These often show up on the skin, as itchiness from contact dermatitis. They may also cause digestive issues.
The culprit can be food, shampoo, or something in the environment. Allergies can be easily treated, and may begin when your dog is 1-3 years of age.
There’s a skin condition called comedones syndrome. This is so common on Miniature Schnauzers that it’s also known as “Schnauzer Bumps.”
The bumps are often found along the spine, and may have pus in them. They are thought to be a result of blocked sebaceous glands (sebaceous glands secrete oil to lubricate skin and hair).
These bumps are not harmful or contagious unless they get infected. If that happens, go to your vet for antibiotics.
Schnauzer bumps are inherited. Flare-ups may happen through your dog’s life.
Exposure to sunlight helps limit outbreaks. And certain antimicrobial shampoos or a dose of allergy medication may help.
Feeding a high quality natural dog food or supplement also reduces the incidence of these bumps.
Other Skin Conditions
Schnauzers are also prone to seborrhea – dry, flaky skin or alternatively, oily, greasy skin. Ask your vet for solutions!
Miniature Schnauzers are known to be genetically prone to a progressive retinal atrophy. This basically results in a loss of vision.
Symptoms include a lack of curiosity, caution moving around, an increased desire to lower the head and sniff, and walking into things.
This disease may rapidly degenerate as animals get older.
Hyperlipidemia in the Miniature Schnauzer
This is generally associated with diseases such as diabetes, hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s Disease), hypothyroidism, and obesity. Hyperlipidemia is more prevalent in Miniature Schnauzers than other breeds of dogs.
Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas that may lead to organ failure, is also a disease of this type.
Basically, Schnauzers are prone to retaining too many triglyceride lipid fats in their blood.
Symptoms can include hair loss, scratching, urinating and drinking more than normal, inflammation in the eyes, lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting, reduced appetite, and fatty deposits in skin or blood vessels.
Controlling this Disease
Diet and monitoring are the best ways to avoid diseases caused by hyperlipidemia. Ask a vet to help create a diet that includes high fiber and low fat, and monitor tryglyceride levels regularly.
Do not feed table scraps. Exercise your dog, and maintain her at a healthy weight.
If you see any signs of gastrointestinal problems, get your Miniature Schnauzer to a vet immediately.
Mini schnauzers are susceptible to some rare blood diseases. Such as hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia, which happen when the immune system starts attacking the dog’s own cells.
This causes anemia, weakness, lethargy, and gum issues, along with abnormal bleeding and clotting.
Von Willebrand’s disease, a clotting disorder, may occur. Hemophilia A, caused by a missing clotting protein, is another disease that has been associated with Miniature Schnauzers.
Such diseases may require immune-suppressing drugs or blood transfusions.
Diseases of the Kidney, Liver, Intestines, Muscles, and Bladder
Mini schnauzers, even young ones, show a genetic predilection to renal failure in the kidneys.
This often results in wasting away. Signs include vomiting, diluted urine, excessive thirst, increased nitrogen levels, and a decrease in red blood cell production.
Mini schnauzers also may get liver disorders, such as portosystemic shunt, in which blood is diverted from the liver so that it doesn’t function properly.
They may suffer from hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, which must be treated quickly to stop diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration.
These dogs may also have a higher incidence of kidney stones and bladder stones than other breeds.
Plus, Miniature Schnauzers may suffer from myotonia congenita. Here skeletal muscles used for movement are prevented from relaxing.
Diseases of the Heart
Heart failure is one of the main causes of death among old Miniature Schnauzers.
This may be caused by weakened heart valves (heart murmurs), malfunctioning sinus nodes, or a non-closing vessel (patent ductus arteriosis).
Signs of heart disease include a low heart rate, fluid build-up, coughing, fatigue, weakness, or a particular rushing sound in the heartbeat.
A vet can help you make a plan to prevent heart disease. Weight control is needed. In worst cases surgery is warranted.
Many of the above conditions listed have seizures as a symptom. However, miniature schnauzers are also prone to epilepsy.
If your dog is having seizures, clear furniture that might harm her and otherwise seizure-proof your home.
Talk to a vet; your dog’s doctor may wish to put your schnauzer on medication to manage episodes.
Your Dog’s Health
We realize this list seems intimidating! But not all Schnauzers will have health issues, and some of these conditions are quite rare.
In general, if your Miniature Schnauzer is showing any unusual symptoms, consult a vet right away.
Also, your vet may recommend periodic testing for some of the conditions common to Miniature Schnauzers.
Your Miniature Schnauzer can, if healthy, live 12-15 years.
Your dog’s lifespan depends on her own health and environment, genetic predispositions to illnesses like those listed above, and quality of life.
Some dogs will not live as long, because of physical issues. Others may live longer, with good care.
There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. But Miniature Schnauzers don’t shed often.
Dog allergies are caused by a protein in dog saliva and urine, which adheres to fur.
Some breeds don’t release as much fur. So those breeds are often called hypoallergenic.
But the protein still exists in the dog’s hair and dander.
Allergic people may suffer less when exposed to certain dogs, but there are no guarantees.
Miniature Schnauzers need daily grooming because of their double coat.
Stripping is done for show-quality dogs. This requires removing loose, dead hairs by hand or with a stripping knife.
Clipping, a less time-consuming process, is usually done for house pets. Clipping is done with a shaver to remove the topcoat and reveal the softer hair underneath.
Without regular grooming, Schnauzer hair can become easily tangled and matted.
Do Miniature Schnauzers Make Good Family Pets
Only you can decide if your house needs a Miniature Schnauzer. Based on the info we’ve given you, can you handle one?
These dogs are popular, and have great characters. They’re cute, smart and perfect for moderately active families.
But, they require daily grooming. Plus, lots of mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
Plus there are health issues you may have to contend with down the line. Are you ready for that?
If the answer is yes, then a Miniature Schnauzer might be the dog for you. For health reasons, you may want to rescue an adult.
Rescuing a Miniature Schnauzer
Breed-specific rescues for Miniature Schnauzers exist. But sometimes these dogs turn up in normal animal shelters too.
If you can help rehome a Schnauzer, that’s great!
But there are risks here too. You will have fewer options with age and health of your potential pet, as well as its show qualities if you care about that.
Finding a Miniature Schnauzer puppy
Breeders of Miniature Schnauzers can be found all over. You can get a referral from the American Miniature Schnauzer Club.
First, know if you’re looking for a pedigreed, show-quality animal, or just a healthy one for a family pet.
Research your breeder. You want to know that the breeder is ethical and responsible. So if you can visit the site, do that.
This lets you see for yourself how your potential pet lives. Ask questions about health history and get documentation before you commit to a purchase.
Where to Avoid
Make sure to avoid puppy mills. These breeders just breed with money in mind rather than to create healthy happy dogs.
These pups are usually cheaper, but they have a worse quality of life.
As do the parent dogs, who are often just seen as a means to an end.
Pet stores often buy puppies from puppy mills. So make sure to also avoid pet store when buying your Mini Schnauzer.
A Miniature Schnauzer puppy can cost anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars.
Show-quality dogs are more expensive. If you just want a dog for your family, you might be able to find one for less.
If you want more help choosing a puppy, check out our Puppy Search Guide.
Raising a Miniature Schnauzer puppy
Miniature Schnauzer puppies are the cutest things on the planet. But don’t let their sweetness blind you!
No matter how cute the puppy looks, you still need to research the breeder and the dog’s lineage. Given the potential health risks, it may save you money and heartache down the line.
Pups are usually available at about eight weeks old. You can find out about their development stages here.
Caring for a Mini Schnauzer puppy is a big responsibility. But we have some great guides to help you with all aspects of puppy care and training.
You’ll find them on our puppy care page.
Popular Miniature Schnauzer Breed Mixes
Miniature Schnauzer mixes do exist.
One plus of mixed breed dogs is health problems can be less likely due to the mix of genes.
Also, they will have different qualities to purebred dogs of both breeds. But maybe that’s what you want!
But, you still need to be careful and responsible if you plan to adopt a mix. Both parents should be tested for genetic issues, and the health of your pup should be examined carefully.
Check out the Mini Schnauzer mixes below!
If you’re not sure this is the breed for you, there are plenty of others to consider.
Pros And Cons of Getting A Miniature Schnauzer
So, we’ve learnt a lot about the Miniature Schnauzer!
But let’s recap everything so you can make the best decision about this breed.
Firstly, they are a loud breed that will spend a lot of time barking.
Mini Schnauzers have a lot of potential health problems to be aware of.
They have strong natural chase instincts that make living with other animals tricky.
This breed requires a lot of grooming every day.
They also require a lot of mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
Firstly, Mini Schnauzers are a friendly, social breed.
Mini Schnauzer Breed Rescues
So if you’ve decided a Miniature Schnauzer rescue is the way you want to go, take a look at the rescue centers in your area.
If you know any other great Mini Schnauzer rescues, let us know in the comments so we can add them to this list!
This article has been extensively re-visited and revised for 2019
References And Resources
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- Adams VJ, et al. 2010. Results of a Survey of UK Purebred Dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
- American Kennel Club, “Miniature Schnauzers.”
- American Miniature Schnauzer Club (2013). “Pet grooming tips for the Miniature Schnauzer.”
- Bhalerao, D. P. et al (2002). Detection of a genetic mutation for myotonia congenital among Miniature Schnauzers and identification of a common carrier ancestor. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 63.
- Giles, A. R. et al (1984). Development of factor VIII: C antibodies in dogs with hemophilia A (Factor VIII:C deficiency). Blood, 63.
- Heske, L. et al (2014). A cohort study of epilepsy among 665,000 insured dogs: incidence, mortality, and survival after diagnosis. The Veterinary Journal, 202.
- Parshall et al (1991). Photoreceptor Dysplasia: An inherited progressive retinal atrophy of miniature schnauzer dogs. Progress in Veterinary & Comparative Ophthalmology, 1.
- N. Mori et al (2009). Predisposition for primary hyperlipidemia in Miniature Schnauzers and Shetland sheepdogs as compared to other canine breeds. Research in Veterinary Science, 88.
- Morton L. D. et al (1990). Juvenile renal disease in Miniature Schnauzer dogs. Veterinary Pathology, 27.
Murayama, N., et al (2008).. A case of superficial suppurative necrolytic dermatitis of miniature schnauzers with identification of a causative agent using patch testing. Veterinary Dermatology, 19.
- Parker, H. G. and Kilroy-Glynn, P. (1016), Myxomatous mitral valve disease in dogs: Does size matter? Journal of Veterinary Cardiology, 14.