Welcome To Your Complete Guide To The Adorable Miniature Schnauzer!
These little dogs are so charming and sweet, we can understand why you want one.
With their bushy beards and eyebrows, along with their soulful eyes, a Miniature Schnauzer could be a great addition to your home.
But is this beautiful breed the best choice for you and your family?
Want to know more? You’ve come to the right place.
Read on for everything you need to know about this lovely breed of dog!
Miniature Schnauzer Origins
Miniature Schnauzers originate from Germany, where Schnauzers are recognizable in pictures dating from the 15th century.
There, Standard Schnauzers were bred with smaller dogs, such as the miniature poodle and the Affenpinscher, to create a farm dog that was skilled at hunting rats.
The first recorded Miniature Schnauzer made its appearance in 1888.
It was exhibited as a distinct breed starting in 1899.
The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1926.
Miniature Schnauzer Weight
Miniature Schnauzers are 12-14 inches in height, and range in weight from about 11-20 lbs.
These dogs are generally black, salt and pepper, or black and silver in color.
They have small, dark, deep-set brown eyes.
White Miniature Schnauzers exist, but are not recognized by some breed associations.
They have a long foreface and a strong muzzle, with thick whiskers. Their bodies are short and squat.
Miniature Schnauzer Grooming
The Miniature Schnauzer has a double coat, considering of a hard, wiry outer layer and a softer undercoat.
Miniature Schnauzers require daily grooming because of their double coat.
Stripping is done for show-quality dogs, and 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.
Miniature Schnauzer Shedding
While there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, Miniature Schnauzers shed infrequently.
Allergies to dogs are caused by a protein in dog saliva and urine, which adheres to fur.
Because some breeds don’t release as much fur, those breeds are sometimes marketed as hypoallergenic.
The protein still exists in the dog’s hair and dander, however.
Allergic individuals may suffer less when exposed to certain dogs, but there are no guarantees.
Miniature Schnauzer Temperament
These super-cute pups are friendly, smart, alert, and active. They have spirit!
These lively little sprites have a medium amount of energy, but can be happy living in many conditions.
They are also eager to please, which makes them obedient. Although these little cuties can also be quite stubborn.
Miniature Schnauzer Personality
Miniature Schnauzers are vocal, which means they do like to bark.
As terriers, they dig, chase, and think they’re bigger than they are. They make good watchdogs.
Because they were bred as ratters, they are spunky and fast. And have big personalities!
Miniature Schnauzers are curious and use their intelligence to get into trouble!
That’s where training comes in.
Miniature Schnauzer Training
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 begins to obey you, try to curb any barking. Although you won’t be able to stop it completely, you may be able to reduce it.
Lively Miniature Schnauzers may enjoy the challenges of agility training, too.
Miniature Schnauzer Health Problems
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.
Miniature Schnauzer Allergies
Schnauzers are particularly 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.
Schnauzer Skin Conditions
There’s a skin condition called comedones syndrome, which is so common on miniature schnauzers that they’re 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, and flare-ups may happen throughout 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.
Schnauzers are also prone to seborrhea – dry, flaky skin or alternatively, oil, greasy skin. Consult your vet for solutions!
Miniature Schnauzers are known to be genetically susceptible to a progressive retinal atrophy. This basically results in a loss of vision.
If your dog shows a lack of curiosity, hesitancy in moving around, an increased desire to lower the head and sniff, and a penchant for walking into things, these may denote symptoms of this condition.
This disease may rapidly degenerate as animals get older.
Hyperlipidemia in the Miniature Schnauzer
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 have a genetic predisposition 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.
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.
Miniature Schnauzer Bleeding Disorders
Mini schnauzers are particularly 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.
Also, Miniature Schnauzers may suffer from myotonia congenita, in which skeletal muscles used for movement are prevented from relaxing.
Diseases of the Heart
Heart failure is one of the leading causes of death among aging 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 veterinarian can help you develop a plan to prevent heart disease. Weight control is needed, and in severe cases surgery may be warranted.
Epilepsy in Miniature Schnauzers
Many of the above conditions listed have seizures as a symptom. However, miniature schnauzers are also genetically 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.
Miniature Schnauzer Life Expectancy
Your Miniature Schnauzer can, if healthy, live 12-15 years.
Your dog’s lifespan depends on her individual 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.
Miniature Schnauzer Breeders
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’ll want to know that the breeder is ethical and responsible. If you can visit the site, do that.
This allows you to examine for yourself the conditions under which your potential pet lives. Ask questions about health history and get documentation before you commit to a purchase.
Miniature Schnauzers Price
A Miniature Schauzer puppy can cost anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars.
Show-quality dogs are naturally more expensive. If you just want a dog for your family, you might be able to find one for less.
Miniature Schnauzer Puppies
Miniature Schnauzer puppies are just about the cutest things on the planet. But don’t let their sweetness blind you!
No matter how adorable 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.
Miniature Schnauzer Mix
Miniature Schnauzer mixes do exist, and they’re pretty cute, too!
One advantage of having a mixed breed dog is that health problems can be less likely because of the mix of genes.
Also, they will have different qualities than purebred dogs of either breed, and maybe that’s what you want!
Nevertheless, you 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.
Miniature Schnauzer Rescue
As with many desirable breeds, breed-specific rescues for Miniature Schnauzers do exist. Occasionally, these dogs may also turn up in regular animal shelters too.
If you can help rehome a Schnauzer, that’s great!
But there are risks here too. You will have fewer options regarding age and health of your potential pet, as well as its show qualities if you care about that.
If you don’t care, go for it! Just be prepared, and be patient. It may take some time to find the right animal for you out of the limited numbers of Miniature Schnauzers that need rescuing.
Is A Miniature Schnauzer Right For Me?
Only you can decide if your house needs a Miniature Schnauzer. Based on the information we’ve given you, can you handle one?
These dogs are very popular, and they have great personalities. They’re cute and smart and perfect for moderately active families.
But there are major 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.
Do you own one already? Do you love your mini Schnauzer? Tell us what they’re like in the comments!
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- American Miniature Schnauzer Club (2013). “Pet grooming tips for the Miniature Schnauzer.”
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