Miniature Schnauzer

Breed Group: Terrier

Temperament and Behavior

Spunky and fearless, their persona is bigger than their physical size. Clowns, they often make themselves the center of attention. With their alert expression, playfulness, and humorous intelligence, they make enjoyable, little companions. Although a fairly active breed, they are well behaved when inside. And even though they are a small dog, they do well with children they are socialized with. Alert and devoted to all members of the family, they are quick to bark but not as yappy as many small breeds, making them exceptional watchdogs. Once the stranger has entered the house, a Miniature Schnauzer may be accepting or wary, depending on the dog. Most are tolerant of other dogs, although they may go through a round or two of blustery posturing typical of terriers. A few are aggressive with dogs, usually of the same sex. Originally bred to rid the house of rats, getting along with other animals, especially rodents, is another matter. They will likely chase the neighbor’s cat, though they are not very serious about it. They are well suited to apartment life, but if you’re looking for a quiet, sedentary dog, this is not the right breed for you. Outside they are just as active and playful as they are inside. Even so, a Miniature Schnauzer’s exercise needs are fairly minimal and can be met with a long walk on a leash or a vigorous play session in the yard. But keep him on-leash or securely confined or his curiosity and prey drive will conspire to take him far afield. They make an excellent traveling companion and even if a little spoiled, he doesn’t take advantage of things like many others in the terrier group.

Physical Characteristics

Sturdy and strong for their small size, a Miniature Schnauzer stands 12 to 14 inches tall and weighs about 15 pounds. Their coat comes in salt-and-pepper, solid black, or black and silver. Easily recognized, they have a bushy beard, mustache and eyebrows. Their coat requires a weekly brushing plus grooming and clipping every 5 to 8 weeks. Comb his beard daily to remove food and any other debris. They shed very little and tolerate both warm and cool temperatures equally well.

Trainer's Notes

Starting as early as possible, Miniature Schnauzers should be well socialized, especially with children and dogs. Even with their cocky attitude and stubborn streak, they are no more difficult to train than the average dog, often winning top awards in advanced obedience. But, it is important for the trainer to have patience, a sense of humor, and appreciate their playfulness. Many resist leash training. The Miniature Schnauzer is a good choice for a first time dog owner or someone who wants a playful companion who is both malleable and has their own ideas about things or needs little space.

Photo © by Pharaoh_Hound available under the GNUFDL
Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer


Generally a healthy breed, Miniature Schnauzers are most prone to PRA and Urolithiasis. Less often a problem is Esophageal Achalasia, and vWD. Minor concerns include Legg-Perthes, Pulmonic Stenosis, and Cataracts. The breed gains weight easily, so take care not to overfeed. Their lifespan is from 12 to 15 years.


Miniature Schnauzers are ranked 10th in popularity by the American Kennel Club, with about 24,000 dogs registered each year.

Breed History

Developed in Germany in the late 1800s as a ratter and small farm dog, the Miniature Schnauzer is the only terrier that did not originate in the United Kingdom. The Miniature Schnauzer is derived from crossing the Standard Schnauzer with Affenpinschers and possibly poodles. By 1899, the breed was exhibited as a distinct breed in Germany, but the AKC did not recognize the Miniature and the Standard Schnauzers as separate breeds until 1933. The Miniature Schnauzer came to America long after both the Standard and Giant Schnauzer arrived. But by the 1940’s the Miniature Schnauzer was much more popular than his larger cousins.

Additional Information

Miniature Schnauzer owners of acclaim include Bob Dole, Bo Derek, and Tommy Lasorda. The National (US) Breed Club is the American Miniature Schnauzer Club.

Is A Miniature Schnauzer THE BEST Dog For YOU?

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