Miniature Schnauzer

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The Miniature Schnauzer is a breed of small dog of the Schnauzer type that originated in Germany in the mid-to-late 19th century. Miniature Schnauzers may have been developed from the smallest specimens of the Standard Schnauzer,[3][4] or crosses between the standard and one or more smaller breeds such as the Affenpinscher, Miniature Pinscher, and Poodles,[5][6][7][8] as farmers bred a small dog that was an efficient ratting dog. They are described as "spunky"[1] but aloof dogs, with good guarding tendencies without some guard dogs' predisposition to bite. Miniature Schnauzers are recognized in four colors internationally: solid black, black and silver, salt and pepper, and white.[9]

Miniature Schnauzer
Classic pose of a Miniature Schnauzer. This dog has natural ears and an undocked tail.
Other namesZwergschnauzer (Dwarf Schnauzer)
Height Males 12 to 14 in (30 to 36 cm)[1][2]
Females 11 to 13 in (28 to 33 cm)[1][2]
Weight Males 11 to 20 lb (5.0 to 9.1 kg)[1]
Females 11 to 20 lb (5.0 to 9.1 kg)[1]
Coat Harsh and wiry when hand stripped, soft and curly when clipped
Color Black, pepper and salt, black and silver
Litter size 3 to 8 pups
Life span 12 to 15 years[1][2]
Kennel club standards
VDH standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

It is the most popular Schnauzer breed,[7] and remains one of the most popular worldwide, primarily for its temperament and relatively small size. As of 2022 it is the 17th most popular breed in the U.S.[10]



The earliest records surrounding the development of the Standard Schnauzer in Germany come from the late 19th century. They were originally bred to be medium-sized farm dogs in Germany, equally suited to ratting, herding, and guarding property.[1] As time passed, farmers bred the Standard Schnauzer into a smaller, more compact size for ratting by combining it, according to cynologist theorization, with one or more small breeds such as the Affenpinscher and Miniature Poodle,[5][1][11][12] Miniature Pinscher,[7][8] or Pomeranian,[13] or by chance from smallest specimens of the Standard Schnauzer.[3][4] The first recorded Miniature Schnauzer appeared in 1888,[5] black female named Findel,[13] and the Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub (formed in 1895) in its first volume of the club's stud book mentioned Wirehaired Miniature Pinscher.[13] The first exhibition was held in 1899.[11][14]

The American Kennel Club accepted registration of the new breed in 1926, two years after Miniature Schnauzers were introduced to the United States.[6][14] The American Miniature Schnauzer Club was formed in 1933, from the older parent club Wire-Haired Pinscher Club of America which also included Standard Schnauzer,[7] and initially both competed in the Working Group until 1927.[13] International Kennel Club classifications vary; by the VDH and FCI it is placed in "Group 2, Section 1: Pinschers and Schnauzers", with "Nr. 183" in "Section 1.2" dedicated to the Miniature Schnauzer breed,[15] the KC, ANKC and NZKC include it in the Utility Group, while by the AKC, UKC and CKC the Miniature Schnauzer is classed in the Terrier Group.[14][16]

The start of the modern Miniature Schnauzer in the United States is considered to have a beginning in 1924 when four dogs were imported from Germany. It is argued that almost all American-bred Miniatures partly descend from them, and between 1926 and 1936, 108 more dogs were imported. One of the most notable champions was Ch. Dorem Display,[17] born in 1945 and lived to be nearly fourteen.[7] It is claimed that many champion Miniature Schnauzers in America can trace their lineage back to Dorem Display.[7][17]

Miniature Schnauzers were the 11th most popular breed in the U.S. in 2008, falling to 17th most popular in 2016.[18]


Solid black adult Miniature Schnauzer with intact ears and tail
Salt and pepper adult Miniature Schnauzer with intact ears and tail

Miniature Schnauzers have a very square-shaped build, measuring 11 to 14 inches (28 to 36 cm) tall and weighing 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kg) for females and 11 to 18 pounds (5.0 to 8.2 kg) for males.[1] They have a double coat, with wiry exterior fur and a soft undercoat. In show trim, the coat is kept short on the body, but the fur on the ears, legs, belly, and face is retained.[19] Recognized coat colors are black, pepper and salt, black and silver, and pure white;[20] pepper and salt coloration is where coat hairs have banded shades of black, gray and silver, fading to a gray or silver at the eyebrows, whiskers, underbody and legs.[21]

Miniature Schnauzers are often described as non-moulting dogs, and while this is not entirely true, their shedding is minimal and generally unnoticeable. For this reason, Schnauzers are considered a hypoallergenic breed.[22] They are characterized by a rectangular head with bushy beard, mustache, and eyebrows; teeth that meet in a "scissor bite"; oval and dark colored eyes; and v-shaped, natural forward-folding ears (when cropped, the ears point straight upward and come to a sharp point). Their tails are naturally thin and short, and may be docked (where permitted). They will also have very straight, rigid front legs, and feet that are short and round (so-called "cat feet") with thick, black pads.[6][23]

Docking of tails and cropping of ears has become a controversial practice, especially for non-working dogs, and is now illegal or restricted in a number of countries worldwide, including the UK and Australia.[24]



Schnauzers have a specific groom cut that is standard among the schnauzer breeds. Schnauzers require regular grooming, either by stripping, or by clipping. Stripping removes the loose, dead coat; it may be done by hand, called finger stripping, or plucking, or with a stripping knife; either way, it is a laborious process. When kept as pets, Miniature Schnauzers are often groomed differently (usually via clipping) from show dogs (often using stripping). Regular grooming of a Miniature Schnauzer is recommended approximately every six weeks.[25] Clipping, using a mechanical clippers (or shaver), produces a soft, silky, skin-close trim. Whether stripped or clipped, the coat is close at the body, and falls into a fringe-like foundation on its undercarriage, called furnishings, which can be left to grow, but must be combed regularly. All schnauzers, whether they are Miniatures, Standards, or Giants, often sport a beard, created by allowing the hair around their noses to grow out. Left unclipped or unstripped, the body hair will grow two to four inches, and will often tangle into mats and curls.[19]

North American white coat controversy

A white Miniature Schnauzer with ears cropped and tail docked

White is one of four color varieties of the Miniature Schnauzer currently recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. However, they are not accepted for conformation showing by the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club. The controversy rests on the disputed origins of the white variation, namely whether it was contained within the genes of the originally recognized breed, or whether it was the result of subsequent modifications. Since the other two schnauzer types have never been available in a white variation, and the original German standard never included white as an acceptable color, the American Miniature Schnauzer Club chooses not to recognize white.[26]


A Miniature Schnauzer with cropped ears and docked tail

The American Kennel Club breed standard describes temperament as "alert and spirited, yet obedient to command ... friendly, intelligent and willing to please... never overaggressive or timid".[6] Usually easy to train, they tend to be excellent watchdogs with a good territorial instinct, but more inclined toward barking than biting. They are often aloof with strangers until the owners of the home welcome the guest, upon which they are typically very friendly to them.[27] While the Miniature Schnauzer is included in the Terrier Group in North America (due to rat-catching background), it does not have common ancestry with Terriers from Great Britain,[6][13] and compared to them has a different personality, being more laid back, obedient, friendly, and less aggressive to other dogs.[7]

Miniature Schnauzers can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, and tracking. Schnauzers have a high prey drive, which means they may chase other small animals and hence should not be off leash when not in a fenced area.[6] Stanley Coren ranked the Miniature Schnauzer 12th out of 140 breeds in his book The Intelligence of Dogs (2006). Coren grouped the breed amongst "excellent working dogs". Additionally, experts contacted by Coren ranked the Miniature as fifth among top 15 breeds at watchdog barking ability.[28]



A UK study found a life expectancy of 13.3 years for the breed, higher than the 12 year average for crossbreeds.[29] A study in Japan for pet cemetery data found a life expectancy of 13.4 years, below the overall average of 13.7 years and the 15.3 year average for crossbreeds below 10kgs.[30]

A Japanese study found a signifnicant predisposition to gall bladder mucoceles for the Miniature Schnauzer with a 5.23 odds ratio.[31]

A North American study found the breed to be predisposed to congenital portosystemic shunts, with 1% of Miniature Schnauzers having the condition compared to 0.05% for mixed-breed dogs.[32]

Miniature Schnauzers are also prone to von Willebrand disease (vWD). vWD in dogs is an inherited bleeding disorder that occurs due to qualitative or quantitative deficiency of von Willebrand factor (vWF), a multimeric protein that is required for platelet adhesion.[33]

The breed is predisposed to atopic dermatitis.[34]

Schnauzer comedo syndrome is a type of follicular keratinisation defect found exclusively in the Miniature Schnauzer that is similar to nevus comedonicus in humans.[35] The condition is characterised by small comedones developing on the dorsal spine (back) of the dog.[36] The condition is believed to be caused by an inherited developmental defect in hair follicles, causing abnormal keratinisation and subsequently comedo formation, follicular plugging, and secondary bacterial folliculitis which leads to alopecia and crusting.[35]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Miniature Schnauzer". Retrieved 25 March 2013. Miniature Schnauzers are hardy, merry little dogs that were first bred in Germany in the late 19th century. They are descendants of Affenpinschers and Standard Schnauzers.
  2. ^ a b c "Schnauzer (Miniature)". New Zealand Kennel Club. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Early History". The Miniature Schnauzer Club (Great Britain). Retrieved 20 May 2018. Questions as to the roots and origins of the Miniature Schnauzer produce varied responses. Some breed authorities have maintained that the breed is a result of using only the smallest specimens of the Standard Schnauzer. Others have felt Miniatures to be the result of crossing the Standard Schnauzer with the Affenpinscher and other small breeds. This latter is considered to be the more probable origin...
  4. ^ a b "History of the Miniature Schnauzer". The American Miniature Schnauzer Club. Retrieved 30 May 2018. The Miniature is said to have come from mating with the Affenpinscher. They may have been developed entirely by chance, often the main reason for a new breed...
  5. ^ a b c "Miniature Schnauzer: Description". The Kennel Club. Retrieved 27 May 2018. It is thought that the miniaturisation was brought about by the infusion of Affenpinscher blood.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Miniature Schnauzer". American Kennel Club. Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2005. ...the Miniature Schnauzer resides in the AKC Terrier Group with other diminutive rat-catcher breeds. But the Mini is unique among AKC terriers in that he has no British blood in his veins... Alone among terriers, the Miniature Schnauzer is wholly a product of Continental stock: Standard Schnauzer, Affenpinscher, and Poodle. This explains that though the Mini was born to the traditional work of small terriers, his personality is quite different. Not for him is the dour independence of the Scottish Terrier or the fiery temperament of the Irish Terrier. Rather, he is an overtly friendly dog, spirited but obedient and willing to please.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Miniature Schnauzer. Kennel Club Books Interactive Series. i5 Publishing. 2010. pp. 23–30. ISBN 978-1-59378-774-5. Size reduction, in the Miniature's case, may have been achieved by introducing Affenpinscher and poodle blood... To create the Miniature Schnauzer, it is theorized the Standard Schnauzer may have been crossed with the Affenpinscher or Miniature Pinscher.
  8. ^ a b Ludington, Mary (October 2007). The Nature of Dogs. Simon & Schuster. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-4165-4287-2. This miniature relation of the Standard Schnauzer first appeared around the beginning of the nineteenth century and is thought to be the product of crosses between small Standard Schnauzer and/or Miniature Pinschers with Affenpinschers and Poodles.
  9. ^ "Breed Standards : Miniature Schnauzer | United Kennel Club (UKC)". Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  10. ^ Haid, Melanie (15 March 2023). "The Most Popular Dog Breeds Of 2022". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 13 April 2023.
  11. ^ a b "Miniature Schnauzer History". American Kennel Club. Archived from the original on 16 September 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2008. The Miniature Schnauzer is derived from the Standard Schnauzer and is said to have come from mixing of Affenpinschers and Poodles with small Standards
  12. ^ Frye, Fredric L. (2002). Schnauzers: Everything about Purchase, Care, Nutrition, and Diseases. Barron's Educational Series. pp. 5–6. ISBN 978-0-7641-1962-0. Most experts believe that the Miniature Schnauzer is the result of crossbreeding Poodles and Affenpinchers with smaller Standard Schnauzers. If this is correct, the addition of these other two breeds with their positive traits of vigor and intelligence certainly improved the result.
  13. ^ a b c d e Levy, Chris (2001). "History of the Miniature Schnauzer". Abiqua Miniature Schnauzers. Retrieved 30 May 2018. He was never a Terrier in the English sense of a small breed used to bolt vermin from the earth, and has little or no true Terrier blood... During the years, other crosses were invariably made, but there are no definite records as to the outcrosses. Affenpinschers, Miniature Pinschers, and Toy Spitz (Pomeranians) are mentioned.
  14. ^ a b c Rugh, Karla S. (2009). Miniature Schnauzers. Barron's Educational Series. pp. 5–9. ISBN 978-0-7641-4245-1.
  15. ^ "Group 2 : Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs". Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Miniature Schnauzer". United Kennel Club. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  17. ^ a b "Dorem Display". Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  18. ^ Upmalis, Jordan (21 March 2017). "Most Popular Dog Breeds in America". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  19. ^ a b "Pet grooming tips for the Miniature Schnauzer". The American Miniature Schnauzer Club. 17 August 2007. Archived from the original on 23 July 2013.
  20. ^ "Miniature Schnauzer: Acceptable Colours for Registrations". The Kennel Club. Archived from the original on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  21. ^ "Miniature Schnauzer: Official UKC Breed Standard" (PDF). United Kennel Club. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Got allergies? 15 hypoallergenic dogs and cats: Schnauzers". CBS News. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  23. ^ "Dogs That Do Not Shed". Retrieved 18 September 2008.
  24. ^ Pagan, Camille; Flowers, Amy. "Ear Cropping and Tail Docking". WebMD. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  25. ^ Rugh, Karla S. (1997). Miniature Schnauzers: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual. Barron's. pp. 70–74. ISBN 0-8120-9739-4.
  26. ^ "Why not a White Miniature Schnauzer?". The American Miniature Schnauzer Club. Archived from the original on 23 July 2013.
  27. ^ Kiedrowski, Dan (1997). The New Miniature Schnauzer (2nd ed.). New York City: Howell Book House. p. 12. ISBN 0-87605-241-3. OCLC 36170497.
  28. ^ Coren, Stanley (2006). The Intelligence of Dogs: A Guide to the Thoughts, Emotions, and Inner Lives of Our Canine Companions. Simon & Schuster. pp. 142–143, 149, 182, 192. ISBN 978-0-7432-8087-7.
  29. ^ McMillan, Kirsten M.; Bielby, Jon; Williams, Carys L.; Upjohn, Melissa M.; Casey, Rachel A.; Christley, Robert M. (1 February 2024). "Longevity of companion dog breeds: those at risk from early death". Scientific Reports. 14 (1). Springer Science and Business Media LLC: 531. Bibcode:2024NatSR..14..531M. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-50458-w. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 10834484. PMID 38302530.
  30. ^ INOUE, Mai; KWAN, Nigel C. L.; SUGIURA, Katsuaki (2018). "Estimating the life expectancy of companion dogs in Japan using pet cemetery data". Journal of Veterinary Medical Science. 80 (7). Japanese Society of Veterinary Science: 1153–1158. doi:10.1292/jvms.17-0384. ISSN 0916-7250. PMID 29798968.
  31. ^ Kutsunai, M.; Kanemoto, H.; Fukushima, K.; Fujino, Y.; Ohno, K.; Tsujimoto, H. (2014). "The association between gall bladder mucoceles and hyperlipidaemia in dogs: A retrospective case control study". The Veterinary Journal. 199 (1). Elsevier BV: 76–79. doi:10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.10.019. ISSN 1090-0233. PMID 24268484.
  32. ^ Tobias, Karen M.; Rohrbach, Barton W. (1 December 2003). "Association of breed with the diagnosis of congenital portosystemic shunts in dogs: 2,400 cases (1980–2002)". Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 223 (11): 1636–1639. doi:10.2460/javma.2003.223.1636. ISSN 0003-1488. PMID 14664452.
  33. ^ "von Willebrand's Disease". Disease Information. American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  34. ^ Rhodes, Karen Helton; Werner, Alexander H. (25 January 2011). Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion. Ames, Iowa: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-8138-1596-1.
  35. ^ a b Hannigan, M M (1997). "A refractory case of schnauzer comedo syndrome". The Canadian Veterinary Journal. 38 (4). Canadian Veterinary Medical Association: 238–239. PMC 1576584. PMID 9105724.
  36. ^ Rhodes, Karen Helton; Werner, Alexander H. (25 January 2011). Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion. Ames, Iowa: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 472. ISBN 978-0-8138-1596-1.