Group: Terrier Group
Height: 12 to 14 inches (30 to 36 cm)
Weight: Approximately 14 lbs (6.5 kg)
Wheelwood’s I’ll Have Nunavut (Willo)
Photo: Vinegarhill Reg’d
The Miniature, Standard, and Giant Schnauzers are distinct breeds. The Standard Schnauzer was bred to keep the vermin population down as well as to herd and guard the farm. The Giant Schnauzer was bred to do all of these as well as to pull carts and has also been used for police work. The Miniature is classified under the Terrier Group and is the most popular of the three Schnauzer breeds and, although their personalities are similar, they are distinct.
The typical Miniature Schnauzer is alert and spirited, yet obedient. He is friendly, intelligent, easily trained, eager to please and a delightful companion. The Miniature Schnauzer is generally good natured, loving, loyal, and a very good watchdog.
He is adaptable to both city or country life but is an active dog who requires regular exercise. The Miniature Schnauzer excels in several dog sports and activities, including competitive Obedience, Agility trials, and he is also seen participating in Earthdog trials.
The Miniature Schnauzer has a stocky build and a non-shedding hard, wiry outer coat with a close undercoat. Because there is very little shedding, the breed may be a good choice for those suffering from allergies. The most common coat colour is salt-and-pepper but blacks and blacks & silvers are also becoming more popular.
A Brief History of the Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer originated in the late 1800’s in Germany and was developed as a small farm dog used to go to ground for all types of vermin. It is believed that the breed came from the crossing of the Standard Schnauzer with either the Affenpinscher or the Miniature Pinscher as well as the Poodle.
In the United States, the Miniature Schnauzer has been bred since about 1925 and has steadily gained in popularity. Today in Canada, the breed is one of the top 10 most registered breeds by the Canadian Kennel Club.
If you are considering the adoption of a Miniature Schnauzer puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)
In general, the Miniature Schnauzer is known to be a healthy breed. However, like all breeds of dogs, incidence of some hereditary and non-hereditary disorders have been found in the breed. These include (but not limited to):
- Cushing’s Disease — In the Miniature Schnauzer, Cushing’s Disease has been known to occur more often in females than in males and generally between the ages of six to eight years. Cushing’s Disease is the result of the overproduction of adrenal cortex hormones. Typical signs of the disease include increased thirst and urination, panting, hair loss, and weakness. The disorder can generally be controlled through various medications.
- Hypothyroidism — This is the most commonly diagnosed hormonal disease found in dogs. The term “hypothyroidism” means the underproduction of thyroxin – the hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism usually occurs between the ages of two to six years and the most common sign is an increase in body weight. Other signs can include lethargy and some form of skin disease. Once treatment is started, clinical signs are reversible and treatment is through thyroid hormone supplements. If left untreated, however, cardiovascular, reproductive and immune system problems can occur.
- Mycobacterium Avium Infection (ATB or AVTB) — This is a relatively new deadly disease found in Miniature Schnauzers described as a mycrobacterial infection in the tuberculosis family. Symptoms include lethargy, weakness, loss of appetite, and very swollen lymph nodes. Other symptoms can include diarrhea, vomitting, fever, and lameness. “The disease is described as a wasting disease, not unlike AIDS.” For further information, please Click Here and see Disseminated Mycobacterium Avium Complex Infection in Miniature Schnauzers.
- Pancreatitis — Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. This is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease. Affected animals will have severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, lethargy, depression, vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration is also a danger. Pancreatitis occurs with increasing frequency in Miniature Schnauzers. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, however, there are several contributing factors including: hyperlipemia (high blood fat content); obesity; bacterial or viral Infections; or any trauma or injury that involves the abdomen can be a contributing factor of pancreatitis. For more information, see: Pancreatitis – An Owner’s Guide to Pet Care.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) — PRA involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Starting with night blindness and eventually progressing to daytime vision loss as well, the onset of the disease can occur at any age and symptoms may not occur until the dog is three years or older. In order to reduce the risk of PRA in the breed, all breeding stock should have annual eye certifications. PRA testing is available from Optigen, see Type A-PRA Test for Miniature Schnauzers for details.
- Urolithiasis — Urinary Tract Infections — Miniature Schnauzer are at a higher risk than many breeds for contracting Urolithiasis. Symptoms include frequent urination, blood in the urine, straining, weakness, loss of appetite, vomiting and pain. Left untreated, bladder stones may develop and, if severe enough, urinary blockage may occur which can be life threatening. While Urolithiasis can be hereditary it has also been know to occur unrelated to heredity. Breeders should not risk breeding any dog with a history of Urolithiasis. For further details, see: Canine Urolithiasis – An Owner’s Guide, Urinary Calculi – Schnauzers and Stones and Urinary Stone Disease Study.
Additional Health Resources:
- Miniature Schnauzer Health & Genetics From the Miniature Schnauzer Club of Canada
- Miniature Schnauzer Health Issues — From the American Miniature Schnauzer Club and includes a collections of articles related to health research issues and everyday care and maintenance of Miniature Schnauzers.
- Health and Nutrition — Growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website which includes information on several health and nutrition related issues.
- Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) — Providing a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists that will assist in breeding healthy dogs. CHIC is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
- AKC Canine Health Foundation — Working towards developing scientific advances in canine health.
- Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)
- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Ontario Veterinary College (OVC)
- University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHip)
- HealthGene — HealthGene Corporation is the leading provider of veterinary DNA diagnostic services in Canada.
- Labgenvet — Laboratory of Veterinary Genetics is a Canadian diagnostic laboratory that offers a comprehensive service of DNA tests for veterinary genetic diseases.
The Miniature Schnauzer’s double coat requires hand stripping for the show ring. In general, pet owners tend to keep the outer coat clipped to avoid the requirements of extensive grooming. However, in order to maintain the correct coat — the salt-and-pepper is the result of light and dark banding of each hair — the coat must be stripped rather than clipped.
Because the Miniature Schnauzer is non-shedding, regular grooming is a must. Clipping or hand stripping is required every five to eight weeks and weekly brushing of the beard and leg furnishings is also required. Nails should be kept trimmed and ears cleaned as well.
The Miniature Schnauzer is susceptible to periodontal disease. Food and plaque get trapped which in turn can lead to infection and receding gums. Some dogs may require frequent cleanings, therefore, it is a good idea to get into the habit of teeth brushing and inspecting the mouth for problems on a regular basis.
- Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.
- Why Not White Miniature Schnauzers? — Both the Canadian and American Breed Standards state that “white” is a disqualifying colour. This article is produced by the Miniature Schnauzer Club of Canada.
- Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
- Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.
*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org
*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.