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Miniature, Standard or Giant - the Schnauzer type comes in many sizes but the Miniature is the most popular breed. Their neat proportion, hypoallergenic coats, appealing and unique looks and calm but bold temperament makes it a very popular breed of dog to own. This dog is adaptable and fits into most lifestyles.
There is a question mark regarding the roots and origins of the Miniature Schnauzer. Some breeders say it is a result of using only the smallest specimens of the Standard Schnauzer. Others feel they are the result of crossing the Standard Schnauzer with the Affenpinscher and possibly other smaller breeds. Either way, it is widely agreed upon that they originated in Germany around the 15th Century. Whatever the size, the aim has always been to preserve the Schnauzer character and temperament which are so highly prized.
Originating in Central Europe, the recognizable Schnauzer type has been known for centuries in art culture. It is thought to be represented works as early as 1492.
The Schnauzer has always had a reputation as an excellent watchdog and the fact that he was vocal rather than aggressive with an ability to distinguish between a friend and a foe. In the very earliest days, reference was also made to the breed as a rat catcher.
Average height to withers: Both males and females between 12-14 inches.
Average weight: Males between 5-9 kg and females between 5- 8kg.
This breed really has a unique almost quizzical look amongst all other dogs! It is easy to see the appeal of the Miniature Schnauzer on a physical level. The so called 'salt and pepper' colour is very eye catching and this breed also comes in black and black and silver coloured coats. The double coat is wiry on top and soft inside, and when groomed to standard, the belly and legs retain some longer hair with the rest of it being kept short with the exception of the 'Schnauzer Bread' which is very characteristic. This cut adds shape to the already rectangular head which is accessorised with dark, oval shaped eyes and V shaped ears which fall naturally forwards. They have very rigid legs and quite rounded shaped paws or 'cat paws' as they are called by breeders.
Often vocal, barking rather than biting, these alert, spirited and energetic dogs are eager to please their owner and do so very well due to their natural intelligence. Their heritage as a watchdog can make them quite territorial and aloof with strangers, but they are exceptionally loyal to their family pack. Early socialisation and training will help you get the best that this breed has to offer, especially if there are children in the house. Given their history as a ratting dog, this is also appropriate of they are to live with or have regular contact with other animals - especially smaller animals like rabbits, hamsters, cats as their prey-hunt drive is still very alive. With this in mind, a strict and consistent training is required to keep this breed in check and to ensure fun is always on the schedule! As a very energetic dog, the Miniature Schnauzer will require lots of exercise, mental stimulation and a regular daily routine. They will also benefit from classes such as agility or canine flyball to burn off some of that high energy!
This is a breed of dog which lives between 10-15 years in good health. That said there are some specific hereditary problems associated particularly with the Miniature Schnauzer including Diabetes and Urolithaisis (Urine Stones). Urolithiasis is a common condition responsible for lower urinary tract disease in some dogs. The formation of bladder stones is associated with precipitation and crystal formation of a variety of minerals. There a number of causes of urine stones, the most common of which is a high salt concentration in the urine. Most bladder stones are located in the bladder or urethra with a small percentage lodged in the kidneys or ureters. Urinary stones can damage the lining of the urinary tract causing inflammation. This inflammatory reaction may make the dog more prone to bacterial urinary tract infection. Urinary stones may physically block the urine flow causing urinary obstruction that requires immediate emergency treatment. Small urinary stones may become lodged in the urethra, particularly in male dogs, causing an obstruction that requires urgent treatment. Stones may also become lodged in the ureter, causing an obstruction that may result in serious kidney damage. If the owner sees blood in the urine, cloudy urine, weight loss, depression or difficulties in urination, advice should be sought from the vet.
Diabetes is a well documented condition which presents with the same symptoms in the dog as in humans. Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not produce or respond to insulin within the body. Responsible for the control of glucose in the body, insulin does this by preventing glucose production by the liver and ensuring that excess glucose derived from food which is not needed for energy is put into body stores. In a diabetic animal there is insufficient insulin to switch off glucose production by the liver or to efficiently store excess glucose derived from energy giving foods. This means that the blood concentration of glucose rises and eventually exceeds a level beyond which the kidneys let glucose leak into the urine. Clinical signs include excess thirst or urination in addition to weight loss. Advice must be sought from the vet.
Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is also quite prevalent in this breed. VWD in dogs is an inherited bleeding disorder that occurs due to a deficiency of Von Willebrand factor (VWF), a protein that is required for platelet distribution and use ensuring that effectivie clotting
A regular grooming routine is essential to keep the coat of this breed in an optimal condition and this daily routine should also include regular and varied exercise. If the classic Schnauzer cut is required it is advisable to ask a professional to do this for you, so one must take into account costs and time for doing this.