The miniature schnauzer is the 37th most popular dog breed in the UK, and a more compact version of their standard schnauzer and giant schnauzer cousins. However, just because these dogs are small in stature doesn’t mean that they’re toy dog or lapdogs; and the miniature schnauzer has an interesting, bold and complex personality as well as good looks and a distinctive appearance.
This is a breed that is very rewarding to own as well as versatile enough in both size and temperament to be a good fit for lots of different types of owners – but they’re also a breed about which many people hold a lot of misapprehensions, often due to their small sizes.
This means that if you’re considering choosing a miniature schnauzer as your next pet, you need to do plenty of research into the breed first, and with this in mind, this article will tell you ten things you need to know about the miniature schnauzer, before you buy one.
Read on to learn more.
The miniature schnauzer is one of three schnauzer size options, and as you might expect, they’re the smallest of the three. The others are the standard and giant schnauzer respectively, and whilst the personalities and core traits of each size variant can be slightly different, this means there are lots of size choices if you love the schnauzer temperament!
Miniature schnauzers stand up to around 36cm tall at the withers, and can weigh up to around 9kg at the top end.
The miniature schnauzer is a really intelligent dog breed, being ranked in 12th place on the Coren ranking of canine intelligence out of a total number of over 130 different dog breeds. They’re even more intelligent than their standard and giant schnauzer cousins, who are ranked in 22nd and 35th place respectively!
Miniature schnauzers were originally bred and developed in their native Germany, as versatile all-rounders and farm dogs. Desirable skills for the working miniature schnauzer to display included guarding and watchdog roles, herding in the fields, and as a ratter for pest control, which are three very different traits rarely found combined within one individual dog breed.
This makes dogs of the breed highly versatile, and reflects their high intelligence.
Miniature schnauzers have a distinctive appearance that puts many people in mind of terrier-type dogs, and whilst the ratting skills of the schnauzer are shared with terriers, they are not classed as terrier dogs.
The standard haircut usually preferred by owners of miniature schnauzers usually produces a distinctive pair of eyebrows and a beard, and enhances the dog’s compact and very balanced-looking build.
The miniature schnauzer falls within the Kennel Club’s utility dog grouping, which is the breed group used to reflect dogs that fulfilled a historical working role that doesn’t fit neatly within one of the other predetermined working groups, like gundogs or pastoral dogs.
This reflects the versatile working nature of the miniature schnauzer, and their ability to turn their paws to all sorts of different things!
Miniature schnauzers are small dogs, but they should never be mistaken for toy dogs or lapdogs. They have outgoing, plucky and confident personalities, require quite a lot of exercise given their size, and are highly intelligent dogs that will sometimes think one step ahead of their owners!
The average asking price for pedigree miniature schnauzers is around the £950 mark, which is relatively high for a small dog breed. On the flipside, they are reasonably economical to keep thanks to their small size, usually requiring the smallest or next to smallest size variant for accessories, and not eating huge amounts of food.
Miniature schnauzers tend to be robust, healthy and hardy dogs that are not prone to developing a wide range of minor ills or injuries over the course of their lives, although there are of course exceptions.
Like all pedigree breeds, there are some hereditary health issues that tend to develop within miniature schnauzers more commonly than most other breeds, but the breed as a whole is long lived, with an average lifespan of around 12-15 years.
Miniature schnauzers tend to be confident little dogs that are not overly shy, and that are rarely daunted by larger dogs or people that they don’t know. They require a confident, forward-thinking owner and trainer to harness their core traits into positive directions, and clear boundaries for their lives to keep them happy and under control.
However, dogs of the breed can be quite vocal and they can be prone to being highly strung, particularly if they don’t have a set routine or are handled inconsistently. Whilst many first-time dog owners choose miniature schnauzers as their first pet and get on very well with them, it is important to do plenty of research and have a plan for caring for and managing your dog, particularly if you’re new to the world of dog ownership.
Because they’re so intelligent, fairly lively and very versatile, miniature schnauzers are one of the best dog breeds to choose if you’re looking for a small dog breed that can take part in canine sports.
Whilst the skills and traits of individual dogs of the breed can be vary, this is a breed with lots of potential for lots of different types of applications, and definitely one to consider.