- Activity Level: high
- Grooming Level: high
- Trainability: moderate
- Adaptability: high
- Kid/Pet Friendly: sometimes
- Average Size: Small
- Average Lifespan: 12-14 years
- Prey Drive: high
- Watchdog: very alert
- Registered?: aca, akc
Miniature Schnauzer Breed Profile
Did You Know?
The Miniature Schnauzer is the smallest in the trio of Schnauzer breeds. The Mini Schnauzer originated in Germany centuries ago. Farmers of the time crossed the Standard Schnauzer with Poodles and the Affenpinscher to create a miniature-sized Schnauzer. This gave them a more effective and compact rat-dog to help control pests around the farm.
The American Kennel Club recognized the Miniature Schnauzer as a member of the Terrier Group in 1926. Although they have a long background as a rat-catcher, it’s not common to find the Mini Schnauzer working as a rat-dog anymore. Instead, they are mostly found as family pets and companion dogs as well as show dogs.
With their rat-catcher background, the Miniature Schnauzer does have a high prey drive and urge to chase, which makes them a great watchdog. But, they also have an open and friendly nature. They may be muscular and fearless small dogs, but they are not aggressive.
Mini Schnauzers are known for their friendliness, outgoing personality, bright disposition, and charming face. They get along great with children and other animals and are very family-oriented. Although small, these dogs are sturdy and playful, which makes them a great fit for families with children.
Miniature Schnauzers are highly adaptable dogs. Although they were bred for tirelessly patrolling acres of farmland for pests, they adapt well to just about any living situation. They are just as comfortable in an apartment as they are on a sprawling farm as long as they get enough exercise and attention. Due to their high prey drive, they should only be let off-leash in securely fenced areas.
They also do well in a wide variety of climates. Their double coat provides them a little extra insulation against the cold and can be clipped shorter to help them handle warmer weather as well. As with any dog breed, the Mini Schnauzer is sensitive to extreme heat or cold. Because they are family-oriented, they do not like to spend long periods of time alone.
Mini Schnauzers are relatively healthy dogs. As with any dog breed, there are some health conditions to be aware of. In the case of a Miniature Schnauzer, potential health issues include cataracts, urinary stones, liver shunts, pancreatitis, and hyperlipidemia.
Reputable breeders make sure to screen their breeding stock to reduce the chance of passing on any genetic health issues. So, don’t be afraid to talk to the breeder about the health and genetic history of the parents and to ask to see any relevant health test results.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a highly trainable dog breed, which makes them a good fit for dog owners of all experience levels. Their high intelligence and eagerness to please means they pick up on things quickly. It also means they can get bored easily, so it’s important to keep their training interesting.
As with any dog breed, early and ongoing training and socialization are important to help your puppy grow into a well-rounded dog. Also, puppy training classes can be a big benefit and socialization opportunity for your Mini Schnauzer puppy.
The Mini Schnauzer may have a low-shedding coat, but they also require a lot of grooming in order to keep their coat healthy. This dog breed has a double coat where the undercoat is soft and wooly while the topcoat is short and wiry. Brushing at home a few times a week is usually sufficient and these dogs usually only need a bath once a month or so as needed. However, they generally require professional grooming every 5-8 weeks to keep them looking their best. Also, their coat will need to be hand-stripped if they will be competing in shows.
In addition to coat care, you will also need to care for your Miniature Schnauzer’s nails, ears, and teeth. Cutting your dog’s nails monthly is usually sufficient to keep your dog’s nails from growing too long, but may need to be done more often if the nails are not wearing down as much naturally. Depending on your dog’s professional grooming schedule, the groomer may handle some of your dog’s nail trimming. But, if you hear your nails clicking on the floor, they’re too long and it’s time for a trim.
Although floppy ears are more prone to ear infections, you will still want to regularly check and carefully clean your Mini Schnauzer’s ears. By checking weekly to make sure your dog’s ears are clean, dry, and free of debris, you can help prevent ear infections. Plus, if anything is going on, you’ll be able to catch it early.
Dental disease, like gum disease, is one of the most common health issues in dogs. As a small dog breed, the Miniature Schnauzer tends to be more prone to developing dental disease. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help prevent it. Proper dental care for dogs, like brushing their teeth or using an enzyme toothpaste every day, is essential to reducing and preventing the tartar buildup that leads to painful dental disease. You can also supplement your efforts with vet-approved dental hygiene treats or chews. You can even work with your vet to develop a “dental care diet” for your dog.
Miniature Schnauzers are lively and active dogs that require a moderate amount of exercise to stay happy and healthy. Some extra activity in addition to their daily walks will be enough for these dogs. They’ll also enjoy having access to a fenced area where they can be let off-leash to run, play fetch, or just romp around.
They also absolutely love to be with their families. So, if you lead a more active lifestyle, you can bet your Mini Schnauzer will likely be more than happy to keep up with you. They’ll just be happy to be near you and will love the opportunity to do something active together. Although they are small dogs, they are also sturdy and athletic. They are often good candidates for several dog sports like rally, agility, obedience, and more.
A fully-grown Mini Schnauzer usually stands 12-14 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 11-20 pounds.
A Miniature Schnauzer generally lives 12-15 years.
Of the three Schnauzer breeds, the Mini Schnauzer is the most popular. They have also been the beloved pets of several well-known figures including Mary Tyler Moore, Bruce Lee, and Bob Dole.