Miniature Schnauzer

"Full of Beard-itude"

Photo of Miniature Schnauzer


A German original, the Schnauzer (which means “small beard”) comes in three sizes: Giant, Standard, and Miniature. The Standard came first, then the Giant. In the late 1800s, breeders developed the Miniature Schnauzer to be a more portable ratter, house pet, and all-purpose farm dog by crossing the Standard Schnauzer with the tiny Affenpinscher. Miniature Schnauzers today still chase small animals, and some still have a herding instinct. The last of the Schnauzers to come to America, the Miniature Schnauzer quickly became the most popular of the three varieties in the 1940s, and remains the most popular today. In 2005, the Miniature Schnauzer kicked the Chihuahua off the Top Ten list to become the tenth most popular breed in the U.S.


Small but rugged, obedient but spirited, the Miniature Schnauzer has all the convenience of a small dog with the courage, spirit, and rugged good looks of a much larger dog. Adaptable to any environment that allows for plenty of exercise (the Mini can get plenty of exercise running around the house) and human interaction, preferably with an interesting job to do, the Miniature Schnauzer is friendly to most people but often picks a favorite. Like most terriers, Schnauzers can be aggressive towards other dogs, especially of the same sex, and have a reputation for barking a lot. With enough exercise and gentle daily training, however, the Miniature Schnauzer can learn the rules and will follow them enthusiastically, as long as plenty of rewards are involved.


Stocky and muscular with a wiry coat, typically clipped to have a long beard and eyebrows with longer hair on the legs and underbelly, the Schnauzer looks intelligent and dapper. Many have their ears cropped to stand upright. Uncropped, the Schnauzer's ears fold over. Typically, the tail is docked to be very short. The Schnauzer has a hard wiry outer coat and a soft undercoat in three colors: salt and pepper, black and silver, or solid black. Some breeders sell white or parti-colored Schnauzers, but these are not accepted Schnauzer colors. So-called “Toy Schnauzers” are not rare, they are simply undersized Miniature Schnauzers. Dogs over 14 inches, under 12 inches, or in any color other than the four accepted Schnauzer colors would be disqualified in a dog show.


Miniature Schnauzers love to be with people, play games, and work, so they are easy to train with positive, consistent training methods. However, because of their high intelligence, Miniature Schnauzers get bored repeating the same thing over and over. Keep training sessions regular (at least a few minutes every day) and fun, and the Miniature Schnauzer can learn to do just about anything, from retrieving a ball to competing in dog sports like competitive obedience and agility (a fast-paced obstacle course race).

Grooming & Care

Most pet owners have their Schnauzers professionally groomed every 6 to 8 weeks. The groomer will bathe the dog and clip the coat into the typical Schnauzer ‘do. Pet owners can learn to groom their Schnauzers themselves with a high quality pair of grooming clippers, a good pair of scissors, and a lot of practice. Show dogs are typically stripped, a time-consuming process of pulling dead hairs out of the coat by hand or with a stripping knife. Stripping keeps the coat color brighter and maintains the harsh texture, but most pet owners prefer the convenience of the clipper.

Health Concerns

The Miniature Schnauzer can be prone to congenital cataracts, a degenerative eye disease called progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), congenital portal systemic vascular anomalies (also called liver shunts), bladder stones, a hereditary muscle disorder called myotonia congenita, and autoimmune diseases possibly linked to vaccination reactions. Ask the breeder about these issues.

Famous Miniature Schnauzer

Former senators and presidential hopefuls Robert Dole and John Kerry both kept Miniature Schnauzers as pets.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 4
Schedule 6
Home 44
Children 48
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 57
Exercise 61
Challenges Can bark a lot; can be aggressive with other dogs.
Height 12 to 14 inches
Weight 11 to 20 pounds
Life 12 to 14 years
Home Alone 85
With Kids 86
With Strangers 91
Availability 23

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

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