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About the Miniature Schnauzer

Frequently Asked Questions
Why Not White?

SchnauzersYou will find that the typical well-bred Miniature Schnauzer is relatively small in size but in no way toyish or delicate. When you pick him up you will discover he is sturdy, heavy, and muscular... a ruggedness combined with the elegance and beauty of a pure-bred. He makes an excellent companion because he is extremely obedient and quick to learn, is devoted, playful and affectionate. His alertness makes him an excellent guard dog. He is spunky and fearless but not aggressive so that he can run with other dogs. And, like other terriers, he will go to ground to attack vermin of all kinds. One must become aware of these characteristics lest he be lost, stolen, or a victim of an accident. In the suburbs he should be fenced in or walked on a leash.

He is as much at home in the city with a small amount of exercise as he is in the country where he appears tireless. And, he easily adapts to any change of condition or climate. His deepest need, however, is to live as a part of the family, going where they go, doing what they do. Sleeping on the bed, or in his own, beside his owner is his great joy. The Miniature Schnauzer does not shed, so he often can be enjoyed by persons who are allergic to other breeds of dogs. In return, the owner must keep him groomed to maintain his handsome appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The breed originated in the late 1800's in Germany as a smaller version of the Standard Schnauzer that could live more easily as a house pet but still hunt vermin.

The Miniature Schnauzer has a stocky build, wiry outer coat and fairly thick whiskers and leg furnishings. For more information see the Breed Standard and the accompanying Slide Show.  You may also order the "Illustrated Discussion of the Miniature Schnauzer Standard" in our Publications section.

The Miniature, Standard, and Giant Schnauzers are distinct breeds though their conformation is very similar. The Standard Schnauzer was bred to keep the vermin population down on the farm, herd and guard the farm. The Giant Schnauzer was bred to do all those things plus pull carts and also has been used for police work. The Miniature, Standard, and Giant Schnauzers have similar but distinct personalities. For more information on the Standard and Giant Schnauzers please visit the Giant Schnauzer Club of America and the Standard Schnauzer Club of America web sites. By the way, there is no recognized breed named the Toy Schnauzer.

The standard says it all: "The typical Miniature Schnauzer is alert and spirited, yet obedient to command. He is friendly, intelligent and willing to please. He should never be overaggressive or timid." The Miniature Schnauzer is generally sweet, loving and loyal. They often have a favorite person, even though they will love the whole family. They will bark when someone comes to the door. Properly trained, though, they will stop when the owner indicates that the person at the door is welcome and not a threat. Schnauzers are generally intelligent and learn quickly. Many have excelled in formal obedience trials. They are seen more and more in agility competitions also. Though the breed was not originally bred to 'go-to-ground' for prey, he will gladly chase rodents wherever they go, including under ground. Miniature Schnauzers are eligible to participate in Earthdog Trials and some excel at them.

Schnauzers shed very little. They tend to cause fewer and less severe reactions in people allergic to dogs than breeds that shed more. Of course, anyone allergic to dogs should spend time around the breed before buying a Schnauzer because individual reactions vary widely.

Miniature Schnauzers should be groomed every five to eight weeks to look their best. This is something most people choose to let a professional do, but some choose to learn to do it themselves (see the AMSC's Pet Grooming section). The equipment needed - clippers and scissors - will pay for itself after just a few groomings. They do need to have at least a weekly brushing out of the beard and leg furnishings and may be bathed as often as weekly. Most people choose to machine clipper pets as this is the most convenient way to keep them looking sharp. The breed is double coated with a wiry top coat so for the show ring, the dog needs to be hand stripped or plucked. A usual pattern can be found in the AMSC award winning grooming chart - see Publications. Most pet groomers are not knowledgeable of the stripping process or, if knowledgeable, might be reluctant to take the time to properly complete the task.

The US breed standard recognizes 3 colors: Salt & Pepper, Solid Black, and Black & Silver. No other colors are allowed under the breed standard. Whites and parti-colors are specifically disqualified. Salt & Pepper and Black & silver are bicolor patterns. In the Salt & Pepper, the eyebrows, beard and legs will be light gray or silver white. When stripped for the show ring, the body hair is banded in various shades of black, white, gray and tan. Black & Silvers follow essentially the same pattern as the Salt & Peppers except the top coat and undercoat color are solid black. The beard and legs tend to be more silver than white and the dark hair may extend farther down the legs. Solid Blacks are entirely black with a black undercoat, except they may have a small white patch on the chest. When the Salt & Peppers are machine clipped, the characteristic banded hairs disappear and they become a solid shade of gray, which can vary from a very light gray to dark slate gray. Some people will refer to dogs who have a very light gray undercoat as 'Silver', but they are 'officially' Salt & Pepper. As they age, many solid Blacks and Black & Silvers fade from black to gray. Salt & Peppers will often fade to lighter shades of gray.

The Breed Standard calls for the height at the withers or shoulder blades to be at least 12" and no more than 14". It does not specify any particular weight for the breed. That will depend on size and bone structure but a dog measuring 12" to 14" will be 11 to 20 lbs. Some breeders are producing Miniature Schnauzers that are under 10" tall. This is a disqualification according to the breed standard. Sometimes the term 'Toy' is used to describe them. The 'Toy' Schnauzer is not a separate breed, it is simply an undersized Miniature Schnauzer.

Not all breeders are knowledgeable or have the good of the breed at heart. Your best bet to find a healthy, well-adjusted puppy is from a serious breeder who is knowledgeable of the breed and the health problems commonly seen. Neither the AMSC nor the AKC regulates breeders. An AKC registration does not guarantee quality. It certifies only that the animal is purebred and is the offspring of the parents shown on the registration certificate. Even then, its accuracy depends on the honesty of the breeder registering the litter. Visiting some local dog shows is also a good way of meeting serious breeders in your area. For more tips on how to determine if a breeder is reputable, please visit Sources.

Revised Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Copyright 1969, 1979, 1991, 1995 American Miniature Schnauzer Club, Inc. All rights reserved.