History of the Miniature Schnauzer Breed
The Miniature Schnauzer was first exhibited as a distinct breed in 1899 in Germany. By 1933, it had been recognized by the AKC. Reputedly a result of crosses between the standard schnauzer, the affenpinscher and, possibly, the poodle, it is the smallest of the schnauzers and the only member of the terrier family not to stem from European isle stock. All of the schnauzers are so called after one particular dog, named Schnauzer, exhibited twenty years prior to the development of the miniature. The German word schnauze means, "muzzle," giving an apt appellation to a breed with a distinguishing bushy beard. Although originally developed as a small farm dog and ratter, the miniature's qualities as a companion and show dog have since made it ubiquitous. Although it arrived in America long after the standard and giant schnauzers, the miniature's reputation soared following World War II until it was at one time that country's third most popular breed of dog. There, it is still exhibited in the terrier class, while in England, it is shown in the utility class along with the other schnauzers. Its attractive looks, alert demeanor and many talents - including hunting, tracking, watchdogging, competitive obedience and performing tricks - have ensured it a warm welcome in the family home.
Size and Appearance of the Miniature Schnauzer Breed
The miniature schnauzer is a small, sturdy dog square in its proportions. It has a long head with a bushy beard, on which the prominent eyebrows and lengthy moustache are often trimmed to highlight the dog's squareness. The tail is most commonly docked. The v-like ears fold forward when unaltered; cropped, they stand erect to a point. The Miniature's gait displays both good reach and strong propulsion. The hard, wiry outer coat covers a close undercoat. Colors include salt and pepper, black and silver, and solid black. While the miniature also appears in white, this coloring is not recognized by the AKC.
Miniature Schnauzer Temperament
This is a dog that enjoys being in the center of life. Its playfulness and intelligence combine with spunk and friendliness to make it a very popular pet. Less dog-aggressive than most terriers, this trait can still cause trouble for a little animal undaunted by the size of other dogs. The miniature is responsive to command but can develop a stubborn streak if not well-trained. Miniature schnauzers adore children, get along well with other pets if properly socialized and make excellent companions for attentive caregivers.
Miniature Schnauzer Recommended Maintenance
The miniature's coat is easily maintained by daily brushing to preclude mats and tangles. It's a good idea to clean the whiskers following meals. This dog sheds almost no hair. Trimming and shaping is best done every other month. For exercise, it needs only a moderate daily walk or a good play outdoors. It thrives on family life and is happiest living indoors. A house is a better venue than an apartment, because the miniature loves to bark, although its voice is low rather than yappy and not unduly annoying. Varied activities and consistent handling bring out the best in this affectionate little dog.
Miniature Schnauzer Health
* Life span: 12 - 14 years
* Major concerns: urolithiasis, PRA
* Minor concerns: follicular dermatitis, esophageal achalasia, vWD
* Occasionally seen: pulmonic stenosis, Legg-Perthes, cataract
* Suggested tests: eye, DNA test for vWD, (cardiac)