The Miniature Schnauzer really is a fine family dog. Bred down from the Standard Schnauzer, these little guys have all the best traits of their bigger cousins with a more convenient size. In general, these dogs are happy and playful, but not overly crazy or hard to manage. Fairly easy to care for, and adaptable to many situations, they make great family pets. Read on to learn more about the Miniature Schnauzer.
Description of the Miniature Schnauzer
These dogs may look like small, grumpy men. However, they’re anything but! The Mini is generally a happy-go-lucky breed. They’re generally up for anything, love their families, and like to play.
The Miniature Schnauzer (here we’ll call them “Mini”) was bred as a barnyard ratter. This means that they are technically defined as terriers. However, they came about in a completely different manner as a smaller version of the Standard Schnauzer. Consequentially, they don’t share many characteristics with classic terriers. Instead, they’re much calmer and less mischievous.
The breed is known for its square shape. They are small, but well muscled. These are not fragile small dogs. They are also known for their wiry, low-shed coat. This is often left longer around the muzzle. These dogs come in salt and pepper, black and silver, and plain black varieties.
Life Expectancy and Size
The Miniature Schnauzer is a Standard Schnauzer wrapped up in a cute, but capable, package. They stand between 12-14 inches tall at the shoulder, and weigh between 11 and 20 pounds. These dogs tend to be sturdy.
Unfortunately, these dogs face some real health problems. These do not always shorten their lifespan, but can decrease its quality. Working with a reputable breeder can help decrease the chance that they face genetic conditions. Still, these dogs tend to live fairly long lives, with a life expectancy between 12 and 15 years.
This breed makes a good watchdog. Like many terriers, the Miniature Schnauzer is observant and unafraid to make his voice heard. However, these dogs are quite small and cannot offer any real protective abilities besides a built in alarm system.
Generally, the Miniature Schnauzer is fun and easy to train. Many of them also enjoy learning new tricks. They are really quite clever.
It is important to keep training sessions varied and stimulating with this breed. They are quite clever and can become bored quickly. When engaged, this breed can easily excel at high levels of canine sport, like agility or obedience.
These dogs have a medium energy level that fits into many families. Although always up for some play, they are quite adaptable in their exercise needs. Most of the time, they are just happy with a small yard to run and play in.
Most important for these dogs is adequate social time. They crave interaction with their humans, and do not do well being left home alone for extended periods of time.
What Living with a Miniature Schnauzer is Like
There’s a reason this dog is popular with first-time dog owners and young families. This breed is generally cheery, relatively easy to care for, and well-suited to the average home. Their compact size and athletic frame make them a good match for all but the most athletic owners.
That being said, because these dogs are so popular, there can be a wide variation in the Mini’s personality. Not all of these dogs live up to the breed standard. Some can be more aloof or hyperactive than the breed is meant to be.
Minis that are highly suspicious of strangers, and quick to bark and growl at new things. These problems are quite common in poorly bred Mini Schanuzers.
Minis also have a wide variety of health problems, especially of the digestive tract. Not all of these will shorten the dogs’ lives, but may be troublesome or expensive to deal with. Still, the Mini makes a loving companion for many families.
Care of the Miniature Schnauzer
These hardy dogs are well suited to a variety of environments and lifestyles. They are a low-shed breed, and should be happy and easy going. Besides some unfortunate health problems, they are some of the best family pets out there.
This breed is remarkably adaptable. They have enough hair to protect them in most situations, although they may become cold in extreme settings, especially if their hair is kept short.
The Mini can do well in an apartment, or on the farm. They even hold up well to travel! Most important, they need owners that can put in the time and effort to keep them company, even when it isn’t convenient. These dogs do not do well alone.
These dogs are adaptable to a variety of exercise types. They enjoy being around their humans, so walks are a must. Minis may be able to keep up with some athletic endeavors, but do remember that their legs are not as long as those of their taller cousins.
Many Miniature Schnauzers enjoy safely fenced yards so that they can romp and explore. Again, it is important to keep them company, or they may become sad or bored. Maintaining their physical fitness through adequate exercise and healthy diet will help these dogs live longer, happier lives.
Shedding and Grooming
This is a low-shedding breed. Not only will this keep the house clean, but it can be good for people who suffer from allergies.
The Mini’s coat does require some regular maintenance. Although not strictly necessary, they need frequent brushing to keep their wiry coat looking shiny and healthy. They will also need to be clipped every month or two. This can be both time-consuming and expensive.
Ideal Home Environment
This breed is popular with many types of families, as they usually like kids and other dogs. They can be happy in a small apartment, or a rural setting with lots of space to roam.
Most importantly, the Mini thrives on social interaction. This means his family should be able to spend ample time with him – he simply won’t be happy being left alone. That being said, these dogs are usually easy to train, and happy to learn, though temperaments do vary.
Although these dogs are active, they may not be able to keep up with extremely athletic owners.
This breed has some specific health concerns, most notable of which is problems with their digestive tract. They can also have problems with their pancreas, liver, and kidneys. Kidney stones are actually quite common in this breed. Tumors, allergies, and cataracts are also an issue.
This breed is usually quite manageable. Most behavioral problems, including barking and chewing, usually stem from being left alone.
That said, there can certainly be some behavioral issues – especially in dealing with dogs acquired from pet stores or iffy breeders. These dogs can be incredibly suspicious of strangers, and very quick to bite. While this isn’t common, it’s all the more reason to seek out a great breeder.
Some Minis have quite the prey drive, and can chase after small creatures. Obedience lessons, starting early, can help override this tendency.