Summer loves spending time with her family, reading, traveling, and cuddling with her puppy.
The Miniature Schnauzer- What An Amazing Breed!
I feel so blessed to have the privilege to be a parent to a Miniature Schnauzer. I was able to adopt our 'Rowdy' from a co-worker who lost his home after the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. My co-worker lost everything and had to move into an apartment which didn't allow for pets. Rowdy was being kept in a kennel and he was devastated. After losing my Wheaten Terrier, Hannah, a few months before, I never thought I would want a different breed of dog. However, I fell in love with Rowdy the moment I saw him. He was so well trained as the owners before us entered him in dog shows, and although he was a little leery of us at first, he warmed up quickly. Now Rowdy is such an added joy to our lives. I didn't know there were different types of miniature schnauzers and I really knew nothing about the breed, but thanks to a lot of new friends on VERY large Facebook groups, I've learned so much. I hope this article does the breed justice, and please let me know if you find any misinformation or anything you see that you want changed. I'd be glad to take all of your comments into consideration. I want to make this informational and helpful for anyone considering adopting a mini schnauzer!
Rowdy, Our Black Miniature Schnauzer
Different Colours of Miniature Schnauzers
History of the Breed
Like many smaller terriers, the Miniature Schnauzer was originally bred as a 'ratter' or guard dog for farmers. They come from Germany, and they are the result of the Standard Schnauzer being bred with a smaller dog. Most sources say that the Standard Schnauzer was bred with a Miniature Pinscher and perhaps the Poodle or even the Pomeranian. The curly nature of their hair when grown out has a Poodle-type curl.
The breed was introduced to Germany and Europe in the mid 19th Century, but was first 'shown' as the Miniature Schnauzer Breed in 1899. The breed was introduced to the United States in 1924.
Miniature Schnauzers are sort of 'square-shaped.' They are often referred to 'distinguished gentlemen' or 'old men' because of their facial features. Their beards and their eyebrows are very masculine looking. Female Miniature Schnauzers generally measure 12-14 inches tall, and weigh between 10-15lbs. The male Minis are a little bigger, measuring about the same in height, but weighing between 15-18 lbs. Our Rowdy is 18 lbs and when he doesn't get his walks or play time in, he gets a little more portly. When we adopted him he weighed over 20 pounds, but he was in a precarious situation. Now that he gets regular exercise and a regular food schedule, he rarely weighs over 18 pounds.
The Miniature Schnauzer is now the 16th most popular dog breed in the United States. The popularity of the breed has declined from 8th most popular where it stood 10 years ago. This information is very surprising, as the Miniature Schnauzer is such a wonderful family pet.
The Temperament of the Miniature Schnauzer
My husband and I have had a wonderful experience with our Rowdy. He is normally very sweet, fun loving, playful, and loyal. He has the 'guard dog' instinct and he barks when people walk by our home, or if someone rings the doorbell. When visitors come he growls lightly until they bend over to pet him. He generally warms up to people fairly quickly, but he's not as social as other terrier breeds. Many owners report the same experience I have had with Rowdy, which is their Mini is comfortable around a visitor once he/she sees your reaction. Once they are comfortable that the guest is welcomed, they relax and warm up to the guest.
Our Rowdy likes to be the centre of attention. He doesn't like it when other dogs visit. In fact, he won't leave other dogs alone. He pesters my son's dog to no avail, and even though he only weighs about 18lbs, he thinks he's the size of a horse.
I have done some research to see how our Miniature Schnauzer behaves compared to the general temperament of the breed. I've also asked at least one hundred random people about their 'Minis' and I have recorded responses over the past four months or so.
Our Rowdy displays the typical personality characteristics of the breed. He's playful and curious, he's alert and very loyal, and he basks in attention. Being aggressive with strange dogs of the same sex is common, although for the most part, Minis are fairly good with other household pets, including cats. As mentioned before, the breed is very likely to be territorial, (meaning they often bark when people are outside or when someone comes to the door.)
Thanks to a comment from a user named 'Linda,' I realized I didn't put anything specific about female Miniature Schnauzers and how they are different from male Minis. My experience has been limited to a male Mini, but I have heard from several Miniature Schnauzer owners who have females and say they are very sweet and docile. Females behave a bit differently than their male counterparts. Females are more generally more docile, less aggressive, and more welcoming to people and other dogs. They too are known to be territorial, but they relax quickly with guests. Both male and female Minis are sweet and cuddly.
Like any terrier, Miniature Schnauzers can be hyper. However, this is normally a sign that the dog isn't getting enough exercise. They are very intelligent, and although they can be stubborn, they are easily trainable. Training should be done at an early age, and reward based training works well with the breed. Rowdy was well trained when we adopted him and he's never had an accident inside of our house, but he DID figure out how to get rewarded very quickly. Soon after he arrived he started to run to the door because he knew when I let him back in, I would give him a treat! My husband was much smarter with this, but I am a total pushover. Minis are smart, so you can't be a pushover like me when you're training one because they are great at manipulating! And.. really.. How can you say no to that sweet face??
How Many Mini Schnuggle Schnauzer Parents are Reading?
Grooming Your Miniature Schnauzer
We take Rowdy to the groomers once every five to eight weeks. While Miniature Schnauzers are technically a 'hypoallergenic' dog as they don't really shed, their coat grows quickly. Without proper care, it will mat easily, and it's difficult to comb. We bathe Rowdy at least once a week. We normally use the shampoo recommended by our vet.
Rowdy loves to explore the backyard for every weed, twig, and leaf he can bring in the house, and we have to comb him regularly to get all the stuff of of him.
A groomer who's knowledgeable on the way to shape a Miniature Schnauzer will generally leave it's beard long and full, and shave the back and sides. The legs usually are left with a more 'puffy' look. The cut is similar to that of a Wheaten Terrier or a Kerry Blue Terrier.
Minis will collect a lot of 'eye snot' at the corners of their eyes which hardens and becomes painful to remove. We once had a groomer who removed the 'eye snot' without getting it wet first to soften it, and she actually ripped it off Rowdy's skin and he had a cut. It broke my heart. The 'eye snot' will harden, but it's fairly easy to remove if you wet it down during a bath.
It's important to consult your vet before bathing your Mini because Miniature Schnauzer get what 'Mini Parents' call schnauzer bumps. They will get wart-like bumps on their backs, and sometimes water filled blisters. The bumps will go away, but they will also continue to come back. When we first got Rowdy and found the bumps, I took him to the vet and the vet told me this is a very common skin condition for the breed. I also felt a lot better when I joined some Facebook groups who assured me their Minis got the bumps as well and they were just a 'normal' thing. However, you don't want to shampoo your Mini with something that could irritate, or even cause more bumps.
Feeding Your Miniature Schnauzer
There is an never ending debate over which dog food is best for dogs. There are so many competing brands out there, and most vets have recommendations and preferences.
Miniature Schnauzer puppies under eight weeks should be fed 1/4 cup of dry dog food four times a day. Puppies over eight weeks should be fed 1/2 cup of dry dog food, two times a day. Our vet recommends Rowdy eat twice a day, and we normally give him a half cup of food. He self regulates. He normally eats when he's hungry, but we only give him the half cups of food twice per day.
As far as the type of food we feed him, all veterinarians recommend different foods, but they pretty much all agree that grocery store dog foods with lots of filler and by-products should be avoided. Also, foods with a high amount of wheat and corn should be avoided. Wheat and corn have been known to contribute allergies and skin conditions in Miniature Schnauzers.
We feed Rowdy 'Taste of the Wild Canine Formula.' We fed our Wheaten Terrier, Hannah, the same. The food is expensive but it's highly recommended by veterinarians and it grain free, and I have grown to trust it over the years. If you are considering adopting a Mini, just ask the breeder or your vet what kind of food is recommended, and make an educated choice that you feel good about.
Health Issues Common to the Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzers, like other breeds, are prone to a few health conditions.
The skin condition I mentioned is called Comedo Syndrome and it's unique to Schnauzers. The wart like bumps usually come up on a Miniature Schnauzer's back. I've found them on Rowdy's sides before, but mostly they come up on his back. They are commonly referred to as 'Schnauzer Bumps.'
Miniature Schnauzers are generally a healthy breed, but they are prone to bladder stones. In fact, they are more prone to bladder stones than any other breed of dog. Symptoms of bladder stones include frequent urination, inability to urinate, blood in urine, and incontinence/urine dribble. If you notice this with your Mini, you should take your pet to the vet. The good news is, Dietary Management is usually very helpful with the condition. However, surgery may be necessary when noninvasive methods don't work.
Another problem common to the Miniature Schnauzer is cataracts. Our Rowdy is 9 years old and he doesn't see the best. It's rare, but cataracts can start to form in Miniature Schnauzer puppies when they are only 8 weeks old. The best way to manage the worry of your Mini developing cataracts is be sure to take your dog to the vet every year and have his eyes assessed. If your Mini has developed cataracts, there are oral medications and drops that are very helpful to the problem.
Pancreatitis has been found in Miniature Schnauzers. Signs of Pancreatitis include vomiting, diarrhea, fever and lethargy. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your Mini to the vet. He or she will need an IV with fluids, and likely have to change foods to all low-fat.
Hypothyroidism is also found in Miniature Schnauzers, and it can effect their weight. It causes them to gain weight, be lethargic, and start to lose their hair. The good news is, if you expect your Mini to suffer from Hypothyroidism, there are medications and treatments that are easy and inexpensive.
Ear Infections are common in most terriers, and the Miniature Schnauzer is no different. It's important to pay attention to see if your dog's ears smell yeasty, or if they seem to be itching their ears a lot. Ear infections are easily treatable if found in time, so keep an eye on your Mini and make sure his ears seem healthy.
Does Your Miniature Schnauzer Suffer From Any of the Following Illnesses?
How Much Exercise Does Your Miniature Schnauzer Need?
Miniature Schnauzers are a spunky breed and they are full of playful energy. They are clever enough to find their own fun if you are too pooped to play. Rowdy will often get one of his toys and get on his back, and hold the toy over his head. He looks like a baby playing with a toy! He will also often bring us a toy or a ball (balls are his favourite), and ask us to throw it to him and play catch. He also has several other toys he plays with.
We are sure to allow him plenty of time outside in his garden where he enjoys peeing on every shrub, tree, plant, flower, and fence (especially if there is a neighbour dog on the other side of the fence). He loves to sniff everything for long periods of time. Usually, when he's done his 'outside' time he'll come to the door and stand. Rarely does he bark to get back in the house.
We walk Rowdy each night for at least 30 minutes at a vigorous pace. He walks like he is the 'King of the Castle' and has a very arrogant gate. He also loves to growl at people while walking, which is always pretty embarrassing. My one neighbour laughs every time he sees Rowdy, because he behaves like he's the most important animal on the planet and he growls a little. Our neighbour says 'Ohhh, he's bad' and laughs hysterically. Little kids don't really enjoy Rowdy barking at them, so I keep him on a tight leash. My husband and I also have a cattle ranch in the rural Houston area and Rowdy loves to go visit. We have 420 acres, but we keep him close to the house because he WILL run at a cow or a bull! He is not afraid at all. They look at him like he's crazy. It's important to realize you shouldn't let your Mini off a leash when bigger, strange animals are around.
Rowdy loves to run around the ranch, and he loves his walks. He also loves to play catch, and he loves to chew on 'Bully Sticks.' Bully Sticks or 'Flossies' are a treat I've given my dogs ever since I found out about them. They'll keep a puppy or adult dog busy for hours. They are spiral in shape, and when they get soft from chewing they turn into a sort of 'floss' like substance.
Generally, most of the people I've talked to about their experience as Miniature Schnauzer owners say that their dogs are find with a good 30-45 minute walk a day and some play time at home and in the garden.
Flossies or Bully Sticks
Appropriate Leashes, Collars, Harnesses and Toys
From the information I've gathered, it seems like Miniature Schnauzers are like most other terrier breeds. They like balls (you can buy smaller tennis balls or other balls because they have a hard time fitting the bigger ones in their mouth). They love squeaker toys. Rowdy is not big on those plastic bones (I am not sure any dog is), but he loves his pink stuffed bunny, his pink stuffed pig, his yellow duck, and his pink sausage dog the most.
He gnaws on these toys for awhile every day, I find myself washing them and drying them, but he definitely likes them better when they are old, used, and smelly.
Rowdy doesn't like his Kong toys much. He gives up on licking the peanut butter and becomes bored with it. He'd rather have someone throw him his pig, bunny, duck or ball and bring it back for a repeat throw.
As far as leashes and collars go, we use a harness on Rowdy that his leash attaches to. My husband was too afraid that his neck would get hurt with a regular collar. I can't say our Mini loves the harness, but as soon as he starts on his walk, he forgets all about it.
Our vet recommended a harness for Rowdy made by a company called and Pug LIfe. He recommended it for Rowdy's unique 'square shape,' and to ensure his neck isn't hurt from the result of tugging on a leash while wearing a collar. We had been using another type of harness which was kind of like putting on a bra, and it was kind of difficult to get him to step in it and make sure his feet were going in the right holes. This harness is better because it just slips over his back and buckles, and it has a handle on the back as well. This harness is much easier, and when Grandma watches Rowdy for us, it's much easier for her. It can be used with any leash really, and Rowdy loves to prance in front of us on his leash like he's the King of the World!
Pug Life Harness Picture
Looking to Adopt a Miniature Schnauzer? Look No Further!
If you are considering adopting a Miniature Schnauzer, it's been my personal experience that adopting an adult Mini has been extremely rewarding. We adopted Rowdy and saved him from being put to sleep, and what a tragedy that would have been! He's added so much joy, fun, and love to our home and lives!
Here are some good links to consider if you are wanting a Miniature Schnauzer for a pet. Remember, adoption is love!
This is a list of Miniature Schnauzer rescue organizations by State:
This link points to the American Miniature Schnauzer Club and it explains their rescue program:
Here is a link to Petfinder, which helps people who want to adopt particular breeds find them. This particular link is for Miniature Schnauzers:
Here is a link for people who are l looking to adopt a Mini in the South East of the United States:
If you want to adopt a puppy, here is a link the American Kennel Club 'Find a Miniature Schnauzer Puppy' page. They suggest reputable breeders.
Whatever you decide, you should never buy any dog from a pet store or a puppy mill.
carlette ottman on February 20, 2020:
Our mini schnauzer is generally friendly to sny schnauzer she meets. But not other dogs. Also they need regular dental care.
Sharon Brown on March 16, 2019:
Welcome to Schnauzer parenthood!! Lifelong love of Schnauzers; I grew up with minis and my husband and I have adopted 10 over the years and a couple of puppies along the way too (we love having three at a time and adopt adult/senior dogs). Your article was great. I want to mention one disease older mini's are prone to hyperlipidemia (fatty blood) and diabetes. Both are manageable, but take constant monitoring.
Polly on March 15, 2019:
I've had eight miniature schnauzers; usually two or three at a time. I will never be without one, if I can help it.
karin l bendel on March 15, 2019:
I have two mini schnauzers. One is 3 the other almost 11. We adore them. Both are healthy. This article is good and informative.
Summer LeBlanc (author) from USA on March 15, 2019:
Judy- WOW! You have a 24 year old Mini? That's got to be some kind of record?? Sounds like you are a wonderful person and a great mom to three lucky Minis. Thanks so much for sharing, and being such a great person :)
Judy jacobson on March 15, 2019:
I now have 3 schnauzers. I have had five prior to these 3 who had to cross the bridge. Miss them every day. One of mine is black and she was a puppy mill breeder. Probably my most loving dog ever. Not necessarily cuddle but is with me wherever I am including the bathroom. Her name is Annie snd she is 24. I have had her for 9 years and terrified of losing her. Another is named Gracie and she is dark grey. Very tiny frame big heart and really loud and affectionate when we come home but other times independent like she needs her own time. She was turned in due to owner illness. She was two and not socialized much do barks a lot and is shy of strangers. She did not have her tail docked and it goes faster than a race car. Very quick to learn words but not obedience. My third right now was a show dog who had to be spayed. She is so loving and also with me always. No one is Alpha. She is lovely in the house but not sure she had outside walks. She goes nuts when she sees other dogs. It looks aggressive but trainer says no. However I cannot change this behavior after almost a year with her. She is a beautiful silver grey. I do not groom her as a show dog. I let her be a house do and she is perfectly being a house dog. No more crates. Very few accidents. Loves sleeping close to me. Yes 3 on a bed gets crowded but that is where schnauzers sleep. Most are a bit shy of children but if treated gently would never bite. Love love love minis.
Summer LeBlanc (author) from USA on March 15, 2019:
Linda thank you so much! Very valid point! I added the information in the article. I am going to add more about health issues later on today, but your input was awesome and appreciated!
Summer LeBlanc (author) from USA on March 15, 2019:
That's wonderful Ellison! They are sooo sweet! Ours is a complete joy. Thanks for the comment
Linda on March 15, 2019:
Schnauzers can also have kidney issues possibly related to the bladder stones. Sensitive tummies run in the breed too. Females behave differently than male Schnauzers. Yet you do not address this. Since you have a male and this is your only experience, you need to seek input from female Schnauzer owners. Females are more docile, less aggressive, like people and other dogs normally and are territorial, but easily will relax when they know they are not threatened. Femal Shcnauzers are very sweet and gentile versus the male. I would include and seek input about the females and not exclude them from this piece. Also, the standard or giant Schnauzer is a breed unto itself.
Ellison Hartley from Maryland, USA on March 15, 2019:
I had mini schnauzers, a mother, and daughter. They were salt and pepper colored and named Mickie and Camie. They were great loyal dogs, I would most definitely recommend them and will probably have one again in the future sometime. Great article!