<Back to Dog Breeds
Dog Group Kennel Club: Non Sporting (AKC) Utility (KC)
The Miniature schnauzer is a muscular and sturdy small sized dog. Their eyebrows, beard and leg hair gives them a very distinctive appearance.
They have a double coat, the outer coat is hard and wiry, the undercoat softer and close to the skin. Colours include, salt and pepper, black with silver markings or solid black.
Weight: 10 – 15 lbs
Average Life Span: 15 yrs
The dogs are known for their friendly personality and mischievous sense of humour as well as intelligence and boundless energy. They are excellent family dogs as they adore children and will get along with other dogs. They would not suit a family with small pets e.g. hamsters, gerbils etc as they will instinctively chase and catch them. These little dogs do not shed, making them a good choice for dog-lovers with allergies. Despite their size, Miniature Schnauzers also make wonderful watch dogs.
Schnauzers tend to have a long adolescence period and mental stimulation is essential to avoid behavioural problems. They can be stubborn therefore they do need a firm hand when training, but always positively reinforced.
They need to be brushed and clipped often as the long hair around their legs can easily become matted. Daily brushing of the beard is essential to prevent pieces of food becoming matted in with the hair.
They need daily exercise to meet their high energy levels. They should be kept on a leash when walked as they have a strong desire to search for rodents so will wonder off at any given chance.
Miniature Schnauzer Health Issues
Mycobacterium Avium Infection: This is a relatively new and rare but fatal disease that has been found in this breed. Susceptibility to infection is the result of immune system dysfunction. Infection of this disease has been found to be caused by ingestion of infected meat, contact with infected soil or contaminated carcasses or faeces. Initial symptoms include enlarged lymph nodes, tonsils, and lack of appetite. other symptoms may include fever, vomiting, bloody stool, breathing difficulty, and lameness.
Pancreatitis: increasing common in Miniature Schnauzers. The exact cause is unkown, but appears to be associated with the fact that many Miniature Schnauzers have high blood serum lipids (fats). Symptoms generally include vomiting and diarrhoea, abdominal pain, lethargy and depression. Veterinary care is needed immediately. Treatment includes intravenous fluids, antibiotics and dietary control. The dog will probably have to be on a low fat diet.
Cushing’s Disease: also common in this breed caused by over production of adrenal cortex hormones. Females are more affected than males and often fall within the six to eight year age group. Initial symptoms include increased thirst and urination and an increase in body weight. Further stage symptoms include a pot bellied appearance, thinning of the dog’s coat and other changes involving the skin. Sudden blindness is also associated with this. Various medications are available.
Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) – is an autosomally (not sex-linked) inherited bleeding disorder with a prolonged bleeding time (somewhat similar to hemophilia in humans) and a mild to severe factor IX deficiency. A DNA test for vWD is now available. Carrier-to-carrier breedings, in theory, will produce puppies that are 25% clear, 50% carriers, and 25% affected. Ideally, only clear-to-clear or clear-to-carrier should occur, so that no puppies will be affected. Not all dogs that are vWD affected will have severe bleeding problems, but they ARE at risk whenever they need to have surgery or have an accident. Some unlucky affected dogs will actually bleed out from a needle stick or minor wound.
Hypothyroidism, an endocrine disease that results in the abnormally low production of thyroid hormones. The symptoms of hypothyroidism include lethargy, mental depression, weight gain and a tendency to seek out warm places. Hypothyroidism can also affect the coat and skin, causing hair loss and excessive dandruff.
Urinary Tract Infections occur at a higher rate in Miniature Schnauzers than other breeds. Symptoms include frequent urination and blood may be present in the urine. Untreated, they can lead to bladder stones. If severe enough this may cause urinary blockage, which is a medical emergency. Treatment involves prescription diets, antibiotics and/or surgery.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): is a family of diseases all involving the gradual deterioration of the retina. It is diagnosed by a retinoscopic exam or by means of an electroretinogram (ERG). Early in the disease, affected dogs become nightblind and lack the ability to see in dim light; later on daytime vision also fails. As their vision deteriorates, affected dogs adapt to their handicap very well, as long as their environment remains constant. Certain breeds are affected early in life, whereas in other breeds, PRA develops much later in onset.
Miniature Schnauzer History
The Miniature Schnauzer is of German origin and is a cross between the Affenpinscher, the German Terrier and the Poodle. Although the breed has the same conformation as the Standard Schnauzer, it is a breed in its own right.The breed’s name was taken from the winning dog in the Wire-haired Pinscher class at the International Show in Hanover in 1879. Schnauze means ‘muzzle’ in German.
These dogs were known as Ratters or Ratting Terriers and were used on a farm or store, or factory to chase and kill rats.Schnauzer’s have been popular dogs in Germany for a long time. Many artists have portrayed them in wood carvings, sculpture, paintings, and porcelain.