Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
Miniature Schnauzers are adorable and full of personality. Their beards alone give them a distinct look, and the impression that they’re a serious bunch, but they’re actually friendly and quick witted dogs that love their humans. They’re outgoing and make for great family dogs, too. Here’s a guide for you to get to know Miniature Schnauzers, from their intelligence to ideal environment, health and their favorite toys.
Also Known As...
Zwergschnauzer (Dwarf Schnauzer in German). "It's like if you took a Schnauzer and made it...and made it miniature. You know?"
Miniature Schnauzers are a type of Terrier with their origins in Germany. The breed dates back to the mid-to-late 1800s when they were bred to hunt rats and act as farm guard dogs in rural areas. They’re a mix of Standard Schnauzers, Affenpinschers and Miniature Pinschers and serve well as ratters.
The breed gained popularity after World War II and have remained a dog lover’s favorite. They were previously bred in all sorts of colors including yellow, red, black and tan and others. Today, they’re largely black, silver or salt and pepper.. Miniature Schnauzers were recognized by the Cologne, Germany breed club in 1895.
The name says it all - Miniature Schnauzers are small dogs, standing just 12 to 14 inches tall.
Miniature Schnauzers weigh anywhere from 11 to 20 pounds, a significant weight range that may depend on how stocky and muscular they are.
Miniature Schnauzers are fun little dogs. They’re smart and friendly, alert and protective of their pack. Miniature Schnauzers have hung on to their protective nature from when they were originally bred as guard dogs. They act as great guard dogs and will stand watch for their humans while remaining a playful dog. They love to run and play, making them great for families with kids or for those who are interested in having an energetic companion that loves to take long walks.
Intelligence / Trainability
Miniature Schnauzers are known to be smart, trainable dogs that love to learn. However, that intelligence also means these pups will know how to use their smarts to get the best of their humans. It may be fun at first to have a dog outsmart you, but you’ll need to play with training techniques to get this dog fully trained.
Best Training Techniques For Miniature Schnauzers
You should socialize your Miniature Schnauzer early in life or soon after adoption so they can get used to a variety of sounds and smells. They love positive reinforcement, too. Be sure to give them plenty of exercise so they don’t get restless while you’re away from home and lose sight of their training and become destructive.
Miniature Schnauzers’ size makes them highly adaptable to an array of environments. They’re small enough to be good apartment dogs, but also love to run and play, making large spaces great options, too. They were originally bred to be farm guard dogs, so they do well in open spaces while still happy to spend some time indoors guarding by the window.
If you don’t have much outdoor room, be sure to give your Miniature Schnauzer long walks to help them get out their energy.
Good For Families And Kids?
Miniature Schnauzers are great family pets. They’re friendly, can be trained to be very obedient and are small enough that they won’t cause too much damage before you train them not to jump too much. They’re very affectionate and love to be involved with the pack, so they’ll run around your feet and stick close by their humans, which makes them great family dogs that are good with kids who also love to be affectionate.
Miniature Schnauzers live an average of 12 to 14 years.
Miniature Schnauzers are considered to be generally healthy dogs. However, every breed has some health risks, and that’s no different for Miniature Schnauzers. They’re prone to cataracts, urinary stones, pancreatitis, liver shunts and hyperlipidemia.
Miniature Schnauzers have a medium energy level, which makes them good for both city living in apartments or to run and play in rural areas. If you live in a small place, be sure to give your Miniature Schnauzer long walks each day, or even take them along with you on a jog.
While they do well off leash in fenced in areas, these dogs are not ideal to take off leash while on walks. Remember that they were bred to hunt, which means they may have trouble resisting the urge to chase any small animals they may see on a walk.
Friendly With (Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
Miniature Schnauzers are good with other dogs and cats, but be wary of having small pets around these pups. They were bred to chase rats and other small creatures, so if you have pet rats, gerbils, hamsters and the like, they may be at risk around Miniature Schnauzers.
Coat & Grooming
You’ll have to put a fair bit of work into grooming your Miniature Schnauzer. Just check out that luxurious beard - it’ll need a bit of care. They have a double coat - a soft undercoat and a wiry topcoat, so they’ll need frequent combing and brushing. However, they don’t shed much, which is always a plus.
They’ll need a bath once a month, which is more frequent than other types of dogs. Many owners opt to have their Miniature Schnauzers professionally groomed so that a pro can clip their fur and keep their beards and other fur looking in tip-top shape. You may want to give it a try on your own, but if on your first try your Miniature Schnauzer’s beard ends up...a bit crooked, you may want to take your pup to the groomer every once in a while.
Toys Miniature Schnauzers Would Like Best
Miniature Schnauzers love to play, and are happiest when they’re around their humans. That means they love to spend lots of time playing with their owners and friends, and love lots of kinds of dog toys. Miniature Schnauzers love to play fetch, so Fetch Toys like "The Best Balls Ever" are a great option.
Don’t forget these dogs are smart, too, so you may want to get them a Puzzle Toy to challenge their minds, and love of treats, which you can hide within the toy to keep your Miniature Schnauzer occupied between cuddle sessions.
For a more extensive list, check out the following guide: What Are The Best Toys For Miniature Schnauzers?
Recommended Diet or Supplements
Feeding your Miniature Schnauzer (or any dog) the freshest whole food diet you can afford (trying to eliminate fillers, grains, or inflammatory proteins such as chicken) can go a long way to decrease health issues and increase longevity.
Coconut oil can also help to prevent inflammation, and can help protect the nervous system, while locally-sourced, season-appropriate honey can help with allergies.
These delicious, vet-formulated chews are made with all-natural ingredients including Omega 3, 6, 9, and Vitamin E. They are designed to support immune health, provide relief from itchy allergic skin, and promote a healthy coat. ($19.99)
BARK's Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)
This joint supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your Miniature Schnauzer with any hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)
For Miniature Schnauzers with joint issues - or any dog who just loves to lie around! - a nice comfortable bed with orthopedic support is probably a good idea.
This ultra plush orthopedic dog bed provides support for even the achiest of Miniature Schnauzers! The combination ergonomic memory foam and gel foam relieves pressure points, and helps ease body aches caused by hip dysplasia, arthritis and other orthopedic issues. It offers the best therapeutic support for your Miniature Schnauzer. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues to Find the Miniature Schnauzer of Your Dreams:
Ready to adopt one of these bearded, playful pups? Here are a few organizations where you can find the Miniature Schnauzer of your dreams:
- Miniature Schnauzer Rescue of Houston facilitates bringing Miniature Schnauzers to their forever homes by way of fostering. MSRH takes abandoned, unwanted or abused Miniature Schnauzers who have lost their homes and place them in foster care, with the hopes of eventually matching them with long-term homes. You can look through pictures of dogs up for adoption on their site.
- The American Miniature Schnauzer Club has locations around the U.S. They work to take rescue Miniature Schnauzers and rehome them with a loving owner. You can check out their site for more information on how to adopt a Miniature Schnauzer in your area.
- Schnauzer Love Rescue operates in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. They provide adoption services directly through their site, so if you’re in the Southeast, take a trip to their site to browse through pups in your area.
- Adoptable Miniature Schnauzers on Petfinder
Notable Instagram Miniature Schnauzers
Get ready for cuteness by way of playtime action shots, cuddling and, of course, profiles of simply fantastic beards. Here are a few of our favorite Miniature Schnauzer instagram accounts.
If "Chumpie" isn't the best name for a Miniature Schnauzer, we don't know what is.
This account has so many pro-looking pictures of Miniature Schnauzers. It'll inspire you to take as many pictures of your own Miniature Schnauzer - as if you need more reason.
Yes, this Miniature Schnauzer is wearing a hat and glasses, considering an avocado. Why do you ask?
Take a peek into the life of Norman the Miniature Schnauzer, a very good boy who explores cities, beaches and flowers to sniff.
***Looking for a gift to blow your Miniature Schnauzer's mind? Spoil them with BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <-- This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! :)
Featured image via Chumpiethedog/Instagram