The Mini Schnauzer: A Complete Guide

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Yep, we’re proud mini husky lovers.

But if there’s another mini breed that’s getting us all hot under the collar at the moment, it’s the mini schnauzer.

mini schnauzer temperament

Mini dogs are taking the world by storm right now to become the hottest recent dog breed trend.

Smaller dogs are cheaper to feed, require less space and exercise, and can be less intimidating to own than larger breeds.

This craze for mini dogs has prompted many more people to buy or adopt — shelters are full of adorable mini dogs desperately in need of homes — some of the more unusual dog breeds.

The miniature schnauzer is a perfect example of such a dog.

Let’s find out more about this fantastic little breed…

Mini Schnauzer Facts

  • Height at full growth: 12 to 14 inches at the shoulder
  • Weight at full growth: 10 to 18 pounds
  • Expected lifespan: 12 – 14 years
  • At risk of any genetic diseases: generally very healthy, but known risk of Von Willebrand Disease and Progressive Retinal Atrophy

What is the Mini Schnauzer? 

The mini schnauzer has its roots in Germany where it’s believed that its ancestors — Wurttenberg cattle dogs — were used as guard dogs and for herding livestock as far back as the 15th century.

These larger dogs interbred with many other breeds such as poodles and spitz breeds to create the modern schnauzer we know today.

mini schnauzer
Photo by hildehund (CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

This standard sized schnauzer was most likely named for its bushy moustachioed muzzle (‘schnauzer’ in German means ‘snout’).

It’s thought that in the 19th century, miniature pinschers, affenpinschers and pomeranians were possibly breeds that were crossed with the standard schnauzers to create the mini schnauzer – an ideal dog designed for ratting and rabbit hunting.

Miniature versions of the breed were recorded as far back as 1888, and the American Kennel Club officially recognized the miniature schnauzer as a separate breed in 1927. 

Mini Schnauzer Temperament

The typical miniature schnauzer has an affectionate, characterful personality that is easy to love.

These dogs are alert and spirited, and their natural instinct is to guard and protect rather than attack.

This — coupled with their intelligence — makes them an ideal family pet (they adore children) that is friendly, obedient and eager to please, and they are also great watch dogs.

However this can also sometimes lead them to be cautious with strangers, and likewise their hunting background can occasionally cause them to be aggressive toward other dogs and smaller animals, so starting proper training and socialization when they are a young pup is essential to avoid any behavioral issues arising.

Mini schnauzers also like to dig, so it’s important that they are kept mentally and physically stimulated to relieve boredom and stop them making holes all over your yard!

Mini Schnauzer Grooming Requirements

This is a clean breed, but nevertheless the wiry, medium length coat of the miniature schnauzer needs regular grooming — a quick brush once a day to remove knots and tangles (paying particular attention to the moustache), and a more thorough grooming about once a week.

Depending on the season the coat should be clipped every couple of months to keep it in shape — be sure to keep the hair around the eyes and ears trimmed regularly too.

mini schnauzer training
Photo by Canarian (CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

This is not a breed that sheds a great deal, which makes it a good choice for allergy sufferers.

Like other dog breeds, a mini schnauzer sheds seasonally, and during this time it will require more intensive grooming.

They sport a dense double coat that can easily become tangled and knotted if it’s not properly cared for, which in turn can prove very uncomfortable for your darling mini schnauzer.

Mini Schnauzer Training and Exercise 

Activity Levels

The miniature schnauzer is an active breed, but that doesn’t mean it requires a huge amount of physical space to be happy.

They’re just as happy living in an apartment as on a farm — just as long as they are with their family.

Mini schnauzers are definitely not a suitable dog breed for someone who will need to leave their dog for long periods of time. These guys need plenty of attention and exercise, so full-time workers might need to look elsewhere for a canine companion.

Daily exercise, play and interaction will keep your mini schnauzer healthy and happy, stop him from getting bored and causing mischief, and strengthen the bond between the two of you.

Exercise is incredibly important to keep your miniature schnauzer in shape.

Smaller dogs in general are more predisposed to obesity, which can lead to problems with the liver and other organs. Feed your dog measured amounts and make sure they get plenty of exercise to keep them from getting overweight.

Daily walks are a necessity and make sure that you pepper fun and games throughout the day as well. Whether that’s a game of tug of war, playing fetch, swimming or even allowing them to go to town on a chew toy — whatever it is, your mini schnauzer will love it.

Mini Schnauzer Training

Happily, this intelligent breed is easy to train and enjoys developing the bond with his alpha through training and learning new skills.

Miniature schnauzers learn very quickly, and can make very obedient pets when trained and socialized correctly.

mini schnauzer

But this doesn’t mean they are perfect — they are well known for sometimes being stubborn and having ‘selective hearing’.

Start training your mini schnauzer puppy the moment you bring him home. House train him as soon as possible and keep your obedience training sessions short, intense and fun.

Crate training is also a good idea — check out our guide to crate training if you’re not sure how to do this.

Another training type that suits mini schnauzers particularly well is clicker training. It’s the most effective way to quickly train your dog to obey various commands.

Stay calm and keep your commands clear at all times — making sure to reward your dog every time he gets it right.

Sign up for a dog obedience class to take the training to the next level and get your schnauzer socialized. It’s also a great idea to take part in activity classes like flyball or agility training — your dog will love you for it!

The training that we recommend for mini huskies will also suit mini schnauzers as they have a fair amount in common, in terms of intelligence and activity levels.

>>> Read our mini dogs training guide

Mini Schnauzer Breeders

If you’re looking for mini schnauzer breeders in the USA, we’ve got you covered.

Here are a few of the most popular breeding programs. Make sure to do your research and thoroughly vet a breeder before you buy!

Regency Schnauzers

  • Based in Tracy, California
  • Breeding world champion miniature schnauzers since 1972
  • Awarded AKC ‘Breeder of the Year’ in 2006.

Blythewood Miniature Schnauzers

  • Based in Pennsylvania
  • Over 62 years of breeding and showing Miniature Schnauzers
  • Have bred over 600 champions.

Riggs Miniature Schnauzers

  • Based in Montpelier, Indiana
  • Home raised, health tested, AKC Miniature Schnauzers

Rice’s Miniature Schnauzers

  • Based in Lucasville, Ohio
  • Top show kennel of white miniature schnauzers in the USA
  • Have bred over 30 Champions

Skansen Kennel

  • Based in Sebastopol, California
  • 45 years of experience breeding, showing and judging schnauzers

Schnauzer Paradise

  • Based in Grantsville, West Virginia
  • Raising Miniature Schnauzers for over 30 years

Findell Kennels

  • Based near Benton, Arkansas
  • Experienced breeders of AKC registered Miniature Schnauzers since 1982

Lone Star Schnauzer Country

  • Based near Houston, Texas
  • Raising quality, champion bloodline Miniature Schnauzers since 1991

Now that’s your ultimate guide to the Mini Schnauzer!

Would you like to own a miniature schnauzer?

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