The Miniature Schnauzer is known worldwide for its high energy and loyalty in such a small and sturdy body, and has captured the hearts of many worldwide, making it one of the most popular breeds in major countries such as the United States, Germany and England. With his bushy eyebrows and long beard, his appearance stands out among other dogs, but his terrier like background contributes to his mischievous and spunky personality. Though he is a miniature version of the standard and giant Schnauzer, it is important to note that this dog is not a toy, but a breed of its own. In order to understand the personality of the Miniature Schnauzer, it is best to look at its major characteristics and contributing factors.
History of the Miniature Schnauzer
Originally bred as ratters and guard dogs on farms in Germany, the miniature Schnauzer dates all the way back to the mid 19th century. They were bred by cross breeding the Standard Schnauzer with smaller dogs such as the Miniature Pinscher, the Pomeranian and even the Poodle. While the details surrounding the Miniature Schnauzer’s development are sketchy, it is clear that the main intent of the breeders was to create a smaller version of the already known Standard Schnauzer.
The interest in these types of dogs peaked after World War II, as the wars limited dog breeding in a majority of European countries, and the Miniature Schnauzer has maintained its popularity to this day. The only major difference between Mini Schnauzers today and those in the past, are their range of colours. Previously Mini Schnauzers could be found in a majority of many different colours such as black, red, tan and even parti coloured, but nowadays Mini Schnauzers can popularly be found in different shades of grey, silver and black.
Appearance and Physical Characteristics
As stated above, many modern Miniature Schnauzers can be easily found in 2 main colours, grey/silver and black, but they also come in a variety of other colours. These include but are not limited to black and silver, salt and pepper and in rare occasions, a crisp white. They are usually sturdy in stature, but usually only stand 12 – 14 inches tall. Their weight also varies, ranging from as low as 11 pounds, to as much as 20 pounds. This normally makes them muscula, sturdy pups, that are little short in height when compared to many other dogs.
They are easily identified by their thick and fluffy double coat, which has a wiry top coat, but a more tightly coiled undercoat that helps to catch any loose or shedded excess hair from your pup. They also have very thick and bushy eyebrows which need to be trimmed on a regular basis. These bushy eyebrows however will turn a lot of heads, and have many people intrigued by the look of your dog, but overall, they contribute to the full package that is the Miniature Schnauzer.
Temperament and Personality Traits
This extroverted pup tends to be very active and energetic, and generally enjoys any activity that involves movement. They tend to adapt well to many different living conditions, but also generally enjoy having their owner around on a regular basis.They are also very intelligent, which makes training and socialisation relatively simple, and they tend to respond very well to commands. With a Miniature Schnauzer in your home, you will never get bored because their personality will be sure to make you laugh a couple of times per day.
When it comes on to family activities, the Miniature Schnauzer loves to be in the middle of all the action, and will generally run up to you and start playing if they get lonely in any way. It’s important to note that even though Miniature Schnauzer are generally very intelligent and reacts well to training and commands, they can be amazingly stubborn as well. This makes them small players in the game of manipulation, so watch out for their little manipulation techniques.
Grooming and Maintenance of the Miniature Schnauzer
Because of their facial hair, Schnauzers generally have grooming techniques that are specific to their breed alone. These include their signature cut, which is best done at a dog groomers if you’re unsure of the techniques involved. There is also another grooming technique that can be used to keep your Schnauzer clean and well groomed, normally referred to as stripping. This involves removing any excess dead and matted fur from the body of the dog, by way of plucking, finger stripping or with a stripping knife. This process however is not for the faint of heart, and tends to be pretty time consuming.
Apart from taking care of its fur, these dogs also require regular bathing and cleaning in genital areas that are prone to infection, including the ears and eyes. Be sure to also pay attention to their dental health, by way of brushing their teeth regularly. Never allow anything inside the ears, but wipe around the ears and the opening of the ears with a damp cloth to remove bacteria.
With an average lifespan of roughly 12 years, Miniature Schnauzers generally live relatively healthy lives, but they are prone to a variety of health conditions. These include but are not limited to :
- Urinary Stones – This is a condition that causes these dogs to strain when urinating, or even have blood in the urine. These stones eventually will pass on their own, and while the diet of your dog will not cause them to change, it may be a good preventative measure, causing them not to form.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease – This condition is a blood disorder that hinders the clotting process, resulting in symptoms of nosebleeds, bleeding gums or even occasional blood in the stool. Though it is incurable, a trip to the veterinarian will help your dog to manage it well.
- Eye Diseases – These include a large number of eye issues including cataracts, entropion and Progressive Retinal Atrophy oor PRA for short.
Ultimately, the Miniature Schnauzer is one if the best and most unique dogs you can find in the world today, and will surely bring joy and happiness to your home.