February 7, 2013 PetGuide
PetGuide logo

Miniature Schnauzer

  • Height: 10-14 inches
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Group: AKC Terrier
  • Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles and seniors, apartment, houses with/without yards
  • Temperament: Well-mannered, friendly, affectionate, inquisitive
  • Comparable Breeds: Airedale Terrier, Giant Schnauzer

New Search

If you’ve ever heard of a Miniature Schnauzer without having actually seen one, the name of the breed alone can be a catalyst to a host of odd images. How miniature is it? Is it a toy breed? Can I keep one in my pocket? Of course, a little knowledge goes a long way, and the truth about the Miniature Schnauzer is that this breed, known in Germany as the Zwergschnauzer, is actually closer to a poodle than it is a little dog that you can hold in your pocket.

What does this all mean for someone who’s looking for a new pet dog to bring home to the apartment or to the family? Well, don’t let your preconceptions about the Miniature Schnauzer fool you: this can be a loyal, fun dog that looks more like a classic breed than many people realize. Miniature Schnauzers make excellent city dogs but will work well even if you’ve got plenty of space for them. In other words, the Miniature Schnauzer doesn’t have to be a type of dog that only lovers of toy dogs can enjoy.

One of the most popular breeds in the U.S., the Miniature Schnauzer definitely has found solid footing in North America. But as you might imagine, its history and pedigree have deeper roots than even that.

Miniature Schnauzers make excellent city dogs but will work well even if you’ve got plenty of space for them.

You can’t have a dog word like Schnauzer without giving some homage to Germany, a country that, like England, has meant a lot to the world of dog breeding. Originally bred out of a combination of poodles and Affenpinschers, the Schnauzer’s roots do indeed trace to the toy breeds. While Schnauzers can have a lot of temperament and personality traits that expose this ancestry, you’ll find them to be a very versatile breed, as far as smaller dogs are concerned.

Originally, Miniature Schnauzers were bred to be a more medium-sized dog that could help with farming – rounding up rodents, for example. But the Germans couldn’t resist breeding it down into a smaller form, where its more natural state as a miniature dog took root. This occurred during the 1800s, as many breeds were also being developed, and today we’re left with a breed that is distinct as many of the classic types of dogs that have been around for centuries longer.

Perhaps it makes sense that all those German farmers and dog breeders didn’t like the Miniature Schnauzer as, well, something that wasn’t miniature. The pedigree of the Miniature Schnauzer, after all, goes to its dog breed parents: poodles and Affenpinschers. You can’t breed those two types of dog and expect to come out with a German Shepherd on the other end – even if you’re doing your breeding in Germany.

So it makes sense that the Miniature Schnauzer’s coat, temperament, and size are all well in line with many smaller dogs. That means if you’re considering getting yourself a Miniature Schnauzer, you’ll have to be familiar with its individual characteristics.

Like many smaller breeds, it’s easy to coddle the Miniature Schnauzer with a lot of food and too little exercise, particularly if you live in the city. That’s why it will be important that you regulate its diet: give them plenty of exercise and don’t let them eat too much. To give your Miniature Schnauzer plenty of good nutrition, be sure to try cooking for it a while, mashing in chopped vegetables along with bits of meat to ensure it’s getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

The Miniature Schnauzer is a loyal, fun dog that looks more like a classic breed than many people realize.

Miniature Schnauzers can be highly responsive to training but can also have a bit of an independent streak that will be a little troublesome for first-time dog owners. Luckily, the Miniature Schnauzer has a reputation for being obedient to commands even if you’re not a particularly skilled dog trainer. As mentioned before, these types of dogs will make excellent pets thanks to its personality. But don’t let that be a reason you ignore the dog training itself! Put in some time and effort, mix in some patience, and you might be surprised at the kind of results you can illicit from this friendly breed.

Don’t expect a lot of brute force or power from a dog named the Miniature Schnauzer. A weight of 12-20 pounds is plenty for a male Miniature Schnauzer; 12-18 for females.

If you want to get a small dog without a reputation for being prissy, the Miniature Schnauzer is perfect for you. Its coat and overall structure are more that of a traditional mid-sized dog, as well.

The key issue for Miniature Schnauzers: fat. They frequently come across problems associated with high fat levels like diabetes, so be sure that you monitor your Miniature Schnauzer’s weight and keep it exercising on a daily basis: it’s good for both you and your dog.

Expect your Miniature Schnauzer to live around 12-15 years depending on its individual health and lifestyle.

Plenty of exercise is required for these dogs. As mentioned, high body fat is a major issue for Miniature Schnauzers, so you’ll want to do the regulating for your dog. Make sure to use poultry and lean meats in its diet and don’t over-feed it. Keeping your dog lean and healthy is important in the exercise department, so don’t be afraid to give your dog a good workout even if it is a “miniature” breed.

Miniature Schnauzers can be highly responsive to training but can also have a bit of an independent streak.

Miniature Schnauzers are described by the American Kennel Club as “distinguished, handsome” in appearance.

The coat can be an issue in Miniature Schnauzers, like many other toy breeds. It’s important to keep it clean and well-groomed.

Miniature Schnauzer puppies are cute, but be sure to pay attention to the coat if you plan on competing your dog: there are a finite number of official coat colors accepted in competition by regulators.

Comparable Breeds

Go to Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier

  • Weight: 40-60 lb
  • Lifespan: 10-13 years
  • Group: AKC Terriers
  • Best Suited For: Families with older children, active singles and seniors, experienced dog handlers, houses with yards
  • Temperament: Protective, intelligent, loyal, sensitive
  • Comparable Breeds: Rat Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier
Go to Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzer

  • Height: 23-28 inches
  • Weight: 60-100 lb
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Group: AKC Working
  • Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, guard duty, houses with yards, rural/farm areas
  • Temperament: Playful, energetic, protective, intelligent
  • Comparable Breeds: Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler