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Miniature Schnauzer Dog Breed Information: Facts, Traits, Pictures & More

Thinking a Miniature Schnauzer could be the perfect breed to welcome into your home as a family pet? Find out if this German pup is the perfect canine companion!

Emma Braby Picture

Last Updated: March 30, 2021 | 14 min read

Miniature Schnauzer Dog Outdoors

The Miniature Schnauzer is the smallest of the three Schnauzers, but he possibly has the biggest personality. With all that Schnauzer swag packed into his little frame, he is enough to keep the most active families on their toes. He’s cute, but he is feisty and independent. If you’re looking for a family protector that doesn’t require too much room, this pup could be the canine for you.

The Mini Schnauzer appeals to many potential dog owners not just because of their size, but also their grooming needs. They shed very infrequently, often referred to as hypoallergenic. This makes them great for allergy sufferers. But they are also stubborn, which can drive novice dog owners a bit crazy.

If you are thinking about welcoming him into your life, you need to fully understand what you’ve signed up for. From his personality to his grooming needs, it’s important to make sure this breed will match your lifestyle. This includes making sure you understand their nutritional needs, and higher exercise requirements. Let’s dig a little deeper and learn all about this intriguing German pup!

Breed Overview
    • weight iconWeight10-20 pounds
    • height iconHeight12-14 inches
    • lifespan iconLifespan12-15 years
    • color iconColorsBlack, Black & Silver, Salt & Pepper
  • Child Friendliness
  • Canine Friendliness
  • Training Difficulty
  • Grooming Upkeep
  • Breed Health
  • Exercise Needs
  • Puppy Costs

History

Salt and Pepper Colored Dog Outdoors
This breed goes all the way back to the middle ages in Germany.

The Miniature Schnauzer, quite simply, is the mini version of the Standard Schnauzer. The Standard Schnauzer was born in the Middle Ages in Germany, namely a region called Bavaria. He was what the Germans called the all-around perfect farm dog. But they needed a dog just like the Standard Schnauzer, but who were small enough to get into the nooks and crannies in their barns to get rid of rodents. By mixing the Standard with the Affenpinscher and the Poodle, the breed was born.

His main purpose was to rid the barns, outhouses, and the family homes of rats, mice, and other pesky rodents. His ratting history has placed him into the Terrier Group, but technically he is not a Terrier. And this also makes him unique in that he is the only Terrier who does not have any British blood.

Despite his rat exterminating purpose, this guy is hardly used as a ratter anymore. Instead, he is a popular family pet, and he is the most popular of the Schnauzer breeds. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), he consistently finds himself in the top 20 most popular dog breeds in America. Dorris Day and 50 cent are just a few celebrities who have fallen head over heels with this breed.

Temperament

Two German Dogs in a Field
This breed is highly independent and needs a strong leader for an owner.

This breed is jam-packed full of personality. So let’s start with his feistiness. Oh, this boy has lots of it! He likes to think of himself as the family protector, and he will stand up to the meanest of bullies. Intruders don’t stand a chance with this dog around, so if you are looking for a family protector and guard dog, this could be the canine for you. He has a surprisingly loud bark, and you’ll never need to replace the batteries in your alarm bell again.

Although he isn’t a Terrier by name, he is a Terrier by nature. He is tenacious and loves to play all day long. Full of beans, it takes a lot to wear this guy out. He needs a lot of attention and mental stimulation. If you don’t give him this, he will pay you back in chewed up chair legs and boots. Chewing is his favorite pastime, and he suffers from separation anxiety a lot. So don’t be leaving him alone for too long.

Keeping him company is one of his biggest asks. If you provide him with the company, he will return the favor in the best doggy kisses and lots of love. He is seriously affectionate and loves to snuggle in bed with you. Most pups will be fond of children. His small but sturdy frame makes him an ideal canine sibling for kids in the home. Overall, he is a family-oriented dog who likes spending time with his family.

He doesn’t extend his love to strangers, and he will inspect new people before allowing them into his house. And as you know, he doesn’t like rats or other smaller animals, so being part of a multi-pet household is out of the question. Unless you have other dogs, and then he should do well with other pups. He will be the sassiest of your bunch for sure.

He is a very intelligent dog, but he is also really stubborn. Sometimes too much for his own good. If you aren’t a strict leader or bore him, he will wrap you around his paws. His intelligence and stubbornness together make him a tricky dog for a first-time dog owner. He can also be a bit of a grumpy-butt if he doesn’t get his own way.

Size & Appearance

Gray Dog Sitting on Stump
These are small, sturdy dogs that can handle just about any activity.

The Mini Schnauzer is a toy to small-sized dog breed, and he weighs between 11 and 20 pounds. At 12 to 14 inches, he is small enough to fit into your purse. Leaving you no excuse to leave him behind! He is a robust-looking dog who is an athletic and powerful pup under all that hair of his. Most dogs have a proportionate appearance and resembling their standard-sized cousin.

He has large round eyes that always look alert. His ears are sometimes cropped, which traditionally stopped them from being injured while hunting rats. But most of us humans are now steering away from ear cropping. His tail is docked so that you can just see it poking out of his coat. His nose should always be black in color, and his eyes are always dark brown.

Coat & Colors

Black Dog in the Woods
There are only three coat colors considered to meet breed standard.

This breed typically has a short to medium-length coat, depending on what cut you opt for. He has a double coat that is soft underneath and wirey on top. If your Mini Schnauzer is a show dog, his grooming routine is quite intense. But we’ll discuss this more in the grooming section. Despite having a double coat, he is a hypoallergenic dog breed. Making him an ideal option for families with slight dog allergies. Bear in mind here that no dog is truly hypoallergenic.

Officially, only three colors are recognized by the AKC. This is solid black, black and silver, and salt and pepper. The black coat has to be solid, with no other colors. Black and silver is, well, black and silver. And salt and pepper is where the outer coat is ‘banded,’ meaning that a strand of hair has several shades, usually finishing in black. This means that when you clip him, it looks as though his coat has changed color. Salt and pepper is the most common coat color.

Mini Schnauzers do come in other colors, such as pure white, but they just wouldn’t be allowed in conformation dog shows. But their coat color does not make them any less worthy for your family home. But for some reason, breed fanciers prefer the darker and more traditional Schnauzer shades.

Exercise Requirements

Active Dog Running Outside
You’ll need to spend a minimum of 45 minutes per day exercising, when adopting this breed.

Expect to exercise this breed for around 45 to 60 minutes every day. This might seem like a lot for such a little guy. But you need to remember that he is a traditional hard-working farm dog. So, if you are looking for a cute and fluffy lap dog that will perch in your purse all day long, this guy is not the one for you.

His intelligence and curiosity also mean that his exercise needs to be varied and interesting. A long stroll around the block just isn’t going to cut it here. Instead, he’ll need lots of fun playing fetch in the park, trips to the local doggy park, and jogging adventures in the forest. He can take a lot more exercise than most people think. And he definitely needs to be homed with an active family.

This mischievous pup will also need lots of interaction throughout the day. This is particularly important for this guy because he is one of the chewiest dogs on the planet. Invest in interactive dog toys such as rope and tug or war so that you can play with him. As well as puzzle toys that will challenge his brain. And chew toys to satisfy his jaw, and keep him away from your shoes!

Living Conditions

Grey Dog Outside in Straw
Their size makes them suitable to apartment living.

His small stature means that he is suited to apartment living, but only if you exercise him enough. He would appreciate a home with a yard. But again, with adequate exercise, this isn’t too much of an issue. If you do live in a smaller living space, just make sure you work on vocal training. Because they love to bark, you’ll want to make sure you don’t have any noise-intolerant neighbors.

For Mini’s lucky enough to have a yard, make sure that it is well contained. These pups will chase all visiting creatures. Because their bodies are extremely durable, it’s not uncommon for them to barrel through any weak point in your yard while chasing prey.

Training

Black Dog Outside Training
These pups are both highly intelligent and extremely stubborn.

The Mini Schnauzer is a very intelligent dog, but he’s also really stubborn. So, how exactly do you train a stubborn Schnauzer? The best bit of advice that we can give you is to be persistent with his training and never give up. You also need to play to his strengths, which is energy. Keeping training sessions fun will keep his brain engaged long enough to learn the basic commands. If you allow him to get away with naughty behaviors, he might become an arrogant and grumpy lil’ guy.

Positive reinforcement training is the best method to train any dog. And by finding out what motivates your dog will help you to keep him engaged for longer. Thankfully, this guy will love toys (especially squeaky ones or ones that look like rats) and yummy treats. Despite being stubborn, he loves to please his master, so a little bit of praise will go a long way too.

The Mini Schnauzer is known for his chewing behavior, and you’ll find that as a pup, he will nip and chew lots. More so than many other dog breeds. His littermates will go a long way to show him how hard he can bite, but you also need to continue this when you get him home. If you find that he is becoming overbearing with his nipping, you need to (excuse the pun) nip it in the bud straight away!

As a feisty pup who is aloof with strangers, he might become overprotective. And he might also start barking wars with other dogs for no real reason. The best way to improve your Mini Schnauzer’s socialization skills is to mix him with other dogs and humans as much as possible as a pup. This way, he’ll grow to learn that he’ll be much happier when he is polite. Just don’t mix him with rodents because that will never end well!

As the Miniature Schnauzer hates to be left alone, he will likely become a very anxious dog in his own company. A great way to overcome this is to crate train him. This will give him a place that he can call his own and will alleviate his anxiety. It will also mean that you can keep him contained for a few hours, knowing that your shoes and sofa are safe from his teeth.

Health

Grey Dog Laying on Table
These are very healthy dogs with a longer lifespan.

The Miniature Schnauzer is a relatively healthy purebred dog breed, who enjoys a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Although you can’t determine how long he will be with you, you can do a lot to keep him as healthy as possible. Keeping him fit with plenty of exercise, and feeding him the best nutrition are simple ways to keep him healthy.

They have an increased risk of certain health concerns, more so than others. Although the below list is not exhaustive, it means you have a good idea about what conditions to keep a close eye on. Read through the below list and learn about their associated symptoms. If you recognize them in your Schnauzer, get him to the vet.

Eye conditions: This breed is prone to a variety of eye concerns. His most common problems are cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, amongst others. Many of these conditions can cause complete blindness if not treated quickly. The most common symptoms of eye conditions are red, itchy, and abnormal levels of discharge.

Cardiac conditions: The most common cardiac concern is mitral valve disease, and this is where the valve deteriorates over time. This eventually causes heart failure, which is a leading cause of death in the breed. Regular veterinary checks are crucial in detecting this, with heart murmurs often being the first indicator of something wrong with his cardiac system.

Portosystemic shunt: This is commonly referred to as a liver shunt. This is where there is an abnormal connection in and around the liver, causing blood to bypass his liver. Which means that he cannot filter out the toxins effectively. Vomiting, deliriousness, and excess urination are common signs of liver shunting.

Schnauzer comedo syndrome: This concern is exclusive to the Mini Schnauzer. The affected dog will get lesions or scab-like lumps on his skin. These are usually found on his back and are similar to the blackheads that we humans sometimes get. Hair loss and constant itching are symptoms of this concern.

Nutrition

Silver Coated Dog Eating Food
Mini Schnauzers need a high-quality kibble to keep them healthy as they grow.

They will eat approximately one cup of food every day. Of course, every Mini Schnauzer is different, and this will depend on his size, energy levels, and age. If he’s a senior Schnauzer, he’ll need much less than a youthfully boisterous pup. As a small pup with a small mouth, be sure to feed him a kibble that is specifically designed for small breed dogs.

A well-balanced diet is the key to his nutritional needs, and high-quality kibbles ensure that they provide this. Top-quality meat proteins, carbohydrates, fibers, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals are all required. Feeding him life-stage appropriate food, or puppy food when he is a puppy, is also crucial to ensure that he gets the right nutrition.

Some Schnauzers are known to suffer from a condition known as hyperlipidemia. Which is where there are high levels of fat, or lipids, found in his blood. So, please keep fatty human foods to a minimum, or better still, none at all. If you find that he is getting a little too porkier than he should, switch him to a weight management kibble.

Grooming

Silver Dog Getting Groomed
Grooming is quite simple with this breed.

Their grooming schedule is dependent on what hairstyle you choose him to have. If you opt for a teddy-bear cut, it isn’t anywhere hands-on than a traditionally tricky Schnauzer cut. A teddy bear is where you use grooming clippers to clip close to their body and follow the curves. This can be done at home by you, and it is relatively simple. You’ll have to brush him a few times a week to stop his loose curls from tangling.

If you opt for the traditional Schnauzer cut, it gets a bit trickier. This is why many Schnauzer owners opt for their pups to be professionally groomed every five to eight weeks. Although there are many Youtube tutorials out there, it’ll take a few attempts to get it respectably okay. So don’t attempt this if you have any special events coming up.

A traditional cut involves styling his mighty mustache, bolshy beard, and eclectic eyebrows. As well as the longer hair on his legs and underbelly. And certain parts of his coat need stripping by hand rather than clipping with clippers. The longer hair also requires daily brushing to prevent it from becoming tangled and super dirty. He will need a bath once every month or so, with a specially-formulated doggy shampoo.

Other grooming rituals such as brushing his teeth will also take up your time. This will need to be done twice a week to reduce the risk of periodontal diseases. Trim his nails once a month or so, as and when you can hear them clip-clopping on the floor. Keep his ears clean, and check over his eyes weekly for any changes in their appearance.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

Four Miniature Puppies in Grass
Expect to pay around $1,000 and up for a purebred puppy.

This breed is a very popular dog breed in America. This means that there are a lot of reputable breeders around, but it also means there are many poor-quality breeders around. And it’s your job to find the better ones. A great place to start your search is with the AKC’s list of reputable and registered Miniature Schnauzer breeders.

The average price of a purebred puppy from a reputable breeder will cost around $1,000 and up. With a reputable breeder, not only can you be sure that they will do everything they possibly can to produce healthy puppies. But they will also raise them in a loving and clean environment and socialize them too. In turn, you can be sure that it will be happier too.

The poor quality breeders will not be interested in promoting the health of the breed. Instead, they will only be interested in making as much money as possible. They do this by breeding far too many dogs, often sick ones, and offering little to no medical care for them or their puppies. Please carry out your own research on them, and avoid these guys at all costs.

This breed is not the most expensive dog to care for, which is always good news. But, he will need things like bedding, toys, food, and medical care. All of this adds up across his lifetime, so be sure that you can care for him.

Rescues & Shelters

Black Rescue Dog
As with any purebred, consider rescuing a dog before buying a puppy.

If you are interested in rescuing a Miniature Schnauzer, not only will you be saving a life, but you could also save money on the initial cost. Everyone’s a winner! Why not head out to your local rescue shelter, or a few, and see if there are Mini Schnauzers around. You might find a few, or you might find none at that particular time. Speak to the staff who will give you advice or inform you when a Mini Schnauzer comes in.

There are also rescue organizations that focus their rehoming efforts solely on the Mini Schnauzer breed. Usually, they will also list Mini Schnauzer mixes if you are feeling a bit more exotic. The American Miniature Schnauzer Club of America has compiled a list of all the recognized Mini Schnauzer rescue organizations state by state.

As Family Pets

  • These dogs are stout, muscular, and can handle most physical situations.
  • Expect a more independent dog when you start training.
  • These pups can be very protective, making great guard dogs.
  • This breed is slightly suspicious of strangers at first.
  • They are affectionate and loves to snuggle with his family
  • The Miniature Schnauzer has a higher prey drive.
  • This means other dogs should be fine, but your pup may struggle with small animals.
  • He is a vocal dog, and love to bark. Keep that in mind if you live in close quarters.
  • A true social butterfly, these pups hate to be left all alone.
  • Expect to spend at least 60 minutes per day exercising this breed.
  • These dogs can be a handful for first-time dog owners if you aren’t strict.

Final Thoughts

The Miniature Schnauzer is a fantastic little dog, who makes an ideal family pet for the right family. He needs to be homed with a family who would like a feisty and active dog, but in a smaller size. Whether that’s for more comfortable cuddling on the sofa, or because you have a smaller apartment, he doesn’t care. Just as long as you promise that he can be the center of attention.

We hope we have cleared up some of your thoughts about whether this special dog is the right dog breed for you. He’s not the easiest of small dogs to care for, but he makes up for it in brilliant fun and canine charm. With his hipster appearance and bolshy attitude, he will make everyone smile.

Leave a Comment

6 Comments

Carolyn

January 16, 2021 at 7:01 pm

We are getting another mini schnauzer and she is Wheaten color. We are told they are rare and cost more. We wanted a black and silver, but after waiting months, this is what she had. I’m wondering if we are paying too much $2500. For a dog that isn’t recognized by AKC.

Kelly Wilson

January 16, 2021 at 9:32 pm

Hi Carolyn! The only three breed standard colors recognized by the AKC are Black, Black & Silver, and Salt & Pepper, for this breed. While the price is in line with other purebred dogs, I would make sure that the coat is correct for the breed. I'd also encourage you to research with a couple of other breeders to be sure. Good luck!

Mary Virginia Bailey

March 6, 2021 at 4:03 pm

I just had to put my one and a half year old Schnauzer puppy to sleep last month. The doctor said he had an extremely rare condition that just came on with no warning and Novak could have detected it so that we could have treated it. I had expected to have him for 12 to 15 years. He was a white dog with a black mask over his eyes, a big black spot on his back and a black tail with a white tip. I'm looking for a white schnauzer with brown or tan patches.

Kelly Wilson

March 8, 2021 at 3:17 pm

Hi Mary! Very sorry to hear of your loss. We don't specifically work with any breeders here on our site, but I'd recommend you start looking at local rescue groups or local breeders in your area. Good luck with your search!

Eva

April 9, 2021 at 4:03 pm

I love your pics! Thanks for the info on my mini schnauzer for my paper. Your friend, a third-grader Eva.

Kelly Wilson

April 12, 2021 at 6:33 pm

Hi Eva! Thank you for the comment! I'm glad we could help with your paper, and glad you enjoyed the article!