The Miniature Schnauzer is a versatile dog. He can be a hunter, a sensitive watchman, a strict customs officer, or he can simply light up your house with rays of joy and happiness. They say about this brave temperamental dog: “He is always in a good mood.” He is a favorite of the family, enthusiastically taking part in collective holiday fun, shopping, going out into nature, always ready to keep company with his owners going for a jog or a bike ride, not averse to play football. According to the FCI ranking, Miniature Schnauzers are among the ten most popular dogs on the planet.
- Breed name: Miniature Schnauzer
- Country of origin: Germany
- The birth time of the breed: 1888
- Weight: 4-8 kg
- Height (height at the withers): 30-35 cm
- Life span: 12-15 years
- The Miniature Schnauzer is the smallest dog in the schnauzer group and the smallest of all service breeds in the world.
- The hunting and guard qualities that dominate the character of the progenitors of the Miniature Schnauzers have been fully preserved in the representatives of this breed. The vigilance, fearlessness, and intuition of the miniatures allow them to serve in the police and customs.
- A Miniature Schnauzer with a funny appearance feels like a big, serious dog, so at any time he is ready to defend his home and owner, to whom he is devoted selflessly.
- Zwerg gets along well with all family members, he especially loves children, for whom he becomes a wonderful companion in games and entertainment. Giving his sincere love to his family, he desperately needs reciprocal feelings.
- Energetic miniature schnauzers have excellent athletic ability.
- The dog needs education and training. In this case, she displays the best features of her breed: courage, intelligence, sensitivity, endurance, devotion.
- In urban conditions, the miniatures feel comfortable, but life in a country house is more to their liking.
- Miniature Schnauzers need regular grooming of their thick, coarse coat. They systematically require trimming and haircutting.
- There are 4 generally recognized colors of Miniature Schnauzers: black, white, black, and silver and pepper and salt. There are other options that are recognized in individual countries.
History of the Miniature Schnauzer Breed
It is reliably known that the historical homeland of miniature schnauzers is Germany. Presumably, their ancestors are the German Pinschers – a breed of ancient origin. These medium-sized dogs were famous for their ability to mercilessly destroy small rodents, especially rats, and had excellent protective qualities.
It is known that initially smooth-haired and wire-haired puppies were found in the litter of German Pinschers. From the middle of the 19th century, breeders began to separate the Pinscher offspring. Smooth-haired dogs continued to be called pinschers, and wire-haired dogs were called stable pinschers or rattlers (rat catchers). The latter soon got the name – schnauzers, which means “muzzle” in German. It indicated an expressive feature of their appearance – a muzzle with a beard, having a rectangular shape. In 1895, the Pincherschnauzer Club was created in Cologne, the organizers of which approved the standards, including for schnauzers.
A lot of enthusiastic breeders became interested in the new breed, and soon they began breeding work to create miniature schnauzers, which they called miniature schnauzers. According to one version, in addition to the schnauzers proper, dogs of small breeds were involved in the creation of the breed: Affenpinschers, Miniature Pinschers, Poodles, Spitz, possibly some terrier breeds. The opinion that miniature schnauzers appeared exclusively due to the crossing of the smallest individuals of schnauzers is denied by most dog handlers, since the first Miniature Schnauzers were absolutely black, which confirms the participation of at least representatives of the affenpinscher in the miniaturization of dogs.
The aim of the breeders was the intention to breed a miniature dog breed with the character and temperament of schnauzers and at the same time suitable for life in urban conditions, capable of becoming a companion for their owners. The main initiator of the creation of the new breed was a German breeder, a passionate fan of Pinschers and Schnauzers, the chairman of the Pinschershnauzer Club – Josef Berta.
In 1902, the Pincher Schnauzer Club published its first studbook, where, in addition to pinschers and standard schnauzers, 14 miniature schnauzers also found their place. The first official representative of this breed is a male named Zhokchio Fulda Lilliput, born in 1898.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a strong, stocky, muscular dog. He looks important, proud, and shaggy eyebrows give his appearance a serious severity – such an appearance contrasts with the diminutive size and invariably causing a smile.
Coat and Color
The coat of the Miniature Schnauzer is hard, wiry, thick. The undercoat is also dense and dense. On the neck, shoulders, ears, and skull, the fur is shiny.
Until 1976, FCI standards included only two colors of miniature schnauzers – pepper and salt and pure black. In 1977, at the initiative of Germany, the organization recognized another color – black with silver, which is the most popular today. The fourth, white, color was approved by the FCI in 1992.
Typical “pepper and salt” color is a combination of two-color (black-and-white) and one-color (black or white) hairs with a predominance of their two-color part. As a result, depending on the shades, and they are allowed, the coat acquires a uniform dark gray or silver-gray color.
The black with silver color means the dominant black color of the coat and undercoat. Areas of hair above the eyes, on the cheekbones, beard, chest, lower parts of all limbs, and the inner region of the hind limbs are painted white.
A descendant of the Schnauzer, the Zwerg inherited from him all the main features of the breed. “Small big dog” – so often characterize the miniature schnauzer, implying a petite dog, coupled with its serious disposition and excellent physical qualities. This dog has a stable nervous system, a lightning-fast reaction, he is alert and distrustful of strangers, ready at any moment to demonstrate to a stranger that jokes are bad with him.
Sentinel qualities in a miniature schnauzer are manifested from puppyhood. The courage and dedication of an adult dog know no bounds, and she copes with the role of the protector of the house and its owners perfectly. A trained dog always acts according to plan: first, it warns the intruder with a formidable growl and deafening bark, and if this does not work, it will probably leave its own trademark on the enemy’s calf – an impressive bite mark.
Zwerg is a born hunter, a thunderstorm of rats, mice, moles, weasels. He is suspicious of the representatives of the feline tribe. If a certain friendliness to a cat living with him in the same house can be taught to a miniature, then a stranger cat may not be good.
The individuality of a miniature schnauzer is in the contrast of its behavior. He often assumes a dignified and solid look, but at any moment he can transform into the funniest dog in the world. He is cunning, resourceful, and quick-witted – these character traits he inherited from his ancestors, about whom they say: “When the trick was heard, the first in line was the schnauzer.” At the same time, he is kind-hearted and touchingly devoted to all family members, young and old.
Miniature schnauzers, despite their diminutiveness, need serious education and training, otherwise, they turn into hysterical idle talkers. The temperament of a Miniature Schnauzer, his natural tendency to aggression, his readiness to engage in a decisive battle at any moment, are manifested at a very early age. This forces us to pay special attention to the education of obedience in the dog. First of all, the puppy needs to be made clear who is the boss in the house, since he will obey only the one whom he considers the leader. Actually, miniature schnauzers need authoritarian, but not brutal education.
To suppress the desire of the little Miniature Schnauzer to bite, gnaw whatever it hits and grab everything that lies in a prominent place, you need to resolutely, but not rudely. You can try to distract the dog, “talk” to him strictly, and if this does not work, gently shake the scruff of the dog. A good method in dealing with the bad tendencies of a miniature is to teach him to bring objects of interest to him, and try to quietly replace them with suitable toys, of which there should be many. The little fidget will perceive this as a game and will join in it with pleasure.
Miniature Schnauzers are very smart, hardworking, with rare exceptions, they lend themselves well to training and are always ready to learn new things. However, it must be remembered that these dogs are individualists, and routine, often repeated exercises will cause rejection in them. With the help of various tricks, they can start to take time off from classes. Do not let the dog outwit you, but do not deceive him yourself: miniature schnauzers have an excellent memory, they draw conclusions quickly, and you will simply lose their trust, without which the upbringing and training of the dog will be complicated.
Zwergs learn various tricks with pleasure, as they have remarkable abilities for imitation. When training a miniature schnauzer, one should also use the sensitivity characteristic of this breed of perception of the intonation of the owner’s voice, his gestures, and views.
With the right upbringing, the miniatures will never show unreasonable aggression, and the owner’s commands, including those given with the help of gestures, will be remembered for life. Showing perseverance and rigor when training a dog, we must not forget that it is imperative for a miniature schnauzer to constantly feel love and attention. If he is deprived of them, he can easily get out of submission.
Care and Maintenance
Caring for miniature schnauzers has a number of nuances due to their temperamental nature and appearance.
You need to prepare for the appearance of a miniature in the house in advance: remove outdoor decor items, shoes, flower pots, containers with household chemicals away. Wiring and power cables should also be kept out of reach of the dog. But given the cunning of the puppies of this breed, their ability to sneak into the most inaccessible corners, it is better for a while to completely limit their “habitat” to one room, reliably blocking access to other rooms. In the kitchen, a fidget should be allowed to be only during feeding.
Zwerg babies are fed 4 times a day, puppies from 4 to 6 months are gradually transferred to three meals a day. Miniature Schnauzers older than 8 months should preferably be fed twice a day. Many owners give in to the manipulations of these sly ones with a desperate “hungry” look, and they additionally feed the dogs, which should not be done.
Sweets, smoked meats, spicy dishes from the master’s table should be excluded from the dog’s diet.
The menu of a miniature schnauzer must include energy-intensive, nutritious foods. Choose premium or super-premium products for small active breeds among ready-made feeds. Zwerg, which has an excellent appetite, will not object to natural products either, but it is not recommended to combine them with ready-made feed.
The basis of natural nutrition should be meat – chicken, beef (including offal, soft raw bones, for example, chicken necks), as well as rice and oatmeal porridge with vegetables. Weekly, the dog should be given boiled sea fish, low-fat fermented milk products, yolk, non-exotic seasonal fruits.
Miniatures need long walks and regular runs. You need to walk them at least three times a day in any weather. They get used to the regime, and if it is violated, they will not fail to remind the owner of the responsibility, showing persistence.
From an early age, the Miniature Schnauzer requires the maintenance of its thick and coarse coat. Despite the fact that a puppy up to 4 months old does not need daily brushing, it is better to teach him to this procedure early, lightly scratching the dog’s fur with a thin comb every 2-3 days. Gradually, the baby Miniature Schnauzer needs to be taught to wash his beard. First, clean it with a dry cloth after feeding. When your puppy gets used to it, rinse your beard with warm water, then pat dry.
The miniature schnauzer does not need full-fledged regular bath procedures (2-3 times a year is quite enough), but its hair on its paws, chest, beard, in the area of intimate places, should be cleaned with water and a specialized shampoo, at least weekly. It is convenient to wash the dog in the bathroom using a shower, placing it on a rubber mat. The optimum water temperature is 38-39 ° C. After this, the dog needs to be dried and combed. The thick and harsh coat of the Miniature Schnauzer remains wet for a long time. If you have time, it is better to dry the wet dog with several towels, using them in turn. Frequent use of a hairdryer for this purpose can cause your dog’s skin to become too dry.
It is advisable to brush an adult dog at least twice a week. Before this, it is better to slightly moisten the wool with conditioner, spray, or balm. Use two combs: first, comb your pet with a slicker, then a single-row comb with rounded teeth. Regular brushing will save you from fighting mats, although they will periodically form on the paws, beard, and armpits of the dog.
Miniature schnauzers need regular trimming – plucking out dead hair, which in these dogs does not fall out on its own and interferes with the renewal of the coat. This procedure can only be performed after the dog has had a change of teeth. Trimming frequency is 2-3 months. It can be done manually or with the help of special devices – a stripper and trimmer. In the area of the ears and throat, wool should be plucked exclusively by hand, and very delicately. Trimming, which takes a long time (at least 4 hours), is an element of communication between the owner and the pet and helps to strengthen the friendship between them. In cold weather, after trimming, the dog should walk in warm overalls for at least two weeks.
Approximately once a month and a half, the Miniature Schnauzer will have to undergo another procedure – a hygienic haircut. With the help of sharp scissors, it is necessary to shorten the overgrowth of the eyebrows and beard, adjusting their shape, cut the regrown hair between the pads of the paws, in the genital and anus area.
For miniature schnauzers participating in exhibitions, a hygienic haircut will not be enough. They need to be given to the experienced and gentle hands of professional groomers, since the haircut of miniatures of different colors (one-color and combined) requires a separate, strictly verified approach. For the same reason, it is also better to entrust trimming to the master.
Miniature Schnauzers have good health. It seems that their innate cheerfulness and optimism scare away ailments. However, they have a tendency to certain diseases. Among the main ones are eye diseases, usually manifested by old age: glaucoma, cataracts. Veterinarians advise from an early age to regularly wipe the corners of the eyes, where secretions accumulate, to prevent the formation of hard crusts.
Zwergschnauzers also have allergies to certain foods. The owner should definitely find out what is the irritant. Also, the dog’s gastrointestinal tract can react painfully to a sharp change in diet, for example, replacing ready-made feed with natural products. Changes to the menu should be gradual.
Among the diseases characteristic of Miniature Schnauzers is inflammation of the skin, as well as the appearance of benign and malignant tumors on the body. Inflammation of the skin is accompanied, as a rule, by hair loss, the formation of bald patches on the back, comedones (white and blackheads). Skin diseases are exacerbated after trimming.
Infectious diseases, poisoning instantly affect the behavior of the Miniature Schnauzer. Even with a slight lethargy of the dog and its unwillingness to go for a walk, immediately contact the veterinarian.
All basic vaccinations for a miniature schnauzer must be done before a year.
How to Choose a Puppy
Regardless of whether you are looking to acquire a miniature schnauzer as a companion dog or dreaming of a champion pet, owner of prestigious awards, go to the nursery for the puppy, to the breeder whose reputation you are sure of. In this case, the purebreds of the dog will be confirmed in its puppy card, on the basis of which the adult dog will receive its own pedigree, the baby Miniature Schnauzer will also have a passport with information about the vaccination carried out.
Zwergschnauzers, as a rule, start selling when they are 1.5-2 months old, but those who want to buy a dog with a show prospect should wait for a little and buy a grown-up puppy: the exterior of the miniature schnauzer is fully manifested only by 6 months.
In any case, your chosen one should be an active, cheerful, curious, moderately well-fed puppy, a kind of sturdy boletus. His fur is supposed to be shiny, eyes, and ears clean. Feel the dog, checking for any “lumps” on its body. The bulge between the shoulder blades shouldn’t alarm you – this is a normal reaction to the vaccine.
Look at how the little Miniature Schnauzer plays with his brothers and sisters: whether he is showing excessive aggression. Keep in mind that male puppies are more likely to start fights than bitches, and their fighting inclinations are the norm. It is not out of place to watch the parents of your future pet. They should be energetic, alert, but restrained (warning growls and barks in your direction are quite natural). Finally, make sure that the chosen baby shows interest in you, does not bite his teeth, is ready to make contact, and, in general, despite his innate alertness and distrust, is friendly.