For many people, the schnauzer is considered the perfect family pet. Available in three different sizes, the schnauzer is a tough and hardy companion as well as protector. With their classic beard and long eyebrows, this breed is easily recognizable all over the world.
The miniature schnauzer was one of the top 20 breeds for the year 2007. Click here for the complete story on Top Dog Breeds of 2007.
History and Origin
The schnauzer hails from Germany and is divided into the miniature schnauzer, standard schnauzer and giant schnauzer. Of the three sizes of schnauzer, the standard is considered the prototype and is the oldest. Even though these schnauzers may appear similar, they are all considered separate breeds.
All schnauzers are thought to have developed in the kingdoms of Wurttemberg and Bavaria, and the standard schnauzer has been around since at least 1492. Paintings of that era depict the schnauzer as a household companion. The dog was not only part of the family but was also used to chase rats and guard produce carts in the marketplace.
The miniature schnauzer is the newest breed and the smallest of the three, it was developed as a companion and pet. It is felt that the mini was developed by crossing the standard schnauzer with affenpinschers and poodles.
Prior to 1910, the schnauzer was not known outside of Germany. After World War I, the breed became popular throughout the world. During the war, the giant schnauzer was used in policing and as a messenger.
Today, the giant schnauzer is used in some parts of the world as a police and guard dog. The standard and miniature schnauzers are beloved family pets. The miniature schnauzer is listed under the terrier group of the American Kennel Club.
Appearance and Size
The schnauzer is a compact sturdy dog. All sizes have a stiff wiry hair coat with arched bristling eyebrows, whiskers and a beard. The most common coat color is salt and pepper but black is also available. In Germany, black is the more common color.
Most schnauzers in Germany have cropped ears but in the United States, cropped and uncropped are seen. Uncropped ears sit high on the head and fold forward.
The miniature schnauzer stands 12 to 14 inches at the shoulder and weighs 13 to 15 pounds.
All schnauzers are intelligent and reliable dogs. They are very protective of their family and make good watchdogs.
Home and Family Relations
The schnauzer is a wonderful family pet and is quite tolerant of children. They are often wary of strangers and will protect their family by alerting their owners of the presence of intruders.
Schnauzers tend to be independent dogs and do not tolerate harsh training or reprimand. They are easy to train, as long as positive reinforcement techniques are used.
Schnauzers are intelligent dogs and may become bored easily.
In order to keep their coat clean and tangle free, frequent grooming and clipping is necessary. Trips to the groomer are also necessary to maintain the classic schnauzer facial appearance.
Common Diseases and Disorders
In general, the miniature schnauzer is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported: