The Pocket Size Cutie: The Miniature Schnauzer

Last Updated on April 23, 2023

A massive personality in a small package, the Miniature Schnauzer is affectionate, intelligent, and loveable. So lovable, in fact, that they’ll follow you around the house!

Known in Germany as the Zwergschnauzer, this affectionate mustache wielding pup won’t mind being a lap dog – as long as you wear them out first.

Miniature Schnauzer lying on the grass

See what this adorable breed has in store for potential owners!

Germany and the start of the Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is a tinier off-shoot of their Standard Schnauzer parent, who was crossbred with smaller breeds.

Known as the supreme farm dog, the Standard Schnauzer has a lineage that dates back to the 15th century.

In the 19th century, German farmers bred the Schnauzer with the Miniature Pinscher, Affenpinscher, and possibly the Pomeranian and Poodle to create a smaller, more mobile version of the already useful Standard Schnauzer.

There isn’t a complete record of how the Miniature Schnauzer came to be, but they were useful as ratters, guard dogs, and for chasing vermin and other small animals

The earliest known Miniature Schanzer was Findel, a black female born in October 1888 who found work as a small farm dog.

Shortly after, in 1895, a club for this breed formed to commemorate multiple different mixed dogs.

In Germany, Miniature Schnauzers go by the adorable name “Zwergschnauzer” where “Zwerg” means “Dwarf” and Schnauzer means “Snout.” 

Their unique mustache and beard on their snout led to the Schnauzer name, which gained popularity in the 1900s.

“Zwerg” refers to the mythological Dwarf, which is a race of short and stocky human-like creatures.

In World War I and II, the Miniature Schnauzer boomed in popularity for ratting and to help dispatch workers in the military. They are now mostly companion dogs.

Miniature Schnauzer dog portrait

The American Kennel Club (AKC) gave the Miniature Schnauzer recognition in 1926 but was a distinct breed since 1899.

They reside in the Terrier Group because of their feisty and energetic traits, leading to them being great hunters.

Even though the Miniature Schnauzer fits nicely in the Terrier Group, it has no British relatives like the Cesky Terrier and the Rat Terrier.

Similar to other minis born from larger dog breeds, the Miniature Schnauzer was born to do the traditional work of small terriers.

Still, the Miniature Schnauzer is much different compared to other Terriers because they are friendly, outgoing, and willing to please.

They are a favorite at dog shows and competitions and are the most popular breed of the three Schnauzers.

Whiskers, beard and mustache: the typical Zwergschnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is a robust, active dog of the terrier type that resembles its large cousin, the Standard Schnauzer, in general, appearance but with an alert and active disposition.

This breed has a small standard rectangular, strong head that is wider in the snout but smaller near the ears, eyes, and tip of their black nose.

The Miniature Schnauzer has a smooth forehead. Their eyes are small little ovals that are deep-set and dark brown. 

Ears sit high on the head and are either V-shaped and fold down along their face if uncropped or pointed upwards and identical in shape if cropped. 

The hallmark features of the Miniature Schnauzer are their eyebrows, whiskers, beard, and mustache. Thanks to their harsh, dense coat, they can have such characteristics that you can trim round or grow out.

The Miniature Schnauzer has a strong neck, straight legs, and a straight back. Their tails are straight, high, and erect unless they’re docked slightly, then they are short, small nubs.

All-and-all they have strong muscles, good bones, and a compact yet well-proportioned figure. Miniature Schnauzers are sturdily built.

Dressed Miniature Schnauzer dog standing on the snow
Source: @mr.winston_theminischnauzer / IG

The Miniature Schnauzer size: how small are they really?

The Miniature Schnauzer falls into the small breed classification only. If it lands in the medium classification, it becomes a Standard Schnauzer.

The largest of the two Schnauzer, the Giant Schnauzer, can either be large or giant.

Miniature Schnauzer dogs are 12-14 inches (30.4-35.5 cms) in height and weigh 11-20 pounds (4.9-9.0 kgs) on average. These little dogs are small enough to place in a gym bag comfortably.

Mini Schnauzers don’t vary much in height and weight between the sexes, but females may weigh less than the male by 2-3 pounds.

Miniatures only take 12 months to grow and won’t get any larger after leaving their puppy stage.

Miniature Schnauzers are perfect for apartments and small homes, but they still require a lot of room to exercise and play. Be sure to keep them engaged even in spaces as small as a bathroom or closet. 

Teacup/Toy Schnauzer VS Miniature Schnauzer

Teacup Schnauzer lying on the bed
Source: @chucktowncharli / IG

If you speak to the average teacup pet owner, the Toy Schnauzers technically don’t exist because they’re not officially a breed.

They are still registered as Miniature Schnauzers even though they are significantly smaller than minis.

An average Toy Schnauzer will be under 12 inches tall (30.4 cms) and weigh less than 7 pounds (3.1 kgs).

They are easy to travel with and are identical in shape, color, and personality to the Miniature Schnauzer, just a bit smaller.

Teacup/Toy Schnauzers are perfect for retired couples, apartment owners, and city dwellers who like to keep their companions close to them.

Standard Schnauzer VS Miniature Schnauzer

As mentioned, the Standard Schnauzer is the original parent to the Miniature Schnauzer. They look like a medium-sized Mini but are straighter and more box-shaped.

Standard Schnauzers are taller by a significant amount at 17.5-19.5 inches (44.4-49.5 cms) and weigh a decent 30-50 pounds (13.6-22.6 kgs).

Standard Schnauzer ready for hunting
Source: @the.bearded.hunter / IG

Standard Schnauzer males are often larger than their female counterparts by at least 10 pounds. They reach maturity around 12 – 24 months.

Standard Schnauzers require a fenced yard and a large home. They won’t do well in a small apartment that has few places to run and play.

Giant Schnauzer VS Miniature Schnauzer

Young couple with Giant Schnauzer dog
The amazing Giant Schnauzer dog

The big Giant Schnauzer still looks similar to the Miniature Schnauzer but towers over them in height and weight. This popular breed just looks like a life-size version of the Mini.

The largest size of the two others is the Giant Schnauzer. They are between 23.5-27.5 inches (59.6-69.8 cms) tall and weigh a hefty 55-85 pounds (24.9-38.5 kgs). 

Giant Schnauzer males are often a lot larger than their female counterparts by at least 10 pounds. They will take the longest to reach maturity at 12 – 24 months.

Giant Schnauzers will continue to grow well into their 2nd year of adolescence. 

If you thought a Standard Schnauzer was too big for an apartment, the Gian Schnauzer would overstay its welcome in a matter of minutes.

While you don’t need a mansion to keep them comfortable, you should still have a medium-sized home and a large backyard.

Luscious locks need constant TLC

Purebred Mini Schnauzers have a hard, wiry coat outer coat and a close undercoat that is slightly softer and plush. Their medium double coat feels slick and oily around their neck, ears, head, chest, and tail.

Black Miniature Schnauzers’ are the most common for coat color, but black and silver and salt and pepper are typical.

Salt-and-pepper may seem similar to back and silver, but salt and pepper don’t have patches of solid color; both silver and black mix throughout the coat.

Salt and pepper and Black Mini Schnauzers will start to grey on their topcoat, similar to what humans do as they age.

You’ll see this pigment change in their cheeks, eyebrows, whiskers, under the throat and tail, across the chest, and legs.

Two white Miniature Schnauzer dogs
Two white Miniature Schnauzers

Miniature Schnauzers can also be brown based with brown skin, nose pads, and hair pigment.

All Schnauzers can have white markings on their chest, chin, and feet regardless of color unless they are solid white. 

While White Miniature Schnauzers aren’t breed standard and aren’t allowed to appear in AKC shows. Although white coat colors are rare, they don’t affect the breed’s health or temperament.

Once a worker, now a lap dog

Miniature Schnauzers are the chatty, extraverted best friend at a social get together that love to impress others with their charming wit and energetic nature.

If you let them, they’ll even run up to you and hug you; they just love to touch their humans.

Even though this little pup loves people, including children, strangers, and other animals with proper socialization, they are still little troublemaking terriers – but not aggressive usually.

They will amuse themselves as a way to bring attention to themselves. 

They are anything but independent or aloof and require close physical contact at all times. For this reason, they are perfect for senior citizens who miss caring for children and can spend time with them. 

Generally speaking, Schnauzers aren’t known for being natural swimmers, but you can teach them quickly. Just keep an eye on your Mini friend because they may have difficulty keeping their head above water. 

Your Schnauzer will love any kind of daily exercise as long as it includes you and the rest of the family.

They are fond of playing at all hours of the day and will work out with you by jumping, jogging, running, chasing, and walking.

Although the Miniature Schnauzer temperament means they’d rather spend time on your lap, they can be competent workers with minimal training.

With their strong prey drive and watchdog tendencies, they can alert you to strange people who walk too close to your property.

To take a look at the day and life of owning a Mini Schanuzer, check out this video:

Mini Schnauzers are more affectionate and people-loving than the Standard Schnauzer and much more dependent than the Giant Schnauzer, who is better at being alone.

Are Miniature Schnauzers prone to barking at strangers?

Miniature Schnauzers will bark, but they aren’t yappy like a Chihuahua.

Their bark can be piercing if they are afraid for your safety, but be patient with them – they are only alerting you to potential dangers because they care about you.

This barking came from their past breeding as a watchdog, and their attachment to you can make them bark more often than not.

For this reason, they are more likely to develop separation anxiety and fear strangers without proper socialization.

Mini Schnauzers are incredibly intelligent, making training easy as long as you don’t give in to their manipulation tactics.

They will understand your teaching style immediately and may use your kindness to smuggle treats out of you. 

As with most terriers, it’s better to socialize them early, so they don’t bark at every person that passes by the house.

You can teach them only to notify you if someone is on the front porch or maybe an actual threat to you and your family.

Do Mini Schnauzers have special care needs?

Miniature Schnauzers have special needs when grooming because their wiry double coat requires frequent combing and brushing.

This breed is also lively but capable of adapting to city living with indoor exercising.

Small breeds like the Mini Schnauzer need a coat, boots, and hat during winter and a short trim in the summer, so they avoid overheating. 

Take your mini pup for a long walk

This pup will have a medium-high energy level and will love to interact with their family on boating trips and daily walks.

They aren’t as hyper as the Standard Schnauzer, but they still need to keep active to stay out of trouble and to lessen their need to bark.

A Miniature Schnauzer needs 45 minutes of exercise daily. Be sure to vary their playtime because this smart and vigilant breed will get bored very quickly.

While playing with them, be careful not to overwhelm them with your size or accidentally step on them.

Miniature Schnauzer sitting on the bed of dried leaves
Source: @mr.winston_theminischnauzer / IG

To keep up with their exercise needs, buy your little pet a variety of small dog toys that they can play with.

The typical Miniature Schnauzer haircut

Grooming a Miniature Schnauzer has a degree of complication, which is why most owners will take their pet to a professional groomer.

You can learn how to manage their combination of wiry topcoat and soft undercoat with some practice. 

As a positive, Miniature Schnauzers are hypoallergenic because shedding is minimal, but this also means you’ll need to hand strip and clip their coat frequently.

Still, Schnauzers are a good breed for anyone with asthma or allergies. 

To get your Schnauzer accustomed to constant touching, make grooming a positive experience by touching their feet, paws, and the inside of their mouth.

With that in mind, you should groom your Schnauzer every 5 to 8 weeks to keep them looking smart. 

You will need to brush your Schnauzer more often at 2-3 times a week to avoid matting in the face and legs. Their armpits mat often, so don’t forget underneath their legs!

Brush their teeth just as often, but once a day is even better.

Trim their nails and check their ears weekly to keep your pup comfortable. Be sure to clip their nails properly, or they won’t like you touching their paws.

Be sure you bathe your Schnauzer pup at least once a week or more, or they could start to smell. Your Miniature Schnauzer may stink because of their naturally oily skin.

Allowing those oils to stay on their top coat could lead to multiple infections, so it’s essential you stay on top of a grooming schedule.

Avoid obesity by feeding them less

Miniature Schnauzers could develop obesity and poor eating habits because of their small size.

It’s common for tiny pups to overeat or for their owners to overfeed them with treats because they’re unaware of how much food is necessary to keep them healthy.

To avoid feeding your small doggy too much, give them ½ to 1 cup of top-quality kibble per day divided into two meals.

Although that will work for most standard small Schnauzers, it’s better to feed them based on vet recommendations and their height and weight. 

Woman feeding a Miniature Schnauzer dog

A Miniature Schnauzer won’t vary much in weight, but a 10-15 lbs (4.5-6.8 kgs) needs a 3/4 cup of an 8 OZ measuring cup per day, twice a day. Add another ⅓ cup for every 5lbs (2.2 kgs).

Your Schnauzer could eat as little as 342 calories or as much as 576 calories.

Puppies will eat less, but not by a significant amount because they won’t grow as much as a Standard or Giant Schnauzer puppy. 

It’s better to avoid feeding your pup human food if possible, especially onions, chocolate, and raw meat. Instead, reward them with dog treats or wet food.

Take your Miniature Schnauzer to the vet often

Miniature Schnauzers generally stay healthy throughout their life, but like all small dogs, they could develop a wide variety of health conditions.

These health issues often show up later on in their lifespan, but you can catch them early with frequent visits to the vet.

Eye problems are common in the Miniature Schnauzer: cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and retinal dysplasia are typical of small breeds in general.

Since you can’t buy them glasses, ensure that diabetes doesn’t develop, making these issues worse.

Urolithiasis (bladder stones) will make your family member strain to urinate, urinate more often, or pass blood.

Small stones will pass on their own, but large stones will require a diet intervention before they become impassable. 

Veterinarians found that Myotonia Congenita is findable in Mini Schnauzers. This hereditary skeletomuscular disorder starts with puppies and makes it difficult for them to move.

Ask for a DNA test if you’re buying a Schnauzer from a breeder to avoid this health problem.

Finally, Von Willebrand’s Disease is a blood disorder that makes it difficult for the blood to clot.

Blood clotting is necessary to heal from cuts. Without it, your pup risks death from bleeding out. Vets will diagnose this disorder when the Schnauzer is around three to five years old. 

Sad Miniature Schnauzer laying down

You can manage Von Willebrand’s disease through treatment and cauterizing or suturing injuries and transfusions.

Other health issues related to the Miniature Schnauzer include:

  • Entropion
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Congenital Megaesophagus
  • Epilepsy
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Pancreatitis
  • Live Shunts
  • Infections (Mycobacterium Avian Infection)
  • Obesity
  • Parasites
  • Allergies
  • Dental Disease

Mini Schnauzers will have an average life expectancy of 12-14 years.

A Miniature Schnauzer’s lifespan will exceed those years if you keep their coat, ears, and nails clean, provide them with a proper diet and plenty of exercises.

A Miniature Schnauzers price tag: are they expensive?

Miniature Schnauzer will cost you more than the average price of a month’s rent if you’re purchasing a puppy from a breeder.

According to AKC, they are the 18th most popular breed, so you may find one in a shelter in the United States.

Legal Miniature Schnauzer puppies will cost between $500 and $2700, but older Miniatures will cost less as they age due to the prevalence of behavior issues as an adult.

If you want to adopt an older dog, I would recommend this breed to experienced dog owners. 

Miniature or Toy breeds are often more expensive because they are popular, compact, and fit in most homes.

Purebred dogs are also pricey due to years of expert breeding. Put both together, and you’ll have one pricy pup.

If you come across a breeder selling show dogs, you may pay over $3000. More factors such as kennel popularity, shipping fees, and litter size will play a role in the price.

A Miniature Schnauzer puppy litter size is usually 3 to 6 puppies. It’s uncommon for litters to exceed 3-6 because of their small size.

Portrait of a Miniature Schnauzer puppy

Miniature Schnauzer breeders near you

I can’t imagine you would have difficulty finding hundreds of breeders in your state, but that can also act as a double-edged sword.

With so many breeders clamoring for your money, you could run into some shady characters.

It’s more likely you’ll run into puppy mills that cage these pets because they don’t require a lot of room.

Still, it won’t be hard to know they’re unhappy because the Miniature Schnauzer will have a troublemaking temperament – and rightfully so.

Reputable breeders will willingly give information about their parents. Ask them for health records to ensure your new family member won’t have special needs.

You can find Miniature Schnauzer puppies for sale at these locations:

  • Lakeside Miniature Schnauzers (Dover, FL)
  • Bravo! Kennels (Kennesaw, GA)

Miniature Schnauzer rescues in the United States

There are plenty of Miniature Schnauzers who need a loving home capable of meeting their high social needs.

You will need to train them out of bad habits, but after you socialize with these pups, they will be your forever friend.

Due to this breed’s popularity, you’ll find many desiccated rescues looking to rehome Miniature Schnauzers.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to health screen your new family member, but most health issues won’t arise because the breed is often healthy.

Here are a few locations that will have Miniature Schnauzers for sale:

  • Schnauzer Club of America (USA)
  • American Miniature Schnauzer Club (USA)
  • Schnauzers Rule Rescue by State (USA)

Curious about Mini Schnauzer mixes?

If you’re interested to meet more Miniature Schnauzer mixes, these hybrids are stepping up:

Chizer (Chihuahua Miniature Schnauzer mix)
Schnoodle (Poodle Miniature Schnauzer mix)
Snorkie (Yorkie Miniature Schnauzer mix)

Are these clingy protectors right for you?

Two Miniature Schnauzer dogs playing one stick together

The Miniature Schnauzer is an affectionate, caring, active, and alert watchdog that will protect your family from potential threats.

But be careful – you may end up with a loud barker who is fearful of their own shadow.

Although they can get clingy and irritable, their high trainability makes it likely you won’t experience most of their faults. 

First-time dog owners should stay far away from the Miniature Schnauzer unless they’re comfortable keeping up with their neediness and constant training. Otherwise, they could manipulate you into bad habits.

If you have allergies and don’t mind a miniature child at your hip for the next 12 years, the Miniature Schnauzer will fit right in.

What do you think of the Schnauzer Miniature? We would love to hear about your charming little toy and small breeds below!

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