Dog Health & More
He a dog breed who's got it all in one small package: intelligence, affection, an extroverted temperament, humor, and a personality that's twice as big as he is. Throw in that walrus moustache and quivering enthusiasm, and he'll make you laugh every day. With a Miniature Schnauzer in the house, you'll never be alone, not even when you go to the bathroom. He's got personality-plus, and whether he's bounding around ahead of you or curled up snoozing on your lap, you'll never be bored with him around.
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The Miniature Schnauzer is a small dog with a whole lot of heart. He's always in the top 20 most popular breeds in the U.S., England, and Germany, but he's bred around the world. He is a "people person" all the way: extroverted with moderately high energy, he just wants to have fun. And being with you is fun, no matter what you do. He's incredibly loyal to his family — and he requires a great deal of attention.
He's got a long beard and bushy eyebrows, and he's a handful. Developed as a ratter, he may look just like a smaller version of the Standard and Giant Schnauzers, but he's a distinct breed of his own. He isn't used much as a ratter any longer (although the instinct is still there), but he still has the lively, mischievous personality.
He likes to be in the center of the action. He's fairly good with children and he's energetic, with a lot of terrier spunkiness. The problem is, he has no clue how small he is, and he's likely to talk trash to a much larger dog without any concept of the consequences. That swagger of his can get him in trouble, so it's up to you to keep him in line.
Even though he's small, don't mistake your Miniature Schnauzer for a toy breed. This boy is not delicate.
Because of his size, he can be a good city dog, but he needs daily exercise. After all, he's a terrier! He needs to move. A Miniature Schnauzer also enjoys larger quarters and is great with suburban or farm families (and there might be some rats out there he can take care of for you). He adapts well to any climate, but he can gain weight quickly if he's not exercised or fed properly.
He's protective of the people he loves and is often suspicious of strangers, until you let him know they're welcome. He's an excellent watchdog, sometimes to your frustration, and will alert you to visitors, burglars, and blowing branches. His bark can be piercing. No Golden Retriever, he won't be licking the burglar in welcome; he'll be making sure you understand the gravity of the situation at full volume.
A Miniature Schnauzer is intelligent and learns quickly. Bored during rainy weather? Teach your Schnauzer tricks — he's a great tricks dog. Smart enough to learn anything, he excels at feats that involve jumping on his sturdy little legs.
At the same time, he can be stubborn. Really stubborn. Dug-into-the-sand stubborn. His favorite way of rebelling is to pretend that he doesn't hear you ("La, la, la, I can't heeear you!") when you try to make him do something. To maintain order in your household, you must be in charge. If you let him get by with something even one time, he'll remember it forever and you'll find the behavior escalating. This is one of the downsides of living with a dog who might possibly be smarter than you are.
But because he can be trained so easily (one of the upsides of that native intelligence), he tends to do well in obedience and agility competitions. Miniature Schnauzers also participate in earthdog trials and often excel at them. After all, digging is what they were bred to do. That also means you can expect the occasional decapitated rodent on your doorstep. Unlike a cat's offering, this is not a love gift but spoils going to the warrior who nailed the beast.
Historically, Miniature Schnauzer ears were cropped for cosmetic purposes. Americans are moving away from cropping dogs in general, as more people come to feel it's not worth it for purely cosmetic reasons (unlike tail docking, which prevents tail injuries while out in the field).
However, most but not all Miniature Schnauzers who compete in dog shows still have cropped ears. Some breeders won't crop the ears of pet-quality dogs who will never go into the conformation ring. If you are in contact with the breeder early enough in the process, you can probably make your own decision about cropping your Miniature Schnauzer's ears.
Robust in body and mind, the Miniature Schnauzer is a lively, feisty, smart, happy, vocal, affectionate, low-shedding dog. He makes a fine addition to an active family.