Miniature German Schnauzer

Getting a dog can change your life. If you get a dog that is compatible with your lifestyle, it can be a very rewarding experience, but all dogs require love, attention, care and training, so before you make that decision, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have time to give a dog the attention it requires?
  • Do I have the ability to provide proper grooming, exercise and training for a dog?
  • Can I afford the expenses that come with a dog?
  • Do I have what it takes to be a strong pack leader?
  • Do I want to buy a dog from a breeder or adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue?

If, after answering the above questions, you decide to move forward with getting a dog, it would be wise to learn about the different breeds and their characteristics, personality/temperament, possible health conditions and exercise and grooming requirements in order to make an informed decision.

This article is a basic overview of one particular breed -- a Miniature German Schnauzer. Read on to decide if this breed of dog is compatible with your particular lifestyle.

History/Background: Originally bred in Germany in the late 1800s, the miniature German Schnauzer is reportedly a cross between the standard schnauzer, the Affenpinscher and perhaps the poodle. It was named after the German word "schnauze," which means muzzle. It was primarily used for droving, stock tending, hunting vermin, pulling carts, guarding flocks and children and serving as watchdog, and excelled at killing rats. It was brought to America in 1925 and classified under terrier. It is currently the 10th most popular breed in America. Talents include hunting, tracking, watchdog, performing tricks and competitive obedience.

Physical Characteristics: The miniature German Schnauzer is small and squarely proportioned, with a bushy beard, mustache and eyebrows. The tail is usually docked. It has oval dark-colored eyes. The ears are V-shaped and fold forward or are cropped to stand erect. The double coat is harsh, hard and wiry with a short undercoat. Coat colors include salt and pepper, white, black or harsh black and silver outer coat with a soft undercoat. Height is 12-14 inches, and weight is 10-15 pounds.

Personality/Temperament: Mini Schnauzers are happy, affectionate, loyal and very friendly. They are intelligent, obedient and very adaptable. They are perky, bright eyed, energetic, active and playful and are good with children. This breed likes companionship and attention of its owners and is devoted to home and family. They make good companions and family pets, as well as good watchdogs and mouse catchers. They also travel well. Mini Schnauzers can be reserved with strangers but most of them love everyone.

They may develop behavioral problems such as separation anxiety, willfulness, nervousness, guarding, boldness and sometimes be temperamental if the owners do not display pack leadership. Charming and attractive, this breed has clean habits and generally does not have a doggy odor. They should not be trusted around smaller animals because of their hunting background. They are fairly easy to housebreak if trained properly.

Possible Health Conditions: Miniature German Schnauzers are usually healthy but may be prone to kidney stones, liver disease, skin disorders, Von Willebrand's disease, diabetes, cysts or hereditary eye problems. This breed tends to gain weight easily and should not be overfed. The mini Schnauzer shows no signs of age until quite late in life. Life expectancy is about 15 years.

ImageExercise/Grooming: Mini Schnauzers need daily, long, brisk walks. They love to play off leash. Grooming is fairly easy but the coat will become matted unless combed or brushed daily with a short wire brush, and the knots should be clipped out. The whiskers should be cleaned after meals, and the eyes and ears should be trimmed around with blunt-nose scissors. The coat should be clipped all over twice a year, spring and fall, to an even length. This breed of dog sheds little to no hair and is a good breed for allergy sufferers.

Living Conditions: This breed is good for apartment life. It is fairly active indoors and does okay without a yard.

Summary: Miniature German Schnauzers are small dogs that make good family companions, are usually fairly healthy, require little exercise and shed very little but, as with all breeds of dogs, require strong pack leadership to prevent behavioral problems and require regular grooming. So, now that you've learned a little about this breed of dog, one question remains -- Is a Miniature German Schnauzer the right breed for you?

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