The History of the Miniature Schnauzer


Drawing of knight rider framedThe Schnauzer is of German origin, said to be recognizable in pictures of the 15th century. The first Miniature Schnauzer on record was born in October of 1888 and was all black. The Miniature Schnauzer was originally bred in Germany, were used as cattle and herding dogs, and were not hunters like the terriers in England. The first Schnauzers were shown in 1897, and were called Wirehaired Pinschers. This was the standard size dog, but in 1895 the Pinscher-Schnauzer Club was formed and listed several different types of dogs including the Wirehaired Miniature Pinscher, now known as the Miniature Schnauzer. The original heritage of the Schnauzer is believed to be from the Wurttenberg cattle dog being crossed with either a Spitz or a Standard Poodle. These crosses could certainly account for the characteristic coat of the Schnauzer. The standard sized Schnauzer was originally called a Pinscher, but then was changed to the German word “schnauzer”, for schnauze, or snout. Most likely this was used to highlight the heavy whiskers that are found on the muzzle of the dogs.

The first Schnauzers were brought to the United States in 1920. At this time, there was no distinction between the miniatures and the standard size Schnauzers, and they were shown together. In 1925, the Wirehaired Pinscher Club of America was formed, but the two types were not separated in the breed listing until 1926. The American Kennel Club recognized the Miniature Schnauzer as a separate breed, but both the standard and the miniature were moved to the terrier group in 1927. In 1933, the Wirehaired Pinscher Club split into two groups, The American Miniature Schnauzer Club and the Standard Schnauzer Club of America. In 1945, the Standard Schnauzers were moved out of the terrier group and back into the working group. Canada and the United States are the only two countries that list the Miniature Schnauzer in the terrier group; all other countries list them in the utility or Non-Sporting group.

lg_artwork2Shortly after World War II, the breed became popular in the United States. Miniature Schnauzers have now become a well-known and recognized breed the world over. They have a keen intelligence and breeders continue to work towards maintaining this high level of ability, combined with their natural curiosity and traits of an excellent companion dog. The small and spunky dog gets along well with children and loves being with people. The breed is very healthy, overall, with few genetic conditions or hereditary health problems. The Mini lives for about 14 to 16 years and is generally very healthy. The breed is characterized by its stocky build, wiry coat, and abundant whiskers and leg furnishings. A Miniature Schnauzer may be of several colors with salt-and-pepper (gray) being the most common, although blacks and black-and-silvers are now seen in increasing numbers. His size (12-14 inches at the withers) has permitted him to adapt easily to small city quarters, but can cover a substantial amount of ground without tiring. As a rule, a Miniature Schnauzer isn’t a fighter, although he will stand up for himself, if necessary.

The Miniature Schnauzer is now viewed primarily as a charming and attractive companion. He is seldom addicted to wandering. He is devoted to his home and family, and functions very well as a guard dog in that he can give an alarm as well as a larger dog. His good health, temperament, and attractive appearance combine to fit him admirably for his role as family pet. This miniature breed is lively, pleasant and playful with an expressive personality. These loyal and devoted small dogs want to be totally involved in all family activities and love to go for walks. Most of these Miniatures are good with children, but are a little too small to be a toddler’s pet. They will generally get along fine with other family pets. Early socialization and obedience training will help with controlling excessive barking and a reluctance to walk on leash. This breed can be taught fairly easily and can even excel at advanced obedience competitions. Miniatures are somewhat cautious around strangers and they make good watchdogs. This breed does fine with novice or first-time dog owners.

Miniatures have lots of energy so they need to get outside and play in the yard as often as possible. These Miniature Schnauzers also appreciate a daily walk. Show dogs need to be professionally groomed every 6 to 8 weeks, when they will hand pluck the dead hair. Pet owners should brush and comb the coat several times per week and give a daily brushing and cleaning of the Miniature’s beard and mustache and bottom. Excess hair should be clipped between the pads of the feet and excess hair removed within the ears. Some Miniature owners may opt for a more convenient clipping. Miniature Schnauzers do not shed and if properly groomed can be suitable for someone with allergies. This breed is sometimes referred to as ‘hypoallergenic’. Careful monitoring of the breeding standards has helped keep the breed healthy and long-lived. Recently there has been a rise in the popularity of “Toy Schnauzers”.

Only serious breeders breed to preserve the breed as it was originally intended by its originators.

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