Miniature Schnauzer Overview

Dog Breed:
Miniature Schnauzer
Breed Group:
Outgoing, friendly, fearless, smart, and energetic.
12-14 inches
11-20 pounds
Life Span:
12-15 years
Coat Colors:
grey and black, black and silver, and solid black.
Area of Origin:
Best For:
Active homes/Access to fenced areas for exercise/Owners with a keen interest in training.
Adult Food:
Best Dog Food for Miniature Schnauzers
Puppy Food:
Best Puppy Food for Miniature Schnauzers

Miniature Schnauzer Characteristics

Good for First-Time Owners
Good with Children
Easy to Train
Exercise Requirements
Ease of Grooming
Amount of Shedding
Amount of Drooling
Tendency to Bark

About The Miniature Schnauzer

  • Great family dog

  • Adaptable to apartment living

  • Commitment to daily exercise

The Miniature Schnauzer is a great all-round family dog. They’re affectionate and adore their families. They’re also easy to train, and they have a great sense of humor! Though they have some of the terrier traits, they tend not to be as hard-headed and independent as some of the others can be.

Whether you live in an apartment or a home with a large garden, the Miniature Schnauzer adapts well as long as they get enough exercise every day. And this is a breed who does need to get out and run 365 days of the year, a short walk on a leash isn’t going to be enough.

If you’re not keen on a second shadow, then this might not be the right breed for you, because this little mustached dog will want to be everywhere that you are.

Miniature Schnauzer Breed History

  • Originates from Southern Germany

  • Developed to be a ratter and all-round farm dog

  • Recognized by the AKC in 1933


The history of the Schnauzer is a little vague, but what we do know is that they originated in the 14th-15th century within Southern Germany. Tradesmen and farmers needed a dog who was versatile enough to take on the role of ratter, herder, hunter, and guardian. The term ‘Schnauzer’ comes from the German word for snout – ‘Schnauze,’ a reference to the breeds’ distinctive bearded nose.

The Standard Schnauzer was the original size from which the miniature and giant varieties were developed. While they may look as if they resemble some of the other terrier breeds, it’s thought that the breed was actually a product of crossing herding and working dogs.

The Miniature Schnauzer was developed by crossing the Standard Schnauzer with the Affenpinscher, and Poodle. So, this then explains why they have different temperament compared to many other small terriers. With less of the independence and fiery personalities of their fellow breed types, the Miniature Schnauzer became a good ratter but, at the same time, is a dog who is both friendly and willing to please.

It’s though that the first Miniatures arrived in the US around 1900 as pets of immigrant families or traders returning home. The Miniature Schnauzer was recognized by the AKC in 1926, with the American Miniature Schnauzer Club being formed in August 1933.

Miniature Schnauzer Size & Weight

  • Height 12-14 inches

  • Weight 11-20 pounds

  • Males and Females of similar sizing


The smallest of the three varieties, the Miniature Schnauzer, fits within the height range of 12-14 inches for both male and female dogs. Likewise, there is no difference in weight between the sexes, with the recommended range being between 11-20 pounds.

The breed standard talks about the Miniature Schnauzer as being a sturdy dog without any ‘toyishness,’ a nod to their hunting days!

Miniature Schnauzer Personality & Temperament

  • Extroverted whirlwind

  • Confident

  • Suitable for apartment living


The Miniature Schnauzer is a whirlwind of energy. They tend to have an extroverted personality, and they love to be involved in everything that the family is up to. Given a chance, that includes sleeping by your side, preferably under the duvet!

There are members of the terrier group, so even though they’re not as feisty as some, they can be a bit of a spitfire while being very confident in their abilities. They see their size as being no hindrance, and they’ll happily run with the big dogs.

They make excellent companions because once trained, they can be very obedient and extremely devoted to their owners. Their alertness can make them an excellent watch/alert dog though this can also mean they may initially be a little suspicious of new people.

The Miniature Schnauzer’s love of being with people also transfers to children. They can be a great playmate, but care does need to be taken to supervise children and dogs when they’re together. They also tend to mix well with other dogs, though early socialization is key to this.

This is a breed that is small enough to be a contender for apartment living as long as they get to go out several times a day. They also cope well with being left for short periods though you can help them to be okay with this by introducing short periods away from you when they’re pups.

Miniature Schnauzer Health & Grooming

  • Generally, a healthy breed

  • Check breeder has conducted health screening tests

  • Weekly grooming or have the coat clipped by a groomer


Although the Miniature Schnauzer is considered to be a healthy breed, there are a few conditions that they can be prone to, including:

  • Generally occurring in old age, they cause the lens to cloud over, resulting in reduced vision.
  • This occurs when there are too many fat molecules circulating in the blood. Specialized diets can ease the symptoms once diagnosed.
  • Liver shunts. A genetic condition caused by abnormal blood vessels leading from the digestive tract. Surgery is usually required.
  • Urinary stones. These can cause a dog difficulty urinating and passing blood in the urine. They may also need to urinate more often than normal.

Responsible breeders will have their breeding dogs screened for health issues, so do ask them for the test results.

This is a breed with a double coat, so that’s a wiry topcoat, and then a soft undercoat. They shed very little but will need weekly grooming, ensuring you get right down through both layers. For dogs who are competing in the show ring, their coat is often ‘stripped by hand,’ which removes the dead outer hair.

Many owners of pet Miniature Schnauzers have their dog’s coat clipped by a groomer every couple of months. This then makes them even easier to keep looking their best.

Miniature Schnauzer Training

  • Intelligent breed who enjoys training

  • Good choice for performance dog sports

  • Can have a high prey drive


The Miniature Schnauzer is a smart little dog. They love to learn, and they pick up new behaviors quickly. On the flip side of this, if they’re not kept busy, then they’ll come up with their own fun, which is likely to be chaotic!

Enrolling your pup into a great reward-based training class will get you the best results and will help build the bond between you and your new addition. There are many dogs of the breed doing well in performance dog sports, including agility. This gives them the chance to tire both their brains and bodies.

True to their heritage, the Miniature Schnauzer can have a high prey drive, though it does vary enormously between individual dogs. They can live with family cats, following careful introductions, but they are likely to chase those that they don’t know.

Miniature Schnauzer Exercise Requirements

  • Intelligent breed who enjoys training

  • Good choice for performance dog sports

  • Can have a high prey drive


This is a high energy dog who will need the chance to burn off some energy to then be calm within the home. Securely fenced areas are recommended for safe off-leash running, and some four-legged friends can be a great bonus to help tire out your Miniature Schnauzer.

The Schnauzer is a very playful breed; they love the chance both to interact with their family and be active. Remember to teach the rules of the game first and look for any signs of them becoming over-excited.

Miniature Schnauzer Diet & Feeding

  • Get professional advice for your individual dog's nutritional needs

  • Select a specially formulated puppy food for young dogs

  • Pick adult food based on your dog's age, size, and exercise intensity.


If you need information on your dog’s feeding needs, do speak to your veterinarian or pet nutritionist for advice.

Most Miniature Schnauzers will start off on a specially formulated puppy food which ensures they receive all the nutrition they need as they develop. Once they reach six months, then they will generally move onto adult food. Do select the right food for your dog’s age, size, and exercise intensity.

You may also be interested in:

Miniature Schnauzer Rescue Groups

There will be times when Miniature Schnauzers find themselves in need of a new home. If you’re considering offering a place to one of these dogs, then there are many breed rescue organizations across the US who can provide help and advice. These include –

Arizona Schnauzer Rescue

Miniature Schnauzer Rescue of Houston

New Jersey Schnauzer Rescue Network

For further information on the Miniature Schnauzer, we suggest taking a look at the website of the American Miniature Schnauzer Club –