Guide to Dog Breeds (See Full List)

Miniature Schnauzer

(AKC Terrier Group)

Miniature Schnauzer

Height: 12 to 14 in.

Size: Small.

Weight: 14 to 17 lbs.

Availability: Very popular.


The Miniature Schnauzer is a small, squarely proportioned terrier with a long head, bushy beard, mustache and eyebrows. The front legs are very straight. The oval eyes are dark colored and the nose is black. The V-shaped ears fold forward when left natural or are cropped to a point and stand erect. The topline is straight and slopes slightly down. The tail is docked, set high and carried erect. The salt and pepper, black, or black and silver outer coat is harsh with a soft undercoat. On pet dogs, the coat is usually clipped short on the upper body and left somewhat longer on the underparts, legs, and head. Show dogs require trimming and hand stripping instead of clipping.


The Miniature Schnauzer is reportedly a result of crosses between the Standard Schnauzer, the Affenpinscher, and perhaps the Poodle, and was developed in the 1800s. He is originally a German breed, named after the German word for muzzle, "Schnauze." The Miniature Schnauzer excels at killing rats, but today is mostly a popular and esteemed companion. It is the most popular Schnauzer.


Avoid puppy mill Miniature Schnauzers; this is one of the most popular terrier breeds and unscrupulous or careless breeders take advantage of the demand to offer poorly bred animals. Select a puppy from a reputable source. Some lines are prone to kidney stones, cataracts, cysts, skin problems, von Willebrand’s disease, diabetes, and liver ailments. Don’t overfeed as the breed tends to put on weight easily. A good watchdog and a fine dog for traveling. The Miniature Schnauzer is virtually non-shedding and is easy on allergy sufferers.


Hunting, tracking, earthdog, watchdog, competitive obedience, agility, and performing tricks.


Very perky and bright-eyed. Loving, intelligent and more trainable than many terrier breeds. Playful, happy, and alert. Likes children. Demands time and companionship from his owner. Can be feisty with other dogs, putting on a show of superiority without necessarily intending to fight. This behavior can be dangerous for the Miniature Schnauzer, who will challenge even large dogs, sometimes bringing more trouble on himself than he really wanted. Since the temperament of this breed can be quite variable, select a puppy from parents whose temperaments you enjoy.


Children: Best with older, considerate children.
Friendliness: Reserved with strangers.
Trainability: Easy to train.
Independence: Moderately dependent on people.
Dominance: Moderate.
Other Pets: Generally good with other pets.
Combativeness: Tends to be fairly dog-aggressive.
Noise: Average barker.
Indoors: Fairly active indoors.
Owner: Good for novice owners.

Grooming and Physical Needs:

Grooming: Regular grooming is best.
Trimming & Stripping: Professional trimming or stripping needed.
Coat: Wiry coat.
Shedding: Very light.
Docking: The ears are customarily cropped, and the tail is customarily docked.
Exercise: Moderate exercise needed.
Jogging: An excellent jogging companion.
Apartments: Good for apartment living.
Outdoor Space: Does all right without a yard.
Climate: Does well in most climates.
Longevity: Moderately long-lived (12 to 15 years)