The Miniature Schnauzer originated in Germany in the 19th century by crossing the Standard Schnauzer and a few smaller breeds. They are quite distinctive in appearance – compact, muscular, and “square” in build. With their long beards, eye-brows, feathered legs, wiry non-shedding coats, the Miniature Shnauzer is quite appealing as a house pet.
Miniature Schnauzers come in three colors: black, salt and pepper, black/silver. Their height is between 12 and 15 inches (30.5 to 38 cm) at the shoulders, and generally weigh between 10 and 15 pounds (4.5 to 7 kg). Miniature Schnauzers have a friendly personality and mischievous sense of humor, intelligence and energy. They are very loyal and protective of their owners.
Regarding children, the Miniature Schnauzer does best when growing up with them. Because they are ratters, it’s a good idea to keep them away from small pets like hamsters and rats. The Miniature Schnauzer is an excellent “watch” dog, barking at visitors to its home, but because of its friendliness, it is not a great “guard” dog.
Originally, several small breeds were crossed with the Standard Schnauzer to shrink its size. Crossing with other breeds, like the Affenpinscher and Miniature Pinscher, resulted in colors unacceptable to the ultimate goal. It took decades to produce the Miniature Schnauzer breed in existence today.
Because of their courage the Miniature Schnauzer was used for guarding (watching) herds, small farms and families. Later, they found jobs hunting rats because of their small size and apparent knack for it. They became show dogs when the AKC recognized the breed in 1926, two years after they were introduced to the United States.
Miniature Schnauzers are prone to diabetes, bladder stones and pancreatitis. These disease can be avoided quite simply by feeding the dogs a correct diet. Miniature Schnauzers with uncropped ears must be kept dry to avoid ear infections and deafness later in life. Correct weight can easily be determined by gauging the dog’s size – if the dog is 15 inches high, then the weight should be 15 lbs. Avoid overfeeding since they gain weight easily.
In general, the Miniature Schnauzer can be a wonderful house pet. Their smallness is ideal for apartments and small homes (and laps), their courage and alertness handy for standing guard, and their friendly personality is quite entertaining.
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