Complete Guide To The Miniature Schnauzer: Care, Feeding, Exercise and More

The Miniature Schnauzer is a complete package, albeit a small package, dog. This dog is intelligent, active, loyal, and fun to be around. While not opposed to spending the day at home with his family, the Miniature Schnauzer is just as eager to explore through the forest on a trail or learn a new trick from his owner. Designed to be an all-around farm dog, this breed of dog is versatile and accommodates just about any lifestyle. For years the Miniature Schnauzer has been easily ranked as one of the top 20 most popular dogs in the United States, England, and Germany.  

I’ve worked with dogs for the last 30 years of my life. The last 20 of those have been as a veterinarian. I have seen many, many Miniature Schnauzers during my career and have talked to dozens of owners about what it’s like to own one of these dogs.

How Big Do Miniature Schnauzers Get?

11 lbs – 20 lbs12″ – 14″ at the shoulder

Unlike other dog breeds, there is not a big size difference between males and females.

What Does The Coat Of A Miniature Schnauzer Look Like?

The Miniature Schnauzer has a thick double coat consisting of a thick and wiry topcoat, with a smooth and fluffy undercoat. This dog comes in three color patterns, including salt and pepper, black and silver, and solid black. An all-white Miniature Schnauzer is possible but is hotly debated among show ring enthusiasts.  

How Does This Miniature Schnauzer Compare To The Other Schnauzer Breeds?

What Kind Of Personality Does A Miniature Schnauzer Have?

This little dog loves to be the center of attention and has a big personality, despite its tiny body. Some owners even describe their pet Miniature Schnauzer as having a distinct sense of humor, always willing and able to get a rise and laugh out of his family members. The Miniature Schnauzer is loving, affectionate, and loyal to all family members, including adults and children.  

The Miniature Schnauzer is extremely intelligent and usually does very well at learning new tricks and behaviors. Unfortunately, their intelligence can also lend itself to a bit of stubbornness and an independent streak. Ultimately though, the Miniature Schnauzer only cares about pleasing his people and will comply with training as long as the owner keeps training interesting, new, and exciting.  

True to his lineage, the Miniature Schnauzer has plenty of spunk and always will display his terrier heritage in full display. This dog is an extrovert with plenty of energy. To the Miniature Schnauzer, everything is a game. With a jolly personality and affection for life, it makes sense that the Miniature Schnauzer does particularly well with children and will often play along with their games and antics.  

What Are The Grooming Needs Of A Miniature Schnauzer?

One nice attribute about the wiry, thick coat of the Miniature Schnauzer is the fact that this dog barely sheds. About once a week, only a regular brushing is enough to keep this dog looking great and will be enough to keep his shedding under control. While he only is a minimal shedder, this dog requires some high grooming maintenance.

A professional groomer must maintain the trademark wiry fur. The coat must be hand “stripped” to remove the dead and lifeless fur away from the healthy fur. The coat of the Miniature Schnauzer can also be clipped short to the body. For Miniature Schnauzers, a trip to the groomer is in order about every five to eight weeks to keep him looking good.  

Additionally, the Miniature Schnauzer will benefit from a bath about once a month to keep his fur healthy and clean. Be sure to keep the nails trimmed short, if not naturally ground down, by walking on rough surfaces, like the street pavement.

How Much Exercise Does A Miniature Schnauzer Need?

Although this is a small dog, it is a high-energy dog that will need exercise to keep him happy. The dog loves to have a fenced area where he is free to run and play. The Miniature Schnauzer is happy to run and socialize with other dogs or happily chase a ball in the yard. This dog will go for a long and vigorous walk next to his owner’s side or will happily partake in any outdoor adventure as long as his owner is near.  

This is one of the biggest barkers out of all the dog breeds. Many times it’s because they are frustrated or under-exercised. Know that if you don’t exercise your Miniature Schnauzer often and thoroughly, they may become habitual barkers.

It is important to remember that the Miniature Schnauzer was bred to hunt and continues to have a strong prey drive. Always be sure to keep the dog securely fenced or on a leash at all times. If properly exercised, the Miniature Schnauzer can adapt to urban life just as easily as rural life. The Miniature Schnauzer is happy to live in an apartment setting as long as he gets plenty of time outdoors each day to burn off some of his energy.

The Miniature Schnauzer is incredibly intelligent and is easy to train. This dog loves to learn new tricks and is eager to please its owner. Because of his fast intelligence, the Miniature Schnauzer will do particularly well at  agility and obedience competitions.  

How Long Do Miniature Schnauzers Live?

12-15 years

What Health Concerns Do Miniature Schnauzers Have?

Miniature Schnauzers are generally a hardy little dog. They don’t have the orthopedic concerns that many other small dog breeds have. In my veterinary practice, the most common issues I see in my Miniature Schnauzers include:

  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Pancreatitis
  • Obesity
  • Dental Disease
  • Heart Murmurs as they age

What Kind Of Food Is Best For Miniature Schnauzers?

This breed of dog has a special proclivity towards having too much fat in their blood. Even the most in-shape and active Schnauzers can have too much fat in the bloodstream. This can lead to chronic and acute pancreatitis and is one of the most common issues seen in this breed.

Because of this, the following food recommendations are only for Schnauzers who don’t have this condition. Also, know that grain-free dog foods are a myth. There’s zero science showing that they are helpful. In fact, there’s increasing evidence that it’s causing issues in certain breeds of dogs. Food allergies are the only reason to even consider a grain-free diet but only choose one with the help of your veterinarian.

Basic dog foods that I recommend include:

If your dog has hyperlipidemia (too much fat in the blood), you’re going to need a low-fat diet. Sometimes that can be accomplished with an over-the-counter diet (as below) and sometimes the condition is so bad it requires the kind of low fat content that only a prescription diet can provide. Your vet can help with food selection.

Over the Counter Weight Management Diets:

Where Can I Find a Miniature Schnauzer?

American Miniature Schnauzer Club Breeder List

Regional Clubs – check with a local club for a reputable local breeder recommendation

AKC Puppy List

Huge List of Approved Rescues By The American Miniature Schnauzer Club

Where Can I Find More Information About Miniature Schnauzers?

American Miniature Schnauzer Club

AKC Breed Page

Fun Facts About The Miniature Schnauzer

  • This little dog is regularly considered a hypoallergenic breed because they shed only very little. This characteristic makes them particularly attractive to people who suffer from allergies. Of course, always consider what you are allergic to with your dog. While the Miniature Schnauzer does not shed, he can still produce skin oil and dander, which can also trigger an allergic reaction.
  • One of the rare but possible coloration is an all-white Miniature Schnauzer. This color is extremely hotly debated between breeders and members of the respective breeding organizations. While there is nothing genetically wrong with an all-white Schnauzer, this color combination is not accepted in the American show rings. Other countries, like Germany, accept the all-white coloration in the Miniature Schnauzer, even in the show ring.
  • Evidence of the Miniature Schnauzer as a breed exists as far back as the 1400’s
  • All the Schnauzers were developed as a working breed. The Miniature was great as a farm dog taking care of little pests and rodents.
  • First officially recognized by the AKC in 1927
  • Famous owners of Miniature Schnauzers include Senator Bob Dole, Mary Tyler Moore, and Bruce Lee