Miniature Schnauzers: What’s Behind the Mustache?


There’s quite a bit of history behind the schnauzer breed’s ‘stache, as it turns out. Miniature schnauzers are often considered more passive than their fellow terriers, but the early ancestors of the breed were required to be a tad aggressive. Schnauzers originated in Germany as farm dogs that kept rats from scurrying into food supplies, and their facial hair was an important defense against any rodents they encountered. After World War II, miniature schnauzers’ popularity rapidly increased in the U.S. Today, the miniature schnauzer has left its barn days behind and transitioned to the more passive, yet equally rewarding role of family companion.

Shapes and Sizes

This breed’s wiry coat makes weekly combing a necessity. Clipping, or styling, the coat is recommended, as it smoothens the wiry texture. Both male and female miniature schnauzers are typically 12-14 inches tall, weighing between 11-18 lbs. Cousins of the miniature schnauzer include the less common standard-sized schnauzer, which can average 25-40 lbs., and the giant-sized schnauzer, which can weigh up to 85 or 90 lbs. The American Kennel Club only officially recognizes black, black and silver, and salt and pepper as the three variations of coat colors for the miniature schnauzer, but some white and wheaten coat variations also exist.

Scotty and Dawn Robin’s miniature schnauzer, Ava, is an example of the black and silver coloring.

Personality Traits

Miniature schnauzers are typically more submissive than most other terrier breeds. They are also considered very intelligent, and they are eager to please their owners by mastering a new trick. With their lovable, extroverted personality, miniature schnauzers get along well with children and other dog breeds. These dogs are known to love to bark, so training is often necessary to teach them to keep their barking to a minimum.

Beau Vanover demonstrating a miniature schnauzer’s more mischievous side.

Health Issues

With a typical long lifespan of 12-14 years, miniature schnauzers have relatively few health problems commonly occurring among the breed. That said, many do seem to experience eye problems, like cataracts or retinal dysplasia, which occurs when the retinal tissues do not form correctly. They can also sometimes contract mycobacterium avium infection, a bacterial infection related to tuberculosis. Most miniature schnauzers have sensitive stomachs, so owners should avoid table food and only feed their pets high-quality dog food. Like any canine, this breed requires some form of exercise – whether that’s a walk on a leash or a jaunt through a pasture – to maintain its overall fitness and happiness.

Fun Facts

  • The word ‘schnauzer’ comes from the German word for ‘snout’ or ‘small beard,’ referring to the breed’s distinguishing mustache.
  • Rapper 50 Cent owns a miniature schnauzer – and her name is Oprah.
  • The scruffy, yet lovable character of Tramp, from Disney’s 1955 animated classic Lady and the Tramp, is speculated to be some sort of schnauzer mix.

Enjoy some more photos of Jax and Beau Vanover below!






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