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Miniature schnauzer laying in grass.

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Terrier group (American Kennel Club)
  • Height — 13-14 inches
  • Weight — 10-18 pounds
  • Coat length & texture — Medium coarseness double coat
  • Coat color — Black, black and silver, or salt and pepper are the standard breed colorings of the mini schnauzer. Puppies are typically born with the coat colors they will have as adults.
  • Exercise needs — Average
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Frequent barkers
  • Life span — 12-15 years
  • Temperament — Friendly, loyal, obedient
  • Hypoallergenic — No, but their low shedding and drooling make them a good option for owners with allergies
  • Origin — Germany

Miniature schnauzer fun facts 

👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male Miniature Schnauzers Max; Charlie is the 2nd most popular male name. Meanwhile, most of our users with female Miniature Schnauzers love Bella, then Luna.

  • A popular pup. Miniature schnauzers are the most popular of the three schnauzer breeds, according to the American Kennel Club.
  • Furry friend of the stars. Actors Bruce Lee and Mary Tyler Moore and the late Senator Bob Dole are among the celebrities who have owned miniature schnauzers.
  • Unique classifications. A miniature schnauzer is classified as a terrier by the American Kennel Club, while the larger standard schnauzer is in the working group.
Miniature schnauzer portrait

Miniature schnauzer temperament and characteristics 

Miniature or mini schnauzers are an extremely popular breed that is intelligent, eager to please, and playful. These sturdy companions are highly alert and make exceptional watchdogs, but their loving natures also make them an excellent small breed for families with young children. Mini schnauzers do just as well in both urban and rural environments and can easily adapt to apartment living or a large fenced-in yard.

Miniature schnauzers can do very well in a home with other dogs, though it’s recommended to introduce them to new dogs when they are puppies. Their fearless natures and spunky personalities can make for a bit of a learning curve if new pups are introduced to the home when your mini schnauzer is an adult dog. Early socialization and puppy training classes can help your miniature schnauzer learn the tools they need to be comfortable around other dogs.


The Miniature Schnauzer is a small, sturdy dog with an alert and attentive appearance. It has a hard, wiry coat that can come in various colors. According to AKC breed standards, the coat colors are salt and pepper, black and silver, and solid black. All shades of salt and pepper are acceptable, from the light to dark mixtures with tan shadings permissible in the banded or unbanded hair of the topcoat. We teamed up with FidoTabby Alert, and according to their database, a common coat color for the Miniature Schnauzer is (69%) black. 

Common miniature schnauzer health problems 

Miniature schnauzers are generally a healthy breed and are fortunate to have long lifespans. But as with any dog breed, it’s good for pet owners to be aware of certain health issues mini schnauzers may face.

  • Cataracts. Miniature schnauzers are prone to developing cataracts, which are clouded lenses in the eye that causes blurred vision and potential blindness. Cataracts can only be corrected through surgery.
  • Hyperlipidemia. Canine hyperlipidemia refers to elevated levels of lipids (or fats) in the bloodstream. This condition shows no obvious symptoms but can be diagnosed via blood tests at your annual vet visit and is treated with medication.
  • Pancreatitis. A condition that causes inflammation of the pancreas, symptoms of pancreatitis include lethargy, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. Acute pancreatitis usually may resolve if treated promptly by a vet, but chronic pancreatitis is a lifelong condition.
  • Urinary stones. Urinary or bladder stones in dogs are hardened minerals that form into small rock-like shapes in the bladder. They must be treated by a vet immediately and can be removed with surgery or sometimes dietary dissolution.

Cost of caring for miniature schnauzer

Miniature schnauzers are adorable companions that can add so much love and joy to your family. But with every pet comes financial considerations. If your miniature schnauzer develops cataracts, surgery is the only way to remove them. The average cost to diagnose and treat cataracts is $2,700-$4,000. If your mini schnauzer develops bladder stones, the cost to treat and/or surgically remove stones ranges from $1,300-$2,800.

Considering pet insurance is a great strategy to help offset medical expenses for your furry friend. Securing a plan early ensures dog owners get the most benefit from their pet insurance. No matter your financial needs, dog owners will want to make sure they budget well for pet costs through every stage of their dog’s life. Starting a pet savings account can also help in financial planning for your miniature schnauzer.

Miniature schnauzer on the beach

History of the miniature schnauzer

The Zwergschnauzer or miniature schnauzer first made their debut in the mid-to-late 19th century Germany. “Zwerg” is German for “dwarf,” and “schnauzer” means “beard.” Crossbred between standard schnauzers and smaller breeds such as poodles, affenpinschers, and the miniature pinscher, the mini schnauzer was bred as a guard dog and ratter on German farms. While the small size of the miniature schnauzer allowed them to be expert rat catchers on the farm, their main purpose now is to be an adorable lifelong companion to their humans.

The first miniature schnauzer breed club was formed in 1895 in Cologne, Germany. While the breed was at risk of being lost during the World Wars, the miniature schnauzer managed to surge in popularity after World War I, and was eventually brought to the United States. The American Kennel Club recognized the miniature schnauzer in the terrier group in 1933, unlike its larger companion, the standard schnauzer, that’s part of the working group.

At one time, the mini schnauzer ranked third of the most popular dog breeds in the American Kennel Club. Standing in the 18th position today, miniature schnauzers have stood the test of time for their popularity.

Caring for your miniature schnauzer

You’ll have plenty of new activities for your to-do list when a miniature schnauzer joins your squad. You can help ease the stress by preparing for your furry friend before their arrival. Be sure to puppy-proof your home before bringing your dog in the house, and get tools to help with your pup’s teething. Also, schedule your first trip to the vet for your puppy’s vaccinations. And while it’s no fun to think about losing your new best friend, FidoAlert provides a free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared just in case they wander off.


Miniature schnauzers need daily moderate exercise to keep their mental and physical health and well-being in great shape. These little dogs are spunky and smart and love spending time with their humans. Because they are highly intelligent, teaching your mini schnauzer tricks is a great way to stimulate them mentally and help them get their daily exercise. While their small size and short stature don’t make for a good running companion, mini schnauzers love long leisurely walks every day. Miniature schnauzers do have a strong prey drive, so unless they are in a securely fenced-in yard, your dog should always be on a leash.

Miniature schnauzers playing outside


Miniature schnauzers do require a bit more care than other small dogs in terms of grooming. Their medium-length coat needs daily brushing to look its best. Mini schnauzers have a double coat, which includes a wiry topcoat and soft undercoat. Mats can easily form in these types of coats if they are not groomed regularly.

If you plan to show your mini schnauzer, they’ll need to be professionally stripped by hand. If your dog is just your furry bestie, monthly grooming will likely suffice. Miniature schnauzers also should receive regular nail trimmings and their ears should be checked and cleaned for dirt or excess wax.

While the miniature schnauzer is sometimes labeled a hypoallergenic breed, it’s important to note no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic. A dog considered hypoallergenic simply means that they shed less, thus have less of an effect on people with dog allergies. Allergic reactions occur due to the protein found in a dog’s dander, hair, and saliva.

Diet and nutrition

Miniature schnauzers do well on a diet of high-quality dog food. On average, an adult miniature schnauzer eats ½ cup to 1 cup of food per day, usually spaced out over two meals. These small dogs love to eat, so be careful not to overfeed them as they can easily become obese.

Be sure to consult your veterinarian regarding your pup’s food portioning, which may be unique depending on your dog’s needs. How active your dog is, as well as their age and build can cause their dietary needs to vary. Treats are an excellent training and bonding tool, but should be given sparingly to prevent excessive weight gain.

Training your miniature schnauzer

This very bright and lively breed is an excellent learner and is eager to please their humans. Mini schnauzers do tend to get bored with repetition, so keeping training sessions interesting and fun will be the most effective way to train your pup.

Training sessions should begin for your miniature schnauzer as soon as you bring them home. Enrolling in a puppy class is an excellent option to get your miniature schnauzer socialized early on. Always train your pooch with positive reinforcement and lots of praise to help prevent them from developing anxiety or other behavioral issues later.

Miniature schnauzer outside wearing a harness

Breeds similar to the miniature schnauzer

Not quite sure that a miniature schnauzer is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Brussels Griffon. Smaller than even the mini schnauzer, this breed runs from 5-12lbs., but is in no way lacking in personality. Brussels Griffons are better suited to a home without children.
  • Kerry Blue Terrier. Slightly larger than the miniature schnauzer, the Kerry Blue Terrier is known for its signature blue coat and is an adaptable and loyal companion.
  • Giant schnauzer. Actually only clocking in around 90lbs., the “giant” schnauzer is a larger breed with more energy than its miniature counterpart.

Frequently asked questions

Are miniature schnauzers good pets?

A miniature schnauzer’s loyal and loving demeanor makes them a wonderful companion to a family with or without children and other pets.

Do miniature schnauzers bark a lot?

Mini schnauzers are prone to bark more than other breeds. Because they are natural watchdogs, this quality is very difficult to train out of them.

Are mini schnauzers high maintenance?

In terms of grooming, miniature schnauzers do need more maintenance than other breeds to maintain their signature look. They do best with daily brushings and a haircut every few months.

Can miniature schnauzers be left alone?

Miniature schnauzers are very trainable and can be comfortable being alone, though it’s best to always leave them with a toy or bone to keep them busy.

Are there any special training considerations for those considering a miniature schnauzer?

Because miniature schnauzers are excellent guard dogs, they may be wary of strangers and more guarded. Training your pup and making sure they are well socialized with other humans and dogs will help with this issue.