Miniature Schnauzer: The Uber Terrier

Miniature Schnauzer looking perched on a fallen tree

They don’t have the word “terrier” in their name. They were first bred in Germany rather than more common terrier homelands of England and Scotland. And, in stark contrast to many terriers, they’re actually known for obedience.

Still, anyone who has ever lived with a Miniature Schnauzer knows that these spunky pups are terriers through-and-through.

With their bushy beards and prominent eyebrows, Miniature Schnauzers often have a humorously gruff appearance – an effect that is reinforced by their tendency to bark and put on a confident air.

In fact, with their families, Minis are very affectionate, playful, and loyal dogs. They also have tons of energy, making them less than a perfect match for someone with a laid back lifestyle.

Mini Schnauzers at a Glance

Size12-20 pounds
Life Expectancy12-15 years
Overall HealthGood
Grooming RequirementsMedium-High, depending on styling preferences
Exercise RequirementsHigh
Barking TendencyHigh
Digging TendencyLow
Good With Children?Recommended for older children only
Good With Other Dogs?Varies
Prey Drive/Tendency to ChaseHigh
Overall Terrier-tudeUber


Like other terriers, Mini Schnauzers have the confidence of a dog many times their size. However, unlike other terriers, they tend to be less confrontational with other dogs, and have an easier time on walks and at dog parks. That said, a lot depends on how much the Mini is socialized with other dogs in the first six months of its life.

Adorable Miniature Schnauzer puppy
Is there anything more adorable than a Miniature Schnauzer puppy?

Compared to other terrier breeds, Miniature Schnauzers tend to be more attentive toward the people in their family, and less outgoing with strangers. Some Minis form a strong bond with one person, and may become overprotective.

Miniature Schnauzers thrive on attention and positive reinforcement. They’re whip-smart, eager to please, and very trainable. If you’re willing to spend some time with a Mini, you can teach the dog all sorts of cool tricks.

Health Problems & Life Expectancy

The life span of a Mini is usually somewhere around 12-15 years. However, with luck and proper care, they can easily live beyond the upper end of that range.

Mini Schnauzer Puppy
With luck and proper care, Mini Schnauzer puppies can live long, healthy lives

The Mini is vigorous and naturally athletic, without a lot of health problems endemic to other breeds. One serious (though thankfully rare) problem the breed is susceptible to is Canine Juvenile Renal Disease.

Injuries are always a possibility with this breed as well. They’re more graceful than the short, tank-like terriers, but also less sturdy. They can hurt themselves, or get hurt by taking on a bigger dog.

Miniature Schnauzer running
Miniature Schnauzers are active, athletic… and occasionally too rambunctious for their own good.

Variations & Mixes

Miniature Schnauzers come in four different looks: black, white, salt-and-pepper, and black-and-silver.

With the purebred dog being so popular, it’s no surprise that there are also many half- and part-Schnauzers out there. Many of these dogs are deliberately bred as hybrids to combine desirable aspects of different breeds (just as the Mini was originally bred from the Standard Schnauzer and other, smaller breeds).

Here are some of the most common Mini Schnauzer mixes, with their corresponding designer breed names.

Breed Mixed With Mini SchnauzerResulting Designer Dog Breed
Airedale TerrierSchnairedale
American Eskimo DogEskimo Schnauzer
Basset HoundBowzer
Bichon FriseChonzer
Border CollieBorder Schnollie
Boston TerrierMiniboz
BulldogBulldog Schnauzer
Cocker SpanielSchnocker
DachshundMiniature Schnoxie
Doberman PinscherDobie Schnauzer
French BulldogMiniature French Schnauzer
Irish WolfhoundMiniature Irish Wolf Schnauzer
Lhasa ApsoSchapso
Miniature PinscherMiniature Schnaupin
Rat TerrierMini Ratzer
Shiba InuSchnu
Shih TzuSchnau Tzu
Soft Coated Wheaten TerrierSoft Coated Wheatzer
Welsh TerrierWowauzer
West Highland White TerrierWauzer
Yorkshire TerrierSnorkie

White Miniature Schnauzers

There’s some controversy over whether a white Miniature Schnauzer is a true Mini, or the result of genes being introduced from outside the breed. Some people have also argued that white Minis are actually albinos. However, both of these claims seem to be false, and in any case matter little to the many people who own these dogs as pets.

Teacup Schnauzers

If a Miniature Schnauzer isn’t miniature enough for you, you could look into getting a Teacup Schnauzer. Rather than being a separate dog breed, the Teacup Schnauzer is merely a Miniature Schnauzer that has been bred to be extra-small.

Unfortunately, the teacup dog industry is rife with bad breeding practices and ripoff artists. For ethical reasons, many reputable breeders don’t participate in teacup dog breeding. Before looking for Teacup Schnauzer puppies to bring into your home, be sure to read this article.

5 Terribly Interesting Facts About Miniature Schnauzers

The Miniature Schnauzer is a beloved breed with a unique background among terriers. Here are some interesting facts about these dogs.


The word schnauzer means “small beard” in German. It derives from the word schnauze, meaning “snout” or “muzzle.”


The Miniature Schnauzer may not have the same ancestry as other terrier breeds, but it was originally bred for the same purpose as many of them – ratting. German farmers miniaturized the Standard Schnauzer in the 19th Century to create a breed that specialized in catching vermin.


Some of the Mini’s feisty temperament may come from cross-breeding with the small, terrier-like Affenpinscher. In fact, the word Affenpinscher means “ape terrier” in German (the “ape” part being a reference to the dog’s unusual face). The Affenpinscher also figures in the development of the Brussels Griffon.

Black Affenpinscher dog on a leash
An Affenpinscher, or “ape terrier.”


It’s said that in the old days, Miniature Schnauzers were often teamed up with German Shepherds, as the two breeds complemented each other nicely. The Mini Schnauzer served as the watchdog, with its keen hearing and vocal nature, while the German Shepherd served as the guard dog. Together, they could effectively detect and scare off threats to livestock.


The Miniature Schnauzer is routinely among the most popular dog breeds in the United States, according to AKC registration data.

Owning a Miniature Schnauzer

With its handsome looks and people-pleasing personality, the Mini Schnauzer makes a wonderful family pet. They’re equally happy sitting in your lap or running by your side. However, they’re definitely not suited to everyone.

Here are a few important facts to consider before getting a Mini:

Energy Level. Miniature Schnauzers range from energetic to flat-out hyper. Younger dogs in particular need lots of exercise to keep that energy from being expressed in destructive ways.

Picture of a Miniature Schnauzer behind bars
Minis have an energy level that can be difficult to contain

Shedding. Great news for people with dog allergies. Healthy Minis shed very little (though it’s not quite correct to say they don’t shed at all). The breed is generally classified as hypoallergenic.

Barking. Minis are very vocal, barking not only when they’re agitated, but when they’re happy (such as when their owner returns). This makes them effective watchdogs, but they can also be extremely annoying.

Grooming. Keeping a Mini in perfect show condition requires a lot of work, including regular hand-stripping of its wiry topcoat. However, it’s safe to say that most Mini Schnauzer owners simply have the dog clipped. Even then, extra trips to the groomer may be required to maintain the classic bearded Schnauzer look. Also, the dog’s undercoat is silky and gets tangled if not brushed on the regular.

Miniature Schnauzer with beautiful, groomed coat and long beard
It takes some work to keep a Mini looking this good.

If you’re interested in buying a Mini Schnauzer, you can find reputable breeders in every part of the country. You can also find plenty of irresponsible people attempting to sell this popular breed. Be sure to do your research and support someone who takes proper care of the dogs and will sell you a healthy animal.

Another great choice is to adopt a Mini Schnauzer. Sadly, a lot of people underestimate how much exercise and attention these dogs require. As a result, a lot of Minis wind up at shelters and rescue operations. The only thing “wrong” with these dogs is that they had the misfortune to wind up in the care of someone who didn’t understand them.