“ Animal Species: Dogs „
When I got my own house almost 2 years ago, I knew that eventually I would get a dog. When my parents next door neighbour got a miniature schnauzer puppy, I was so taken by how cute it was that I did a little research and decided that that would be the breed I would go for.
Miniature Schnauzers originated in Germany in the 19th century, and were developed from crosses between the Standard Schnauzer and breeds such as Poodles and Affenpinschers.
They comes in four colours - black, salt and pepper, black and silver, and the rarer white. They can grow up to 14 inches high, and weigh up to 15lbs.
Lookswise, they have stocky little bodies, and their outer coat is wiry while their coat underneath is softer. Generally they are described as 'non-shedding' breeds. I have asthma, so this was one of the factors of me getting a miniature schnauzer, as they are said to be good for people with allergies. I have never really been affected by dog hair but I knew that living with one full time might be a different story, so I had to be cautious. To say they are non-shedding is not strictly true - once their hair gets to a certain length, you will find that some of it will shed. However, if you keep their hair clean and groomed, you should not, in theory, have any problems with allergies. I find that the only time my asthma/allergies are affected is if my dog hasn't had a bath for a while, and in those cases it is more likely general dust, dirt, pollen etc in his hair affecting me as opposed to the hair itself.
Anyway, in January I managed to find a breeder nearby whose bitch had just had a litter of puppies. As soon as one of the male pups was handed to me, I fell in love and put down a deposit right away (after making sure the breeder was legit, and I was able to see the mother). I visited him twice more before finally taking him home at 8 weeks old.
I named my puppy Sawyer after the character from Lost. He is 11 months old now and steadily growing out of the mischevious puppy phase; however as I have found out, miniature schnauzers are by their nature, very mischevious! I would say that they have more unique little personalities than any other breed of dog I have come across.
Here is a wee rundown of the things I have noticed about this funny little breed:
1) They are very protective, very much devoted to their owners and the people they love. For example, when my mum feeds my baby nephew, Sawyer will often lie down at her feet as if he's being a little guard dog.
2)... this protectiveness does mean that they can get a bit 'barky'. A lot. If anyone comes to the door or walks past the window, you can bet that Sawyer will run around like maniac barking as if to tell me something's up and/or tell the 'intruder' to go away.
3) Their bark is loud. Shockingly loud and piercing given their relatively small size. This can be annoying, I won't lie - however as a single woman living alone, woe betide any burglar who tries to get in. I hope they're not wearing earmuffs ;)
4) They are very inquisitive (nosey). I can't so much as blink without Sawyer noticing. They will follow you about the place and never take their eyes off you for a second.
5) They make the strangest wee 'roo' noises when happy or excited. Or walk around making low grumbly noises if they're moaning about something.
6) They do become devoted to you, and so *can* get upset if you leave them, howling etc. This also stems from them getting bored easily, so you will need lots of toys and chews to help stimulate their brains.
7) They are very cheeky and mischevious. Don't leave anything lying around or you may find a miniature schnauzer running off with it.
8) They can cope with not being walked every day as they do love to sleep, however be prepared for them having mad half hours, where they run around the living room in circles; head down and tail between legs.
9) They have silky white hair on their legs, fluffy eyebrows, and little white beards. They do require brushing daily, and you will need to take them to the groomers around every 8 weeks to upkeep their look. However they do look fantastic when they are brushed, and this prevents matting.
I have become a big fan of this breed since getting Sawyer. I have a 5 year old niece and a 6 month old nephew, and Sawyer is wonderful with both. They do like to play and can get rough sometimes, but this can easily be kept in check. Of course I wouldn't leave any dog alone with children, but I trust Sawyer implicity with the kids - the worst he has ever done is pull the sock off my nephew's foot and run away with it!
I see a lot of these little dogs around nowadays, and while I would recommend this breed, please do note that their popularity does sadly mean that puppy farmers have started breeding them a lot. If you are considering getting a dog, please, please research the breeder thoroughly before giving them money. You should always be able to see at least one parent with the litter, and you should be able to go to the breeders home rather than collecting the puppy at a random 'meeting point'.
Thanks for reading!
I have a miniature schnauzer, she is nearly three now. Before I got her I did a lot of planning and reasearch on different dog breeds. I needed a small, obediant, lovable dog. because I live in a smallish house in the city, it was very important that I picked the right dog for me. When I got my schnauzer, the breed was'nt that popular, but it has got more common to see them around now. I got her when she was eight weeks old at the start of January 2009. When I saw her I just knew she was the right dog for me, she was very small and cute, but I suppose all puppies are! I was very excited as I had been longing for a dog for a few years, I now finally had one, I just wanted to get home and play with her.
She was very nervous when I got her home and out of the little cardboard box she travelled in. I tried to play with her but she was to scared to play back I think. That night she got a bit more tame, I was very pleased she had now settled in more. I felt very mean that night leaving her in the dark in the card board box!
after a week or so she was settled in and it was as if she had been living with me for weeks. I could'nt bring her on her first walk as she needed to get her booster enjections, but when she got them and came out with me for the first time, she hated it as it was snowing very heavily!!!
Now as she is older and bigger ( not much bigger, she is a very small dog) she thinks she is the boss of the house. Miniature schnauzer's have great energy and keep you on your toes, she now loves her walks and one good walk a day is more than enough exercise.My schnauzer hates being left on her own, though this may be different for other dogs as from a young age she had company all day long. Mini schnauzers love attention and being rewarded, they are fairly easy to train and are very obediant. schnauzers are good around children, though they may not trust you completely untill they know you better. Scnauzers are the perfect dog for people with allergies as they do not shed, but this may bring up one problem, they need groomed often.To groom my schnauzer i brush her every few days with a normal dog brush, this stops tats appearing. I have to clean out her eyes aswell every few days as they get bleary because she has a lot of fur around the eyes. To get a miniature schnauzer's haircut is pricey, but done right makes them look very distinctive as it brings out their features best such as eyebrows,legs etc.
I am a Schnauzer nut, I own both a mini and a giant both are AMAZING dogs - if you are seriously considering a dog then you may well have to find reasons why you shouldn't get one rather than why you should as far as I am concerned they are compact strong little bundles of fun & mischievousness with the most hilarious personalities and a lot of love to give.
Okay so a little about the stats first of all.
Miniature Scnauzers are the smallest of the three types of Schnauzer (Giants, Standards and Miniatures) and although small they are not in the toy group and are definitely different from small toy dogs such as pekingnese, Shih tzu etc in that they are not yappy but are a scaled down version of the standard so instead of being a typical small breed they are more like a medium breed that has got shrunk in the wash.
The Mini is often described as robust and they are certainly that, they have a squareness about them with flat backs you could rest a pint glass on and nicely proportioned legs, neck and head so they are very able to go for a good run or a full days walk. They are also a very hardy breed and are not prone to any illnesses save for inherited eye problems which should not be a problem if you purchase your dog from a reputable breeder who would have had your puppy checked.
They were originally used in Germany for two purposes - 1) ratting (you can still see from the breed now that they are more than happy to give chase to something small and fluffy- thankfully our ragdoll cat is now boss of the house although my mini did think when he first met the small ball of fluff that we had brought a lovely toy for him to play with!
2) They were used in the back of travelling salesmens carriages to protect the wares - they used minis due to their excellent guarding combined with the benefit of a very small size. (This is still a very useful feature of the mini as they are excellent at detecting what to bark at - my other dogs happily bark at any movement whereas I only really take notice when my mini barks because he always gets it right. I also know a lot of older people who have plumped for the mini based on their brilliant guarding skills yet you are getting a very small easy to care for dog).
The minis come in 4 colours - Pepper and Salt is the grey/white as you see in the pic here and is the most common, black & silver, black and white although white is not recognised within the kennel club.
They have the most amazing double coat which consists of a wire hair coat and a soft hair coat, neither of which coats moult.
This makes them Hypo-allergenic so they are perfect for anyone in the house who has an allergy or anyone who wants to visit or any new members of the household - you never know if your new partner or baby is going to have an allergy so why not get a dog that does not lose hair?
The tricky bit then is that because their hair literally keeps on growing you need to have them clipped or stripped.
Stripping should only be done if you are showing your dog as it requires hairs to be painfully plucked out of your dogs coat and is a requirement for a show (not sure I agree with that one!) whereas clipping is basically using a hair clipper very similar to that of a mans hair clipper which goes through the dogs coat at different grades. Other parts such as the eyebrows are shaped using scissors.
This needs to be done every 4-8 weeks using a professional dog groomer. I learnt to do this myself which saves money and you can buy dog clippers which are quiter and vibrate less than mens clippers along with all the other tools on the internet.
If you do decide to do this yourself you either need to do a lot of research or go on a course because schnauzers look amazing with a great hair cut and rather odd with a bad one, it's all about showing off their square features and their proud little bodies!
Personality wise - where do I start?
One of the funniest things about them is that they talk. Not barking but talking, they make this strange noise from the back of their throat when they are happy and make a very bad mouthed grumbling noise when you send them to their beds. Mine also does a constant snapping his mouth open and closed with no sound coming out of it when he wants to go toilet or when he wants to go for a walk.
It is hard to explain because it is unique to their breed but it is very endearing and entertaining, you certainly can't get bored of them.
They are very funny and cheeky although they seem to see themselves as very big dogs with a heart of a lion they are very brave and protective of you and the family.
They ADORE children which was the biggie for me, having 3 kids I want a dog that naturally loves children rather than just gets on with them and my little one loves nothing more than when he is with them. He is also very gentle and despite the fact that he has had the babies grab his beard (schnauzers are rather proud of their beards) he goes into freeze frame and looks up at me trying to catch my eye so I can rescue him. This is a trait from all schnauzers not just mine and it really is a lovely one.
They are naturally wary of strangers although when they realise they are a friend want lots of love.
They can be very stubborn and go 'deaf' when it suits them, when I call the dogs and he doesn't want to come because he is busy having fun he does a very slow motion walk, you get the distinct impression he is tutting at me.
They have little odour for a dog, to me that is really important - I can't stand dog smell when I go to someones house and it is something no one ever tells you about their breed you have to meet the bred and live with it before you realise but they are low on odour.
The other plus points you never really hear are that they can hold their bladders very well for longer periods of time than a large dog, they physically and mentally grow up a lot quicker than a larger dog - ie mature at 1 whereas a large dog is about 3 yrs. The males are apparently nicer temperaments than the females although I really can't comment on this (but I am getting a bitch very soon so maybe I can add this to the update!)
Well I hope I have done the Mini justice, they really are an Amazing breed suitable to all ages, families, couples and individuals. The only thing I would say is they do have big big hearts and are now bred to be companion dogs and because of this they really do need and deserve some one with them for most of the day. I am not aware if there are any particular breeds which are happy to be left for the entire day every day but the Mini certainly isn't one of them. They love to be by your side, are ready to jump in to your car before you get the car keys and will keep you entertained and give you lots of love so long as you are happy to acknowledge they have very big personalities.
We have a 3 year old miniature Schnauzer called Maisie.
She is the life and soul of our family. We decided to get her after we had to give up our 2 year old dalmatian Pongo. He was too big and kept knocking me off my feet when i walked him. We loved him to bits but we found a good home for him with 2 lovely police officers.
Maisie is a petite dog who is very loving but very hectic. She loves walks but does pull on the lead. We are training her with this at the moment and seems to learn very quickly. On an hour long walk she will only pull for the first 5 mins.
We have a 2 year old daughter and her and Maisie are the best of friends, however maisie does get the raw end of the deal sometimes. Olivia (our daughter) will tease Maisie like mad but she never gets snappy or grumpy. (We never leave Olivia and Maisie alone together!) She is so placid and if Olivia is annoying her then she will get up and move out of her way.
Maisie barks at squirrels and birds in the garden but not constantly. She gets excited about visitors to the house and runs around like a maniac but quickly calms down.
She doesn't not moult so i'm not cleaning up hair all day long.
All in all a brilliant little dog.
Our family has a 18 month old Miniture Schnauzer called Molly and she is the perfect family dog. Molly is a fantastic family dog that everyone falls in love with. She is very affectionate and kind. Everytime you see her she comes running up to you bounding with her tail wagging and she will never fail to cheer you up.
We choose to keep her fur longs so she has curly fur and is scruffy. Other owners can have them groomed to make them look very proud and happy.
Her temperment is very good and she would never hurt a sole but she barks at alot of people. She will stand at the window and bark until the person comes into the house. We have been told this is because she loves attention, and she does. Molly will always come up to you and cheer you up. Sometimes she barks at people who come in but stops soon after.
She likes walks but doesn't have a long one, she is happy and exercised after a half an hour trip and will then retire for a rest. Molly also always wants to play but will be happy if you are tired and she will leave you alone after awhile. She never turns away food and will always be happy with anything.
Overall, Molly is an excellant family pet and a great dog.
We share our household with a female Miniature Schnauzer called Biscuit. Her personality and traits have perhaps been shaped by her unfortunate past. She was rescued from a breeder who subjected her to serious neglect. Biscuit therefore may not share all of the specific characteristics of her breed. However I will tell you a little about her and a little about the Miniature Schnauzer in general.
The Miniature Schnauzer, or the Zwergschnauzer, was initially bred in order to produce a smaller version of the standard Schnauzer. Some say that it was bred using only the smallest specimens of the larger standard Schnauzer, whereas others say that it was a result of crossing the standard with other smaller breeds such as the Affenpinscher. The latter is considered the most plausible.
The Miniature Schnauzer has a very distinct look. It's fur is grey and white with striking black markings around the nose and eyes. The fur grows longer at the eyebrows and nose, giving the appearance of a moustache. Although a miniature breed it is by no means a toy sized dog. The Miniature Schnauzer is muscular and sturdy and in my opinion just the right size. The average size of this breed is 13" for a bitch and 14" for a dog.
The average lifespan of this breed is 14 years and a typical bitch will produce a litter size of around 3-5 puppies. It does not shed it's coat (another great characteristic!) and due to its high standards of hygiene it will not need excessive grooming.
It is a contented breed which is not destructive when left alone. It is also said to have the best temperament of the three breeds, the other two being the standard and the large Schnauzer. With it's excellent character and temperament it therefore makes the ideal family pet.
Biscuit has made a wonderful addition to our family, which apart from my husband and I also consists of our 10 month old baby son and our pair of Siamese cats. She has never growled or chased after our cats, or indeed any others in the garden. She has responded to the inevitable tug at her fur from our son with a simple lick on the hand and a tentative step backward. Biscuit spends most of the day either sitting at my feet or perched on the settee as I often pop her there when my son is on the move.
When choosing a dog as an addition to a family it is very important to choose one with a good temperament. I would most certainly recommend this fantastic breed to anyone.
I had never heard of a minature schnauzer before I met my current girlfriend. When she told me she had one, my response was a very unenthusiastic "Er, what's that?" But then I met Bonnie. She really is such an affectionate and cute dog that you can't help but fall in love with her. Her incredible energy and love of people is amazing. She never fails to cheer you up.
When I first saw her, she came bounding over to me with her tail wagging and her beard blowing in the wind. She jumped up all over me as if she had never seen a human being before in her life. I later found out that this is her standard greeting to all people.
The appearance of a minature schnauzer can vary greatly, depending on what style the owner decides to have. If you leave their fur grow, they will look scruffy, cute and playful. But you can also have then groomed or clipped to make them appear proud and handsome. Personally, I prefer the first option, but then again I'm probably bias.
Their temprements are generally very good. The minature schnauzer is getting more popular and you see quite a few of them about now, and I've yet to see a hint of aggression. The only problem I have witnessed in regards to Bonnie's temprement is her intolerance towards children. She barks constantly at them but this is not down to the breeding, it probably relates to an incident earlier in her life. She may also feel jealously towards the children; as if they are stealing attention from her. However, she has never 'gone for' a child, even when in close proximity. She just barks.
They are an energetic breed but due to their small size, they can be satisfied with decent walks. They require a lot less exercise than a breed such as a beagle, which is of a similar size but far more athletic than the minature schnauzer.
They are also natural guard dogs and can initially be wary of guests but once they see he is not a threat they will be warm and friendly.
Some would say that the minature schnauzer would attack small animals, but that has not been the case with Bonnie. She has lived peacefully with two guinea pigs and a rabbit and has not harmed them.
In my experience the minature schnauzer has made an excellent companion. They are loyal, loving and certainly turn heads when walking down the street. Bonnie is a very alert, nosy little dog. She is not fussy with food and will pretty much eat whatever you give her. However, grooming is required to make sure the hair doesn't get out off control and they shoul be bathed every few weeks to get the beard clean.
All in all, the minature schnauzer is an excellent pet for anyone. They are obidient, loyal and intelligent dogs that will never leave your side.
They really are great little dogs.