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Miniature Schnauzer

Our guide to the breed

My ideal owner | Exercise | Temperament | Health | Appearance | Cost | History

Key facts

Height: 33cm – 36cm

Weight: 6 – 7kg

Life Expectancy: 14 years

Exercise Needs: Medium

About Miniature Schnauzers

Hey there! I’m a Miniature Schnauzer. I may be small, but I’m no lapdog. I’m a high energy pooch who loves to play so you’ll need to get used to throwing my ball! I can be a little feisty with strangers or other dogs but if you make sure I’m well socialised as a pup and I’ll grow out of it quickly. I love to be with my humans, whether we’re out on a walk or watching TV on the sofa – I’ll be with you at every step.

My Ideal Owner

I get on with all sorts of people, but my stubborn nature means I’m best suited to experienced owners who can work with me on their training. I’ll adapt well to most home environments as long as I get the exercise I need every day – otherwise you might find me causing chaos to relieve my boredom!

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Active lifestyle

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Homes without gardens

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Experienced dog owners

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Committed to training

Temperament

There’s all sorts of personalities amongst Miniature Schnauzers – some of us are friendly, whilst others are more shy, some of us are independent whilst others are reliant. It all comes down to our experiences, especially in our early years.

On the whole though, we’re pretty fun loving pups. We love to play and like to be in the centre of the action. We are intensely loyal and will make sure we alert you to any strangers with our loud bark. At the end of the day we love to snuggle up with you and get plenty of belly rubs.

Health

Whilst many of us lead completely healthy lives, there are a few conditions that we are more prone to. Many of these can be tested for when we are puppies, so make sure you discuss them with any breeder you are looking to buy a puppy from.

What is urolithiasis?

Uroliths, commonly known as bladder stones, occur throughout the urinary tract, including the kidneys. 

Bladder stones can be a painful condition for your dog. If bladder stones are not treated there is a risk of blockages in the urinary tract 

How is it diagnosed?

Dogs with urolithiasis may show a few different symptoms including:

    • Straining to urinate
    • Blood stained urine
    • Painful abdomen

If your dog shows any of these symptoms you should visit a vet immediately. They will conduct a thorough physical examination and take a urine sample for testing. They may also use x-rays or ultrasound to locate the bladder stones. 

What are the treatments?

Treatments for bladder stones will depend on the location and size of the stones, as well as any immediate concerns your vet may have about blockages.

If stones are causing a blockage in the urinary tract, surgery may be required to remove them. 

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

What is progressive retinal atrophy?

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is the term for a group of inherited diseases that affect your dog’s vision due to the deterioration of certain cells in their eyes. It can lead to night blindness, and eventually complete blindness.

How is it diagnosed?

It can be difficult to diagnose PRA in its early stages. If vision loss is suspected, your vet will look for sluggish responses to light from your dog’s pupils, and unusually dilated pupils. They will usually then refer you to a specialist to confirm the diagnosis using an ophthalmoscope or electroretinogram (ERG). Genetic testing for PRA is also available to identify carriers of the disease.

What are the treatments for PRA?

There are currently no effective treatments for PRA. In some rare circumstances your vet may recommend surgery to prevent the retina from detaching.

If you find out your dog has PRA, the most important thing you can do is to help them transition into blindness confidently and comfortably. Consider the arrangement of furniture and other hazards in your household and keep them on a lead when outside the home in an unsecured environment.

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

What is Cushing’s syndrome?

Cushing’s syndrome is a condition caused by excessive cortisol (a hormone) in your dog’s blood stream.

The excess production of cortisol is usually stimulated by a tumour or group of overactive cells in the pituitary or adrenal glands.

Occasionally, Cushing’s syndrome can be the result of use of steroid based treatments for other conditions over a long period of time.

How is it diagnosed?

There are a range of symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome – your dog may not display all symptoms. If you notice any, make sure you consult your vet as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis.

    • Increased thirst
    • Increased urination
    • Increased appetite
    • Pendulous abdomen
    • Hair loss
    • Lethargy
    • Muscle wastage
    • Obesity
    • Excessive panting
    • Pigmentation of skin in areas of hair loss
    • Thin skin

Your vet will carry out blood tests to confirm the diagnosis and recommend an effective treatment plan.

What are the treatments for Cushing’s syndrome?

Treatments vary depending on the type of Cushing’s Syndrome your dog has. Your vet may recommend:

    • Surgery to remove tumours
    • Lifelong medication and monitoring
    • Discontinuation of steroid based treatments

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

What is intervertebral disc disease?

Intervertebral disc disease is a condition that commonly affects dogs with a long back and short legs. It occurs when a disc in their spine ruptures or herniated, leaking its contents and causing inflammation and pain. 

How is it diagnosed?

There are a number of symptoms that could indicate that your dog has intervertebral disc disease. If you spot any of these symptoms, you should visit a vet immediately to confirm the diagnosis.

  • Stiff neck
  • Back pain
  • Crying, especially when handled
  • Shivering
  • Reluctance to run and play
  • Inability to walk or an abnormal gait
  • Paralysis
  • Partial loss of movement or weakness

To diagnose the condition, your vet will perform a thorough physical exam. They will be likely to recommend further testing including:

  • Neurological examinations
  • X rays
  • Myelography
  • MRI or CT Scans

What are the treatments for intervertebral disc disease?

Treatment for intervertebral disc disease will be recommended based on the severity of the condition and what is best for your dog. It can include:

  • Medications
  • Rest
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Weight management

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

What is dry eye?

Dry eye is a condition that results from the lack of normal tear production. The affected eye becomes dry, red, and sore, and can often become infected.

Dry eye can be caused by a variety of issues including autoimmune problems, disease, side effects of medication, hypothyroidism, and diabetes.

How is it diagnosed?

The symptoms of dry eye included conjunctivitis, redness, or soreness in the eye. You should visit your vet as soon as you notice any symptoms.

Your vet will carry out a basic ophthalmic exam and may conduct a simple test to measure the production of the tear ducts. 

What are the treatments for dry eye?

The most common treatments for dry eye are eye drops or creams that may stimulate natural tear production and supplement artificial tears. Other types of eye drop may also be used to treat infections as a result of dry eye.

In the most severe circumstances, your vet may recommend surgery carried out by a specialist ophthalmic veterinary surgeon. 

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

What are cataracts?

Cataracts occur when part of the eye becomes cloudy. This can cause your dog to have blurry vision. They can become thicker and denser over time, potentially leading to blindness if left untreated.

How are they diagnosed?

If your dog’s eye starts to look cloudy, you should consult a vet. They will conduct a full examination of the eye and be able to confirm the diagnosis and treatment plan.

What are the treatments for cataracts?

For many dogs, treatment won’t be required, or recommended by your vet. They will be able to recommend strategies for helping your dog adapt to their differing vision and monitor them closely to ensure they do not develop glaucoma.

Surgery is an option for some dogs with cataracts. This will be carried out by a specialist ophthalmic surgeon who will usually remove the lens.

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, an organ responsible for producing digestive enzymes and hormones such as insulin.

It is a relatively common condition that affects all dog breeds. Miniature Schnauzers appear to be more prone to the disease.

Pancreatitis can either refer to the painful swelling of the pancreas or the bleeding of the pancreas. Both can cause significant pain to your dog.

A number of factors are believed to be responsible for pancreatitis, including obesity, infection or a weakened immune system.

How is it diagnosed?

If your dog is having an attack of pancreatitis, they may have a fever, vomiting or have blood stained diarrhoea. They will usually also have acute abdominal pain – look out for your dog adopting unusual positions to try and ease their pain and a reluctance to let you touch their abdomen.

If you notice any symptoms, make sure you visit your vet immediately. They will assess your dog’s symptoms with a physical exam. They may also run blood tests or take x-rays to look for inflammation.

What are the treatments for pancreatitis?

If your vet suspects your dog is having an attack of pancreatitis, they will usually recommend that nothing is given by mouth. Your dog will be put on a drip to keep their fluid levels normal. 

Your vet may also recommend antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

What is Schnauzer comedo syndrome?

Schnauzer comedo syndrome is a condition unique to Schnauzers that causes wart-like bumps to appear on your dog, usually down their spine. 

The bumps are not contagious or harmful but can cause your dog some discomfort and should be assessed by a vet.

How is it diagnosed?

If your dog is affected, you’ll notice the small bumps appearing on your dog. Sometimes they may be filled with pus, ooze fluid, have a black centre or a crusty appearance. You may also notice your dog’s skin condition and coat deteriorating or your dog itching more than normal.

If you notice any symptoms, take your dog to the vet to confirm a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Your vet will carry out a physical examination and may take a skin biopsy for testing.

What are the treatments for Schnauzer comedo syndrome?

There are a variety of treatments for Schnauzer comedo syndrome – your vet will often recommend that you use these in conjunction with one another. They include:

    • Topical treatments such as medicated creams and shampoos
    • Antibiotics to treat resulting skin infections
    • Constant monitoring for the rest of your dog’s life

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

Exercise needs

Medium

I’ve energy by the bucket load so you’ll need to make sure I get plenty of exercise each day to keep me happy and healthy. When it comes to canine sports I’ll put my hand to all sorts, but I excel at earth dog trials – after all, it’s what I was bred for!

Get your dog’s tailored exercise goal by downloading the free PitPat app

Appearance

I’m known for my distinctive beard and narrow snout – in fact, the word ‘Schnauzer’ can mean colloquially ‘moustache’ in German. I’ve got a sturdy body, a high set tail that I often curl over my back, and bushy eyebrows.

I come in a few key colours, all variations of my trademark black and silver. I have a wiry coat and a dense undercoat, so I need regular hand stripping to keep me looking neat and tidy. I barely shed and have little dandruff, so I’m a great choice for those with mild allergies – but you will need to keep me well groomed to help preserve those qualities.

You can learn how to groom me yourself but many of my owners like to leave it to the professionals. You’ll need to make sure that my beard, eyebrows, and legs are regularly trimmed and tidied, and never shave my coat.

Colours

Salt and Pepper

Black

Black and Silver

Lemon and White

White

Grooming needs

Regular professional grooming

Daily brushing

Hypoallergenic?

Yes, depending on the severity of your allergies.

Costs

One off costs

£2073

This includes the average cost of a puppy, and all the gear they will need, like their collar, bed and grooming tools.

Ongoing costs

£24 per week | £103 per month | £1238 per year

This includes your ongoing costs such as insurance, food, toys, and standard veterinary care, but not dog sitting, training or veterinary costs not covered by insurance.

History

Us Miniature Schnauzers were originally bred in Germany in the 19th century. Some people think that we are the result of breeding the smallest Schnauzers together, whereas others think we are the result of crossbreeding with smaller breed, like the Affenpinscher. Either way, it’s clear that our breeder wanted a smaller dog that resembled the Standard Schnauzer and inherited their even temper and intelligence.

Back then, our primary function was as a ratting dog on farms, but we were also put to work herding and acting as a guard dog – we’re a multi-talented bunch!

These days, we’re at home being a beloved companion to our people – most of us aren’t used as farm dogs anymore.

Miniature Schnauzer in forest

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