Miniature Schnauzers, like their larger cousins, the Standard Schnauzer and the Giant Schnauzer, had their 19th century origins in the German Pinscher breed, also called the standard Pinscher. Early standard Pinscher litters included both smooth-coated and coarse-haired pups. Breeders separated the coat types to establish the standard Schnauzer as a distinct breed. Later, small standard Schnauzers were crossed with Affenpinschers to create a miniature Schnauzer. Once used as ratters, these dogs today are primarily companions. They retain many of their original Terrier characteristics. They are suited to owners who desire a loyal, fearless, intelligent, and energetic companion - and who can establish that the human, not the little dog, is the pack leader.
Affectionate, cheerful, and playful, Miniature Schnauzers nonetheless make excellent watchdogs. They are alert and protective of their homes and families and will bark when they detect an intruder or when anything in their world seems out of place. Miniature Schnauzers originated as farm dogs, and they retain their love of country spaces with plenty of room to run, but the adaptable little dogs can be equally at home in small city apartments. These dogs quickly adapt to any change in living conditions or climate.
Socialization and Training
Highly intelligent and eager to please, Miniature Schnauzers learn quickly and are easy to train. Nonetheless, like other dogs, small as they are they will take charge if they sense their owners are not being leaders. It is important to firmly establish yourself as calm and in charge when training and interacting with your Miniature Schnauzer. Socialize your Miniature Schnauzer early and often, and join training groups and classes appropriate to the size of your dog.
Miniature Schnauzers are sturdy, lively dogs who can roam and run for extended periods without tiring. They love to dig in the yard and to play, especially when their owners play with them. These high-energy dogs are curious about the world around them and eager to explore. They need daily walks or jogs, preferably long, brisk outings rather than brief sprints down the block. Miniature Schnauzers who do not get daily walks or other exercise are likely to display behavior problems or dominance issues.
Interacting with Humans
The American Kennel Club describes the Miniature Schnauzer as “consistently cheerful.” Devoted to their homes and their families, Miniature Schnauzers aren’t likely to stray. With their happy personalities and fondness for children, they make ideal family pets, as long as they are properly socialized and know humans are the leaders. They are affectionate, and they crave interaction with their human families, following their owners around the house and sleeping in their beds. They tend to be one-person dogs, choosing one family member as their favorite and becoming that person’s devoted companion. However, they also enjoy the company of their other human companions. Miniature Schnauzers want to participate in every aspect of their human family’s daily life, making them good traveling companions.
Interacting with Animals
Miniature Schnauzers are friendly to other dogs and do well in multi-dog households. They are typically not dog-aggressive, but Miniature Schnauzers will defend themselves if confronted, without regard to the size of the other dog. Their Terrier origins endowed them with a strong drive to hunt and chase, and they will chase any small animal who crosses their path. Because of this strong pursuit drive, Miniature Schnauzers should be leashed on walks and kept in a securely fenced yard when they are outdoors off-leash. Take care when you take your Miniature Schnauzer into a home with small pets such as birds or hamsters, which your little companion dog is apt to regard as prey. Introduce your Miniature Schnauzer to smaller animals in the home gradually and with constant supervision.