Miniature Schnauzer Trupanion Dog Breed GuideMiniature Schnauzer Trupanion Dog Breed GuideMiniature Schnauzer Trupanion Dog Breed Guide

Miniature Schnauzer

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Miniature Schnauzer Breed Highlights

Miniature Schnauzer sitting outside in the grass looking around

  • The name Schnauzer comes from the German word for snout or muzzle (Schnauze), highlighting the breed’s iconic square muzzle and a long beard.

  • While every other breed in the Terrier group has roots in the British Isles, the Miniature Schnauzer was developed exclusively on the European continent, so they have a different temperament and lack other physical traits that are seen in other terriers.

  • Miniature Schnauzers have a double-coat, but they don’t shed much. Many allergy-sufferers find them to be a great choice for a pet, but take note — no dog is truly free of allergens. It’s important to spend time with a dog to determine any allergies to dander or saliva, as well as to their coat.

  • Their best breed buddy is the German Shepherd. When the Miniature Schnauzer was used on farms to help herd and guard livestock, they worked in tandem with the German Shepherd, acting as a scout. Schnauzers have excellent hearing and would alert the larger guard dog to the threat.

  • When used as ratters, the Schnauzer’s beard was often allowed to tangle and mat, so it formed a protective shield around the face, keeping biting rodents from exacting revenge.

  • Miniature Schnauzers have been a favorite breed of many celebrities and public figures like Bruce Lee, Bob Dole, Doris Day, and even Usher.

Unique Physical Features

Miniature Schnauzer dog illustration

  • Expressive eyebrows

  • Long, square beard

Unique Personality

Miniature Schnauzer black dog illustration 

The Miniature Schnauzer is a sweet and entertaining dog, with a spunky and opinionated personality. Whether it’s bouncing around or relaxing with their humans, they’re always willing to be the center of attention. They love their people fiercely and are eager to please, making them incredibly trainable. While mostly outgoing, they make excellent guard dogs because of their extraordinary hearing and willingness to announce someone’s approach. While they’re a part of the Terrier group, the Miniature Schnauzer breed is the only terrier not developed somewhere on the British Isles. Instead, it was developed solely in Germany. As a breed, their temperament is often a bit gentler and more outgoing than the British, Scottish, and Irish terriers that were bred for their fiery tenacity and independence.

Preferred Lifestyle

Energy Level

dog energy level - high (tri-athlete)

With Kids

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Labs are known to do very well with children.

With Other Pets

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Having other pets in the household is just fine with Labs. Be sure to socialize Lab puppies with other animals to set them up for success.


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They do best in a home with a yard and active family but can adapt to city life if they’re given appropriate outlets for their energy.

Average Lifespan

12 to 14 years

Average Size

10 - 18 pounds
11 - 14 inches tall

Breed Group


Similar Breeds

  • Standard Schnauzer

  • Giant Schnauzer

  • Affenpinscher

  • Kerry Blue Terrier

  • Brussels Griffon

  • Border Terrier

History of the Miniature Schnauzer

A grey-colored Miniature Schnauzer standing outside in the grass looking ahead

The Miniature Schnauzer is a more petite version of its larger cousins, the Standard Schnauzer and the Giant Schnauzer. These larger versions were used in Germany for centuries before the emergence of the Miniature breed, typically for cart-pulling, herding, and livestock guarding. While the larger Schnauzers were depicted in German art as far back as 1492, it wasn’t until the late 1800s that the Miniature Schnauzer really made its debut. Breeders selectively bred the smallest of the standard size with breeds like the Affenpinscher, Poodle, or Miniature Pinscher to obtain the miniature-sized puppies. The first exhibition of Miniature Schnauzers was in 1899, and the breed quickly spread due to its versatility and temperament.

Changes Over Time

While not much has changed in the breed standard in the 120 years since the breed burst onto the scene, the cropping of Schnauzer puppies’ ears has fallen out of favor. The cropped ear is usually only seen in Schnauzers bred for the show, and the practice is becoming less common as the show standard now allows natural ears.

US History of the Miniature Schnauzer Over Time

Miniature Schnauzers made their way across the Atlantic to the United States in the mid-1920s. Many American-bred Mini Schnauzers can trace their lineage back to one of the four imported from Germany in 1924. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1926 and it has been a consistently popular breed, even cracking the top 3 at one point.

Miniature Schnauzer Behavior and Training

The Mini Schnauzer was bred as a versatile farm dog who could work in the fields, hunt vermin, and other pests, or act as a guard dog for livestock. Due to their continental lineage, they tend to have less intense training “drives” (tendencies for certain reactions to stimulus such as prey) and are less independent than the other breeds in the terrier group. Their compact bodies and agile movement made them excellent ratters during the 19th century, but their sociability and love for being with people helped them wiggle their way into more of a companion role.

Plays Well with Others?

  • Miniature Schnauzers are usually outgoing when meeting new people, but they might act protective of their owner if they perceive a threat. Proper proactive exposure to new sights, sounds, people, dogs, and other animals as a young puppy is essential for their socialization skills.
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Pair meeting new people or animals with high-value training treats or a favorite toy, and keep introductions short and sweet so it doesn’t get overwhelming.

  • This breed usually does well with children, especially older children that respect their space and don’t manhandle them. They just need to be properly socialized from puppyhood, and the children taught how to correctly interact with a dog. Young children and dogs should always be supervised, and it’s helpful for a dog to have their own “safe space” where they can go when they need some quiet time.

  • When it comes to animal buddies in the home, it’s once again all about socialization. As long as they have been properly socialized and introduced, Mini Schnauzers can enjoy and benefit from the companionship of other animals.
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Exercise Requirements

This lively breed needs lots of exercise to keep fit and trim — and burning excess energy helps prevent behaviors like excessive barking, digging, or destructive chewing. A couple of daily walks will do wonders, and if properly trained and conditioned for it, a Miniature Schnauzer can make an excellent jogging or running partner. They are quite playful, so playing games like fetch or tug-o-war is another excellent way to exercise a Schnauzer.

Mental Enrichment Needs

Mental enrichment is important for Miniature Schnauzers, which helps to keep them entertained and prevent unwanted behaviors. You can keep their brain sharp by teaching new tricks, attending obedience classes, joining a dog sport, and providing dog puzzles and interactive toys.

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Harness this breed’s natural instinct to chase prey by investing in a “flirt pole” — a dog toy that looks a lot like a fishing pole with a dog toy attached to the end of the rope. Not only does this provide incredible mental enrichment and physical exercise, but it’s also allowing for their ratting instincts to be expressed in a positive way.

Activities Miniature Schnauzers Enjoy

Miniature Schnauzer puppy illustration

Miniature Schnauzers enjoy and excel in a variety of activities:

  • Barn Hunt

  • Earth Dog

  • Small Dog Agility

  • Rally Obedience

  • Fly Ball

  • Canine Freestyle

  • Trick Training

  • Nose work

Miniature Schnauzer Coat Type

Miniature Schnauzers have a double coat that has a soft undercoat and a wiry outer layer. They are minimal shedders but do require regular grooming to keep the coat at a manageable length and free of mats and tangles. Mini Schnauzers are seen in four different colors: salt and pepper, black and silver, black, and white. However, the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club do not recognize white as an acceptable color in Miniature Schnauzers, as this color was never seen in the Standard or Giant versions of the breed and might be a result of crossbreeding with other small breeds.

Shedding Level

dog shedding level - 1 of 5 piles of fur

1 out of 5 piles of fur

Grooming Requirements

  • Weekly Brushing
  • Regular Bathing
  • Professional Grooming Required
brush with bubbles

Mini Schnauzers are easily recognized by those expressive eyebrows and their long, square beards. It’s the beards that need constant attention — if they are left unbrushed they will become matted quite quickly, although when this breed was used as a ratter during the 19th century its matted beard formed a protective shield against retaliating vermin.

If left to grow long, a Schnauzers wiry coat will grow two to four inches long and need daily brushing, but most owners prefer to keep the body clipped short (which gives it a soft and smooth feel), leaving a bit of a skirt and fuller-looking chest and legs to match the facial hair. You can also strip their coat, which is a more intensive all-over grooming technique where the dead fur is pulled by hand or with a stripping tool, although this is more often done on show dogs than pet Schnauzers. A Miniature Schnauzer should see a groomer every 5 to 8 weeks to keep their coat in tip-top shape.

Introducing your Schnauzer puppy to the grooming experience from a young age and in a positive way will make their lifelong grooming needs a breeze.

Best Brush for Miniature Schnauzers: Slicker brush, Pin comb

Famous Owners of the Miniature Schnauzer

  • Simon Pegg (Actor)

  • Liza Minnelli (Actress, Singer)

  • Keyshia Cole (Singer)

  • Sugar Ray Leonard (Boxer)

  • Katherine Heigl (Actress)

  • Janet Jackson (Singer)

  • Mary Tyler Moore (Actress)

  • Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward (Actor/Philanthropist, Actress)

  • Dennis Basso (Designer)

  • Avril Lavigne (Singer)

Non-Endorsement Statement: The social media posts displayed here do not imply any endorsement of these people or products, nor does it imply they endorse Trupanion or our product.

Common Health Conditions for the Miniature Schnauzer Breed

Use the chart of Trupanion claims data below to find out what health conditions happen most frequently for Miniature Schnauzers. Every Miniature Schnauzer is unique, but understanding what health conditions are likelier to occur can help you be a more prepared pet owner.

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Trupanion member Kelly


Groton, CT

Condition: Sarcoma

The Trupanion policy paid: $18,522.39

"My golden Kelly was young when I found a softball-sized lump on Kelly’s left hind leg. Four weeks straight of radiation, six rounds of chemo and checkups every three months, including x-rays and full blood panel were needed. Because of Trupanion, I didn’t have to address the biggest deciding factor that most people face—can I afford this? I can honestly say Kelly is alive today because of the financial support Trupanion provided."

- Lori

Trupanion member Axl


Ontario, Canada

Condition: Pneumonia, Hip Dysplasia, Lameness

The Trupanion policy paid: $2,084.01

"At two, our German shepherd Axl was diagnosed with pneumonia. Trupanion took care of all our financial concerns. At four, his hip issues led to pain medications, rehabilitation and rest, which all resulted in improved pain-free movement. I’m so grateful that we chose a plan that not only covers the cost of his treatment but also any physical therapy or rehabilitation he may need."

- Nanette K.

Trupanion member Bella


Ellijay, GA

Condition: Cushing’s disease, tumor, cruciate rupture

The Trupanion policy paid: $15,283.83

"Bella was treated for Cushing’s disease and a pituitary tumor with radiation therapy. Had we not had insurance for her, the decision for her medical care would have been more difficult, as each treatment was expensive. However, because we have Trupanion, these decisions were easier. Rather, we could focus our attention on her treatment and recovery instead of the financial impact these procedures would have on our family."

- Jason P.

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