10 Gentlemanly Facts About the Miniature Schnauzer
The miniature schnauzer may be small in size, but that doesn’t affect its big personality. Learn more about this tiny but distinguished looking dog.
1. THEY'RE NOT LIKE OTHER TERRIERS.
Photo courtesy Erika Berlin
Unlike the rest of the group, schnauzers come from Germany, instead of the British Isles. The terra in terrier means earth, meaning the dogs were bred to burrow underground when hunting small prey. Miniature schnauzers were not specifically bred for this line of work—though they were popular for ratting—so they lacked the aggression their fellow terriers might have exhibited at the time. The happy and friendly dogs have a different upbringing and bloodline than the other terriers, despite similarities in appearance.
2. THE NAME IS GERMAN.
Being bred in Germany led to a German moniker. Schnauze comes from the German word for muzzle, referring to the dog’s square snout and distinct facial hair.
3. THE MUSTACHE ISN'T JUST FOR SHOW.
Miniature schnauzers were farm dogs that were used as ratters, bred to hunt and kill any uninvited guests. The thick facial hair was sometimes matted down into thick armor that protected the canine’s face from any potential retaliation from its prey.
4. SEVERAL DOGS MAKE UP THE MINIATURE SCHNAUZER.
In the 1800s, breeders decided that a smaller schnauzer would be ideal for households. They bred the standard schnauzer with the poodle and affenpinscher to make a more compact version. By 1899 the miniature schnauzer was recognized as its own breed.
5. WIRE HAIR KEEPS THE DIRT OFF.
Miniature schnauzers have a thick, wiry double coat. It came in handy when they dug into the ground, as it naturally kept the debris off. And, as a bonus, they do not shed much, so they work well for owners who have allergies.
6. THEY HAVE GREAT HEARING.
Schnauzers were bred to hunt rats, so they rely on their keen sense of hearing to locate the vermin. Don't expect any disturbances to get past them: They can hear frequencies twice as high as humans.
7. THERE WILL BE SOME NOISE.
These little dogs have big voices. The canines use this vocalization to say hello, alert you of something they found, or to let you know how they’re feeling. They bark when they’re happy, sad, or just bored. An untrained schnauzer might keep an owner up at all hours happily barking away. That's why it's important to train your dogs early on that barking is an emergency-only activity.
8. GERMAN SHEPHERDS MAKE GOOD TEAMMATES FOR THEM.
Farmers would sometimes use a miniature schnauzer and a German shepherd as a protective team that could ward of predators and keep livestock safe. The miniature schnauzer’s excellent hearing and loud barking alerted the German shepherd when there was trouble.
9. THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO THEIR PERSONALITY.
Photo courtesy Erika Berlin
Sometimes miniature schnauzers can be bouncing off the walls, and the next they will be snuggling up to you for a nap. The excitable pooch enjoys runs outside and snoozes inside in equal measures.
10. SENATOR BOB DOLE LOVES HIS MINIATURE SCHNAUZER.
Bob and Elizabeth Dole are known for their love of dogs, and this fact was further illustrated when they threw a birthday party for their miniature schnauzer, Leader. The 13-year-old dog hosted 16 other canine friends, who had full run of the apartment. Talk about a barking good time.