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Breed - Miniature Schnauzer 

The Schnauzer is of German origin. He can be recognized in pictures almost back to the 15th century. The Miniature Schnauzer is related to the Giant and Standard Schnauzer. He is deriving from the Standard Schnauzer, most likely from mixing small Standards with Affenpinschers and Miniature Pinscher. As a breed the Miniature Schnauzer goes back as early as 1899.

Today's Miniature Schnauzer is an elegant dog in FCI Group 2 (USA: Terrier Group, UK: Utlility Group). It's a wonderful breed that has all the attributes of a big dog in a small body. They are sturdy dogs that are strong, healthy, loving and very people oriented. A miniature schnauzer offers the most wonderful companionship to the whole family. He is very trainable and bright with a naturally happy temperament.


Breed description in  Gattersdorfer Gazette 2/2008


History

We do not know enough to define exactly how the breed originated, but it seems that it developed more or less during the last decade of the nineteenth century. Originally known as a Pinscher, the name Schnauzer came from the German word "Schnauze", which means snout. The word was used because of the heavy whiskers on the muzzle. First the Standard Schnauzer was developed, mentioned already in the in the first volume of the Pinscher-Schnauzer Zuchtbuch in 1879. The first Miniature Schnauzer registered in the PSZ was Jacco Fulda LILIPUT, whelped December 6th, 1898. In early illustrations, Jacco Fulda LILIPUT doe not differ very much from the illustration of "Fritzle", which was an Affenpinscher.

Several other breeds may have played a part in the development of the Miniature Schnauzer as well. It was still an experimental period at the turn of the century, with various crosses being made to improve certain characteristics. The occasional appearance of parti-colors in pure-bred litters of Miniature Schnauzers gives rise the the theory that Fox Terriers may have played a role as well. In the beginning of the breed there were several cases where puppies from the same litter were registered, some as Miniature Schnauzers, some as Miniature Pinschers and even some as Affenpinschers.

In Switzerland and in the Tirol of Austria, archeologists found parts of skeletons of dogs, whose descendants were found all over Europe in later years. One special variety was the so called "Stallpinscher" (Stable Pinscher), which lived on farms in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. He was a rough coated and sturdy guy. No one can really say, when this little fellow appeared for the first time. He was mainly used as a guard dog, protecting mail carriages on their long ways through the woods. This small Pinscher was making long distances, loyal trotting along the horses.

The strong and fast biting teeth of the "Stallpinscher" and his brave nature made him a very useful guard dog against bandits. To get rid ot this dog, one had to shoot him. The word of his strong sense for duty and loyality soon spread around and made him famous. He even found his way on paintings by famous Renaissance artists like Cranach, Rembrandt and Vernet. In the stables, the "Stallpinscher" was also used for catching rats, which gave him the nick name "Rattler".

Around 1930 the Giant Schnauzer boomed, but after the second World War the Miniature Schnauzer took lead and left even the much liked Standard Schnauzer behind him. Since 1950 breeders continuously work on the improvement of this breed, with the goal to give the Miniature Schnauzer all the benefits of a small breed, but none of its faults. In the US, the breed has long found its way into the top of the most liked breeds. 

 

                                      Development of the Pinscher-Schnauzer Breeds

Origin: "AKC Gazette, Jan. 2003, Vol 120, No.1"


Temperament

On appearance alone, the Miniature Schnauzer deserves the popularity he enjoys. It is however his lively, inquisitive character that launched him e.g. in the US into the top ten ranking among all breeds in recent years. The Miniature Schnauzer is big enough to really be a dog, and small enough to share your comfortable chair. Most people will select this breed for its total livability. A good one is by nature alert, friendly, intelligent, vigorous and, most important, long-lived.

The Miniature Schnauzer is of terrier outline with the same beauty of balance and with the typical style and spirit. But in all other respects, this breed has a distinct individuality from the other members of the Terrier Group. Miniature Schnauzers have the same spirit and showmanship of most terriers, but are much more responsive to their owners wishes and they are noted for great intelligence. They do demand human companioship and have great devotion.

Miniature Schnauzers have great stamina and in fact, will show no signs of illness until they are quite sick, and then they are fighters and will not give up. The responsiveness and intelligence of Miniature Schnauzers makes them ideal for obedience work, enhanced by the fact that they love to please their owners. 

The Schnauzers intelligence expresses itself in many ways. One look into his face is to sense his ever-active mind and fun-loving personality. The learning capacity of the Miniature Schnauzer is proverbial, and limited only by the patience of the teacher. Schnauzers learn quickly as a rule, and in time can be taught almost anything a dog is capable of learning. The only requirements are firmness, repetition, patience and, above all, KINDNESS.

Frequently called "the dog with the human brain", their reasoning faculties are uncanny. Whereas most breeds think in doggy way, Schnauzers react in a much more human fashion, and in a way we humans can better understand. Schnauzers are, in fact, pathetically dependent on human companionship and understanding. Without it they bcome mistrustful and dull. Once a Schnauzer makes up his mind about his owner, he seldom changes his idea of worth. When closeness is achieved, he gives you his full devotion and from that point on your moods and your commands are his chief concern.

Although Miniature Schnauzers are quick to adapt, they love a routine. The typical companion takes pride in knowing, practically before you do, what your next move will be. Schnauzers have good memories and will recognise friends after a long time. As he is not a jealous dog, he will gladly share his people with others, both human and canine, and even give space to the family cat. Although not known essentially as a one-man dog, his full devotion is usually for one person, after which he includes the immediate family in various gradations of affectionate regard. Schnauzers seem to understand children, are infinitely gentle with them, and will delight them for hours with their clever antics without becoming impatient or intolerant. Children who are taught to handle them properly will particularly enjoy their whimsical character.

Miniature Schnauzers are not by nature aggressive, as are some of their terrier cousins. They should however be relatively fearles. Once mature, the Schnauzer has a strongly developed territorial instinct. He is an ideal guard dog and he defends vocally rather than physically.

There is a meaningful difference between being quick to defend and quick to attack. A good Schauzer will bark at anyone who may appear a threat to his home. He barks until the caller leaves, if you are not at home, or until you arrive on the scene. Once you are there, he accepts that you are in control of the situation and is silent. For all his boldness, the Miniature Schnauzer will display a natural kindness and charm for those who show themselves as friends.

Schnauzers are not random, incessant barkers. They are discriminating and intelligent guard dogs that assume this duty naturally. Too intelligent to be argumentative, they are positive thinkers, know their territorial rights, and will defend them.

Basically, the Schnauzer disposition is sweet, loving and loyal, but he is not at all subservient or overly sensitive. People who want a lie-at-your-feet type dog, or one that is aloof, would not enjoy a Miniature Schnauzer. Wanting your affection, he may climb into the middle of your newspaper or put his head under your arm with a prodding motion. It would never occur to him that you might be too occupied to pet him. A great sense of self is one of his most endearing qualities.

Schnauzers enjoy the outdoors in all kind of weather. This need to be a part of their local surroundings should be satisfied. They enjoy long walks, and in pairs will run lively races with each other. Usually they like to swim, too. On the other hand, they exist quite happily on a moderate amount of exercise, and therefore are an excellent breed for the city dweller. The Schnauzer kept mostly indoors would be happiest when provided with a window or door from which to view the world outside. The elastic, elegant and strong gait of a Miniature Schnauzes givey you an impression of his strenghts. Wide reaching front legs and hind legs with an excellent thrust give the move of this breed a strong drive. The strong back, joints and tendons make the Miniature Schnauzer very resilient. Maybe not as a companion for long hard rides, but definitely as a good partner for jogging or nice family rides.

Wheather a dog or a bitch, the Miniature Schnauzer rates high as a totally reliable companion. A lot of dog owners might think that bitches are more affectionate, quieter and more obedient than a dog. With the Schnauzer in fact, the general temperament is much more important than the gender. Dog and bitch are both most loveable.

A wire-coated breed such as the Miniature Schnauzer loses most of its distinction and charm if not kept in a neat, well-groomed state. This is almost a basic requirement, and only those who are conscious of these needs should consider owing a dog of the breed. The wire hair of the Schnauzer coat is not at all like human hair. It grows for a certain period, and to a particular lenght and then dies. It does not immediately shed, as in many breeds, but tends to cling half-heartedly until it is pulled out in the grooming process. Althoug there will be regular visits at the dog groomer, it pays back to get oneselve familiar with the process. This makes it much easier to keep the dog in shape in between visits.

Good health and good character should always come first in selecting a companion dog, but if you are particularly conscious of the physical attributes of a breed and are interested in a future involving in showing and breeding, you will want ot understand what a good Miniature Schnauzer should look like.

(find more about the Miniature Schauzer in the book "The New Miniature Schnauzer" by Dan Kiedrowski)

Rassebeschreibung in der Gattersdorfer Zeitung 2/2008