by Doris Donnerman
(last updated August 17, 2009)
The Miniature Schnauzer (or Zwergschnauzer) is identical with the Standard Schnauzer, except for difference in size and slightly more variation in color. They are not the result, however, of the mating of Standard Schnauzers but of an outcross of Schnauzers to Affen Pinschers.
The Standard Schnauzers are, for the most part, pepper and salt in color. Among the miniatures pepper and salt prevails, but black coats appear frequently. The black sometimes has a tendency to be soft, a quality that breeders endeavor to correct and consider as having come from the black German Poodle, far back in Schnauzer ancestry.
The Schnauzer (the breed with a beard on the muzzle, the German word for muzzle being schnauze) was used extensively in Germany as a drover's dog, used to pull carts with produce from the farms to the towns, and guard them while there. He was used as well in working with sheep, cattle, and hogs and in doing all the duties of the regulation farm dog. He was also used as a rat catcher, and even in modem times German Schnauzer clubs hold periodic ratting trials in order to keep the Miniature Schnauzer a working breed, and not merely a show dog. The Miniature Schnauzer is an especially good ratter.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a robust, active dog with an alert, active disposition. He should be sturdily built, nearly square in the proportion of body length to height, with plenty of bone, less racy in outline than a Fox Terrier, and without any suggestion of toyishness.
In a general description the coat is usually hard and wiry, giving a slightly rough appearance. The color is usually pepper and salt or similar equal mixtures, light or dark, and including the red pepper, pure black and tan. The size should be from 11-1/2 to 13-1/2 inches for males and females.
The well-proportioned compactness of the Miniature Schnauzer probably has much to do with the popularity of the breed, although many fanciers will say that it is his excessively happy disposition and adaptability as a house pet. The Miniature Schnauzer still remains in the Terrier group, although the Standard Schnauzer, at the request of the Standard Schnauzer Club of America, was transferred from the Terrier to the Working group in July 1915. The Miniature Schnauzer remains in the Terrier group in America, but is not so classed in Germany or England.
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