What Do I Need to Know about Schnauzers?
Originally bred to be all-purpose dogs on German farms and work as ratters and guard dogs, Schnauzers are now highly popular in both their miniature and standard sizes. You’ll never be bored with a miniature schnauzer: they have oodles of personality and are always up for a good time. They’ll make you laugh every day with their quivering enthusiasm and low-key old man aesthetic.
They’re an excellent companion dog breed owing to their versatility, medium size, protective nature and love of family.
About Miniature Schnauzers
There’s a whole lot of heart in these tiny animals. They love to have fun and spend time with their humans, and are generally very extroverted with moderately high energy. Schnauzers are highly intelligent, and the miniature breed has a personality twice its size. Owners enjoy their loving nature, humour and extroverted temperament. If you live with a schnauzer, you’ll never be truly alone.
Schnauzers tend to have high energy levels and intelligence, though they can be somewhat territorial and stubborn. They’re the perfect breed for experienced dog owners who seek a guardian and best friend to share in adventures.
There are just a few things you’ll need to know if you’re thinking of adopting a miniature or standard schnauzer of your own.
Schnauzers Have Great General Health
You should only get a dog if you are confident you will be able to give them all the care they need for the duration of their life. Hip dysplasia and other genetic health problems can be major issues for certain dog breeds due to poor breeding practices. This means that dogs of these breeds will be at higher risk of developing those diseases, though it doesn’t mean it’s a done deal.
There are very few health problems that are especially common in Schnauzers. That said, annual tests for eye disease are recommended, and all breeding dogs should be x-rayed (radiographed) clear of hip dysplasia.
Think before you shop. If you buy from a breeder, be sure to request health clearances for both parents.
It’s worth keeping an eye out for symptoms of pancreatitis if you have a Miniature Schnauzer, and they can suffer from other health problems like allergies, epilepsy and diabetes. Their most common ailment is the formation of struvite, calcium oxalate and other types of bladder stones.
Schnauzers Are Highly Intelligent
Just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies, dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence and concentration — such as herding livestock — need to exercise their brains. From chewing to digging, intelligent dogs who don’t get the mental stimulation they need are likely to make their own work, and this will often involve projects you won’t like. Search and rescue and other dog sports and careers like agility, obedience training and interactive dog toys are a good way to give your dog’s brain a workout.
Sometimes stubborn in the way he thinks, the dignified Schnauzer has above-average intelligence and is inquisitive and creative. You’ll need to train these dogs with firmness and consistency, and it may take an equally creative and wily owner to stay a step ahead of him.
Hunting and exterminating rats and vermin was also the original role of the Miniature Schnauzer, who was bred down from the Standard Schnauzer for this purpose. They have the innate ability and lively personality to excel at this, even though ratting is more often the domain of terrier breeds. Although Miniature Schnauzers are not terriers, they are often referred to as terriers owing to their skill in the field.
Schnauzers Are Prone to Wanderlust
Free-spirited dogs can be a little hard to pin down sometimes. Even if it means leaving you behind, some dogs will simply follow their noses — or a particularly interesting prey animal that catches their eye. If you allow your dog to run off-leash in unfenced areas, the Schnauzer’s fearlessness and curiosity can become a dangerous combination.
Schnauzers Have Lots of Energy
Always ready and waiting for action, Schnauzers are very high-energy dogs. They have the stamina to put in a full workday owing to their original breeding as farm dogs. This means they are likely to spend lots of time investigating new smells and signs, jumping and playing, and will need a significant amount of physical and mental exercise.
To prevent them from using their energy in destructive ways, your Schnauzer will require adequate exercise every day.
For more information about living with a miniature schnauzer, check out Perfect-Pet’s Miniature Schnauzers: The Essential Guide which walks the owner through ‘essential things to know’ including: microchips; vaccinations; insurance; weight etc. All aspects of care are covered including: the Miniature Schnauzer as a puppy; the Miniature Schnauzer as a ‘teen-ager’; feeding and exercising and dangerous foods to be avoided.