Dog breed: Miniature schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers first appeared in Germany in 1899. It is thought that these early individuals were crosses between the Affenpinscher and small Standard Schnauzers. Through selective breeding, the shorter face and other Affenpinscher-like qualities were eliminated while keeping the ideal size, thus producing a dog that looks just like the larger Standard Schnauzer, but in a smaller package. In the 1920’s, Miniature Schnauzers began to appear in America.

It is unclear exactly why these early breeders wanted a smaller version of the Standard Schnauzer, but it is theorized that the Standard Schnauzer’s temperament made them a good companion dog, but their size was not suited to smaller living quarters. By producing a smaller version of the Standard Schnauzer, they could bring their companion indoors, where they were used as ratters, keeping vermin out of the houses and barns a valuable service in the pre-pest control days.

The American Kennel Club sets the standards by which all pedigreed dogs are measured. Each breed has a “breed standard,” which outlines exactly how the breed should look, act, and perform. According to the AKC breed standard, the Miniature Schnauzer should be between 12 and 14 inches tall. It is a robust dog, not toyish in appearance, and resembling its larger cousin, the Standard Schnauzer. It is nearly square in proportion body length to height. The coat is a double coat, meaning that there is a soft undercoat, and a hard, wiry outer coat. It does not shed, and therefore, is a good pet for the allergy sufferer. The three accepted colors are salt and pepper, black and silver, and solid black. Any other colors such as white, liver or parti are not accepted under the breed standard and are disqualified from showing.

The ears are often cropped for show to accentuate the rectangle face; however, most pet dogs are left with natural ears, which should fold over close to the skull. Most pet and show dogs are given docked tails at about three days old by a veterinarian. At this age, the nervous system is not fully developed and the puppies recover quickly from the ordeal. Some countries have banned ear cropping and/or tail docking, and dogs in those countries will be shown with natural ears and/or tails.

Grooming the Miniature Schnauzer is something most owners can learn. Due to their non-shedding coat, the Miniature Schnauzer requires grooming every six to eight weeks to maintain the neat and classic Schnauzer

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