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Breed Standard Of The Miniature Schnauzer As Outlined By The American Kennel Club and Approved By The American Miniature Schnauzer Club



The Official Breed Standard for the American Miniature Schnauzer



The Miniature Schnauzer is a robust, active dog of terrier type, resembling his larger cousin, the Standard Schnauzer, in general appearance, and of an alert, active disposition.
Faults: Type – toyishness, ranginess or coarseness.


Size – From 12 to 14 inches. He is sturdily built, nearly square in proportion of body length to height with plenty of bone, and without any suggestion of toyishness. Disqualifications: dogs or bitches under 12 inches or over 14 inches.


Eyes – Small, dark brown and deep-set. They are oval in appearance and keen in expression.
Faults: Eyes light and/or large and prominent in appearance.

Ears – When cropped, the ears are identical in shape and length with pointed tips. They are in balance with the head and not exaggerated in length. They are set high on the skull and carried perpendicularly at the inner edges, with as little bell as possible along the outer edges. When uncropped, the ears are small and V-shaped, folding close to the skull.

Head – Strong and rectangular, its width diminishing slightly from ears to eyes, and again to the tip of the nose. The forehead is unwrinkled. The topskull is flat and fairly long. The foreface is parallel to the topskull, with a slight stop, and it is at least as long as the topskull. The muzzle is strong in proportion to the skull; it ends in a moderately blunt manner, with thick whiskers which accentuate the rectangular shape of the head.

Faults: Head coarse and cheeky.

The teeth meet in a scissors bite. That is, the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth in such a manner that the inner surface of the upper incisors barely touch the outer surface of the lower incisors when the mouth is closed.
Faults: Bite – Undershot or overshot jaw. Level bite.


Neck – Strong and well arched, blending into the shoulders, and with the skin fitting tightly at the throat.

Body – Short and deep, with the brisket extending at least to the elbows. Ribs are well sprung and deep, extending well back to a short loin. The underbody does not present a tucked up appearance at the flank. The backline is straight; it declines slightly from the withers to the base of the tail. The withers form the highest point of the body. The overall length from chest to buttock appears to equal the height at the withers.

Faults: Chest too broad or shallow in brisket. Hollow or roach back.
Tail – set high and carried erect. It is docked only long enough to be clearly visible over the backline of the body when the dog is in proper length of coat. A properly presented Miniature Schnauzer will have a docked tail as described; all others should be severely penalized.
Fault: Tail set too low.


Forelegs are straight and parallel when viewed from all sides. They have strong pasterns and good bone. They are separated by a fairly deep brisket which precludes a pinched front. The elbows are close, and the ribs spread gradually from the first rib so as to allow space for the elbows to move close to the body.
Fault: Loose elbows.

The sloping shoulders are muscled, yet flat and clean. They are well laid back, so that from the side the tips of the shoulder blades are in a nearly vertical line above the elbow. The tips of the blades are placed closely together. They slope forward and downward at an angulation which permits the maximum forward extension of the forelegs without binding or effort. Both the shoulder blades and upper arms are long, permitting depth of chest at the brisket.

Feet – Short and round (cat feet) with thick, black pads. The toes are arched and compact.


The hindquarters have strong-muscled, slanting thighs. They are well bent at the stifles. There is sufficient angulation so that, in stance, the hocks extend beyond the tail. The hindquarters never appear overbuilt or higher than the shoulders. The rear pasterns are short and, in stance, perpendicular to the ground and, when viewed from the rear, are parallel to each other.
Faults: Sickle hocks, cow hocks, open hocks or bowed hindquarters.


Double, with hard, wiry, outer coat and close undercoat. The head, neck, ears, chest, tail, and body coat must be plucked. When in show condition, the body coat should be of sufficient length to determine texture. Close covering on neck, ears, and skull. Furnishings are fairly thick but not silky.
Faults: Coat too soft or too smooth and slick in appearance.


Allowed colors: salt and pepper, black and silver and solid black. All colors have uniform skin pigmentation, i.e.no white or pink skin patches shall appear anywhere on the dog and the nose must be solid black.

Salt and Pepper – The typical salt and pepper color of the topcoat results from the combination of black and white banded hairs and solid black and white unbanded hairs, with the banded hairs predominating. Acceptable are all shades of salt and pepper, from the light to dark mixtures with tan shadings permissible in the banded or unbanded hair of the topcoat. In salt and pepper dogs, the salt and pepper mixture fades out to light gray or silver white in the eyebrows, whiskers, cheeks, under throat, inside ears, across chest, under tail, leg furnishings, and inside hind legs. It may or may not also fade out on the underbody. However, if so, the lighter underbody hair is not to rise higher on the sides of the body than the front elbows.

Black and Silver – The black and silver generally follows the same pattern as the salt and pepper. The entire salt and pepper section must be black. The black color in the topcoat of the black and silver is a true rich color with black undercoat. The stripped portion is free from any fading or brown tinge and the underbody should be dark.

Black – Black is the only solid color allowed. Ideally, the black color in the topcoat is a true rich glossy color with the undercoat being less intense, a soft matting shade of black. This is natural and should not be penalized in any way. The stripped portion is free from any fading or brown tinge. The scissored and clippered areas have lighter shades of black. A small white spot on the chest is permitted, as is an occasional single white hair elsewhere on the body.

Disqualifications: Dogs not of an allowed color or white striping, patching, or spotting on the colored areas of the dog, except for the small white spot permitted on the chest of the black. The body coat color in salt and pepper and black and silver dogs fades out to light gray or silver white under the throat and across the chest. Between them there exists a natural body coat color. Any irregular or connecting blaze or white mark in this section is considered a white patch on the body, which is also a disqualification. Nose any color other than solid black.


The trot is the gait at which movement is judged. When approaching, the forelegs, with elbows close to the body, move straight forward, neither too close nor too far apart. Going away, the hind legs are straight and travel in the same planes as the forelegs.

Note – It is generally accepted that when a full trot is achieved, the rear legs continue to move in the same planes as the forelegs, but a very slight inward inclination will occur. It begins at the point of the shoulder in front and at the hip joint in the rear. Viewed from the front or rear, the legs are straight from these points to the pads. The degree of inward inclination is almost imperceptible in a Miniature Schnauzer that has correct movement. It does not justify moving close, toeing in, crossing, or moving out at the elbows.

Viewed from the side, the forelegs have good reach, while the hind legs have strong drive, with good pickup of hocks. The feet turn neither inward nor outward.
Faults: Single tracking, sidegaiting, paddling in front, or hackney action. Weak rear action.


The typical Miniature Schnauzer is alert and spirited, yet obedient to command. He is friendly, intelligent and willing to please. He should never be overaggressive or timid.


Dogs or bitches under 12 inches or over 14 inches.
Dogs not of an allowed color or white striping, patching, or spotting on the colored areas of the dog, except for the small white spot permitted on the chest of the black. The body coat color in salt and pepper and black and silver fades out to light gray or silver white under the throat and across the chest. Between them there exists a natural body coat color. Any irregular or connecting blaze or white mark in this section is considered a white patch on the body, which is also a disqualification. Nose any color other than solid black.

Approved July 10, 2012 – Effective September 4, 2012


The Miniature Schnauzer Has Ranked High In Popularity For Centuries, And For Good Reason

He’s a dog breed who’s got it all in one small package: intelligence, affection, an extroverted temperament, humor, and a personality that’s twice as big as he is. Throw in that walrus mustache and quivering enthusiasm, and he’ll make you laugh every day. With a Miniature Schnauzer in the house, you’ll never be alone, not even when you go to the bathroom. He’s got personality-plus, and whether he’s bounding around ahead of you or curled up snoozing on your lap, you’ll never be bored with him around.

The Miniature Schnauzer is a small dog with a whole lot of heart. He’s always in the top 20 most popular breeds in the U.S., England, and Germany, but he’s bred around the world. He is a “people person” all the way: extroverted with moderately high energy, he just wants to have fun. And being with you is fun, no matter what you do. He’s incredibly loyal to his family — and he requires a great deal of attention.

He’s got a long beard and bushy eyebrows, and he’s a handful. Developed as a ratter, he may look just like a smaller version of the Standard and Giant Schnauzers, but he’s a distinct breed of his own. He isn’t used much as a ratter any longer (although the instinct is still there), but he still has the lively, mischievous personality.

He likes to be in the center of the action. He’s excellent with children and he’s energetic, with a lot of  spunkiness. The problem is, he has no clue how small he is, and he’s likely to talk trash to a much larger dog without any concept of the consequences. That swagger of his can get him in trouble, so it’s up to you to keep him in line.

Even though he’s small, don’t mistake your Miniature Schnauzer for a toy breed. This boy is not delicate.  Because of his size, he can be a good city dog, but he needs daily exercise After all, he’s a terrier! He needs to move. A Miniature Schnauzer also enjoys larger quarters and is great with suburban or farm families (and there might be some rats out there he can take care of for you). He adapts well to any climate, but he can gain weight quickly if he’s not exercised or fed properly.

He’s protective of the people he loves and is often suspicious of strangers, until you let him know they’re welcome. He’s an excellent watchdog, sometimes to your frustration, and will alert you to visitors, burglars, and blowing branches. His bark can be piercing. No Golden Retriever, he won’t be licking the burglar in welcome; he’ll be making sure you understand the gravity of the situation at full volume.

A Miniature Schnauzer is intelligent and learns quickly. Bored during rainy weather? Teach your Schnauzer tricks — he’s a great tricks dog. Smart enough to learn anything, he excels at feats that involve jumping on his sturdy little legs.

At the same time, he can be stubborn. Really stubborn. Dug-into-the-sand stubborn. His favorite way of rebelling is to pretend that he doesn’t hear you (“La, la, la, I can’t heeearyou!”) when you try to make him do something. To maintain order in your household, you must be in charge. If you let him get by with something even one time, he’ll remember it forever and you’ll find the behavior escalating. This is one of the downsides of living with a dog who might possibly be smarter than you are.

But because he can be trained so easily (one of the upsides of that native intelligence), he tends to do well in obedience and agility competitions. Miniature Schnauzers also participate in earthdog trials and often excel at them. After all, digging is what they were bred to do. That also means you can expect the occasional decapitated rodent on your doorstep. Unlike a cat’s offering, this is not a love gift but spoils going to the warrior who nailed the beast.

Historically, Miniature Schnauzer ears were cropped for cosmetic purposes. Americans are moving away from cropping dogs in general, as more people come to feel it’s not worth it for purely cosmetic reasons (unlike tail docking, which prevents tail injuries while out in the field).

However, most but not all Miniature Schnauzers who compete in dog shows still have cropped ears. Some breeders won’t crop the ears of pet-quality dogs who will never go into the conformation ring. If you are in contact with the breeder early enough in the process, you can probably make your own decision about cropping your Miniature Schnauzer’s ears.

Robust in body and mind, the Miniature Schnauzer is a lively, feisty, smart, happy, vocal, affectionate, low-shedding dog. He makes a fine addition to an active family.

Top 25 Worldwide Dog Breed Popularity

Position Dog Breed Registrations
1 Labrador Retriever 191,988
2 German Shepherd 129,186
3 Poodle (All Sizes) 118,653
4 Chihuahua 107,114
5 Golden Retriever 92,994
6 Yorkshire Terrier 92,438
7 Dachshund (All Varieties) 81,516
8 Beagle 53,938
9 Boxer 52,983
10 Miniature Schnauzer 45,263
11 Shih Tzu 44,564
12 Bulldog 44,325
13 German Spitz (All Sizes) 40,530
14 English Cocker Spaniel 40,174
15 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 39,670
16 French Bulldog 39,337
17 Pug 33,528
18 Rottweiler 31,447
19 English Setter 29,771
20 Maltese 28,909
21 English Springer Spaniel 28,050
22 German Shorthaired Pointer 23,855
23 Staffordshire Bull Terrier 23,562
24 Border Collie 23,262
25 Shetland Sheepdog 22,987
Position Dog Breed Registrations

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer Overview

Terrier Group


With its scrappy, exuberant personality the Miniature Schnauzer will fight any dog regardless of its size. He’s got lots of heart and lots of energy. He learns quickly and loves to play – but he will react sharply if he’s provoked or teased. The Schnauzer is territorial and will bark at the slightest sign of an intruder – which makes it an ideal guard dog.


This intelligent breed quickly picks up new commands so training him is straightforward.

You want more? Some facts about the Miniature Schnauzer!

  • ‘Schnauzer’ is German for ‘snout’ or ‘beard’

  • The Miniature’s ancestors are the German Standard Schnauzer – first seen in the Middle Ages

  • The first Miniature Schnauzer was called Findel!

  • Mini Schnauzers are the most popular terrier in the USA

Celebrities who love the Miniature Schnauzer include

Paul Newman, Bob Dole, Rob Lowe, Steve McQueen, Janet Jackson, Katherine Heigl, Mary Tyler Moore, Bruce Lee, Sugar Ray Leonard, Avril Lavigne and Amy Grant.

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