The Black Miniature Schnauzer is strikingly dark as a puppy. However, many fade with age. And some aren’t black to begin with!
Confused? Then read on and I’ll try to explain it all to you!
What is a Black Mini Schnauzer?
Genetically, true Black Mini Schnauzers are “one color” dogs with a black (rather than brown) color base.
It may have a little white on its chest or toes, and though not desirable in the show ring, this is still acceptable in purebred registered Miniature Schnauzers.
So what’s complicated about that?
…Other Genes Get in the Way
Minis also often carry a gene for fading. This fading gene dictates how fast the fading will take place, exactly where on the dog the fading will occur and even what color the coat will fade to.
…Other Colors Get in the Way
There is another gene that can influence the pigment intensity of a genetically one-color coat. So Black Miniature Schnauzers can be intensely black, or have a grey undercoat, or fade to grey.
Similarly, a Liver (one-color, brown-based) dog can be so intensely pigmented that it appears identical to a black dog!
Side by side, a black with a faded, almost chocolate coat would look identical to a very dark liver (sometimes called “chocolate”).
It’s very easy to confuse the two! As a precaution, in Germany in the early days of the breed, you couldn’t register a Miniature Schnauzer as black unless both parents were black.
This is because breeding a black to a brown merely intensifies the darkness with which brown is expressed in the offspring, making it even harder to distinguish “true” Black Mini Schnauzers!
How Grooming Affects the Black Color
Black Miniature Schnauzers often have a grayish rather than black undercoat. When cut, (for example by machine clipping) this undercoat is exposed, resulting in a faded appearance.
The body area of show dogs is diligently stripped of its undercoat, resulting in a wiry coat in which the intensity of the black coloring is preserved.
However, in clippered areas, and the scissored leg furnishings, any grey undercoat will nevertheless be exposed. In this case the dog will appear black with light grey legs.