When people call me looking for information about the Miniature Schnauzer Breed, they always want to know more about the Miniature Schnauzer personality.
It’s an important question, and has a lot of bearing on whether the Mini Schnauzer is the best choice of breed for particular people.
Having been a registered breeder of Minis in Australia for 18 years, I have gotten to know the Miniature Schnauzer breed probably as thoroughly as anyone! And my dogs haven’t been cooped up down the back in kennels either – I’ve only ever kept a handful at a time, always living closely with us as part of the family.
Understanding the origins and history of the Miniature Schnauzer breed gives a lot of clues about the Miniature Schnauzer personality.
Traits common to the Miniature Schnauzer Breed are:
The Miniature Schnauzer breed has beautiful, athletic and well balanced bodies made for activity.
What this means for you as a potential owner is… don’t even think of adopting a Mini unless you are willing, happy, and able to exercise them every day.. and I mean EVERY day!
Properly trained (its not rocket science) they should also be taken to a safe place where you can let them off the lead to run around and expend all that energy!
They absolutely love their daily walk and get quite excited and enthusiastic when “walkies time” is nigh. Despite their size they are also quite strong and are apt to pull on the lead (easily corrected with a dog halter). So you need to be active and reasonably strong yourself.
Sadly, because of this I have to turn down well-meaning people wanting to buy a puppy for a frail and elderly relative. I advise them to get a preferably elderly dog of a small breed that is built wrong and therefore less inclined to be active (like a Maltese, Pekinese or Shitzu for example).
However… and this is important!…once the German Schnauzer has been for its expected exercise, it is more than happy to flop around quietly for the rest of the day. In winter when mine have on their matching knitted coats, they sleep on the lounge and do a great job of impersonating pillows.
• Not Yappy
I often tell people that the Miniature Schnauzer breed is like a big dog in a small dog’s body. That’s because they are not normally “yappy” like many small dog breeds tend to be.
Having spent a few years in suburbia (now in the country) I’ve noted that even a full chorus of dogs barking in the neighborhood doesn’t usually set them off. Though I must admit that my male dog “Shadow” launches into falsetto howling when an ambulance goes by!
• Great Watchdogs
The Miniature Schnauzer personality lends them to being fantastic watchdogs. They really are courageous and plucky little critters!
When someone comes visiting you can usually count on the Schnauzer breeds to sound the alarm loud and clear. They’ll also be pretty excited to meet and greet your visitors, but calm down rapidly once introduced and are almost never aggressive.
Miniature Schnauzers are extremely interested in everyone and everything. When you take them out walking they will want to meet every person, child and dog plus investigate every smell along the way!
If not properly socialized, they may become hysterically excited by encounters with other dogs. The importance of puppy socialization of your baby Schnauzer cannot be over-emphasized!
• Like to Chase Things
In keeping with its origins, the Mini German Schnauzer likes to chase things.
Now we’ve moved onto a small farm, we’ve had cause to nip this tendency in the bud – and that’s the secret really. Don’t ever let your dogs get away with it! They’ll soon get the message…
Ensuring that Mini Schnauzers grow up as puppies socializing with other animals is a good preventative strategy. Mine, for example, have learnt absolute respect for cats from lessons learnt in puppyhood.
• Schnauzer Talk
Many of my Minis have been talkers – apt to vocalize on a range of situations. It’s pretty endearing to hear your Schnauzer talk to you! They are likely to express all sorts of emotions from pleasure at seeing you and joy to mild disapproval ..and everything in between.
Given the activity level of the Miniature Schnauzer breed, its not surprising that they are very playful, even as adults. A big part of the joy of owning more than one is seeing them play together.
They can be easily taught to fetch, and make great playmates and companions for active children and adults alike.
• Good with Children
Most Mini Schnauzers I know are good with children – though I have met a few individuals that weren’t. One of my bitches “Chloe” absolutely adores little toddlers – even though not raised with them. She follows them around, gently talking to them and touching them with her nose, while good-naturedly dodging their attempts to hit her.
Any dog raised as a puppy with positive socialization with kids is likely to be good with them as adults, and vice versa! Experiences during puppy hood are so important – it’s really in your hands to raise your puppy to be the kind of dog you want when it grows up.
• Lap-dog Wannabes
Every Miniature Schnauzer I have ever known has been affectionate. They crave curling up on your (or anyone’s) lap for a cuddle! They also absolutely love a pat or a scratch on the tummy and become instant best mates with anyone inclined to play along.
• Stay-at-home Wanderers
One peculiarity of the Miniature Schnauzer breed is that they tend to reliably stay around the house …unless there is more than one of them!
Once they have company the German Schnauzer is quite apt to go off exploring the big wide world, given half a chance. Several years ago when I lived in a small town, my three dogs did just that. They ended up at the Ranger’s house where they terrorized his chickens! Thanks guys…
Like the human world, the Miniature Schnauzer breed has its extroverts and introverts. You can easily pick Miniature Schnauzer personality by observing them when they are puppies. From the age of about 5 weeks their character starts to become apparent. There are also tests you can do to identify the more dominant extroverts and the more submissive introverts.
The extroverts display a bigger Miniature Schnauzer personality but sometimes require a firmer hand in order to have them accept that YOU are the alpha top dog in your pack!
If you are after a more gentle, easily dominated dog, then the introverts are the ones for you. Breeders who raise their puppies as part of the family (rather than down the back in puppy factory kennels) will be close enough to them to help you choose the right puppy.
• Do They Dig?
Thankfully, the digging instinct is not extremely strong in the Miniature Schnauzer breed. Mine only dig to either bury a bone (in which case I’ve been overfeeding them and need to cut back) or to create a cooler place to lie in hot weather (remedy: provide cooler areas for them with plants or shelter).
Another tip to dissuade them working further on a hole is to tip some of their stools into it. I found that after I’d planted seedlings in the garden, my dogs would sometimes “help me” by adding their own digging handi-work.
The solution was to water areas I’d just worked in which weakened my scent enough to remove the stimulus that was making my dogs dig. I also use chicken netting over some areas which works well.