Miniature Schnauzer Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Miniature Schnauzer Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014
Generally this breed has a pleasant, playful, spunky temperament that fits well into a lot of homes.
The problem is that Miniature Schnauzers vary tremendously in personality, from merry and extroverted, to serious and introspective. Some individuals are very terrier-like -- high-energy ("busy"), scrappy toward other dogs, and stubborn. Other individuals are so much calmer, easygoing, and sweet-natured that they're almost like a different breed. With such a range in temperament, it's hard to know what kind of Mini Schnauzer you'll end up when mature.
The Miniature Schnauzer loves his walks and needs a decent amount of exercise, but mostly he just wants to participate fully in the family. He makes an alert watchdog and may welcome strangers with enthusiasm or be a bit standoffish, even suspicious, if not well socialized.
Most Miniature Schnauzers are good with other family pets -- though he may chase the family cat for fun, he's seldom serious about it. Some are scrappy with other dogs of the same sex, but it is a tribute to their overall amiability that Miniature Schnauzers can often be grouped together with little or no bickering.
Although he knows his own mind and often displays an obstinate resistance to walking on the leash, the Miniature Schnauzer responds well to obedience training. Many individuals win top awards in advanced obedience.
This breed is adaptable, makes an excellent traveling companion, and even if slightly spoiled, doesn't take as much advantage of it as many other terriers. They can be barky, though.
If you want a dog who...
- Is conveniently-sized and sturdily built, yet also elegant and athletic
- Has a wiry coat that doesn't shed too much, and a whiskery face with a wise expression
- Makes a keen watchdog, but is usually polite with everyone
- Is usually good with other family pets
A Miniature Schnauzer may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Providing enough exercise and activities to keep them busy
- Suspiciousness or shyness when not socialized enough
- Boldness/feistiness toward other animals -- chasing instincts
- Regular (every other month) clipping and trimming of the wiry coat
A Miniature Schnauzer may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Miniature Schnauzer
If I was considering a Miniature Schnauzer, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Miniature Schnauzers need regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their intelligent minds to do interesting things. I strongly recommend that you get your Miniature Schnauzer involved in obedience classes at the intermediate or advanced level, or in agility (an obstacle course for dogs).
- Suspiciousness and barking. Some Miniature Schnauzers will put on a display of excited ferociousness (i.e. they "pitch a fit") when other people or animals approach what is theirs. It's not funny and if you don't curtail it, your Mini Schnauzer may end up suspicious of everyone in the world.
- Animal aggression. Some Miniature Schnauzers are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs. Some have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster!
- Mind of their own. The best Miniature Schnauzers are very smart and capable of learning a great deal, but they must be taught at an early age that they are not the rulers of the world. The toughness that makes them suited to killing vermin can frustrate you when you try to teach them anything. Some Miniature Schnauzers are manipulative and/or dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Miniature Schnauzer to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Mini Schnauzer Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Grooming. To keep their wiry coat free of mats, Miniature Schnauzers require regular brushing, and also clipping and trimming every couple of months. You can learn to do this yourself or pay a professional groomer, but it must be done.
To learn more about training Miniature Schnauzers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book,
Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Miniature Schnauzer the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Miniature Schnauzer puppy. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Miniature Schnauzer might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Miniature Schnauzer home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Miniature Schnauzer...
When you're acquiring a Miniature Schnauzer PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Miniature Schnauzers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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