Miniature schnauzers are square-bodied dogs with wiry coats.
Males and females stand around 30cm tall and weigh 5 to 10kg.
The dog's rectangular head is adorned with bushy eyebrows, a walrus-like moustache and a luxuriant beard. The ears are often cropped to stand erect. If left uncropped, the ears fold forward.
Most miniature schnauzers have salt-and-pepper coats, but some are solid black and others are black and silver.
Miniature schnauzers are hardy, alert, courageous little dogs. They can be feisty and may put on a show of scrappiness when confronted by dogs they do not know. The playfulness of miniature schnauzers makes them ideal for families with well-behaved children. They are also known for being obedient, quick to learn and devoted to their human packs.
Miniature schnauzers are adaptable. They can be just as happy living in a city apartment getting a couple of walks each day as they can be on a country estate with lots of room to run.
Because the breed is somewhat fearless around other dogs, it is important to introduce a miniature schnauzer to other dogs while still a puppy.
Miniature schnauzers are sociable dogs that love to be with their people. Their deepest need is to be fully included in family activities, whether those activities centre on watching television or going out for a run.
As they do not shed, these dogs are ideal for people who are allergic to other breeds. However, they need to be groomed regularly; frequent brushing, hair and nail trimming, and periodic clipping and stripping are necessary.
Miniature schnauzers age gracefully; they do not show signs of age until late in life. The average life expectancy is 12 to 14 years.
Miniature schnauzers are hardy, merry little dogs that were first bred in Germany in the late 19th century. They are descendants of Affenpinschers and standard schnauzers. Not only are they the smallest and most popular of the schnauzers, but also the only terrier not originating from European Isle stock.
The word 'schnauzer' means beard. The original purpose of the miniature schnauzer was to catch rats on farms. Today, however, the miniature schnauzer's main mission in life is to bring companionship and joy to the people fortunate enough to live with this cheerful dog.
In 1933 the miniature schnauzer was recognised as a separate breed from the standard schnauzer by the AKC. At one time the miniature schnauzer was the third most popular breed in America, and remains a favourite.