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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Will the Miniature Schnauzer make a good pet?

The Miniature Schnauzer is a small dog that originated in Germany in the mid-to-late 19th century. It was developed from crosses between the Standard Schnauzer and smaller breeds like the Poodle or Affenpinscher. The results remain one of the most popular breeds and ranks 11th among the most popular breed in the United States because of the small size and it’s mild temperament. The AKC (American Kennel Club) just recognizes three colors for the Miniature Schnauzers: black, black and silver, and salt and pepper.

Miniature Schnauzers are small and proportionately built, measuring 12 to 14 inches tall. And weighing 11 to 15 pounds for females and 14 to 18 pounds for the males. They are often described as non-shedding, which is not exactly true, but their shedding is minimal and usually unnoticeable. Characterized mainly by their long head with a beard, bushy beard and mustache and eyebrows; dark colored and oval eyes.

The Official Standard of the Miniature Schnauzer describes their temperament as “alert and spirited, yet obedient to command. He is friendly, intelligent and willing to please. He should never be overaggressive or timid.” They are easy to train, and tend to be excellent watchdogs, with good territorial instinct, being more inclined toward vocal notification rather than attacks. They may seem often guarded towards a stranger until its owner welcomes the guest, at which time they become friendly and accepting of the guest. But they do bark, when greeting the owner or to show joy, excitement, or even displeasure.

It is most important to socialize the Miniature Schnauzer with people and other dogs. They don’t want to share their owner with any other dog. They dislike cats, but this tendency can be curbed with training, or if the dog is raised with cats.

The earliest records concerning the development of the Miniature Schnauzer comes from Germany during the late 1800s. Originally bred as farm dogs in Germany, to keep rats and other vermin out of the barns. Being both bold and courageous, the Miniature Schnauzers were used to guard herds of cattle and sheep, small farms and the families. The were good rat dogs too, because of their small size.

The first recorded Miniature Schnauzer appeared in 1888, and first exhibited in 1899.
The AKC first accepted them as a breed in 1926, just two years after being introduced in the United States for the first time.
Normally the Miniature Schnauzer is a healthy breed, but can suffer health problems associated with high fat levels, such as hyperlipidemia, which often leads to pancreatitis. Also diabetes, bladder stones and eye problems can develop. Miniature Schnauzers are also prone to comedone syndrome, a condition where pus filled bumps are produced, usually on their backs, but it can be treated by a variety of medicines. They also need to have their ears dried after bathing or when wet conditions are present due to risk of infection, especially with uncropped or clipped ears. Their ears need to be examined as part of the regular annual check up.

Schnauzers require regular grooming. Usually a bath then clipped and dressed with special concern to the beards & eyebrows. When left unclipped the body hair will grow two to four inches in length.
Now, Why do you think I decided to write on Miniature Schnauzers? Because I saw one once, or my neighbor has one… Noooo, because I have one. Now bare in mind – Duchess is not your average, ‘run-or-the-mill’ miniature schnauzer. She’s cute, smart…, my wife even wears her picture on her ear rings.

I know! I know! Everyone thinks THEIR DOG is the smartest, best looking, best trained, most loyal, easiest to care for, EVER – bar none… and I hate to be the one to ‘burst your bubble’, but yours is not!

You know how I know this to be true? – because mine is!

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