Meet the Breed: Face Time
Beneath its distinctive and distinguished beard lies the essence of the Miniature Schnauzer: pure fun.
With its beard, moustache and prominent eyebrows, the Miniature Schnauzer presents a distinguished and unforgettable face to the world. Although it’s a small dog, the Miniature Schnauzer, with its robust and muscular build and harsh wiry coat, is far from delicate. The breed’s hunting instinct makes it fit for its original job of an efficient ratter. With little demand these days for its ratting skills, the Miniature Schnauzer’s charming, friendly personality and ideal size have ensured its place as one of the world’s most popular and attractive family pets.
Here comes the Mini
The Standard Schnauzer is the ancestor of both the Miniature and the Giant Schnauzers, and was developed in the 14th or 15th century in southern Germany. The Standard Schnauzer likely shared a common ancestor with the driving dogs found in the Württemberg region, which, when crossed with the gray Wolfspitz (an early form of the Keeshond) and possibly the black Poodle, resulted in the Schnauzer.
The earliest records of the Standard Schnauzer come from the late 1800s, when the breed was prized as an all-purpose farm dog: a ratter, herder and guard. The Standard Schnauzer was bred down to a smaller version to be of more use as a ratter in the house and barn. It’s thought that the Affenpinscher and Miniature Pinscher were used to attain the Miniature Schnauzer’s small size, although few written records exist to confirm this.
The Standard Schnauzer at that time was known as the Wirehaired Pinscher, and was first exhibited at a dog show in Hanover, Germany, in 1879. The winner was a dog named “Schnauzer” and the breed has been known by this name in Germany ever since. Schnauze is a German word for “snout” or “muzzle,” and the name undoubtedly refers to the appearance of the prominent whiskers and beard, which are trademarks of all three Schnauzer varieties.
In 1895, the Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub formed in Germany, and it exists to this day. Its first studbook contained records for Standard Schnauzers, Smooth-Coat Pinschers (German Pinscher), Miniature Pinschers and Wirehaired Miniature Pinschers, now known as Miniature Schnauzers.
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