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Crested Schnauzer (Miniature Schnauzer & Chinese Crested Mix)

Nicole Cosgrove

Height: 11-14 inches
Weight: 10-15 pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Colors: Black, grey, and silver
Suitable for: Families, singles, couples, seniors
Temperament: Intelligent, playful, affectionate, loyal

The Crested Schnauzer is a hybrid breed, a cross between two unique ratting breeds, the Miniature Schnauzer and the Chinese Crested. The two breeds are different in appearance but fairly similar in temperament, creating a hybrid that is as spirited, playful, and intelligent as their parent breeds. The breed came about with the explosion in popularity of hybrid breeds in the last two or three decades, although their exact origins are largely unknown. Let’s take a brief look at the parent breeds to get a better understanding of this unique hybrid.

Despite their name, the Chinese Crested actually originated in Africa but was developed into the dog that we see today in China. They are expert ratters and were kept on Chinese ships to hunt vermin. They made their way to Europe in the 1700s. They are now commonly kept as companion dogs because they are affectionate and intelligent, although they do have a stubborn streak too.

The Miniature Schnauzer was created by crossing a Standard Schnauzer with other smaller breeds in Germany in the late 1800s. They were bred as ratting dogs on farms, but today, they are popular companion animals that form strong bonds with their owners and are known for their high intelligence and affectionate nature. But like the Chinese Crested, they have a stubborn streak too.

If you’d like to find out more about this unique hybrid, read on for our in-depth guide!

divider-dog pawCrested Schnauzer Puppies — Before You Buy

Energy:
Trainability:
Health:
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Sociability:

The Crested Schnauzer is a friendly, affectionate, and social dog that forms strong bonds with their owners and makes a great family dog. That said, they are not ideal for novice owners. Although they are highly intelligent, they have a stubborn streak that can make training a challenge. They are inquisitive animals that need a great deal of mental stimulation to stay happy, and they do not enjoy being left at home for long periods. If you are away from home frequently, this is unfortunately not the right breed for you.

What’s the Price of Crested Schnauzer Puppies?

Crested Schnauzers are fairly inexpensive dogs and generally cost between $150-$500, depending on the breeder, availability, and the pedigree of the parents. Crested Schnauzers with pedigree parents that have a history of being show dogs will cost more, and the experience of the breeder will also drive up the costs a bit. Choosing a reputable breeder is highly recommended because they will be able to give you detailed information about the parent breeds and the puppies, and you’ll be far more likely to purchase a healthier dog overall.

Besides the initial cost of your puppy, you’ll need to budget for other initial costs, including vet checkups, vaccinations, and accessories. It’s a good idea to add another $500 or so into your budget to cover these costs.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Crested Schnauzer

1. The Chinese Crested is a “World’s Ugliest Dog Competition” champion!

The Chinese Crested has won more Ugliest Dog Competitions than any other breed, winning the competition nine times since 2002. A Chinese Crested named Sam won the competition three times in a row, from 2003 to 2005.

2. They are surprisingly athletic

Despite their small size and being commonly kept as lapdogs, Chinese Cresteds are athletic little pooches that excel at agility competitions and can even scale fences that seem impossibly high. Luckily, they do not have much of a reputation for wandering, but they are certainly capable of being expert escape artists should the mood strike them.

Miniature Schnauzers were bred for ratting on small farms and are no slouch when it comes to athleticism either. With these parent breeds, you can bet your Crested Schnauzer will be highly athletic too!

3. Miniature Schnauzers are the most popular of the Schnauzer breeds

According to the American Kennel Club, the Miniature Schnauzer is by far the most popular of the Schnauzer breeds, the other two being the Standard and Giant Schnauzer. This is likely because of the breed’s large personality, intelligence, and adorable looks.

Crested Schnauzer Parents
Parents of the Crested Schnauzer. Left: Chinese Crested, Right: Miniature Schnauzer (source: Pixabay)

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Crested Schnauzer

The Crested Schnauzer is an athletic and active breed, and while they enjoy cuddling on the sofa with their owners, they enjoy playing and running in the backyard just as much. They are also highly intelligent dogs that make great companions and bond strongly with their owners. They are more affectionate than their Schnauzer parent but can inherit the needy and anxious traits of the Chinese Crested too, so adequate socialization is vital. Still, these dogs do not enjoy being left at home alone and are known to suffer from separation anxiety when they are away from their people.

They are inquisitive dogs that love to be exposed to new sights, sounds, and smells, so they need to be taken out on walks to new places as much as possible. They also need a great deal of mental stimulation to keep them happy. Both of the Crested Schnauzer’s parent breeds have a stubborn streak, and this will be likely to be passed on to your puppy too, which can make training a challenge for novice owners. With the right training and socialization, though, they can be trained as well as any other dog because they are highly intelligent and eager to please their owners.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

With the right training and plenty of socialization early on, Crested Schnauzers can make great family dogs. They are affectionate and playful animals that generally love the company of children and will spend hours in the backyard playing fetch. They love their downtime too and adore cuddling on the sofa with their family after a hard day of playing. Despite their origins of hunting vermin, these dogs have become far more popular as family companions.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Crested Schnauzers have a history of ratting and hunting small vermin, and as such, any smaller pets in your home are likely to be seen as prey. They will need a great deal of socialization early on to prevent them from seeing your small pets as prey. If they are raised alongside them, this is less likely to be an issue. They are generally fine with cats and other dogs. They are known to get on well with dogs that are far larger than them and are rarely aggressive.

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Things to Know When Owning a Crested Schnauzer

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Crested Schnauzers are small dogs and as such, do not eat much. That said, they are prone to getting overweight, so their diet needs to be carefully monitored. It’s best to feed them a nutrient-rich diet that is free from filler ingredients to keep them from gaining weight, and high-quality dry food is ideal. Check the ingredient list, and make sure that animal-based protein is listed in the top three ingredients, although it should ideally be the first. You can supplement this food with lean meats or wet food occasionally to add essential omega acids and give them variety. They’ll need 1-2 cups of dry food per day, ideally split into two meals. As with any dog, they’ll need constant access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Exercise 🐕

Crested Schnauzers are fairly active and energetic dogs and will need a minimum of 1-2 hours of exercise per day, but the more, the better. They’ll need a brisk walk or run every day — ideally, twice a day — and playtime and training in the backyard too. They can do well in apartments provided that they get enough exercise, but having a backyard to play in is certainly a bonus. Try to vary their exercise often, and take them on new routes during their walks, as they are inquisitive dogs that enjoy new smells and new sights. Dog parks are great because they allow your pooch to socialize with other dogs, but they’ll love the variety of walking on trails too, especially if they live in a home without a backyard.

Training 🎾

Crested Schnauzers are extremely intelligent and eager to please, and with an experienced owner, they are not too difficult to train. That said, they have a notorious stubborn streak that can be a real challenge for novice owners to overcome, so early socialization and beginning training as early as possible are vital. Patience is key with training these dogs because their progress may be gradual, and it may take a while to see results. A firm and consistent hand is important in training these dogs because you need to establish yourself as the pack leader before they do. Bear in mind that they are somewhat sensitive pooches that do not take well to harsh training methods, so reward-based methods are best.

Grooming ✂️

Depending on the coat that your Crested Schnauzer inherits, grooming is fairly easy with these dogs in most cases. If they inherit the coat of the Chinese Crested, they will only need minimal brushing, but they may also inherit the coat of the Miniature Schnauzer, in which case, they’ll need regular brushing to avoid knots. Chinese Cresteds are almost completely hairless, so if your pooch inherits this trait, you’ll need to pay careful attention to their skin, especially when they are in the hot sun, and provide them with dog jerseys for when it’s cold.

Other than that, you’ll need to check their ears regularly for any signs of infection and clean them regularly and keep them as dry as possible. Keep their nails short and trim to avoid breakages or injuries, and brush their teeth a couple of times a week to prevent dental disease.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Since they are a hybrid breed, Crested Schnauzers benefit from hybrid vigor, the result of mixing two purebred dogs. Miniature Schnauzers are well known for their impeccable health, and this trait is likely to be passed down to your pooch. If your dog inherits the coat of the Chinese Crested, you’ll need to pay careful attention to their skin and watch out for allergies, and make sure to keep them warm in winter and well-protected from the sun in summer. Other than that, they can be prone to eye issues at times and dental problems.

That said, these dogs are hardy and healthy overall and suffer from few genetic diseases, evidenced by their long average lifespans of 15 years and beyond.

Minor Conditions
  • Allergies
  • Dental problems
  • Obesity
  • Skin issues
  • Eye issues
Serious Conditions
  • Pulmonic stenosis
  • Urinary stones
  • Myotonia congenita
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Congenital megaesophagus
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
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Male vs. Female

If you’ve decided that the Crested Schnauzer is the breed for you, you’ll need to decide whether you want a male or female. If you don’t already have other dogs at home, the decision is an easy one and mainly comes down to personal preference. This is because there is no real difference between male and female Crested Schnauzers in terms of personality. That said, if you have a male dog at home, it may be easier for them to get along with a female, as same-sex pairings can sometimes result in territorial issues. The personality of your Crested will be mostly influenced by their upbringing and environment, far more than their sex, and a well-trained and socialized Crested Schnauzer will make a great pet regardless of whether they are male or female.

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Final Thoughts

The Crested Schnauzer is a unique pooch for sure, and the blending of two different parent breeds makes for a one-of-a-kind hybrid. These dogs make wonderful companions for families, singles, and seniors, and they do well in apartments or on farms because they are hardy and highly adaptable. They are intelligent, playful, affectionate, and loving, and they enjoy cuddling their owners after a day of interactive play. They do become rather attached to their owners, though,  and are certainly not happy being left alone for long periods. They can be stubborn at times too, making them a challenge to train for novice owners, but with patience and dedication, this can be largely overcome, and their eagerness to please their owners usually wins out.

If you are looking for a unique and affectionate companion animal, the Crested Schnauzer is certainly not lacking in either of these traits and makes a wonderful companion dog for almost any home!


Featured Image Credit: Left – Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay; Right – ClarissaBell, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.