When it comes to choosing a feisty Schnauzer as your furry companion, you might be wondering which size is right for you. The Miniature Schnauzer and the Standard Schnauzer are both known for their amazing mustaches and mischievous personalities. Although they do share many traits, there are a few characteristics that set these cute, bushy-bearded pups apart.
Read on as we explore the key differences between the two dogs, along with their most interesting traits—and minor flaws—to help you make the best decision.
At a Glance
Miniature Schnauzer Overview
Miniature Schnauzers can bring so much to your home, even beyond their outgoing personalities, sturdy bodies, adorable bushy beards, and expressive eyebrows. Indeed, the smallest of the three Schnauzer types is a real joy to be around—provided that you can deal with their less glamorous sides!
For one thing, these little pups were bred to be versatile farm dogs and ratters, so while they’re confident without being aggressive, they can bark excessively.
Fortunately, these stocky pups are also quick-witted and charming, and they adore being around their family. In fact, they need to be around their pet parents as much as possible and can’t be left alone for too long. Despite their small size, they require a fair amount of daily exercise and play, but they can adapt to apartment living when these needs are met. They don’t shed too much, but regular grooming is necessary to keep their signature beards looking their finest. Best of all, they make fantastic companions for the whole family and can become wonderful playmates with other pets if properly socialized.
Personality / Character
Beneath the distinctive facial hair of a Miniature Schnauzer is a vibrant, charismatic, and endearing personality. Indeed, these superb pups are alert and loyal, attentive and playful, and curious and affectionate. But don’t be fooled by their size! From tireless farm workers to skilled vermin hunters, Mini Schnauzers have inherited good watchdog qualities. The only downside is that this trait makes them want to test their vocal cords every time a guest shows up at your door. Proper training could help reduce unwanted barking, but it’s not a guarantee.
Also, be aware that these little dogs crave attention and company, so it is imperative that potential owners have enough time to spend with them.
Miniature Schnauzers may be small, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be happy to spend all day on your lap. A minimum of 1 hour of exercise per day is necessary for their physical and mental well-being. Add fun activities like agility and barn hunting, sprinkle in a few interactive toys and puzzles, and you’ll have the perfect recipe for a healthy, happy, well-balanced Mini!
Although they can be stubborn at times, Miniature Schnauzers are bright dogs and eager to please their humans. This greatly facilitates their training and socialization with other pets. But in order to optimize their education, it is recommended to follow canine obedience courses, especially if this is your first dog. Enrolling your Miniature Schnauzer in canine sports classes like agility competitions can also make the learning period more stimulating for your hard-working terrier.
Miniature Schnauzers have a double coat: a stiff top layer and a soft, silky undercoat. Fortunately, they don’t shed much, making them good choices for allergy sufferers—though no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic.
While Minis won’t cover your furniture and clothes in endless layers of hair, they do need regular grooming to maintain their distinctive whiskers and proud appearance. Don’t hesitate to call on the services of a professional groomer if you need help!
Miniature Schnauzers are relatively hardy dogs and enjoy a life expectancy of around 12 to 15 years. However, it is essential that you do enough research before choosing a breeder, as these small dogs are predisposed to certain hereditary conditions, including bladder stones, myotonia, and liver shunts. They are also prone to cataracts, hypercholesterolemia, epilepsy, skin allergies, and obesity.
Miniature Schnauzers would make wonderful additions to any home, as long as you have plenty of time and love for them. Of course, all pets, whether they have fur, scales, or feathers, need the proper care and attention of their human family. But these sensitive little dogs tend to suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for too long, so prospective owners must ensure that their lifestyle enables them to devote all the care their Mini Schnauzers need to thrive.
Standard Schnauzer Overview
At 40-ish pounds, the Standard Schnauzer is the middle child of the Schnauzer family. These spirited dogs from Germany are trustworthy and strong-willed canine companions. Their friendly faces are covered in more bushy hair than their mini counterparts, but their eyes sparkle with the same keen intelligence. They make exceptional members of any family, especially due to their playfulness, patience, and tolerance of little kids. However, they tend to be more reserved around strangers.
Unfortunately, the barking tendency does not drop as the size of the Schnauzer increases! That said, while Standard Schnauzers bark frequently, they do it a bit less often than Minis.
Also, Standards can be even more stubborn than Miniatures, which makes training them more laborious. However, this depends on the individual and their own temperament; just be aware that Standard Schnauzers are generally not recommended for inexperienced dog owners.
Personality / Character
Standard Schnauzers are blessed with a lively, friendly, and cheerful temperament. They are completely devoted to their family and make excellent watchdogs. They are not aggressive toward strangers, but they will not beg for cuddles from people they meet for the first time, unlike other, more sociable breeds. Additionally, Standard Schnauzers should be socialized from an early age so they can cohabit peacefully in a home with other dogs.
Standard Schnauzers should be able to stretch their legs on long daily walks, hikes, jogs in the park, etc. A brisk walk of about 1 hour a day is the bare minimum to keep these smart pups busy and happy. This is crucial because if these dogs don’t get the chance to burn off their energy, they may engage in destructive behaviors like digging holes all over your yard!
Standard Schnauzers aren’t too difficult to train but are best suited for an experienced owner. In fact, the keen intelligence of these dogs is a double-edged sword: They can quickly learn new tricks, but they often use their cleverness to do as they please. Their stubbornness can also give some owners a hard time, hence the importance of starting their training early. Overall, these smart dogs respond best to a type of training based on positive reinforcement, repetition, and continuous training.
Like Miniature Schnauzers, Standards sport a double coat that requires regular grooming and brushing, along with nail trimming and ear cleaning. Their hair loss is also minimal, which is a big draw for many people.
Standard Schnauzers share relatively the same lifespan as Minis, between 13 and 16 years. They are also prone to developing specific health issues depending on their life stage, genetics, diet, and lifestyle. Common health issues in this breed are hip dysplasia, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, heart defects (pulmonary stenosis), hypothyroidism, and bladder stones.
Experienced dog owners will be best equipped to train and handle this sometimes stubborn pup.
Which Breed Is Right for You?
Both varieties of Schnauzers are full of energy, love children, and thrive on family life. They are alert, loyal, and protective but also stubborn and often reserved around strangers. Both bark frequently, and while this can be manageable with consistent training, you should consider another breed if you don’t want to deal with this particular trait.
Overall, if you have plenty of free time and are fascinated by the toy breed’s size, a Miniature Schnauzer might be a good fit. But if you prefer a dog that will be more protective of the family even if they’re a challenge to train, you should be delighted with the Standard Schnauzer. Whatever you choose, remember that the most important thing is to find an ethical and responsible breeder who will understand your needs and point you toward a healthy, lively pup.
- Miniature Schnauzer vs Scottish Terrier: Key Differences (With Pictures)
- How Much Does It Cost to Own a Miniature Schnauzer? Price Guide
Featured Image Credit: Top – Roman Zaiets, Shutterstock | Bottom – cynoclub, Shutterstock