The Schnauzer is of German origin, said to be recognizable in pictures of the 15th century. The Miniature Schnauzer is derived from the Standard Schnauzer and is said to have come from mixing of Affenpinschers and Poodles with small Standards. The Miniature Schnauzer was exhibited as a distinct breed as early as 1899.
Today's Miniature Schnauzer in the United States is an elegant dog of the Terrier Group. While the breed resembles other dogs in this group, almost all of which were bred in the British Isles to "go to ground" to attack vermin of all kinds, his origin and blood are quite different, giving the Miniature Schnauzer a naturally happy temperament.
The breed is characterized by its stocky build, wiry coat, and abundant whiskers and leg furnishings. A Miniature Schnauzer may be of several colors with salt-and-pepper (gray) being the most common, although blacks and black-and-silvers are now seen in increasing numbers. The salt-and-pepper color is the result of unique light and dark banding of each hair instead of mixing of light and dark hairs. The breed has a soft undercoat which can range from black and dark gray, to very light gray, or beige.
The breed is hardy, healthy, intelligent, and fond of children. It was developed as a small farm dog, used as a ratter. His size (12-14 inches at the withers) has permitted him to adapt easily to small city quarters. On the other hand, he is still at home in the country and can cover a substantial amount of ground without tiring. As a rule a Miniature Schnauzer is not a fighter, although he will stand up for himself if necessary.
The Miniature Schnauzer is now viewed primarily as a charming and attractive companion. He is seldom addicted to wandering. He is devoted to his home and family, and functions very well as a guard dog in that he can give an alarm as well as a larger dog. His good health, good temperament, and attractive appearance combine to fit him admirably for his role as family pet.
Miniature Schnauzers have been bred in the United States since 1925 and have gained steadily in popular favor.