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Mini Schnauzer Pros and Cons: Is This The Dog For You?

Written By: Sowmya Sankaran

Last Updated:

Mini Schnauzers are the smallest of their breed, which is why they’re so popular among people living in apartments or urban areas. Their compact size is one of their biggest assets, as they have far surpassed their standard and giant counterparts, making it in the top 20 list of popular breeds.

However, if you’re thinking about getting one of these pups, you must consider the Miniature Schnauzer pros and cons.

Mini Schnauzers’ biggest pros are that they are excellent apartment dogs, showcasing high intelligence levels and an affectionate and fiercely loyal personality. These dogs also have some drawbacks, as they’re noisy, needy, high-maintenance, and prone to several health issues.

You’ve come to the right place if you’re considering getting a Mini Schnauzer but aren’t sure how well it’d fit into your household. Below, I’ll explore some of the most important advantages and drawbacks of getting one of these dogs and some tips and tricks on stimulating them physically and mentally.

Mini Schnauzer Pros and Cons
Mini Schnauzer Pros and Cons

What Are The Pros & Cons of Mini Schnauzers?

Anyone getting a Mini Schnauzer should understand their advantages and disadvantages. While most dogs are friendly, they can’t be taken for granted.

Here’s a list of pros and cons associated with Mini Schnauzers:

Mini Schnauzer ProsMini Schnauzer Cons
Mini Schnauzers are fiercely loyalMini Schnauzers have high exercise needs
Mini Schnauzers are highly intelligentMini Schnauzers are noisy
Mini Schnauzers have long lifespansMini Schnauzers require high maintenance
Mini Schnauzers are extremely friendlyMini Schnauzers can get anxious
Mini Schnauzers are great family dogsMini Schnauzers are prone to health issues
Mini Schnauzers are low shedding and hypoallergenic
Mini Schnauzer Pros and Cons

Now that you’ve got a glimpse of them, it’s time to get into their advantages and drawbacks.

Mini Schnauzer Pros

You’d be surprised to learn just how much more popular Mini Schnauzers are compared to their standard and giant varieties. According to AKC’s 2021 list of the most popular dogs in the US, minis hold the 18th spot, giants the 65th, and standards the 96th.

It’s evident that pet owners heavily favor this adorable apartment breed. While these dogs’ practical size has undoubtedly something to do with this rating, there still must be something special about them, as they’ve ranked far better than other breeds of the same stature.

So, what are the qualities that make Mini Schnauzers so popular? And why would they be more popular than the standard or giant Schnauzers?

Mini Schnauzers Are Fiercely Loyal

Loyalty is one of the qualities we seem to appreciate the most in our furry companions. Luckily, Mini Schnauzers are ready to do just about anything for their family members. They often become a shadow of their favorite person, following them all day and protecting them at all costs.

While all dogs are loyal to their families, you might be stunned at how loyal a Mini Schnauzer can be. 

Because they’re so committed to keeping their owners happy and safe, they also make excellent watchdogs. Don’t let their small size fool you, as they can get fierce, aggressive, and scary when they sense a threat approaching the people or animals they love.

Mini Schnauzer Sitting on Grass

Mini Schnauzers Are Very Intelligent

One of the finest pros of Miniature Schnauzers is that they’re among the smartest dog breeds in the world and, therefore, extremely easy to train. 

This is another reason they make such great apartment dogs. As long as you teach desirable behaviors to them as puppies, you can rest assured that they’ll catch on quickly and behave themselves from then on. 

Well, most of the time, that is. Their intelligence level can sometimes get them in trouble, as they constantly think of ways to create mischief.

Minis are surprisingly even smarter than their standard and giant counterparts. Though all Schnauzer types are ranked in the top 40 smartest breeds in the world, minis hold the highest rank, listed at number 12.

I want to note that while teaching new behaviors to a puppy Mini Schnauzer will be easier, thanks to the breeds’ high intelligence level, it’s possible to teach these dogs commands even later in life as long as you’re patient enough and use positive reinforcement.

That old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” doesn’t apply to these dogs.

Here’s a wonderful video that gives a hands-on experience about the intelligence of Mini Schnauzers:

Generally speaking, you can expect the average young Mini Schnauzer to learn a new behavior within 15 repetitions. If you’re a first-time dog owner or don’t have the time to spend weeks teaching your puppy a trick, Mini Schnauzers would be an excellent choice.

They Have a Long Lifespan

All dog owners want their companions to live a long, healthy life, and luckily, Mini Schnauzers are among the longest-living breeds in the world, with many of them averaging a lifespan of 15 years.

While this is great news for all aspiring Mini Schnauzer owners, it also means that you’ll have to be extra careful before taking one in, as you’ll be making a very long-term commitment. So, take the “cons” list below just as seriously as these hard-to-resist pros before deciding whether to get a Mini Schnauzer.

Mini Schnauzers Are Extremely Friendly

Getting a Mini Schnauzer is an excellent choice to add a friendly, affectionate presence to your life. Another good pro of the Mini Schnauzer is that they are known for being extremely loving and playful, especially with their family members.

Mini Schnauzers are famous for their social nature, allowing them to adapt quickly to any new environment or group of people. 

They’re also open to interacting with other animals. So, if you’re thinking about getting a second pet or taking your pup to a dog park without worrying about any potential fights, a Mini Schnauzer will be everything you’re looking for.

Mini Schnauzers Make Great Family Dogs

Because of their friendly personalities, Mini Schnauzers make excellent family dogs. They’re great with kids and don’t get aggressive around strangers. They might get a little nervous before quickly getting accustomed to the new presence.

Remember that Mini Schnauzers still like their space, so it’s not a good idea to smother them by having several people interact with them simultaneously. As long as you avoid doing that, though, they feel fine even among large groups.

Another reason why I’d usually recommend these dogs to families is that they don’t like to be left alone for prolonged periods. Since most of us have jobs or other time-consuming commitments, it’s good to keep these dogs in larger households where everybody can take turns when it comes to interacting with them.

Intelligent Mini Schnauzers
Intelligent Mini Schnauzers

They’re Low Shedding and Hypoallergenic

This is one of the most significant advantages of getting a Mini Schnauzer, as they hardly shed and are, therefore, hypoallergenic. 

The word “hypoallergenic” is used pretty liberally here, as no dog is 100% safe for people with sensitivities. With that said, since Mini Schnauzers leave behind so little fur and dander, they’re far less likely to cause a reaction.

So, if you’ve been holding off on getting a dog because of a mild allergy, looking into getting a Mini Schnauzer might be your best bet.

Before you do that, though, it’s essential to ensure that these types of dogs don’t cause a reaction for you. Just because they’re less likely than other breeds to cause a flare-up doesn’t mean they won’t.

So, if you’re allergic, either expose yourself to a Mini Schnauzer for a few hours before you commit to getting one and see how that goes or, better yet, consult your physician about the best course of action.

The fact that this breed doesn’t shed much isn’t only a pro for people with allergies. Every pet owner will surely appreciate that they won’t have to clean up their dog’s hair from all over their home.

Mini Schnauzer Cons

You’re probably ready to run to your nearest adoption center or pet store to see if you can get yourself a Mini Schnauzer, and I wouldn’t blame you. Before you do that, it’s important to look through the following drawbacks to make a well-informed decision.

Though getting a pet is a noble decision that’ll leave you feeling happy and loved, it’s still a long-term decision that does come with several downsides you’ll want to prepare yourself for. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the potential cons of getting a Mini Schnauzer.

They Have High Exercise Requirements

Unlike most other small breeds, Mini Schnauzers must be kept active to stay mentally and physically stimulated. That’s because these dogs were originally bred as ratters, so it’s in their genetic makeup to run and play around all day.

So, if you don’t have the time or energy to exercise your pup several times a day, getting a Mini Schnauzer might not be the best decision. A lack of physical activity and mental stimulation can quickly turn these adorable little pups destructive, especially if poorly trained or left alone for prolonged periods.

Mini Schnauzers need at least an hour of exercise daily, similar to Poodles. This roughly translates to two moderate daily walks you must make time for. After they get it out of their system, they’re happy to cuddle with you on the couch as you read a good book or watch TV.

Naughty Mini Schnauzer
Naughty Mini Schnauzer

Mini Schnauzers Are Noisy

Though Mini Schnauzers are great apartment dogs, you’ll want to ensure that your walls are sound-proof, or you’re bound to get angry calls from your neighbors. That’s because these dogs are pretty expressive and bark a lot, even when nothing’s wrong.

That said, it’s important to note that every dog is different, and you’ll definitely come across some quieter Schnauzers. However, their love of barking will ultimately depend on their genetic makeup and training.

They Are High Maintenance

Don’t let the fact that these dogs are low-shedding fool you, as they’re still one of the most high-maintenance breeds out there. Their double coat, though great in preventing hair fallout, still requires regular brushing and grooming, which will consume much of your time and effort, not to mention money.

Speaking of money, Mini Schnauzers aren’t the cheapest dogs to get or care for, so make sure you can make room for one of these pups in your monthly budget before getting it.

Mini Schnauzers Can Get Anxious

Though the fact that Mini Schnauzers are so loyal and affectionate is mostly positive, it also means that they can quickly become too needy for some, especially those who need to stay out of the house for most of the day. 

Mini Schnauzers can sometimes even develop separation anxiety, often becoming destructive.

That’s why you should only get a Mini Schnauzer if you live in a large household so that everyone can take turns keeping the dog mentally and physically stimulated. Moreover, proper training can go a long way to keep these dogs from acting out when they become anxious or bored.

Mini Schnauzers Are Prone to Certain Health Issues

Unfortunately, this breed is more prone to specific health issues than its counterparts. So, if you ever get a Mini Schnauzer, here are some of the health conditions to look out for:

  • Kidney stones: According to research, Mini Schnauzers are 11.8 times more likely to have uroliths formed from calcium oxalate than other breeds, making them far more prone to creating kidney stones. The sooner you catch them forming, the less invasive the treatment. That’s why screening for kidney stones at every check-up is best.
  • Hypothyroidism: This hormonal disorder leads to a lack of energy, lethargy, skin issues, and an inability to tolerate colder temperatures.
  • Myotonia Congenita: This inherited muscle disorder leads to bulging muscles, swelling tongue, and balance problems. There’s no cure for this condition, but it can be treated.
  • Pancreatitis: This occurs when a Mini Schnauzer’s pancreas stops performing optimally and, as a result, leads to inflammation and damage to the surrounding tissue. Some causes of this condition include diabetes, trauma, high-fat diets, and genetic predispositions.
  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a widespread issue among dogs that affects your pup’s ability to move. Unfortunately, it’s generally inherited, though it can be caused by trauma too.

Keep in mind that not all Mini Schnauzers will suffer from these conditions, and many of them go on to lead completely healthy lives. However, it’s still best to screen their health regularly and contact your vet when you spot any worrying symptoms.

Final Thoughts

Miniature Schnauzers make the most loyal, intelligent, and friendly companions, especially if you live in a confined space. However, they require regular grooming and extra socialization to look, feel, and behave best. They also are prone to several health issues.

So, before making a decades-long commitment, read through all the potential advantages and drawbacks of this breed outlined above so that you can go into the adoption or purchase process with your eyes wide open, lowering the chances of encountering unpleasant surprises along the way.

Photo of author

Sowmya Sankaran

Sowmya Sankaran is crazy about dogs, rabbits and birds! An avid rescuer and rehabilitator of dogs and other animals, she runs the Life With Equality Charitable Trust, an animal shelter in Chennai, India. She is also the founder of Petsmond, a pet website, in which she shares her experiences in raising different creatures and paying attention to intricate aspects of their health.