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Miniature Schnauzers - A Great Choice For A Family Pet
The Miniature Schnauzer is one of the best pets to own. In my opinion, they are the best. I may be a little biased being that I love mine so much. His name is Skip. He was named after the movie, " My Dog Skip". My children had recently seen the movie and wanted to name him after that dog. Skip is actually the second MS we have had. Our first MS was named Lucky. Unfortunately, he was not so lucky. He was hit by a car when he was only 11 months old. The owner of the car never stopped. It devastated us and was traumatic for my children. At that time, they where only six and eleven. It was tough and very emotional to get over this. A couple of months later my husband came through the door carrying a little angelic bundle of fur. My son was lying on the couch watching tv unaware of what his dad had brought through the door. My husband walked over to the couch and placed this little puppy on my son's chest. The expression on his face was priceless. I will never forget that moment. It is one of the best memories I have of my children when they where young. It was a wonderful day.
After Lucky's death, I told myself I would never get attached to another animal again. Well, let me tell you, I never had a chance. I could not help but fall in love with this sweet baby. Schnauzers have a way of getting into your heart before you realize what is happening. He is just like one of the family now. I love him more than I could ever explain. I always thought that people who talked about their pets as if they were human seemed a little weird or maybe even a little wacko. Now, I understand how they felt. I talk to mine like he is human and he thinks he is too. Therefore, I guess I must be one of those wackos now. That's okay though, I'm not ashamed.
I'm not sure if it's because I am a mother and he senses my mothering love for my children, but he is constantly by my side. As soon as I come in the door from work, he greets me with what I know is a smile on his face. He is protectively at my side until bedtime. If I get up, he gets up. He cheerfully follows me from room to room. I can not tell you how many times I have almost stepped on him or tripped over him because of how close he follows me. Skip also knows the word "treat". You can say treat and his ears will stick straight up. Sometimes, we say it over and over just to see him do that thing with his ears. It's so funny. I must say though, he is a treat loving dog. He lives, breaths, and dreams about his treats.
I will provide a little information on Miniature Schnauzers. This will be just a brief summary of the information I have learned about this breed while doing my research. There is much more information about them out there.
Origin & History
The Miniature Schnauzer originated in the 1800's in Germany. From the research I have learned, it is believed they originated by breeding the standard schnauzer to smaller breeds such as the affenpinscher, poodle or the miniature pinscher. They were used as farm dogs. MS were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1926. After World War 2, they quickly became one of the most popular breeds in America. They are ranked as the 10th most popular breed in the United States.
There are three sizes recognized by the American Kennel Club; Giant, Standard and Miniature. The Miniature Schnauzer has a small sturdy rectangular body.They have bushy eyebrows, beard and mustache. My children say the thick hairy eyebrows make him look like an old man in the face. There are only three colors that are recognized by the AKC: salt-and-pepper, black-and-silver, and solid black. There are other colors of the MS such as white, parti, chocolate and liver. However, these breeds are not recognized by a legitimate club. ( That's not nice!) This just means they can not be shown in conformation shows.They measure about 12 to 15 inches tall. Females usually weighs between 11 and 15 lbs. Males between 14 to 18 lbs. My baby weighs a little more than this. His weight is usually about 20-22 lbs. He loves those treats! The basic Schnauzer cut is when the coat is trimmed short on the body and, the hair on the legs, ears, and edge of body are kept longer. The tail is usually docked and sets high and erect. MS have feet that are short and round which have been referred to as "cat feet". Sometimes, Skip will show a cat-like trait. He will jump up on the back of couch as a cat would do.
Personality & Temperament
MS are extremely affectionate dogs and become very attached to their owners. They like to be involved with whatever you are doing. They love attention and love to give it as well. MS are energetic, alert, and highly spirited, and can easily be taught to be obedient. They are super intelligent and desire to please you. They can also be "talkers". What I mean by this is they can be vocal. For example, when you leave them and return home, they may sometimes greet you with a kind of "woo-woo" grunt sound. This sound is a way of informing you they are so happy you returned. They are also good watchdogs; therefore, they become very protective of their owners. If not trained in the beginning, they will bark at the slightest noise. We obviously did not do our job very well at training Skip because he barks when the wind blows! They can also be a little feisty with other dogs. They may attack dogs that are larger than themselves. They may develop "small dog syndrome". When I first came across this, I thought it was a joke. However, it is not because Skip has it! SDS is when we humans allow the the dog to own the home. It can lead to behavior problems, such as separation anxiety, nervous barking, excessive guarding,and more willing to attack other dogs. I have learned that it is very important to socialize them well with people and other dogs from the beginning. I will definitely do this with the next Schnauzer.
There are a few things that you need to be aware of. MS may develop canine diabetes, pancreatitis, schnauzer bumps, and skin disorders. Possibly, you can prevent most of these by keeping them on a low-fat diet. Of course, this should be started in the beginning, because once they are older it is much harder to change their eating habits.
Most importantly, MS will give you abounding love and devotion and expect it back. They have a way of making you give them what they want but they greatly reward you for it with the love they give you in return. I believe you can't go wrong with this type of breed and if you ever have the privilege to own one, you will understand and possibly become one of those dog loving wacko people.