Differences Between Schnauzers & Miniature Schnauzers

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    Breed Development

    • The schnauzer groups were developed at different times with different mixes of foundation breeds. The standard schnauzer, which is the oldest breed and the foundation for the others, began in Germany. According to the AKC, the breed mix probably includes the German poodle, gray wolf spitz (also known as the keeshond), and wirehaired pinscher.

      After World War I, there was a limited number of giant schnauzers, and more interbreeding helped to reestablish it. Although no records state the breeds used, the giant schnauzer may include the standard poodle, Great Dane, and wolf spitz. The giant and standard breeds predominately come from working dog mixes.

      The miniature schnauzer was produced by mixing the standard schnauzer with smaller breeds, such as the poodle and affenpinscher, to reduce its size.

    Size, Function, and Popularity

    • Giant schnauzers are a large, not giant, breed.miniature schnauzer playing image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com

      According to the AKC, the standard schnauzer measures 17.5 to 19.5 inches at the shoulder and weighs 30 to 45 pounds. The giant schnauzer's standard shoulder height measures 23.5 to 25.5 for females and 25.5 to 27.5 inches for males. A giant weighs 55 to 80 pounds. The miniature measures 12 to 14 inches at the shoulder and weighs 11 to 20 pounds.

      The miniature schnauzer's small size makes him an ideal companion animal. He belongs to the AKC's terrier group. Both the standard and the giant schnauzer are in the AKC's working group. Although they are also companions, these dogs function as herding, guard, and police dogs.

      The popularity of companion-type dogs helped the miniature schnauzer place 11th among breeds registered with the AKC in 2009. Standard and giant schnauzers placed 89th and 99th, respectively.


    • The breeds used to create the three types of schnauzers also created differences in coat color standards. According to the AKC, both the standard and the giant schnauzer may have the same acceptable colors: solid black or salt and pepper. The miniature may also be black and silver. The European kennel club accepts white miniature schnauzers, but the AKC disqualifies white coats from the conformation ring.

    Health Issues

    • According to the University of Minnesota, the miniature schnauzer's risk of developing calcium oxalate urinary stones is more than ten times higher than for other breeds. Miniatures may also develop a blood-clotting disorder called von Willebrand's disease. Other health concerns include pancreatitis, liver shunts, juvenile renal disease, and retinal dysplasia.

      Miniature schnauzers have a low incidence of canine hip dysplasia (CHD). However, according to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), almost 9 percent of standards and more than 18 percent of giants tested have CHD. Except for CHD, standards and giants have few common genetic disorders.

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