I think we will be getting a Miniature Schnauzer...
Ok, so the title says it all. I've been researching breeds that fit with our lifestyle and needs. I've spoken to many breeders and learned quite a bit. I still have TONS of questions and I am not yet "married" to the breed. Here's a list of things we are working with:
1. Allergies - mostly mine. I am allergic to both dogs and cats, though we have three cats and as long as they are not in my face, I'm generally good. Which brings us to point #2 -
2. We have three cats - any dog we invite into our lives must not kill the kitties! I realize that some of this has to do with socialization, but really - I love our cats!
3. We have a five and a half year old son - he is good with the cats, and enjoys playing with dogs belonging to our friends. He is all boy - lots of energy!
Other than these three big lifestyle issues, we are pretty much willing to explore. I know all dogs have different personalities. I know that certain lines produce certain traits and some lines are better in terms of genetic issues than others.
I had initially hoped we could get a greyhound, however, our son is a bit too energetic for them.
I would love to have a dog that enjoys traveling. It would be nice if the dog could be trained as a therapy dog, but this is not necessary. I don't mind bathing or clipping a dog. I wouldn't be opposed to taking the dog to the groomers, but I have no clue as to how much this costs, so any estimates would be great!
The dog would be an indoor dog, but we would allow him or her to run around our fenced backyard while we are out there.
I would LOVE as much information as possible regarding miniature schnauzers, including recommendations for respectable breeders. I am also open to hear about other breeds that may fit in well with our family.
Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. W. C. Fields
It used to cost me between $20 and $40 for grooming, depending on geographic location. I started doing my own grooming after I moved to a town with limited availability for scheduling, and also found out many other pet owners had stopped using the mobile groomer for various reasons. I used hand clippers, and that worked very well for me. I kept the body and legs short, and did the face more standard. I also found that the beard would mat from water run off, so I trimmed that straight across to prevent mats.
I don't know about the cat adaptation though, since my two were never around cats at my house, but as is typical disliked the wandering neighborhood cats (and squirrels), and chased them off when they had the chance. And it depends on the animal and the child how they relate. I've known a couple of snappy schnauzers, and others that were fine with kids. Mine traveled well, but it's important to train a word to go potty, so they hurry up when you're at that rest stop or doing the last break of the evening.
I think a schnauzer would fit your lifestyle well. They are classified as terriers (aka ratters/biters) so although they have been bred mostly as pets, they DID have a historical purpose so keep that in mind. Generally, I find most schnauzers pretty good, but have met some that remember their herritage!! They DO shed, but much less than most other breeds, they shed more than poodles so if your allergies are extreme you may want to look at a more hypoallergenic dog.
They are classified as terriers, and I think they were ratters. If you get a puppy I wouldnt worry about introducing him to the kitties. They are usually fairly easy going dogs, but they can be more tenatious than say a poodle.
I would ask the breeder about health history on the breeding pair and past pups. Schnauzers are known for getting bladder stones, diabetes, cushings, and puppies are often screened for liver shunts and PDAs.
Great breed, and if you obtain one from a really good breeder you should hopefully have a great companion for a long time!
Average grooming costs will be around $60-75 and most groomers recommend every 8 weeks (most are fine for 12 weeks). You could probably find a grooming school that would do him for $20.
I have a miniature schnauzer that I show in conformation and we are currently in agility training. He is a true schnauzer according to the breed standard both structurally and in disposition. He is active and playful but has a great off switch. Good with strangers, kids, animals, etc. I spend my weekends traveling with other schnauzer breeders to shows and as a whole all of our schnauzers are just awesome.
There are a TON of awful awful awful breeders out there and a fair number of breeders who produce nice dogs with awful dispositions. Some breeds have reputable breeders that breed dogs that are not AKC champions because they prefer to prove their dogs out in the field. Schnauzers were bred to be loyal farm dogs and good raters and watch dogs. Today with very rare exception, all reputable breeders prove their stock in the conformation ring and hopefully in performance as well.
A lot of people take the approach of "I just want a pet so I don't need a show breeder" however even the best breeder often has lovely dogs that are not suitable for the ring or a single litter has too many show quality dogs for the breeder to keep (that's how I got my boy). These breeders are going to do health testing, they know the history behind their stock and often owned or new the grandparent or even great grandparent of your puppy.
Run like hell from any breeder that breeds "parti colored schnauzers" or whites. Partis are not purebred schnauzers and whites are not recognized by the AKC so any breeder intentionally breeding whites is breeding away from the breed standard and it usually shows in the quality of the offspring.
Schnauzers can be trimmed or rolled. Trimming is less work on a weekly basis but a rolled coat with layers of wired hairs is truly stunning. Trimming is VERY feasible at home if you have the time and desire. My first boy was groomed out on my back porch with a 10# blade and a pair of grocery store scissors.
I obviously could talk about the breed all day long. If you want to PM me your location I can use my network to locate the best breeders in your area.
Just wanted to add that schnauzers are not terriers. Yes, under the AKC we are in the terrier category but we are technically in the working group by history and structure. Our bigger cousins the standard and giant schnauzer are in the working group. We actually almost switched into the working group a few years ago but politics got in the way. The reason I mention this is that schnauzers have ratting ability but they are much less "terrier" than the rest of the terriers. I've brought out the drive in my dog but he still doesn't have a desire to go after small animals the way most terrier innately do.
They ARE classified as terriers, but are actually ratters (similar to the JRT...except those are real terriers!). I agree they do not really fit into the terrier group and should be more in the working group. However, I do find many of them to have ratter traits, which is not a bad thing in my opinion. Highly trainable and a desire to work. Being a ratter doesnt necessarily mean they chase small animals, it means where you point, they go searching
GraceLikeRain, keep your boy close to you, as I am not above stealing an awesome dog! (just kidding!!!!!).
I am totally cool with learning to do my own grooming. I used to shave my VERY fat cat in the summers, and I figure if I can clip a cat, I can probably clip a dog LOL!
I was aware of the no parti/no white, but I do appreciate it being emphasized. I have a rule to not purchase a purebred if it is not, in fact, purebred and WELL bred. From the little research I have done, I know that I need to purchase from someone who breeds for show and who does not sell puppies without a spay/neuter contract. One thing I ran across when researching breeders is, some charge more for certain colors - i.e. salt and pepper were least expensive, black and silver were more, and solid black was the most expensive - is this accepted practice or should I run?
GraceLikeRain, I will definitely PM you for breeder recommendations. We are not in a hurry, and for the right dog, I am willing to fly to go pick him or her up - I am not comfortable with having a puppy shipped by him or herself. Is that crazy? I'm not sure…let me know if I'm being overly-protective!
Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. W. C. Fields
For home grooming, or just so you get decent water pressure I always switch the shower heads out to a hand held one. That's easier to use for grooming the dog, cleaning the shower, and because the spray is adjustible you actually get decent water pressure.
I loved my Min. Schnauzers, and I'll miss them forever. They were great dogs, and adapted very quickly to whatever situation we lived in.
I have a very large/deep jacuzzi that I can use to bathe the dog - we have a hand-held shower head for both the jacuzzi as well as the master shower and the full bath downstairs. Do they need frequent baths? Also, are they known for "doggy smell"?
Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. W. C. Fields
My dogs never had that "doggy smell", and I would bathe them after I clipped. My dogs had a tendency to mat after getting wet, so I kept their body and legs short, and watched the beards, rear tummy, and front armpits (do dogs have armpits? Top of leg, where it meets the tummy) for mats. I would clip, and then bathe. I never saw the point of ending up with mats, and washing them before I clipped. I figured that longer hair would take longer to wash, rinse, and dry; and then clipping and getting rid of extra hair that might mat up was silly. A friend that was a groomer said they did clipping first (this was Colorado) to avoid matting, and to get rid of possible mats.
For face I just had a professional groomer do it, and followed the clip from there on. I did do a 'bridle path' from nose to top of head, and I didn't have the long, droopy eyebrows, but did them about an inch long with scissors. And I ran a wide-tooth comb (really wide teeth) through the beard frequently or went through it with my fingers to check for mats, and then cut mats out. Some dogs are more liable to get mats than others, and my boy would mat when his fur got wet. As years went by, I would trim his beard flat on the bottom, and just used scissors for that, the way a human hairdresser does, with my fingers clamping the hair to avoid getting too close to his skin. I wasn't a good groomer, but I was adequate, and since we lived in Alabama worried more about comfort, and keeping him clean than worrying about standard clips. But I always did my Schnauzers with short body and legs and the Schnauzer head, and that was with a professional groomer.
When I adopted my boy from the humane society he had a show clip, but he was full of mats, so I trimmed him down with scissors to get rid of the mats, and then the groomer did him as soon as I could get him in. I'm sure the groomer was appalled, because he looked pretty scraggly, but he was also underweight and wormy (hookworms that weren't even native to Colorado), so he soon looked really good. I didn't get his body shaved, but just short. If I could have found a groomer like the NM or CO ones I would have kept up with that, but where I moved to only had Monday thru Friday ones, and I wasn't impressed with them or the mobile groomer.
I've had both - a well bred one and a not so well bred one that we think may have been part standard Schnoz. She was yappy. Oh so yappy.
They were both super smart and fun. They do shed though, just little short hairs and not many of them. They also liked to eat dinner and then wipe their beards on my mom's chairs if she wasn't watching.
Both of them were HUGE pigs and would eat anything if it was left out or if they could climb something to get it. The one managed to open a closet door and eat all of my Halloween candy once - all except the green lollipops. She unwrapped those and left them stuck to the carpet.
The not-so-well-bred one got those fatty tumors that Schnauzers are known to get, but she lived until 15 without any other problems.
They are great dogs, but I have a Shiba Inu now (and am hopefully getting another) and I do enjoy the silence.
In regards to different pricing for color: For whatever reason it seems to be relatively common. I would prefer if people didn't because I feel like it perpetuates the idea that color denotes quality but some reputable breeders I know charge more for B/S and Blacks.
As far as grooming, so so so many groomers absolutely butcher schnauzers. The biggest mistakes I see are:
1. Eyebrows should be kept at about half the length of the muzzle. Trimming them shorter takes away from the lovely shape of the face. By trimming the eyelashes the eyebrows lay flatter.
2. A groomer should never scissor under the eyes or clipper the bridge of the nose. People often use these quick fixes to fix fly away hairs and create long term issues.
3. With the exception of a tiny trimming of the beard to keep it at a manageable length the beard should never be "sculpted." The weight of the beard will help it hold its shape.
4. Furnishings should never extend past the front elbow.
5. the "skirt" should not be longer than an inch or come up further than two fingers above the nipples. Most people have skirts that come up oddly high and make the dog look boxy.
He is a true schnauzer according to the breed standard both structurally and in disposition. He is active and playful but has a great off switch. Good with strangers, kids, animals, etc. I spend my weekends traveling with other schnauzer breeders to shows and as a whole all of our schnauzers are just awesome.
There are a TON of awful awful awful breeders out there and a fair number of breeders who produce nice dogs with awful dispositions.
Love this. Same can be said of the Standard Schnauzer. I have 2. They are like the minis in some ways and unlike them in others I suspect.
I keep my 2 standards stripped. The female hardly sheds at all. I added a male 3 yrs later and hello dog hair everywhere. I think he sheds more. But also the addition of the second dog adds more loose hair in the house. It's not at all like a double coated dog shedding, but it also isn't like a Poodle or a Bischon (sp?)
(1) Only way for you to know if you are not allergic is for you to spend considerable time around a mini.
(2) around cats, if raised with cats properly then it should be no problem. As long as the dog doesn't have a high prey drive.
(3) as long as you supervise all interaction with puppy and your son then you'll have no problem. I got my first SS as a pup when my dd was 2.5 yo. (I also had a cat in the house) I set up baby gates and dog crates to allow the puppy to have a safe CHILD FREE area. I think that this is very important. Let the pup have some down time away from the child. I added the second SS when my dd was 4 going on 5. I did same protocol. I trust the dog more than I trust the kid. Most dog bites are little kids doing something stupid and painful to the dog. So protect the dog, train the kid and it will be less labor intensive as they both age.
re; the cat and prey drive in the dog. The first SS has a very high drive and immediately obsessed about getting the cat. 3 years and many training and agility classes later, I am pretty comfortable with the dog cat interaction but I still keep them living in separate zones of the house. The second SS has little drive and is very cuddly with the cat and is about 99% trustworthy around her. I've been told/ and read of how dogs trusted with their own cat inside the house are cat killers when loose out in the yard. So I know my inside cat is safe, but can't say the same for any loose cat who ran in front of my 2 dogs in the fenced yard. It's a different dynamic. I think prey drive can vary in a litter.
I realize that the Standard is a different breed than the mini, but they do share similarities.
I'd always thought of the mini as a terrier, not a go to ground terrier like the English Terriers but like the German Terriers, rat catchers and vermin control.
I think I got that from the Johan Gallant book, "The World of Schnauzers"
I like when you look at a picture of a good looking Schnauzer and you can't tell if it's a mini or a standard. You look quickly at first and can't tell, then look closer and you can see the difference. The mini will have more furnishings on the leg, the standard less and the giant hardly any. Of course I don't show, so I'm sure I'm exposing my ignorance.
NRB: You can't post something like that without pictures!!! Kudos for keeping two giants stripped. How long does that take you per week? I've heard that the giants are quite similar to the minis in a number of ways.
Standards, Lol. NOT Giant's! I'm not qualified for a Giant. Lol that's alot of dog. And I don't roll the coat like you and all the breeders do. I send her to a groomer and have her striped (not to the jacket) a few times a year. Which would be why there is dog hair all over my house. they are pretty long right now. Would be better if I did roll the coat. But the groomer does a nice job.
re; pic, no clue how to stack a dog to get a good pic.
I have a mini schnauzer & 6 house cats. We got her as a puppy & she grew up with the cats. No issue whatsoever. She & one of the cats are BFFs & you routinely see them sleeping together or the cat cleaning the dog's ears. They are a riot together- I wish I knew how to post pictures! She doesn't shed (although that doesn't matter when you have 6 cats!) Research breeders, socialize properly & find a good puppy class & you'll be fine (the same recommendations for any puppy purchaser). I found this breed to be very adaptable - from apartment to farm living. They are very smart & willing to please. My dog is excellent traveling, we started her on car trips as soon as we got her. The only caveat is that she doesn't like children - we don't have any & her first interaction with a child was a screaming
child grabbing at her. Now she just hides behind me when we see a child. So, I'd make sure to educate your son & have him come to some puppy classes - so they bond. Best of luck!