The Miniature Schnauzer is a small and sturdily built little dog that originated in Germany by crossing Standard Schnauzer's with Toy Poodles and affenpinscher's in order to create a miniature replica of it's standard form. However, unlike the Standard and Giant Schnauzer who exist only in two known colours (Salt & Pepper and Black), "mistakes" were made in the process of creating the miniature version which resulted in this little breed's two extra colours and hence today's Miniature Schnauzer being recognised in four different colours; Salt & Pepper, Black, Black & Silver and White.
Below is a copy of the official UK breed standard as set by the Kennel Club (for reference please click HERE):
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Sturdily built, robust, sinewy, nearly square, (length of body equal to height at shoulders). Expression keen and attitude alert. Correct conformation is of more importance than color or other purely ‘beauty’ points.
Well balanced, smart, stylish and adaptable.
Alert, reliable and intelligent. Primarily a companion dog.
Head and Skull
Head strong and of good length, narrowing from ears to eyes and then gradually forward toward end of nose. Upper part of the head (occiput to the base of forehead) moderately broad between ears. Flat, crease-less forehead; well muscled but not too strongly developed cheeks. Medium stop to accentuate prominent eyebrows. Powerful muzzle ending in a moderately blunt line, with bristly, stubby mustache and chin whiskers. Ridge of nose straight and running almost parallel to extension of forehead. Nose black with wide nostrils. Lips tight but not overlapping.
Medium-sized, dark, oval, set forward, with arched bushy eyebrows.
Neat, V-shaped, set high and dropping forward to temple.
Jaws strong with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Moderately long, strong and slightly arched; skin close to throat; neck set cleanly on shoulders.
Shoulders flat and well laid. Forelegs straight viewed from any angle. Muscles smooth and lithe rather than prominent; bone strong, straight and carried well down to feet; elbows close to body and pointing directly backwards.
Chest moderately broad, deep with visible strong breastbone reaching at least to height of elbow rising slightly backward to loins. Back strong and straight, slightly higher at shoulder than at hindquarters, with short, well developed loins. Ribs well sprung. Length of body equal to height from top of withers to ground.
Thighs slanting and flat but strongly muscled. Hind-legs (upper and lower thighs) at first vertical to the stifle; from stifle to hock, in line with the extension of the upper neck line; from hock, vertical to ground.
Short, round, cat-like, compact with closely arched toes, dark nails, firm black pads, feet pointing forward.
Previously customarily docked.
Docked: Set on and carried high, customarily docked to three joints.
Undocked: Set on and carried high, of moderate length to give general balance to the dog. Thick at root and tapering towards the tip, as straight as possible, carried jauntily.
Free, balanced and vigorous, with good reach in forequarters and good driving power in hindquarters. Top-line remains level in action.
Harsh, wiry and short enough for smartness, dense undercoat. Clean on neck and shoulders, ears and skull. Harsh hair on legs. Furnishings fairly thick but not silky.
All pepper and salt colours in even proportions, or pure black, or white, or black and silver. That is, solid black with silver markings on eyebrow, muzzle, chest and brisket and on the forelegs below the point of elbow, on inside of hind-legs below the stifle joint, on vent and under tail.
Ideal height: dogs: 36 cm (14 ins); bitches: 33 cm (13 ins). Too small, toyish appearing dogs are not typical and undesirable.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
PLEASE NOTE that the breed standard is strictly copyrighted to the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom.
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Did You Know....
...That both the Black & Silver and the White colour was the result of the out crossing of other breeds in the earlier days while trying to breed the size "down" to create the miniature version. However, they are still as 'pure bred' as any of the standard coloured Mini's out there today as they all originated from the same founders of the breed.
Black and Silver: This attractive and highly sought after colour emerged within the breed when, by mistake, it was registered as a dark Salt and Pepper. This happened to several litters and by the time the "mistake" was discovered it was too late to correct it as several offspring had been accepted into (and used in) the stud books and breeding programs, and as a result this very attractive new colour was established without a lot of further questioning.
White: While the puppies that were born Black & Silver were accepted without much further consideration, any white puppies born were not so lucky! When a breed originates, there is a written definition as to what the breed shall be, and the breed must adhere to that definition. For the Miniature Schnauzer, that meant it needed to be of the colours salt & pepper and black. The result was that any white puppies born into a litter were mostly destroyed. Fortunately, many people believed, just like the black and silver Miniature Schnauzers occurred naturally, so did the white Miniature Schnauzers, and therefore they too should be fully accepted. This in turn has resulted in a few breed enthusiasts around the world working really hard to preserve this, by now, rare color while at the same time working really hard to produce these white gems to the same recognized breed standard as the other three accepted colours within the breed.
In latter years, this has resulted in the white Miniature Schnauzer being accepted in all FCI countries, including Germany, where the Miniature Schnauzer originated. Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) is an international federation of kennel clubs. It encourages and promotes breeding of purebred dogs whose functional health and physical features meet the standard set for each breed.
While the white Mini's can be registered with all major registries, they are still not being accepted into conformation shows in some parts of the world (such as the USA, Canada and Australia), but they have now (finally and not before time!) been accepted into the UK show circuit. Having said that, there are still a lot of judges that are prejudiced against this colour and we here at Cloverbud hope to help change their opinion over the next few years to come.