Breed History and FCI Standard
The Miniature Schnauzer is a breed that is originally from Germany. It is believed to have been started by breeding the standard schnauzer to smaller breeds such as the affenpinscher, poodle, and/or miniature pinscher. It is from these crosses while developing the breed that the colors white and black/silver came about, and these colors have remained and bred true all these years. The most common colors for miniature schnauzers are salt/pepper and black, with black/silver and white being a little less common. All these colors can be registered with the major registering bodies, such as the Canadian Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club. When you hear that the color white is not *recognized* by a particular kennel club, all that means is that it cannot be shown in conformation shows. It is still a registered purebred, and can be shown in every other aspect of dogs such as obedience, agility, etc. The black/silver was just as disqualifying a color in FCI countries as the white was, and both were recognized as an official color (accepted for conformation in FCI countries), in 1968. The white mini schnauzer is accepted in ALL FCI-countries, (over 50 total). It is interesting to note that the white IS accepted in Germany, the miniature schnauzer's country of origin. Only a few countries do not accept white for conformation, even though they are fully registerable purebreds. These countries are USA, Canada, Australia, UK and South Africa. Although these countries are large, they are obviously in the minority when it comes to accepting white! [Click here] for more information on white coat color in miniature schnauzers. [Click here] for a link to the FCI standard for the miniature schnauzer.
The average size of a miniature schnauzer is 12-14 inches, and the weight tends to average 14-20 pounds. Their life expectancy is about 12-15 years if properly cared for. The mini schnauzer is a robust active dog who is squarely built, with a distinctive beard and eyebrows. They can have either an intact natural tail or a docked tail. Ears are now usually found to be natural drop ears on most dogs, hanging naturally, breaking just above the skull and hanging neatly on the head. Cropped ears are now usually only done by show breeders in a few countries, and hopefully these countries will catch up with the rest of the civilized world, where it is becoming illegal in more and more places to cut body parts of living creatures for no reason. We personally feel that natural ears are much more expressive, with a much softer appearance to the face, and natural tails are much more expressive also and are very much needed for proper communication, balance etc. The mini is a relatively small but sturdy dog, not at all toyish, and is a very hardy companion for both young and old alike. As they are a non-shedding breed, they do require regular grooming. They should be clipped every six to eight weeks or so, and the eyebrows, beard, and leg furnishings should be brushed several times a week to prevent matting. Nails should be trimmed every month at least, preferrably every two weeks. To prevent dental problems later in life teeth should be brushed at least several times weekly with special doggy toothbrush and toothpaste.
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Miniature schnauzers are a very charming and attractive breed, displaying unbound devotion and love to their family, and demanding the same in return! Minis tend to be very intelligent, easily trainable, and very clean. They are as at home in an apartment as they are in the country, and love to go for a walk, or just play fetch in the living room. They get plenty of exercise following you from room to room, as they never want to be without you. They can be a bit stubborn when trying to get their way, but are very clever in "teaching YOU" to do what they wish. They are not incessant barkers if raised and trained properly, but will readily announce anything or anyone that is out of place. Many schnauzers are "talkers", in that they are very vocal when greeting you; for instance when you have been away and returned home. It is not barking, but a "woo-woo, roo-roo, grunt groan" type of sheer bliss that you have finally returned to love them, even if all you did was go get the mail!!!!
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Mini schnauzers are generally a healthy breed, and are not usually plagued by very many health problems. One of the biggest problems with minis seems to be controlling their weight. But regular exercise and proper nutrition will easily control this problem. One particular nutrition related problem that is occuring with increasing frequency in miniature schnauzers is pancreatitis. It is not clearly understood, but appears to be associated with the fact that many mini schnauzers have high blood serum lipids (fats). Symptoms generally include lack of appetite, repetitive vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy and depression. It is very much an emergency situation which requires immediate veterinary care to prevent more serious illness or even death. It can be prevented by maintaining your adult mini on a lower fat diet. Another potential life-threatening problem is hyper-sensitivity to vaccines. Symptoms include facial swelling and extreme itchiness, and possible breathing problems. Vomiting and diarrhea can also occur.
Your puppy/dog should never be left alone after vaccinations are given, as any delay in treatment for allergic reactions to vaccines can be fatal. Most serious reactions have been known to occur within eight hours after injection, but be watchful up to 24 hours or so in case your dog has not read the book and reacts later than usual. Eye problems which can occur in the breed include congenital juvenile cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, both of which cause blindness. Good breeders have their breeding stock screened by a board certified ACVO opthalmologist. Other problems which are not necessarily common, but can occur in the breed, include urolithiasis (urinary tract infections and/or bladder stones), hypothyroidism, skin/allergy problems, liver shunts, epilepsy, juvenile kidney failure, and heart defects. Even though some of these problems are more prevalent in this breed than in some other breeds, they are not all hereditary. And to make things more complicated, some of them can be either hereditary or acquired (non-hereditary). This can make things more complicated when it comes to breeding decisions, guarantees etc., but no good breeder would deliberately use a dog in their breeding program which has a known hereditary problem.
Health Update as of 2011. There has been a lot of controversy for a number of years surrounding over vaccination of puppies and dogs, and the long term serious health issues which that can potentially cause! Unfortunately you cannot always trust your vet to do what is right for your dog. Many vets tend to generalize and use the same vaccine protocols for every single puppy or dog in their practise, regardless of very different individual circumstances. This is just unacceptable today with the up to date knowledge that is easily accessible! You would not have to give a small breed country house dog that is never around other dogs, the same variety of vaccines and preventatives that you would give a dog that travels extensively to various provinces or goes to dog shows or dog parks where contact with innumerable bacteria, viruses, parasites etc. is much more likely. Some vaccines such as Lepto are known to cause such severe reactions that many vets refuse to use them in many parts of the world unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. Some vaccines only cover one or two strains out of hundreds, and the strains covered may not even exist in your geographical area! It pays to do some research before injecting, spraying or feeding your pet with anything that you do not have to. Please, be your own and your pet's best advocate. There is an abundance of info on the web in regards to proper vaccination protocols. The world reknowned leaders in vaccine research are Dr. W. Jean Dodds and Dr Ronald D. Schultz, whose vaccination protocol is now being adopted by ALL 27 North American veterinary schools.
[Here] is a link to Dr Jean Dodds' Recommended Vaccination Schedule
[Here] is a link to a very informative article which ran in the February 2010 issue of Clean Run Magazine, called "All About Vaccine Issues & Vaccinations" by
W. Jean Dodds, DVM 1 and Ronald D. Schultz, PhD 2
Now let's talk about fleas. If your dog does not have fleas, do not use flea preventatives month after month! I have only used flea preventatives once or twice a year some years, many other years not at all. I use it ONLY as needed, not as most vets would have you do, (start as the snow melts and go every month until frost...) that is such an unnatural intrusion on my dogs' wellbeing, which has proven to be totally unnecessary in the 30 years I have been involved with dogs! Don't waste your money and don't risk your dog's health. If you see fleas, do only what is necessary to eliminate them. That does not necessarily mean you have to use flea products for 6-8 months on end. If you live somewhere that you have to and you know that, fine, but do not do it if is not needed, it all affects the immune system of your pet!
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Dewclaws may be present on both the front and hind feet, but are more commonly found on the front, a little higher and tighter fitting on the leg, much like a thumb. Dewclaws are traditionally removed at birth or during the first days of life, so there is hopefully less pain felt. Dewclaws are removed using veterinary suture removal scissors. They have a little hook that can be placed firmly behind the dewclaw allowing for a clean quick cut, and there is usually minimal bleeding. Some people claim that if dewclaws are not removed they can cause many problems in adult dogs. Admitedly, the dewclaws, if not kept cut short, can grow around and grow right into the side of the foot or foot pad, which is a very painful and needless thing. This is of course the responsibility of the owner to keep the dewclaw cut short along with all the rest of the dogs nails, and is in no way a reason/excuse to remove the front dewclaws from all puppies. The front dewclaw is in many ways like a human thumb, and has been shown to be used by some dogs in balancing while running and turning, as well as to help hold toys or bones they are playing with or chewing on. Imagine not having such use of your thumb, how much more limited your function would be. It is no different for dogs. The front dewclaw is there for a reason and should not be removed without medical reason.
People also claim that dewclaws can get hooked on everything, even carpet, and if they tear it can be painful and can bleed profusely and be very traumatic for both dog and owner. While in theory this is true, medical research says that the front dewclaw is no more likely to get hurt or damaged than any of the other toenails, and we do not remove all of those from all dogs! The only case that appears to have some basis in fact is regarding rear dewclaws, which tend to be much more loosely attached with saggy skin, lower on the foot, and it is acceptable and even advisable to remove rear dewclaws in many cases for this reason, as they are much more likely to get snagged and cause injury. It is much better to prevent such problems with rear dewclaw removal in most cases.
In my own experience, over the many many years I have bred dogs, I have never had a dewclaw injury, and I have had dogs of various breeds with intact front dewclaws. I have had three normal nail injuries (no dewclaws) in 25+ years in dogs, none of which caused any long term problems, and my research both online as well as in person with many vets over the years show the same sort of low numbers of actual front dewclaw injury....certainly not enough of a statistical problem to ever warrant even considering the needless removal of all dewclaws in all puppies.
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We are no longer docking tails unless there is a medical reason to do so at birth. Therefore virtually all our pups in the future will have natural tails.
Tail docking is a procedure that is still practised by some vets and breeders, and is usually done at about three days of age. There has been much controversy about docking tails over the years, and it is much more in the forefront again the last year or so since it is becoming so well known that docking tails is proven to have no benefit whatsoever to most dogs and there is no legitimate reason for doing most dogs. After much personal experience and research with our breed, we have decided that we are going to strongly promote the end of tail docking at least in our breed where we have some small bit of control. There is really no need whatsoever to dock tails on a mini schnauzer in this day and age. People will use the reasons, a show dog will do better (in Canada and the US and a few other countries) so they use that as an excuse. Who is benefiting?? The dog?? I think not. Another reason used it that a friend or relative has one and theirs is docked, and they do not want their dog to be *different*. Who is benefiting?? The dog?? I think not.
There has been much said and written about docking tails. The tail of the mini schnauzer is not weak, it is not easily broken, and it will not get damaged by normal everyday life including a walk in the woods or a hike on a trail or against your living room table....no more so then any other breed with a tail would do. I have never heard of any miniature schnauzer doing damage to a tail while on a walk in the woods or during normal everyday living. Do you really think that the thousands of dogs of various breeds overseas, in countries where tail docking is illegal for very good reason, are all running around with damaged or broken tails? Those dogs are doing just fine I can assure you.
Docking is painful to the pup even if for a short duration; some pups get over it rather quickly but some may cry on and off for a few hours after it is done. There is not usually a lot of bleeding but on occasion there will be heavier bleeding that needs to be dealt with and controlled. There is stress to the pup and to the mom who must be locked away while it is done so she does not get upset when her babies cry.
There is also a condition known as ghost tail or phantom tail which has been documented and proven to exist, much like amputees have phantom limb. The dog feels as if the tail is still there, and can even intermittently feel sudden stabbing pain if the nerve endings do not heal properly after the tail has been removed. This is not a common problem but it does happen more often then one would care to admit. Some dogs have it their entire lives, while some outgrow it after puppy hood as the docked tail grows and changes as the dog matures. Either way, it is a potential pain that there is no need of inflicting on any pup when there IS a choice!!!
Please, when thinking of getting a mini schnauzer, do NOT go with the flow, make the decision to do what is best for your pup...choose to keep the tail intact and be one of the many people to try and put an end to tail docking in the countries where it still exists today!!
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Cropping of ears was done originally to protect the dog from injury while working or hunting. Then as breeds began to attend dog shows it became the norm and is now part of the official breed standard for many breeds. Personally, we do not crop our dogs' ears and do not recommend having it done. There are no benefits that we can think of at this time for cropping any miniature schnauzer's ears. Even though we have never cropped the ears of any dog or puppy ourselves, we have heard and read that there is a lot of aftercare required of the cropped ears, and that it is usually very painful for the dog. Some people claim that cropped ears are healthier and there is less risk of ear infection in a cropped dog. Out of our many mini schnauzers over the years who were all natural eared until Katie and Livia arrived in 2010, we have never had one single ear infection. Proper care and cleanliness of the ears is required, not ear cropping. A lot of show dogs are still done, but hopefully that will change when people's attitudes change about what really matters when it comes to form and function in dogs. It would take quite some doing to damage the ears while living a normal home life, even if *play* hunting on a walk in the woods. Since cropping of the ears is a complicated and painful surgical procedure that requires anesthesia, we see no purpose for it in the future of most breeds of dogs. Not only that, more and more vets are reluctant to do the procedure without very good reason, and I know that the Atlantic Veterinary College in Canada does not even train new vets how to do it at all. Many Veterinary Medical Associations are banning their members from doing such painful unnecessary cosmetic procedures, and enacting such bylaws and/or legislation is long overdue! Cropping ears is becoming a VERY *taboo* thing to do. It is already illegal in many countries, and that will hopefully become a much more widespread thing.
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The Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) 445.1 (1) (a) states that one cannot wilfully cause, or being the owner, wilfully permit to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal. Case Law provides that such suffering need not be substantial if it is not “justified” or is considered unnecessary “as being inflicted without necessity” (402 (1) (a)). A conviction under the CCC requires that two things must be proved: first that pain was inflicted and that second, it was inflicted cruelly, that is, without necessity, or in other words as cited by Case Law “without good reason.” It is further noted in Case Law that the amount of pain is of no importance, inclusive of duration and severity, if the pain is inflicted wilfully.
"(Tail docking) is a barbaric operation which is performed on un-fortunate puppies in certain breeds for show purposes only. The removal of the dogs tail, which was given to him to wag when pleased, is a sad reflection on civilized people. The removal of the tail in no way benefits the dog. Breeders who have docked hundreds of tails say that the puppies hardly feels it, but that is not the point. It is wrong for a human to mutilate a beautiful dog for such a paltry reason as a show..... Future generations will look back in horror at this unnecessary cruelty." - Hilary Harmer, The Dobermann, 1968
It should be noted "the tail is not merely an inconsequential appendage. It is an anatomically and physiologically significant structure which has many biological functions that should not be underestimated.’ For example, ‘the tail acts as a counterbalance when the dog is leaping, walking along narrow structures, or climbing.’ …[T]he tail plays an important role in defecating, and that the muscles used to wag the tail may also strengthen the perineal area and prevent perineal hernias. In addition, the dog uses the tail to signal many emotions and intentions. As a result, tail docking can adversely affect the interaction of a dog with other dogs or with humans. Furthermore, the tail enhances human-dog interactions, as the tail is the most obvious means of communication between human and dog. Finally, the absence of a tail may cause a dog to be the victim of attacks by other dogs due to an inability to communicate." Cropping and Docking: A Discussion of the Controversy and the Role of Law in Preventing Unnecessary Cosmetic Surgery on Dogs published by The Animal Legal & Historical Center of the Michigan University College of Law
The information below has been researched and found in various articles, news releases, government statements, etc, on the internet. This information we believe to be accurate, but in no way can we guarantee 100% authenticity.
Countries where cropping ears is banned:
Australia, Ireland, New Zealand , Singapore , Turkey, Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Ear cropping has been prohibited by the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals and strongly
discouraged by a number of national veterinary associations in
Argentina, Canada, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, France, Hong Kong,
Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia,. New Zealand, Poland, South
Africa, Spain, Taiwan, and Uruguay.
Countries where docking tails is banned:
France, Hungary, Italy, England - From April 6th, 2007 cosmetic tail docking will be illegal in England with the exception of certified working dogs. Scotland - In Scotland there will be a total ban on tail docking with no exemptions from the 30th of April. Any breeder who transfers puppies across the border to be docked will face a £5,000 ($10,000) fine or 6 months in jail. Wales - A ban is already being enforced in Wales since 27th of March, and a date has yet to be set for Northern Ireland
Countries where both procedures are banned:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Virgin Islands, Italian Cities of Turin and Rome.
- In Canada the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has issued a position statement that "cosmetic surgery is unnecessary. Surgical alterations in cases of injury or for reasons of health are not considered cosmetic". Examples of cosmetic procedures listed include tail docking and ear cropping in the canine species.
- The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has issued this statement: "The WSAVA considers amputation of dogs' tails to be an unnecessary surgical procedure and contrary to the welfare of the dog. The WSAVA recommends that all canine organizations phase out any recommendations for tail amputations (docking) from their breed standards. The WSAVA recommends that the docking of dogs' tails be made illegal except for the professionally diagnosed therapeutic reasons, and only then by suitably qualified persons such as registered veterinarians, under conditions of anesthesia that minimize pain and stress."
- The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights takes the following position: "The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights is opposed to various surgeries done to meet "breed standards" or to correct so-called vices. Procedures such as ear cropping, tail docking, or debarking in dogs, or declawing in cats are unacceptable because of the suffering and disfigurement they cause an animal are not offset by any benefits to the animal. If such a procedure can be shown to be necessary for medical or humane reasons, then it is permissible. The "breed standards" for dogs must be altered to allow the animals to be shown without being surgically mutilated."
- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has offered only the following equivocal position statement: "Ear cropping and tail docking in dogs for cosmetic reasons are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient. These procedures cause pain and distress, and, as with all surgical procedures, are accompanied by inherent risks of anesthesia, blood loss, and infection. Therefore, veterinarians should counsel dog owners about these matters before agreeing to perform these surgeries".
- The American Animal Hospital Association has taken the position that ear cropping and tail docking in pets for cosmetic reasons are not medically indicated nor of
benefit to the patient.
- The Australian Veterinary Association also has policies that condemn various cosmetic procedures such as tail docking of dogs and ear cropping of dogs.
Some of the following information is quoted from:
Animal Welfare Series: Brochure #4, produced by Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre, Atlantic Veterinary College, University Of Prince Edward Island as well as The National Canadian Veterinarian Medical Association anti docking/cropping poster printed Nov/09.
Click image for larger view (622kb)
CANADIAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
"The CVMA opposes surgical alteration of any animal for purely cosmetic purposes... The CVMA recommends that breed associations change their standards so that cosmetic procedures are not required."
BRITISH COLUMBIA VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
The BC Veterinary Medical Association signed the WSAVA Convention (below) in July 2001.
NEW BRUNSWICK VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
It is unnprofessional conduct for a veterinarian in New Brunswick to perform cosmetic surgery on any animal. (March/2009)
NOVA SCOTIA VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
“No member of the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association shall perform cosmetic surgery on an animal for the purpose of having the animal’s appearance conform to a breed standard or tradition. Cosmetic surgery is defined as non-therapeutic surgical procedures, which alter the appearance of an animal for purely cosmetic purposes. Surgeries due to injury or for reasons of animal health are not considered to be cosmetic surgery.”
This legislated amendment came into effect April 1, 2010. Examples of cosmetic procedures include:
tail docking in the equine species
tail docking in the bovine species
tail docking in the canine species
tail docks in newborn puppies
dewclaw removal in newborn puppies
tail alteration (nicking / setting) in the equine species
onychectomy (de-claw) in species other than the domestic cat
As an example of how the Criminal Code listed above applies: in Nova Scotia's provincial Animal Cruelty Act, an animal in distress is defined in Section 2(2)(b) as being injured, sick, in pain, or suffering undue hardship, privation or neglect. Section 21(2) states that no owner of an animal or person in charge of an animal shall permit the animal to be in distress. Section 21(4) outlines that if such distress, pain, suffering or injury results from an activity carried on in the practice of veterinary medicine, or in accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of animal management it is exempted. In this case, the NSVMA and CVMA as stated above, agree that the stated cosmetic surgeries do not meet this qualification as an exemptible procedure or practice.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: THE COSMETIC SURGERY BYLAW
WAS GIVEN APPROVAL BY THE GOVERNMENT OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND SEPTEMBER 15, 2010
It is considered unprofessional conduct for a veterinarian in Prince Edward Island to perform cosmetic surgery on any animal. Cosmetic surgery is defined as non-therapeutic surgical procedures (i.e. of no medical benefit) which are performed purely to alter the appearance of an animal. Surgery performed due to injury or for reasons of animal health is not considered to be cosmetic surgery.
The following are examples of cosmetic surgery:
- Tail docking in the canine, equine and bovine species
- Tail nicking and setting in the equine species
- Ear cropping in the canine species.
WORLD SMALL ANIMAL VETERINARY ASSOCIATION
"Surgical operations for the purpose of modifying the appearance of a companion animal for non-therapeutic purposes should be actively discouraged. Where possible, legislation should be enacted to prohibit the performance of non-therapeutic surgical procedures for purely cosmetic purposes."
For more information regarding tail docking and ear cropping, [click here]
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