Miniature schnauzers are friendly, handsome, compact dogs recognised by their characteristic beards and double coat. Though schnauzers may look fluffier when their hair grows out between haircuts, they don't feel fluffy, as their outer body coat is coarse and wiry compared to the soft fur close to the skin. The classic miniature schnauzer cut leaves fur fluffy on the muzzle and legs and close-cut on the head, neck, tail and body. A slightly longer cut will remove wiry fur and make your pet healthier and more comfortable, while promoting a fluffier feel and appearance. When groomed regularly, your miniature schnauzer will be a pleasure to look at and hold.
Brush your pet daily to maintain his coat, prevent matting and detect parasites or other skin problems in their early stages. Brush against the natural grain of the hair with a pin brush or a slicker brush to remove all tangles and fluff from the fur, then with the grain to smooth out the hair. If you detect mats, place your hand under the mat to prevent pulling the skin, then comb through the area. If the mat is too tight to undo with a comb, snip it out with a pair of scissors.
Bathe your schnauzer monthly or whenever he gets dirty. Place cotton balls in your pet's ears and keep his head and neck above water. Use warm water and shampoo made especially for dogs. If your pet has a flea problem, use a pest-control shampoo. Rinse the shampoo off and follow with dog conditioner. Rinse your pet thoroughly and dry him off with a blow dryer. Brush your pet's legs with a pin brush as you dry them, to keep the fur straight and fluffy. When your pet is dry, brush him with a slicker brush to finish the grooming process.
Take your pet to a groomer once every month or two, depending on the season. Instruct the groomer to leave fur as long as possible on the legs, beard and chest, and to leave a fringe at the loin. Request that the groomer cut only enough fur from the body and head to remove the wiry outer coat, leaving as much of the soft undercoat as possible. Grooming a schnauzer this way will ensure as much bulk and soft fur as possible, while eliminating the coarse, wiry fur. If you prefer to groom your schnauzer yourself, follow the instructions in the next step.
Brush, bathe, blow dry and brush your schnauzer again before clipping. Hold the schnauzer's skin taut and clip his body and neck fur along the grain with a well-oiled 5 blade. Feel your schnauzer's coat to verify that the coarse fur is removed. If fur is still coarse, clip again with gradually higher blade sizes until the fur is as long as possible, but still soft. Turn the blade the opposite direction when approaching the dog's leg and chest for a blended look. Clip the bottom of the dog's tail and rear with a 30 blade to keep the area neat, and clip the ears inside and out with a 40 blade to prevent ear infection. Use the 40 blade to trim the pads of the feet to prevent accumulation of dirt and parasites. If desired, trim the dog's legs and chest with a 40 blade, clipping against the grain to clean up the fur and make it proportional with the body, while leaving as much fluff as possible.
Show dogs have their coats stripped or plucked to meet show ring standards. This is unnecessary unless you plan to show your dog. Miniature schnauzers will look and feel great regardless of whether their coats are stripped. Parasites can irritate your pet's skin and cause him to bite and scratch. Biting and scratching is a sign of discomfort, and may also tangle your pet's coat. To prevent discomfort and disease and promote skin and coat health, carefully examine the itchy area and remove ticks and fleas with tweezers. Exterminate the pests in a jar of rubbing alcohol. Comb through your pet's coat with a flea comb to detect other biting pests. If there are more than a couple pests, contact your vet and have him recommend an appropriate flea and tick medication.