Differences between schnauzers & miniature schnauzers

Updated November 21, 2016

Both the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the European kennel club recognise three distinct types of schnauzers: miniature, standard, and giant. These three types have several characteristics in common and several distinct characteristics. Although miniature and giant schnauzers were bred from standard schnauzers, the breeds mixed in to create them resulted in some differences.

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, grey 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

According to the AKC, the standard schnauzer measures 17.5 to 19.5 inches at the shoulder and weighs 13.6 to 20.4 Kilogram. 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 24.9 to 36.3 Kilogram. The miniature measures 12 to 14 inches at the shoulder and weighs 4.99 to 9.07 Kilogram.

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 colour standards. According to the AKC, both the standard and the giant schnauzer may have the same acceptable colours: 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 per cent of standards and more than 18 per cent of giants tested have CHD. Except for CHD, standards and giants have few common genetic disorders.

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About the Author

Daniel Cobalt lives in Georgia and has been writing online for over five years. He has a technical certificate in printing from the Philadelphia Printing School. His areas of expertise include fitness, home schooling, parenting, personal relationships, small business ownership and pet topics including breeding, training and responsible ownership.