If you’re looking for a small dog and are exploring different breeds, consider the miniature schnauzer. My family bought our mini schnauzer three years ago and he’s turned out to be one of the best dogs I’ve ever owned. Charley has a lot of heart and personality for a small dog, minus the annoying habits that some little dogs have.

Schnauzers come in three sizes – small (miniature), medium (standard), and large (giant). The miniature schnauzer has been considered its own breed since the early 1800s. Miniature schauzers are between 15 and 25 pounds, and come in several color schemes: black, white, silver, black and silver, and salt-and-pepper. They’re small, sturdy, terrier-like dogs.

At first, miniature schnauzers were bred as ratters and watchdogs, often guarding stables. Their name, schnauzer, comes from the German word for nose or snout. This is an apt name, since they have excellent noses, and can sniff out a mouse or mole easily.

As time went on, the miniature schauzer’s small size and winning personality made it a perfect companion dog. They fit quite well in a person’s lap.

Miniature schnauzers don’t shed, which is a wonderful thing – they are one of the few dogs that doesn’t. However, to look their best, they should be clipped and groomed regularly. (We don’t clip Charley year-round, but let him get “fuzzy” in the winter so he stays warm.)

Other advantages of the miniature schnauzer: They are very intelligent and good watchdogs. They’ll hear a car pulling up in the driveway long before a person’s ear detects it. They’re quite gentle yet also playful, and if motivated to learn, will do so easily.

Charley’s small size makes him an ideal dog to take places, yet he isn’t so small that he could get squashed. He was easy to housebreak and has not exhibited many bad habits.

There are a few disadvantages that you might want to know about, however

Miniature schnauzers are very smart – sometimes smarter than their owners. They’re known as “the dog with the human brain,” which makes them easy to train in some ways. However, they aren’t as obedient as some other breeds, and if they get out of the house, may bolt and get lost. Charley definitely has a mind of his own,

They do need clipping and grooming to have that schnauzer look, which will have to be done at least a few times a year. However, as I pointed out earlier, clipping isn’t mandatory. But I do get Charley clipped when it’s warm, both for his comfort and for looks.

They also have a strong digging instinct. Charley loves to dig and is almost impossible to distract once he’s started. Luckily, since he only weighs 17 pounds, I can pick him up and take him away from the hole.

This is why Charley has his own fenced dog yard to dig in. That way, he satisfies his instinct and I don’t have to worry about him digging up my garden.

Last but not least, the Schnauzer’s watchdog instinct causes him to bark – a lot. Sometimes it’s hard to get him to stop barking at people who come to our house. My biggest challenge right now is showing him that it’s okay to stop barking after a minute or two. We’re working on that. Also, some people find the mini schnauzer’s high-pitched bark hard to tolerate.

But overall, miniature schnauzers are ideal companion dogs and family dogs. They’re good-natured and fun, and although they are energetic, aren’t so high-maintenance that you must constantly try to wear them out. A short walk once a day is perfect for our dog, plus a little indoor fetch in the evening.

I highly recommend miniature schnauzers as a pet. They’ll fit into anyone’s life quite easily.