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The Miniature Schnauzer: An In-Depth Consideration

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

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Gir

All that lives- is holy.
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 3:34pm PST 
While I am in no position to consider getting a new dog, thinking about my dogs and about dogs I will one day have is a huge part of what keeps me sane.

I have more or less decided that my next dog, rather than being the Standard I had reserved for next year (not going to happen) will be a miniature Schnauzer.

I want to show, but obviously first and foremost I want a companion. With the schedule I'll have to keep for the next few years, my usual most wanted dogs aren't very good choices. A mini, IMO, is.

It's been a long time since I have had a mini- I was probably ten when mine died- but I've worked with quite a few.

What are your thoughts on this breed, dogsters?

I understand the state of the breed itself is much like that of many versatile, popular breeds- that is, shambles.

What are your thoughts on the nonstandard colors? The Skansen and other well-bred white minis I find attractive and appropriate, as they are allowed in virtually every country but our own.

There are other patterns and colors that, while I find them attractive, aren't standard anywhere and while I think chocolate, parti and other patterns are pretty, I have mixed emotions about the ethics of breeding them.

And what's with the new merle minis?

What health tests should I look for on the parents?
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Gunner

All legs and no- tail
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 8:00pm PST 
Ahhh, Gir, you ask about one of my greatest weaknesses. I'll admit I thought myself a sporting breed person through and through for many years, thanks to the wonderful GSPs in my life, but it was the Miniature Schnauzer that first truly broadened my scope as far as breeds go. I find this breed absolutely charming. They have this tough, feisty nature, but at the same time are fun-loving and comical. All the ones I've known are incredibly smart, well trained, but with just a hint of independence that keeps things interesting. I love that, for their size, they are hardy; I wouldn't be afraid keeping one with the larger dogs that I will always have. I know there is a lot of Giant Schnauzer love on these forums, and rightly so, but my heart has been stolen by the littlest of the Schnauzers, thanks to his huge character and personality.

If you are interested, Tiller talked about them in my breed match. I know her opinion is always highly regarded.

Also, as far as health testing, I'd look for CERF and von Willebrand's disease clearances in the very least, and thyroid would be nice. This site is one I've found good for looking up inherited diseases in breeds. The others listed for Minis are ones I don't think have tests out yet to screen for them.

As for colours, I don't mind whites since it is widely accepted in most of the rest of the world. The chocolates, and especially the merles, scream BYB scam to me and I think they are at least partially due to an outcross or hybrid breeding. I'd steer clear of them, as the breed is plagued by poor breeding. I count myself lucky in that I've never met a poorly bred Mini nor one with a less agreeable temperament, though I have heard stories.

Last thing is I have a few breeders I can recommend you if you'd like, as I'm searching for one for my future as well.

Edited by author Tue Jun 22, '10 8:05pm PST

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Gir

All that lives- is holy.
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 8:46pm PST 
Ah, way too soon to look for breeders, but I agree about the odder colors, much as I wish they were legit, I think most of them are mutts.

I've had the misfortune of meeting quite a few poorly bred minis, most of whom seemed to be blind or going blind. I expect most of them came from a local mill. Thanks for the links!
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Mulder

Spooky Mulder
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 8:58pm PST 
I'm sorry, I'm sure that merle Schnauzer is poorly bred and/or a mix... but I find it absolutely gorgeous shock
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Gir

All that lives- is holy.
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 9:32pm PST 
I do think he's a mix, because since merle is co-dominant and semi-lethal, it's not the kind of thing that can hide in recessives for years and years.

However, there seems to be a huge, huge demand for odd colored minis from the general public, and I think that if ethical breeders were to get involved with breeding them (getting them into standard), they could meet a niche that will very likely otherwise be filled by dogs from BYBs and mills.

I think the integrity of standards should be maintined, but at the same time breeding within reasonable limits to meet demand also seems reasonable.
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Jin

I'm going with- you, right?
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 9:51pm PST 
Actually, it's not impossible that an "off-color" Miniature Schnauzer is purebred.

Perhaps Tiller could expand on this, but from my understanding it's possible that the chocolates, and the partis, and many of the off-colors are throw-backs (though no doubt less-than-responsible breeders sometimes focus on producing these colors). Miniature Schnauzers were bred down from Standards with use of other breeds which very likely introduced various colors; in fact, it's unlikely that they did not introduce various colors. Similarly, outcrossing to improve the breed during the final stages of its design occurred, and for a long while Schnauzers and Pinschers were considered two types of the same breed and, therefore, were interbred.

Originally, many breeds came in colors that are no longer accepted or even recognized; some, even, still come in such colors but a large portion of breed people essentially pretend that they "don't exist."

Probably the most disputed and questioned color is merle. There does seem to be at least a possibility that Pomeranians were used in the breed's history, which could very well be a source for the merle. So, theoretically it's not impossible that it could be a throwback color, but at the same time, as with any of the off-colors, it's also not impossible that it's from mixed-breeding as it's largely unscrupulous breeders advertising these colors.

Per standard they're not "legit", but that doesn't necessarily discount them as purebred, either. I suppose the best way to try and determine is to look at the breeder for how responsible and credible they are.

As for my thoughts on the breed? I like them. big grin I was actually looking into possibly getting one soon but am not sure a Schnauzer in general is the way to go for the situation I'm in at the moment.

As for health testing, it looks as if The American Miniature Schnauzer Club is proactive in health testing of the breed (they even bring up DNA testing for Myotonia). A quick search didn't yield specifics for what health testing to look for, but if you can't find it on the site no doubt you can contact them to see what they have to say. I didn't see mention on there of von Willebrand's, so if you do contact them and they don't mention it, as Gunner said, it should be tested for. Myotonia was the only thing I saw on there that could be tested for but was not mentioned by Gunner.
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Gir

All that lives- is holy.
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 11:23pm PST 
I can see your point with all the colors but merle. Merle is co-dominant and for a dog to be born merle, it has to have at least one merle parent. The merles would've been obviously present in the gene pool since breed inception.

It is gorgeous, though.
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The Boys

The Three- Stooges.
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 11:26pm PST 
I don't know anything about the breed. It's a shame the off colors are suspect cause that merle is a beauty.
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Gir

All that lives- is holy.
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 22, '10 11:37pm PST 
It is, it really is.

Merle is a touchy subject. The coloration is vivid and truly beautiful, but in the homozygous form merle is sublethal- two merle parents will produce some puppies that are deaf and possibly blind and also have a plethora of other problems.

That's the reason some breeds don't want merle in the gene pool.

I personally would buy one of the merle schnauzer crosses if I could find a good breeder of them.
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Mulder

Spooky Mulder
 
 
Barked: Wed Jun 23, '10 6:14am PST 
Looked up the name of the dog in the picture, and found the kennel.
They are, without a doubt, mixes.

Openly admitted by the breeder:

There are several lines of merle schnauzers here in the US. Our line originated from the Pomeranian line that is from all AKC registered dogs. We did much research when we looked into purchasing a merle line and decided to go with the Pomeranian line due to the fact that the lines started from herding bloodlines can some times can have more of an aggressive personality. Once the original cross in our line was done then the out cross dog was never used again, and only AKC dogs were used from then on to breed back to the original merle offspring.

Still pretty, though
silenced

And in its own way, I think this goes to proving a point... that you can successfully outcross your breeding, and in a few generations have a dog that looks (color aside) almost identical to his "in standard" cousins.
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