Seriously considering a miniature schnauzer, looking for advice please.

(26 Posts)
ophiotaurus Tue 22-Apr-14 17:47:54

After quite a bit of research on here and on other dog forums, I am very keen on finding out more about the suitability of a miniature schnauzer puppy for our family.

I have had family dogs but never one of my own. My DCs are 4 and 6. One is at full time school and the other is on half days at school nursery.

I am a SAHM so will be in all day to look after the puppy/available for walks etc.

I was going to wait until both DC are in full days of school as I think this is more fair on the puppy.

Or would it be manageable to get one at this age?

Also if anyone who has experience with miniature schnauzers has any advice on the breed it would be much appreciated.

Also, is it a better idea to get a puppy at the beginning of the summer holidays so I don't have to leave him/her for the school run (I live 5 mins from school) or can you leave a puppy for 15mins to do the school run?

I'm reading up on training and also found some great books to get going with that were recommended here (Perfect Puppy and The Culture Clash).

Any further opinions would be very much appreciated.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 22-Apr-14 19:45:36

We have one and she's lovely!
Very good with children - would advise early socialisation with young children (under close supervision).
Puppy fine to be left for 15 mins or so - maybe not 1st week but after that was fine, as far as I can recall!
We walk her about 5 mins early am for business, then about 30 mins and then later on I take her out for a 10 min walk. She has longer walks on odd days and on weekends.
She loves going on bikes rides with us.
Here she is at 9 weeks and now

Any questions, just ask!

ophiotaurus Tue 22-Apr-14 20:34:44

She is adorable!
Do you think it would be sensible to wait until DC2 is at school? Or fine to get one now?
Also I've been reading about different types of grooming. Hand stripping or clipping. Which have you gone for and how often does she need to go the groomers?
Thanks so much for your answers (and gorgeous pics!).

SpicyPear Tue 22-Apr-14 20:50:32

I can't pretend to have any knowledge of this breed specifically but would just generally mention that for any puppy you need to do a while lot of research into reputable breeders before buying. You may find you have to wait for a suitable litter - a lot of readily available pups are puppy farmed or backyard bred.

ophiotaurus Tue 22-Apr-14 21:16:54

Thanks Spicy. I completely agree with you.
I've been looking at the Kennel Club and the Schnauzer clubs for lists of breeders. I will make sure I see them with the mother and make sure I see clear eye certificates and that they are BVA checked. I'm in Scotland so if anyone can recommend any reputable breeders that would be very helpful. I don't mind waiting at all for the right puppy. I'd rather be on a waiting list for the right breeder than get one tomorrow from someone with no credentials.
Is there anything else I should look out for or ask?

I think a minature schnauzer would be fine to get before both children are at school, but it's entirely up to you and what you personally can manage! Puppies are very hard work, but worth the effort.

Good on you for properly researching this before jumping in with both feet and buying the first pup you see advertised, which is what a lot of people do, unfortunately.

RiojaHaze Tue 22-Apr-14 21:43:47

My neighbour has one and she is the most lovely little dog. Really great around my kids; will play but not OTT.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 23-Apr-14 08:17:13

Ah shame you're in Scotland - was going to say welcome to come and visit our one!
We got her when both were at school and TBH at the end of the holidays but that was just easier for us with us being on holiday and also the age she was ready from.
We got her from a KC breeder and visited a few times - got a good feeling about the breeder and her home/ family etc.

We get her cut about very 7-8 weeks and in between bath her when needed - bit of grooming every now and again but it's no real bother. She is hand cut I think with clippers (just at local place) but she's so soft and quite different to my friends one which is a salt and pepper one (ours is Black but quite grey now!).

HTH!

VivaLeBeaver Wed 23-Apr-14 08:34:57

Someone I work with is a KC breeder. Her dogs are gorgeous. Lovely calm dogs with bags of character.

SpicyPear Wed 23-Apr-14 09:34:11

Sounds like you are on the right track but many puppy farmers KC regards their litters and are licensed by local authorities. They can be quite convincing, for example sending pups to a front family home for sale.

Some of the material is distressing but it's really worth looking here: www.puppylovecampaigns.org/

Breed clubs are a good place to start and expect to be thoroughly vetted. The breeder should be asking you lots of questions. If you have any concerns, walk away, don't try to save a pup. The custom keeps them breeding and abusing the brood botches.

permaquandry Wed 23-Apr-14 10:08:37

I have one and she's nuts lovely. She has been very hard work but I think she's growing up a bit now. She was very bitey as a pup, so you need to be firm with that.

I have a crate for her which she she still sleeps in and is a godsend.

She is now very barky but we are working on that.

Most other schnauzers I meet are lovely, calm (once over the pup stage) and are nothing like mine.

Wrt to grooming, hand stripping keeps their colour but makes their fur rough. I've always had mine clipped and like AnnMumsnet's dog (waves), she is super-soft but almost all grey (she was jet black).

Definitely enroll in puppy training classes and yes, at the beginning of summer is the best time. I got mine in late autumn and toilet training in the garden was not pleasant. Standing in the freezing rain at 11pm, trying to get a puppy to wee is pretty rubbish!

I think it's marvellous that you are really researching this. Go with the breeder that you feel most comfortable with and if possible, a council registered breeder as well as KC. Definitely meet the parents of the puppies too. And, if you are able, be prepared to travel.

If you can find a breeder with small children, who handle the pups from an early age, than that's even better.

Good luck and post pics!

tabulahrasa Wed 23-Apr-14 10:19:53

Actually I would avoid council registered breeders...to be breeding enough litters to need to be council registered is not a good thing.

permaquandry Wed 23-Apr-14 10:24:41

Ah, I didn't know that. I thought that it was a good thing, as they do home checks, whereas KC don't. Apologies for the misinformation.

tabulahrasa Wed 23-Apr-14 10:40:13

Yeah it's one of those things where it seems like a good thing...more registration should be good.

But while it means they are having to meet minimum welfare requirements, it also means they're breeding quite a few litters a year.

It is a bit of a minefield tbh, trying to find a good breeder.

A few things to think about...

Good breeders breed for a reason, usually to get a puppy themselves, so that's something worth asking... They should also be able to tell you why they've bred that particular pair, what traits it is they're trying to improve.

Very few people happen to own a dog and a bitch who complement each other perfectly, so using a stud dog is not a bad thing.

Health tests of course, with appropriate paperwork and information about health back through the pedigree as well.

Good breeders will be more than willing to discuss health, breeding lines and they should be asking you lots of questions too.

There's never a good reason for not KC registering a litter of puppies of a breed the KC recognises.

Good breeders should be giving you a contract saying they will take back the puppy at any point for any reason, that if you ever have to rehome it it should be going back to them. They also should be putting an endorsement on the KC registration so that you can't breed from them either ever or until certain conditions are met (usually that they've health tested clear).

AlpacaLypse Wed 23-Apr-14 10:48:45

I've got three Miniature Schnauzers on the dogwalking books at present. They are all dear little dogs, but notably noisy. You will not need a burglar alarm!

MothershipG Wed 23-Apr-14 11:09:53

Here you go, have mine, I'll even deliver! wink

She's 8, still mad as a box of frogs and still doing her best to get into trouble! She's super friendly and loves everyone, but was a horrendous land shark as a puppy and still plays rough given the chance. She has a high prey drive, likes to dig and is confident and independent, she is 100% terrier. She can open zips and tupperware and loves the challenge that packaging provides to get to a tasty treat.

So unless this is what you are looking for I would strongly suggest you go for lines with a more easygoing, less terrier like, temperament!

P.S. The pretzels are mine, I was using the dog to show scale. smile

P.P.S. Schnauzer ears aren't supposed to look like that wink

MothershipG Wed 23-Apr-14 11:13:03

perma Glad to hear you are making progress, any tips??? I could do with some!

Pepper has only been stripped once, when she was a puppy, but is still a beautiful glossy black, just going a bit grey around her muzzle.

Here's my little fella…he's just turned 2 and he's fab!
We did loads of research before settling on a breed and mini Schnauzers seemed to tick just about every box for us! (My BIL's family had one which we had spent a lot of time around and she was great which swayed us.)

Good points:

I don't know if he's just adapted to being around us (DH and I are very laid back) but he is the most laid back dog in the world…he never fusses or moans about being taken for a walk or being fed…yesterday for example he slept all day until about 2, & left his breakfast until he could be bothered to eat it!
He is so happy going on long walks for miles and miles, but equally happy just sitting at home with us and doesn't mind being left alone for periods of time - he just sleeps!
He was very easy to train when he was a pup, though he did go through a phase of pulling at sleeves and trouser legs when he was really small.
He learned tricks very easily too and will 'dance' on his back legs or do just about anything for a treat smile
The no malting thing is fantastic! Not a dog hair in sight! (which means we don't mind him sitting up on the sofa with us grin )
He is very loving and cuddly - he always wants to be snuggled in to us when we are just sitting at home, and would rather sleep snuggled into our legs on our bed - despite this he never jumps up or jumps all over you.
He's fantastic in the car…we do quite a lot of journeys to the in laws, 3-6 hrs driving and as soon as we set off anywhere he just lies down and sleeps, just accepts he's in the car and that's it…isn't even bothered about getting out for a wee/drink when we stop most of the time.
If i'm ever upset or crying he knows and gets quite distressed, he whines and wants to lick my face.
He honestly has such a great, slightly cheeky personality - he's so funny and never fails to make anyone smile with his cute face or cheekiness.

Bad points:

While he's great with other dogs, he always assumes they all want to play with him.
His ears have been a bit of a nightmare since day one, they need plucking regularly but he is constantly itching his and gets infections once in a while which require drops from the vets.
I've never been brave enough to groom him myself so he goes to the groomer about once every 8 weeks at £25 a time.
He's fine with strangers if we are out anywhere but very territorial when he's in his own house. Our house is directly on a fairly busy road (not an estate or anything) and he stands up on the window ledge and barks at anyone walking past or even on the other side of the road. Once we reassure him it's ok he's fine.
He hates water/rain so refuses to go for a walk in the rain, is ok with baths now but hated them as a pup.

One of the things that's worked best for us though is having a dog-flap in the back door. This was already installed for the previous owners spaniel but we would have put one in anyway. Appreciate it may not work for everyone's garden but our back garden is courtyard style with a wall and gate, then beyond that a private gated driveway so no chance of escape.
It means we can leave him at home on occasion and not worry about getting back to let him out.
Through the day or night he just trots out into the garden, does his business and comes back in again and up to bed (he has a basket in our bedroom) he learned how to use the door and associate inside/outside toilet area within one day)

That's about all I can think of for now but I think they are a great breed for families in general. I don't know if we've just been lucky with him but he is absolutely perfect for our lifestyle & situation. smile
We were planning to get another one (black this time!) this year but impending arrival of DC in July has put a stop to that, we will probably get a second one when DC is about 2.

heartichoke Wed 23-Apr-14 12:22:12

My schnauzer is five now, and he's a wonderful dog. When he was a pup, as soon as poss, I used to take him on the school run, where he met lots of children and got used to (and grew to love!) the attention.
He was VERY 'bitey' up to about 6-7 months, and nothing seemed to have any effect on stopping him - DS found this very off-putting, and a crate was essential for time out.
I would say that 15 mins alone from day 1 should be fine - they need time alone too. Schnauzers are very intelligent and independent-minded dogs, who want to please themselves much more than they want to please their owners. This means that if you are looking for an unquestionably obedient dog, you may regret a schnauzery choice. OTOH if you're looking for cheeky personality and a bit of a laugh (and don't mind being made to look rather foolish when your schnauzer chooses to do his/her own thing), then schnauzers are just right!
My lovely dog understands every command that I give him - he just chooses which ones to follow, and when... His level of reliability correlates exactly and only to how hungry he is and the value of the treats that I have with me. I can never take him out off-lead after a meal - he HAS to be hungry!
He gets cut in the first week of every other calendar month (just after pay day), and he always looks smart. I just go with clipping - when I was researching the breed, I had fond ideas of hand-stripping/grooming him myself, but when the wriggly, obstinate little bundle actually arrived he was full of excitement and defiant energy and I realised that there was no way on the planet that I could actually DO the grooming thing properly myself. I do manage a weekly bath/ear clean/tidy up/brushing - but that is his (and my) limit.
When researching a breeder, I looked for quiet parents - directly asked the question of each breeder that I approached - and as a result, I've got a relatively quiet pet. He barks in the garden, and in the house when he SEES something in the garden, but he doesn't bark in the living room (where he can't see the garden!), or out on walks. He's probably about as good as you get for barking with schnauzers - if barking really bothers you, schnauzers might not be the right breed.
Having said all that, schnauzers are the most wonderful dogs in the world: intelligent, loving, companionable, great with kids, sociable with other dogs, good fun, non-shedding, best-looking and brave.
Get one if you dare!

heartichoke Wed 23-Apr-14 12:32:44

Forgot to say - he'll enjoy walking all day if needed, but as routine he gets a 40 minute walk in fields or woods every morning, access to garden most of the day (apart from when I go out!) and sometimes another 10-40 minute walk in the evening (if I feel like it). He's v happy with this level of exercise - relaxed and chilled. Now that he's not a pup any more, he tends to just sleep all day in the living room, whether I'm there or not.

Cosmothedog Wed 23-Apr-14 12:41:01

Lovely thread. Keepthechangeyoufilthyanimal, your dog is gorgeous!

This is our schnauzer. He's quite big for a mini, probably on the upper most limit.

I couldn't rave about him enough. He has just turned 3 and has been the easiest, happiest dog ever. He is incredibly well behaved, even as a puppy he never did anything naughty - no digging, no chewing or scrounging. He's wonderful out on walks, great off the lead and very friendly with other dogs.

I second the non-shedding thing. He thinks he is human (a schnauzer trait, I am told) so has to sit with or on top of us.

He doesn't sleep upstairs - he is perfectly happy to sleep downstairs alone.

We have him clipped as we prefer the soft coat to the coarser stripped look.

He barks at sirens - they drive him crazy, but that is all.

I would thoroughly recommend this breed.

Cosmo Thank you - yours is lovely too! got to love those scruffy moustaches! grin
What you've said about them thinking they are human being a schnauzer trait…oh my goodness yes!!!
Jasper completely thinks he is a human! He sits and acts like one all the time, it is quite amusing actually! (Here his is joining me at the table while I work this morning.)

ophiotaurus Wed 23-Apr-14 14:45:52

Wow thanks for all the great advice.
Also about puppy farmers masquerading as home breeder. That's awful sad
I think I will start by emailing the suitable breeders in Scotland and see if any have litters planned for summer!
My friend also recommended champdogs website for breeders. Has anyone used them? Really wary of secret puppy farms and don't want to get caught out.

ophiotaurus Wed 23-Apr-14 14:46:44

Forgot to say thank you for all the cute pics!

tabulahrasa Wed 23-Apr-14 15:04:46

Of the websites used for selling litters Champdogs is better - they check on health tests, so if the ad says they're health tested, they are.

You are more likely to be able to find a good breeder on there than on other websites.

Check the breed club, see if they have some sort of assured breeder programme, some breeds do, also check the rescue and welfare section of it... If they breed and are involved in rescue they're more likely to be a good one.

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