Miniature versus Standard - or vice versa
Updated: Aug 12, 2019
I’ve had both - Miniature Schnauzers (MS) and Standard Schnauzers (SS). Always both at the same time, except at the beginning of my dog ownership, when I had only one miniature female. After decades and quite some experience, I think there is no rule about which is better or easier to handle. Each dog has its own personality and can always surprise you in a good or in a bad way. The same as human beings and even our children.
According to my experience, I will try to compare both breeds with each other, which means that at some points I will have to evaluate the average of all my dogs of the same breed, because each dog was slightly different, which is actually wonderful.
Assertion / Characteristic
Socialization is of grave importance in MS and SS and is in fact getting used to all possible situations in life and to tolerate different stimuli from the surroundings.
After our puppies were already socialized to some extent and within the given possibilities/ their age in their primary environment, we continue with socialization from the moment they enter our family. For example, in addition to working on socialization within the house, we add new situations every day also outside. We carry a puppy that has not yet been vaccinated, to the road to see cars and lights and around the city. Later we work on meeting many other people, dogs, cows, horses etc, to get them used to all kind of hustle and bustle of the city and of the countryside where we spend a lot of time too. As soon as the kennel club starts puppy school, we begin regular training under the supervision of a professional trainer. Also visiting bars and cafes with a dog is our habit etc. And, which I believe is very important, we immediately start using the words YES/NO and rewarding good behavior. It works well, with MS and SS. No problem.
MS loves playing with other dogs. As to humans, he could live peacefully only with his family - without any other people. He adores his family. If the whole family is gathered, it's the best party.
He loves attention. If he doesn't like someone he will show it loudly. Is completely incorruptible.
SS plays a lot with foreign dogs when he is still young. When he grows up he will play mostly only with selected old friends. But he will be kind to all dogs if they will be kind to him. If the other dog shows a slight sign of aggression, he will not react back but will also not run away. So it is wise to be a little bit careful about this. To SS more than a company of dog friends outside of a family means his family. He will be the happiest being on the Earth when the whole family is gathered.
Both do not like the attention from other people very much but will tolerate it without giving any attention back. Schnauzer's heart is devoted only to his family.
Without a doubt, it is wise to implement the rule that the human is the master of Schnauzer's food. Schnauzer is a very wise dog and will use all his puppy cuteness to get something better and different to eat. He can quickly become picky or even starts guarding his food (though might not even taste it) and will soon dictate you what end when he will eat. That is why it is good that he learns that the master of the food is a human and he gives it to him because he was good and has obeyed him and so made him happy.
Food served in a bowl means, in particular, everyday ritual and everyday rituals have high prices in Schnauzer's mind (daily walks, daily cuddling, daily combing...). It may seem strange but to my experience food given out of hand as a reward comes with the highest price in the dog's eyes. The taste is not that important at all. This fact can be advantageously used for training. My dogs often get the whole daily meal as a prize for good execution of the given commands during training.
Yes and no. MS does not care much for the comfort as long he's near to his human while SS will lie on a soft, large enough base and will throw himself on his back and tighten his legs showing total relaxation and content. If the place allows him also to have everything under control, even better.
They are both very intelligent. They will very quickly, just like children, find out what they can get from someone with the least effort. They quickly understand certain rituals (e.g. preparing for going to work, going for a walk, going to training, preparing for an exhibition ...).
They learn new commands exceptionally quickly - especially with the use of positive motivation. By penalizing him and exciting his fear you will only achieve that the dog will "close himself".
They understand a lot of words and phrases, so communication with them is easy.
They love certain "mind games" that we play when it is raining outside, such as searching hidden objects and treats, following different commands against the reward, of course, tearing up colored papers glued to lockers, making funny tricks etc.
Since small puppies are cute we can easily make mistake and prize them without any reasonable cause. This is, so I call it, the undeserved attention, which is not OK. Many puppy owners, especially owners of MS puppies, are so unaware that their puppies are "wrapping them around the finger" just because they are small and cute! Such undesirable practice can turn a cute puppy to an annoying and disobedient one. We should forget MS smallness and sweetness and rather demand from him the same as from his bigger brothers. I believe that for example stability, partial reticence, and obedience of the SS are in direct causation with regular training and our consistency (this one usually comes hand-in-hand with bigger dogs).
Toys and games
MS likes to play and also plays a lot. If he doesn't find a play partner he will play alone. He loves toys, especially those that make different noises when squeezed. MS loves also plush toys but above all toys for pulling e.g. twisted ropes etc.
SS rarely shows that he would like to play, especially when grown up, but when he does he will make it in an extremely cute way. His front will go down low, he will lift his behind up high into the air and will swing a tail happily. How could one resist it?
They are both deeply attached to their family, in which there are humans and animals. They very clearly express love, fear, insecurity, anger, joy and affection. MS will more aggressively express his jealousy when, for example, we take with us only the bigger one. When coming back he will loudly complain saying "Why did you leave me behind!" SS will hide and defend all the toys when foreign dogs sometimes come to our house. But he will only bark in a certain way and will never show aggression.
As I wrote both are very attached to the family. Fortunately, the separation crisis is not present or is rarely observed, probably because we leave them every day for a couple of hours and they are used to it. Besides that, there is always more than one dog in the family so they are never left totally alone.
As to impulsiveness MS exceeds SS and is certainly more active. It is more difficult to keep him concentrated because he is interested in everything around. That is also why he barks more. His hearing is even better than in SS and since he is a very reactive dog, he can be be annoying to someone. But the truth is that he will never react for no reason. Because of all this, training MS is quite demanding and requires a lot of patience to direct MS's energy to meet the expectations of his handler. Well trained MS is the biggest reward for all hard work with this dog. Do not forget, MS can be trained almost for the same tasks as SS and even giants.
SS is an energetic dog, but he will significantly calm down when fully grown (around 2,5 to 3 years of age). He is more stable and obedient than his little brother, and barks less. He is, however, an excellent guard and when he barks, he has a reason for it.
A lot of patience is needed when training a puppy SS too, but in the basic obedience training course (at about a year and a half old dog) he will for sure become an excellent worker and the star of the course. He will never run out of energy for work and he will be focused on the handler with delight. He loves to work very, very much. That is not because he would love obeying orders that much, but because he is overjoyed with the praise given to him by his beloved human.
Capability of concentration
Concentration is a hard job for a dog. MS is extremely curious and is interested in everything, therefore his concentration is shorter than in the larger brothers. It is necessary to adjust the way of training and to interrupt training as soon as the concentration of the dog falls. It is necessary to immediately jump into a motivational game in order to gain back his attention. There are not very many things that satisfactory as working with MS, who adores work and fulfills every command with delight.
Also in SS puppies the concentration is short, which is normal. When attending puppy school I do not advise you to compare him with some of "born to please" classmates (such as border collies) because beginnings with SS are harder and steps are smaller. But already in a few months this will change, and your SS is going to shine at school because his work is a party and a reward. He will become very obedient also outside the school and training area and will become an easily manageable dog - in all situations. The precondition is, of course, training under a professional trainer!
According to my experience, lifelong training, regardless of the type of activity, is very welcome if not mandatory for MS and SS. On one hand Schnauzer likes to work because he works with his favorite person and on the other hand obeying the orders greatly eases life with this intelligent dog. Positive motivation is important. Marking the positive behavior of a dog, ignorance of the bad behavior of the dog and using always the same YES /NO marker word (or marker sound - clicker) make wonders. The clarity of the commands and the calmness of the handler are also of great importance.
I have in mind not only professionally guided courses and activities in kinological organizations, but also a permanent short training in everyday life at home, in the garden, in the woods, in the city, in a restaurant etc.
Reading our emotions
Both breeds are very well perceived by our mood and adapt to it. If we are happy, they are happy too, and they intensively show this with a body speech and a smile in their eyes. If people are angry and feel bad, they will disappear under the table, but if they feel our grief, they will immediately show up and will be concerned. Yes, Schnauzers do read our emotions very well.
MS definitely show jealousy, because they like to be number one and the most loved. But it does not mean that they will show it with aggression. Rather than that, they will ask for an extra cuddle. When talking about being jealous it is at least to my experience always about another dog, in no way about a human being.
SS can also be jealous. One of our dogs once made us big problems due to his jealousy towards a particular MS. He began to show signs of serious aggression toward him. But this dog was really very non-tolerant and very protective throughout his life. This unpleasant incident has taught me that I must always look for a puppy at breeders who can convince me that they are very much engaged in the nature and temperament of their breeding dogs, not just in their beauty.
SS, which I now have, very rarely show signs of jealousy. When it happens, he will bark to his rival in a very special way telling him to go away (from me, from his toys etc.) and will in a way create a privacy belt around him, which he will not let go.
Do not like people who are not welcome also by human family members
MS and SS will not accept people about who they feel that they are not well accepted by the human part of the family. MS will bark a lot to them, SS will bark only a few times. Later they will both lie down somewhere close and control the situation. When "a bad" person will leave, they will relax and show satisfaction.
Both are outstanding guards, but MS is much louder and will show a higher level of warnings. Once a stranger came to our main door in the middle of the night. The dog heard him and went totally mad. When a man turned around and left, MS stayed at the door until morning and guarded us. We highly praised him for his reaction to show him how much his heroism and perseverance meant to us.
SS is a great watchdog, which barks significantly less than MS. But that does not mean that he does not have things under control. I remember when we reconstructed the house and a young boy came with the craftsman to help. This boy was a bit strange (we didn't like him) and the dog somehow recognized this feeling of ours in his mysterious way. After three days of reconstruction, the dog started ignoring the boy. On the fourth day, the boy worked alone in the house, while the rest of us were preparing materials behind the house. As the boy did not turn up for a while, I went in to see what was going on. The boy was standing in the room, not moving at all and the dog was at the door preventing him from leaving. It was a bit unpleasant - but I liked it.
Are calmed by classical music
Quiet, peaceful music, especially symphonic, calms them down, and calm uniform speech also. That's why we always let TV on a suitable program when we leave dogs alone at home.
Prefer to earn their treats
I took me many years to find out that my dogs prefer to earn their treats rather then getting it served in a bowl as a regular meal. No matter what it is (usually these are only ordinary briquettes), the treat seem to be more desired than the best meat meal. I take advantage of this fact to consolidate obedience and, whenever I can, to practice and feed the dogs in the form of a prize from my hand.
Would rather you pet them instead of praising them
Absolutely yes. Cuddling, face-to-face conversation, massage of back, belly and paws ... all this is the best reward, better than pieces of the juiciest meat.
It is impossible for me to choose between MS and SS. Both are the best companions and friends. Some people are asking me which breed of my two to decide. I do not know. I may be just a little bit closer to deciding for SS, because lots of barking can be annoying sometimes and also SS is absolutely much more balanced and calm when grown up fully. So at least to me, if I had really to decide, SS is ideal. But on the other hand, MS, their loveliness and their lifelong energy fascinate me. So it is obviously the best for me to keep having a combination of both.
For the end, I can only say, that I really love Schnauzers very, very much and that my life will for sure not be long enough to get any serious experience with any another breed. So I will keep being Schnauzer devoted. Simple as that.