Breed Origins and their Legacy
Opinions differ as to the origins of the Miniature Schnauzer. Some believe that it was downsized by using the smallest specimens of the middle sized, Standard Schnauzer alone to produce a dog of consistently smaller size. However, it is also believed that the Standard Schnauzer was in fact crossed with various smaller breeds, particularly the Affenpinscher, in order to produce a Schnauzer in a smaller package.
Either way, the Miniature Schnauzer derived from his larger cousin, a dog developed during the late nineteenth century in Southern Germany, probably from breeds like the poodle, working terrier and spitz-type companion dogs as well as the German rough-haired Pinscher. Indeed, the word Schnauzer was derived from the pet name of just such a Pinscher, shown at the end of the nineteenth century in Hanover.
The main reason for wanting to develop a smaller Schnauzer breed, was the awareness of the excellent Schnauzer temperament and the belief that such a dog in a smaller size would make a wonderful companion for those who lived in more urban settings. And of course, as we entered the twentieth century, urban dwellers rapidly began to outstrip their rural counterparts in number, fuelling the popularity of this delightful breed. It is the miniature schnauzer's inclination towards guarding his home with his voice rather than with his teeth, that made him so popular in a town setting. He will readily alert his owners to intruders but has no desire to bite them, a quality which we still prize highly today!