The miniature schnauzer is a dog that is just plain fun to look at. His adorable whiskers make him an easy breed to recognize even if you know very little about dogs. He’s not the only schnauzer breed in the land, either. He has ‘sisters’ who are considered the giant schnauzer and the standard schnauzer. And as you might have guessed by their names, the difference between these dogs is their size. But we are talking about the mini today, because it’s an interesting breed. For instance, did you know that this is a dog that makes a wonderful watch dog? It is true. The American Kennel Club states that despite his small size, this breed is naturally protective and can alert its owners to intruders, company and anything suspicious just as well as a larger, more intimidating breed. He’s certainly not going to scare people the way a larger dog, or a ‘scarier’ dog might, but he’s going to let you know that he knows something is going on.
With a double coat, this dog does require frequent clipping. Surprisingly enough, however, he doesn’t shed as much as you might think. According to the AKC, he sheds very little. He’s also a dog that is very sweet, loving, and very smart. This breed is very easy to train, and it is a dog that is always in a good mood, happy to see you and very cheerful. Once you make the decision to bring one of these delightful little dogs home, you need to find a reputable breeder with good references and a strong history as a breeder. Here is how you can do that.
Start with the AKC
The American Kennel Club has a long list of breeders on their site for you to choose from. Keep in mind that some breeders might be further from your home than you’d like, but that’s what happens when you are searching for a very specific breed (sometimes). Don’t let that discourage you, as many breeders are happy to ship dogs – one I found in Sanford, FL will even send a puppy nanny on a flight to bring your new puppy to you. It’s a start. Once you find several breeders, you can start the process of purchasing your new dog. You’ll want to start by interviewing several of these breeders to get a feel for one that makes you feel comfortable. It might sound a bit strange to some, but becoming familiar with a breeder is important.
Ask the Right Questions
The right questions might not seem like the most important ones to you, but there is a list of questions you should ask. The first is about the parents of the puppies. Ask about them. How old are they? Are they in good health? Can you see their health records? Do they suffer from any diseases that might cause genetic issues with their puppies? How many other litters has this particular set of parents had? Where are the puppies kept after they are born? What is the name of the vet that sees them after birth? Do they have their medical paperwork yet? Is the breeder registered? We could go on and on about all the different questions you could ask when choosing a reputable breeder, but you get the gist. The most important question is about being registered; according to PetMD, a registered breeder is much more likely to provide you with a healthy dog.
Visit the Breeder
It’s important that you visit the breeder, even if it’s not particularly close to your home. This is going to give you a good idea of where they live and how they treat their animals. Anyone can tell you what you want to hear via email, text or over the phone, but you do need to see up close and personal what kind of living conditions your dog is living. A good indicator of a breeder who might not be running an ethical practice is one who has their dogs living in squalor, who has them locked up and who has a litter full of scared, intimidated, and skittish puppies. On the other hand, puppies who are clearly well taken care of and happy, excited to see you and exuberant speak to a good breeder with good ethics.
Verify All Paperwork
Even if the breeder has developed a great relationship with you, it’s imperative you ask to see the health certificates for the puppy you’re interested in purchasing. And it doesn’t hurt to ask to see the health certificate of the parents either. This is the only way to ensure that your dog is going to be as healthy as possible barring any random health occurrences. While a breeder cannot provide you with a health guarantee for all diseases and illnesses that occur naturally, they can guarantee a lack of inherited or genetic diseases, and you need to get that in writing.
You’ll also want to sign a contract provided by the breeder. This is a contract you both will sign. The breeder will sign it stating that he or she is providing you with a healthy animal that is what it was described as and that it has all its paperwork – which will go to you. Your portion of this contract will state that you will care for the dog, take it to its veterinary visits and have it fixed if it is not already fixed. There are several other factors to consider in this contract, but these are the most important.
And before you go looking for a breeder, make sure you really want a dog. You need to make sure you have the time to commit to raising a dog, training it and teaching it, loving it, walking it, interacting with it and caring for it. You must also make sure you have the resources; do you have a large enough home and property with a fenced in yard or at least a nearby park where your dog can exercise? Do you have the funds for food and veterinary visits and anything else the dog needs? It’s a big decision that should not be made lightly.
Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images
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