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A History of the Breed
by Lori Bush
Anne Paramoure Eskrigge has written a very complete, comprehensive study and research into the origins of the Miniature Schnauzer in her book, "The Complete Miniature Schnauzer". Another, very good abbreviated discussion is included in Dan Kiedrowski's "The New Miniature Schnauzer".
The Miniature Schnauzer breed originated in Germany and is the only breed in the Terrier Group which doesn't have British roots. The breed resulted from experiments in Germany in the last decade of the 19th century.
Originally it was known as a Pinscher, later becoming known as Schnauzer from the German word, schnauze, meaning "snout" because of the heavy whiskers.
Early stud book registrants included several colors: black, yellow, black and tan, and a single pepper/salt. Several were of unknown breeding, most having wire haired Miniature Pinscher parents.
The Standard Schnauzer was the first developed from herding type dogs. The miniatures were most likely developed from crossing with the Affenpinscher which came in several colors, among them black but according to early breeders there were more gray and yellow ones than black. Other colors included the black and tan, red and various mixtures. Color faults were light colors, white and white markings. There was a great variety of coat types, also.
Miniature Pinschers also seem to have played a part. Solid black was not a color here. The solid black was a rare color originally in Standard Schnauzers but was a popular color. This color may have come from the Toy Spitz also known as Pomeranian. A German breeder also named Fox Terriers and Scottish Terriers as actually or possibly playing a part in developing the Miniature Schnauzer around the turn of the century. Many crosses were made to improve head, body, coat and bone.
Anne Eskrigge states that in early volumes of Swiss all-breed stud books before World War I there were puppies in the same litter registered in both sizes, Standard and Miniature. She follows the individuals' lines which carry through to develop the Miniature Schnauzers that later came to America with several individuals who appear many times in numerous lines so there was a great cumulative effect. One can find traces back to Standard Schnauzer crosses, though seldom in pedigrees of top producers.
The 1920's were when Miniatures were recorded as first imported into the United States. The real beginning was in 1924 when Marie Slattery of Marienhof Kennels imported four (4) from Rudolph Krappatsch in Germany. These dogs are behind every American Champion today many times:
Amsel v.d. Cyriaksburg (7-12-21) and her two daughters:
At first in America the Standards and Miniatures were not recognized as separate breeds, all known as Wire Haired Pinschers and shown in the Working Group. In 1925 the Wire Haired Pinscher Club of America was formed. In 1926 the name was changed to "Schnauzer". Miniatures were shown in the same class with Standards until recognized by AKC in the Fall of 1926 and granted separate registration.
The Schnauzer Club of America was dissolved in '33 to form two separate Clubs. The American Miniature Schnauzer Club became official on Aug 19, 1933. Anne Eskrigge was one of the first members and played a very active part.
Her book is a treasure of information on the breed and is a must for any breeder or person truly interested. There are photos of many of the early dogs influential in the breed and she discusses the people who played a part.
Used with permission of author Lori Bush