Miniature French Schnauzer

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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The Miniature French Schnauzer is one of the less common hybrid dogs available on the market and they are a relatively newcomer to the designer dog world. They consist of the boisterous, confident French Bulldog and the active and intelligent Miniature Schnauzer. A cross between a French and German breed, this European dog has a lot to offer.

Miniature French Schnauzers can make a good family pet as they are social, playful and fun to be around. They can be a bit stand-offish with new people and may take some time to warm up to them. Their appearance can vary significantly from one dog to another as the parent breeds do not look alike. On the whole, these guys are small and stocky with plenty of muscling.

About & History

In the last 50 years or so, the canine world has been overtaken by hybrid dogs; mixtures of two or more pedigree breeds. Little is known about the first ever litter of Miniature French Schnauzers, but we have plenty to talk about when it comes to the two parent breeds.

The Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers are German dogs that were traditionally used on farms to carry out a multitude of tasks. Their hardy disposition and good nature made them useful companions and they would carry out duties, such as keeping vermin levels low and alerting their owner of any new arrivals.

This breed originated during the latter half of the 1800s thanks to breeding the larger Schnauzers with breeds, such as the Poodle and Affenpinscher. Certainly, a smaller farm dog would have taken up less space and eaten less food! These energetic, little dogs are known to make good pets and are equally successful within the world of competitive sports. Agility, flyball and scent work all come naturally to this clever chap.

The French Bulldog

The French Bulldog, or ‘Frenchie’, has recently skyrocketed in popularity and has a reputation for being a ‘posh dog’. However, this breed is also known for the various health conditions it is prone to suffering from, including cherry eye, atopic dermatitis and brachycephalic upper airway syndrome.

The Frenchie is a descendant of the Toy Bulldog and these dogs were owned by many Parisians during the 19th century. Nowadays, they are well-liked for their spunky attitude and the various, beautiful coat colours they are born with.


It can be tricky to predict how a litter of Miniature French Schnauzers will look. Certainly, they will be small and sturdy and they will generally have a short, wiry coat. Adults will weigh in from about 7kg to 10kg and will measure around 28cm to 36cm.

The Miniature French Schnauzer may have the erect, bat-like ears of the Frenchie or the pendulous, high-set ‘v’s of the Schnauzer. Their forehead is relatively flat and broad and their skull is not overly large. They have dark, brown eyes that give them lots of character. Their muzzle should be a lot longer than that of their Frenchie parent, which should mean they are less likely to suffer with breathing issues. Similarly, their faces will be less wrinkled, making skin fold issues less of a problem. They should have strong, straight limbs and robust bodies. Their tail can be short and fat like their Frenchie parent or much longer and slimmer, like we see with the Schnauzer.

Most Miniature French Schnauzers have a wiry coat that should not be overly long. A multitude of fur colours are seen including fawn, grey, black and brindle. It is possible for them to inherit either a double or single coat and most are moderate shedders.

Character & Temperament

Most will agree that the Miniature French Schnauzer is a likable dog and one that will grab your attention as soon as it enters the room. They like to be in on the action and are happiest when in the company of other people. This trait is not always a positive, however, as separation anxiety can become problematic in some.

Most enjoy the company of other dogs, though caution is advised when around cats and smaller animals, such as guinea pigs, as many have a strong prey drive. The more they are exposed to other animals when young – assuming the interaction is positive – the calmer they should be in their presence.

Though these dogs are usually the first to know when someone new is arriving on the property, they tend to be tolerant of this and do not make good guard dogs. They will generally bark loudly though, so can be used as watch dogs.


There are many attributes of the Miniature French Schnauzer that make it a fun dog to train. Smart, biddable and always looking for something fun to do, even novice owners should be able to train these guys. Importantly, most will be highly driven by food – a trait that owners should use to their advantage. High-value treats, such as pieces of chicken and sausage, tend to work a lot better than low-value treats, such as kibble.


There is no doubt that the Miniature French Schnauzer suffers from a number of health conditions more often than the average canine. It is important to monitor the prevalence of these conditions within the population and to avoid breeding those affected.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

The rather long back of this crossbreed makes it prone to spinal issues, such as IVDD. Owners can help prevent this condition in some cases by keeping their dog slim and limiting jumping and the use of stairs. It is also sensible to stick to a body harness rather than a neck collar and lead. Any evidence of back pain warrants an immediate check-up from a vet.

Brachycephalic Upper Airway Syndrome (BUAS)

Thankfully, outbreeding the Frenchie means that their cross-breed puppies tend to be less affected by this breathing disorder than their parents. However, some breed members will more closely resemble the Frenchie parent and will be more prone to BUAS. In those with breathing issues which affect their quality of life, corrective surgery can often prove useful.

Atopic Skin Disease

For owners of atopic dogs, their chronic itching and repeated skin infections can be especially challenging. Triggers can vary but may include certain foods, pollen, trees and dust mites. In some situations, allergy testing can be useful and may help in the management of the condition.

For most, their skin will flare up now and then and they will require courses of medication, such as antibiotics and anti-itch drugs. The majority show their first symptoms between the ages of 6 months and 3 years.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The small Miniature French Schnauzer does not have very high exercise needs but should be active for at least an hour every day. Not exercising these dogs enough may lead to behavioural issues, including aggression and furniture chewing.

It is not enough to bring them on the same walk day in and day out as this becomes very boring to them. Instead, owners should keep them entertained with a variety of walking routes and should try to incorporate scent work on the walk.


The fur type of the Miniature French Schnauzer will dictate their grooming needs but most will do well with a weekly brush. Those with ears that hang down should have the canals cleaned out every few weeks to prevent the occurrence of ear infections.

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