Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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Also known as the Mini Schnocker, or the Cockerschnauz, the Schnocker is a designer dog that consists of the Miniature Schnauzer and either the American Cocker Spaniel or the English Cocker Spaniel. These dogs tend to be good-natured and sociable though some are a little reserved, particularly around those they don’t know. Energetic and sprightly, they can become bored easily and need plenty of distractions to keep them occupied.

The Schnocker is a good-looking small to medium-sized dog with an attractive wavy coat. They tend to inherit the well-defined ‘snout’ of the Schnauzer, along with their characteristic beard and moustache. With their lean bodies and muscular limbs, they can be surprisingly athletic.

About & History

Most agree that the Schnocker was first bred in America towards the end of the 20th century. They remain an uncommon cross-breed and are not found in high numbers anywhere in the world. However, their parents are both incredibly popular companion animals and are both well-known internationally.

The Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is a German breed that was originally kept as an all-purpose farm dog. Their versatility meant that they would be used to catch vermin, guard the property and keep the livestock in check.

They were first developed in the late 1800s, descending directly from the larger Standard Schnauzer. It is thought the Standard Schnauzer was crossed with breeds, such as the Affenpinscher and Poodle; two small German dogs. Thanks to their good nature and intelligence they have adapted well to life inside the family home and are most commonly kept as pets nowadays. Many will also compete in canine competitive sports, such as Flyball, and some are used as show dogs.

The Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel is a small gundog that is always eager to please and has a gentle and biddable nature. While it’s true that the Cocker Spaniel makes a good family pet, it’s important to remember their history as a working dog as they do crave both exercise and routine.

The first Spaniels came from Spain, where they were used to hunt on both land and water. Cockers were bred to flush out woodcock and similar prey, which the hunter would then shoot. Over time, the Cocker breed split into those that were used for working and those that would compete in dog shows.


The Schnocker is an eye-catching hybrid that can inherit physical characteristics from either parent, meaning they have a rather varied appearance. Typically, they are slim dogs with a relatively well-muscled body and sturdy limbs. Their ears hang to the side of their face and can be heavy and densely-furred. They have dark, circular eyes that give them an alert and curious expression. Their black nose is a large and prominent facial feature. As with their Schnauzer parent, they have a rectangular muzzle with an attractive beard and moustache.

Weighing between 6kg and 11kg and standing from 31cm to 38cm at the withers, the Schnocker is small to medium in size. The coat of the Schnocker is usually wavy and medium in length. There are a number of colours that their fur can be and while many individuals will be grey or black, they can also be cream, white and brown. Solid coat colours are uncommon and most will have patches of lighter fur on their chest, face and limbs.

Character & Temperament

The Schnocker enjoys human company and bonds closely to its family but can sometimes become over-reliant on them. As they are naturally sensitive, they can find it difficult to cope when left alone for too long and some will go on to develop separation anxiety. This characteristic means they are poorly suited to those that are away from home all day.

Sprightly dogs who live life to the full, Schnockers have a great deal of energy and like to keep themselves active. They tend to follow owners from room to room and are rarely content to simply laze about on the sofa. As they are a clever breed, they need to be provided with plenty of mental stimulation so enjoy training sessions, food puzzles and interactive toys. Exercise alone will not be enough to keep these intelligent dogs happy.

While most breed members will be tolerant of kids, it is still vital that they are supervised when in their company. Their playful nature means that they relish their time spent around spirited children. They can make adequate guard dogs as they will bark loudly when a stranger enters the home though it is seldom that they would act hostile or aggressive in any way.


Coming from working stock, the Schnocker is highly trainable and should pick up on training cues quicker than the average dog. They live to please and will always try to do what they are told. While they can become distracted by smells and sights when out of the home, most have excellent recall. As their prey drive is still developed, owners must be cautious when training off lead in public areas. Anecdotally, owners say that the Schnocker is easier than most to house train and likes to keep itself clean.


Not only is the Schnocker a relatively new breed, there are not many of them about. Due to this, it is more important than ever to maintain the health of the population and to attempt to breed out any breed predispositions. The average Schnocker will live to between twelve and fifteen years of age.

Otitis Externa

Not only do the Schnocker’s ears hang closely to their face, they can also be quite heavy and covered in thick fur. These traits make them especially prone to developing external ear infections. Initial signs can include a head shake and foul smell and dogs are often uncomfortable and will rub and scratch at their ears. Medicated drops work best when the ear canal is clean from wax and pus so ears should be thoroughly cleaned before applying drops, as long as the dog will tolerate it.

Periodontal Disease

Schnockers can be prone to bad teeth so it is vital that owners try to brush them as often as possible, aiming for every day. Not only can dental disease cause pain in the mouth and trouble eating, the bacterial load can even spread around the body and cause infection.


An inflamed pancreas causes acute pain in the abdomen and in an attempt to relieve the pain, some dogs will go into a characteristic ‘prayer’ posture. There is a blood test that can detect pancreatitis, although it is not always completely accurate. Due to this, an abdominal ultrasound is often recommended.

Most of those affected will require several days of hospitalisation with intravenous fluids, pain relief, anti-nausea medicine and assisted feeding. While we cannot always determine a cause for pancreatitis, it can sometimes be linked to a fatty diet.


Abnormally high blood sugar levels are seen with diabetes, which in dogs is similar to the Type 1 diabetes that is seen in humans. The vast majority will be managed with twice daily insulin injections which are given by the owner under the skin on the scruff of the neck. While diabetes cannot be cured, it can be well managed. Dogs do require regular check-ups which will include weight checks, blood work and urinalysis.

Exercise and Activity Levels

A few long walks a day during, in which the Schnocker is able to sniff and scent until his heart is content, is all he needs. Once they have burned off all of their energy they will be more than happy to curl up next to their owner for evening cuddles.

These dogs typically love to swim and will jump in any body of water they can, even in the wintertime. Due to this, it is always a good idea to have a few towels in the car when out and about!


Schnockers don’t shed excessively but they do need to be brushed a few times a week to remove any dead fur from their coat. Owners should get them used to having their facial fur cleaned and trimmed on a regular basis as it can get quite dirty, especially if dogs are fed wet or raw diets. Ears need to be cleaned out every so often to reduce the likelihood of an ear infection occurring.

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