Miniature Schnauzer Grooming

Putting time into grooming your Miniature Schnauzer will make all the difference to whether he looks like a scraggly scruff ball or a sophisticated gentleman. Not all owners are up for the task of at home grooming; many find trimming delicate areas such as the beard and eyebrows daunting and prefer to take their Minis to a professional for clipping the coat. The info you find here pertains to pets-- show dogs have their own set of stringent grooming guidelines that is likely not necessary for the average owner. This page will provide details on how to groom your Miniature Schnauzer such as:

  • Brushing and what type of brush is best
  • Bathing
  • Cuts and Styles
  • Teeth, Ear and Eye Care
  • Nail Trimming

Miniature Schnauzer Coat Care

Miniature Schnauzer grooming is certainly doable at home but they are by no means low maintenance like those breeds with short coats. The double coat consists of a soft undercoat and characteristic wiry outer coat and the traditional look is usually completed with beard and bushy eyebrows.

The secret to how to groom a Miniature Schnauzer or Miniature Schnauzer puppy lies completely within deciding what you have time for-- busy owners should opt for an all over clip (or take their pet to a professional groomer), while those DIY types will really need to invest in good shampoos, conditioners and tools detailed in the following sections. Grooming charts for Miniature Schnauzers can be found on most professional grooming websites (and even YouTube) if you want a showdog worthy style. Remember, caring for your Minis coat gives you the opportunity to inspect for cuts, bumps, rashes and other skin problems.

Brushing

You should aim to brush your Mini a few times per week or more. Regular brushing is very important for coats that are not clipped short as it prevents mats and tangles (which are painful to your pet). The best brush for a Miniature Schnauzer is a slicker brush but a comb is also necessary. Many owners also choose to keep a pin brush in place of the slicker brush. To properly brush:

  1. Brush against the direction of hair growth with a slicker brush except when brushing the beard and eyebrows.
  2. Use a wide tooth comb to comb through a second time, again against the direction of the hair; this step helps identify mats.
  3. If you run into any mats it is helpful to have a detangling spray to help loosen the hair. If the mat is stuck against the skin you will have to shave it. Make sure all tangles and mats are removed before bathing since not doing so will cause them to become worse.
  4. Brush through once more, this time in the direction of hair growth, with your slicker brush.

Getting Out Tangles

Mini Schnauzers' medium-length double coats can develop tangles--mainly when hairs from the soft undercoat snarl with the outer guard hairs. Two ways to deal with Miniature Schnauzer tangles are to use a de-shedding tool, or simply use your fingers.

With a tool like a Furminator for a Miniature Schnauzer, the dead hairs are removed so they don't tangle with the outer hairs in the first place. The problem with using these tools, though, is that they often cut out healthy hairs along with the dead ones, which can make the coat look uneven.

Using your fingers, while more difficult, is the preferred method. Simply use your fingers to separate the tangled hairs, going strand by strand if necessary. You can spray the tangle beforehand with some de-tangling solution to lubricate the hairs; you can also use the end teeth of a greyhound comb to help separate the snarl.

Plucking & Stripping

If your want to show your Mini, buzzing and clipping are not options. Hand stripping a Miniature Schnauzer is the only acceptable coat maintenance for a show dog. This should be done every 3 months or so by a professional groomer as it is time consuming and difficult. The benefits of stripping are that your pet retains his/her natural coat texture, color, and qualities (such as waterproof, dirt resistant, etc). Clipping leaves a softer, lighter coat that is usually no longer as protective against the elements.

Bathing

Most experts advocate an "as needed" bathing schedule but as frequently as once per month is also acceptable; just keep in mind-- over-bathing can dry out the skin. Miniature Schnauzers do not smell (typically) in between baths but doggy wipes, a deodorizing spray, or even a wet rag can be used in between baths. The face and beard is definitely the area that will need the most "in between" maintenance; wiping the face with a wet cloth daily will work wonders.

A tub with a few inches warm water should be ready for your pet. The best shampoo for a Mini Schnauzer is a gentle canine shampoo; they are not an extremely sensitive breed. Remember to rinse thoroughly and re rinse! If you so choose, you can apply a conditioner to the legs but it's not usually recommended for body hair. If you groom your Mini yourself, note that bathing should come after the grooming process; removing dead hair and mats will make the process a lot easier.

Other Care

Ears- Mini Schnauzers are notoriously for hairy ears-- inside the ear canal-- and this can cause dirt and debris to accumulate inside or bacteria and yeast overgrowth. Either of these scenarios can result in an infection so ears should be checked at least once per month for signs of dirt, fleas, bad smells, etc. Hair INSIDE the ear canal should be plucked with tweezers or hemostats and the outer part of the canal should be cleaned with a cotton ball or Qtip soaked in solution. Store bought solution can be subbed with with hazel, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide (mixed with water).

Nails- Depending upon the amount of time your pet spends outdoors (which naturally wears down the nails some) you will need to check the nails at least once per month. Use a canine nail clipper, spinning file or hefty emery board to sand down his or her nails a small portion at a time. Clipping too much hurts the living part of the nail and results in bleeding; this area is referred to as "the quick" and you should have many owners choose to have styptic powder on hand for any bleeding.

Teeth- Brush weekly, if possible, with a finger brush or canine toothbrush with a drop of doggy toothpaste. Teeth cleaning prevents not only gum disease and bad breath but sometimes even heart disease!

Miniature Schnauzer Styling & Haircuts

The most common Miniature Schnauzer haircut is simply to use a pair or clippers and a #10 guard to trim the whole body; this style is often referred to as the puppy cut. It will keep them looking neat and is easy to maintain, however, it does strip off the characteristic wiry topcoat and is not suitable for the show ring. The are other Miniature Schnauzer cuts and grooming styles and cuts that are pretty much variations upon this theme-- such as leaving the legs a bit longer. Some owners choose to scissor the head (ears, eyebrows, beard) and clip the body, which is referred to as the Miniature Schnauzer teddy bear cut.

Pictures of Mini Schnauzer styles are available on this page. Note that the above descriptions are of hair styles for PETS. Show dogs must be stripped; this involves leaving the coat natural and removing the dead outer hairs by hand, thereby making room for the new growth. Stripping is an excellent choice for pets too and stripping tools can be bought to make the job easier.

A few tools you might need include:

  • Pair of shears
  • #10 guard and a shorter one if you desire a closer clip
  • Canine grooming scissors
  • Slicker brush
  • Stripping tool