THERE ARE THREE SIZES of schnauzer, of which the miniature is the smallest and the only one of the three breeds to be classified as a terrier, the other two being classified as working breeds. The miniature was developed in Germany towards the end of the 19th century and is thought to represent a cross between small specimens of the Standard Schnauzer and a toy breed, either the Affenpinscher or the Miniature Pinscher or possibly a bit of both. The oldest known specimen to be registered in Germany was a black female according to the stud book of 1888. Some authorities also claim that the Pomeranian, the Fox Terrier and the Scottish Terrier may have played a part in the breed's ancestry. If so, this would account for the appearance of the occasional "mismark" still said to occur in present-day litters.
The breed name derives from the German word schnauze meaning snout or muzzle, or perhaps, more specifically, schnauzbart meaning conspicuous moustache, a characteristic with which the schnauzers are all well endowed. Intended to resemble its larger cousins in all respects, the Miniature Schnauzer was first used as a barnyard ratter, an instinct many of the breed still carry although the schnauzer's role today is chiefly that of family pet and watchdog.
The breed was first exhibited as a distinct breed in its country of origin in 1899 but did not make its debut on this continent until 1925. It is from a very small number of dogs imported into the United States between the years 1925 - 1935 from the continent, mostly from Germany, that the majority of present-day Miniature Schnauzers in Canada and the United States descend. In America the breed was not an overnight success. But in 1946, after a Miniature Schnauzer won Best in Show at a prestigious event, its popularity was assured.
In 1933 a national specialty club was founded in the United States, and in 1951 a similar organization came into being in Canada. First called The Miniature Schnauzer Club of Ontario, since 1955 this group has been known as The Miniature Schnauzer Club of Canada.
First official registration took place in Canada under the breed name "Schnauzer-Pinscher" in 1933.