I am striving to produce Miniature Schnauzer puppies with sound minds and healthy bodies that fit the American Miniature Schnauzer Club/AKC standard of perfection. Ultimately, these dogs are produced to provide their families with many years of beauty and joy.
If you have never owned a Miniature Schnauzer and are curious about traits of the breed, this website has a fairly accurate description:
Each dog is an individual and has it's own personality, just like human beings. Just like children, a lot of how they behave depends on how they are raised. Too much discipline can create fear, but no discipline creates a monster - which tends to be the case with the little dogs. They are so cute and cuddly that many people have a hard time telling them "NO".
A note on low-shedding dogs: While they won't leave hair all over the place, they are not necessarily hypo-allergenic as many people claim. People with dog allergies are typically allergic to "dander". A low-shedding dog can still have dander but usually not as much as a normal shedding dog due to their coat and the grooming they receive. However, someone with severe dog allergies may still have a problem. If you have dog allergies, it would be best to spend some time with Schnauzers and see if you have a reaction before deciding to buy one. I am always happy to let approved people meet my dogs so if you need to do an allergy test, I will be happy to schedule a visit with you. However, we do have a couple cat residents so it could skew your results.
Tips on choosing your breeder
Ideally, a puppy buyer can at least meet the mother of the litter and see how she is kept. However, if someone else owns the dad (which is fairly common) you might not get to meet him. Also, it used to be that everyone would recommend that if the breeder would not allow visitors and wanted to meet at a different location that is was a bad situation and should be avoided. However, there have been quite a few stories of people visiting breeders under the guise of being puppy buyers and then either stealing dogs/puppies, harming the breeder/dogs/puppies, or setting them up for Animal Rights Activists to do damage. So now some very good and reputable breeders are not allowing people to visit in person. In these cases, you should get lots of videos and photos, possibly even snapchat or skype. You have to keep in mind that in most cases, the dogs are being kept at the breeder's private family residence and they need to keep the safety of their family (which oftentimes includes young children) and dogs as their top priority. If they are willing, ask for contact information from previous puppy buyers and contact them to ask about their experience.
Miniature Schnauzers are prone to eye issues and the national breed club recommends all breeding dogs have a clear Ophthalmology exam every year and that all puppies also be checked prior to going to their new homes. Some bloodlines have risk of an inherited muscle disorder called Myotonia Congenita so at least one parent should have a clear DNA test so as not to risk producing affected puppies. The same goes for a mutation known as MAC (Mycobacterium Avium Complex) which is an immune system disorder that is rare but fatal if contracted. Both problems are considered "recessive" which means that the puppy would have to get a copy of the "bad gene" from both parents, so as long as one parent has a test designated as "clear" than none of the puppies should ever be affected. Miniature Schnauzers are not prone to hip or elbow dysplasia so those are not recommended tests but some people will submit testing results for Luxating Patellas to OFA. Definitely ask to see results if the breeder says they have done any tests.
You can ask about any history of issues in their bloodlines but it all comes down to them being honest at that point. If the breeder only owns the mother, than they might not know the history on the dad for sure. Again, it comes down to the stud dog owner being honest with the owner of the mother. The national breed club website has good information about health issues. If you are checking breeder websites they should have a section dedicated to the health of the breed and things you should watch out for.
What health problems are Miniature Schnauzers prone to?
Overall, this breed is healthy. The most common issues with them are eye problems and diet related issues. Every purebred breed has one or more genetic defects that are particular to it's breed and Miniature schnauzers are no different. Cross bred dogs, while touted as being healthier than purebreds, have actually been noted to express genetic defects common to all of the breeds used in the cross. It is estimated that all dogs, whether purebred or mixed, carry the genetic material to possibly produce 3 to 5 genetic health issues in their offspring! Amazingly, more often than not, we all get lucky and the puppies are healthy. Genetic Disorders in dogs are one of the main reasons someone interested in a dog as a pet should do their research. Some issues are avoided or greatly reduced with a good diet.
The most common health problems with Miniature Schnauzers are the inherited eye problems retinal dysplasia and cataracts which will cause greatly reduced vision or complete blindness. This is why all of my sires and dams have their eyes checked annually before breeding but even two clear eyed parents can produce puppies with bad eyes. That is why all puppies are also checked before going to new homes. If you are researching breeders and a Veterinary Ophthalmologist exam doesn't come with the puppy, go elsewhere. It's an easy exam and the baseline for every eye disorder that can come afterwards. Just a routine vet check will not catch eye issues as the eyes must be dilated and viewed with special tools.
Listed are some other well known health issues in Miniature Schnauzers:
Liver problems, such as hepatic shunts.
Kidney problems: bladder stones and UTIs.
Some of these diseases can sometimes be avoided (or, at least, are less exacerbated) by feeding your mini schnauzer a good diet, avoiding junk food and table scraps, and keeping treats to a minimum. The makers of NuVet claim that their supplement, when given daily and for life, can also help to lesson many of the listed issues. I am not opposed to a dog having good quality human food such as meat ,vegetables, and fruits. However, seasoning should be avoided and some fruits and veggies are toxic so make sure to check before feeding.
Miniature Schnauzers can put on weight very easily and their bodies don’t do well processing fats, so a wholesome diet is mandatory. Due to the fact that many of the above mentioned issues can be avoided or controlled with diet, most of them are not covered by my warranty. Someone that owns this breed should be aware of these issues and I am not going to be responsible for someone that cannot keep from feeding their dog table scraps or overloading them with manufactured treats of any kind. Many dogs love fresh veggies such as carrots for treats or they are happy to have their own dry kibble as a treat if it is coming from your hand one bite at a time.
Periodontal disease can be an issue so it is important to brush their teeth regularly. Some studies have even linked gum disease/infection with heart disease so it is imperative that you monitor your Schnauzer's mouth. Genetics plays a role but maintenance is very important. http://www.vohc.org/VOHCAcceptedProductsTable_Dogs.pdf
There are some skin problems with this breed: schnauzer bumps (schnauzer comedo syndrome), skin allergies, and hot spots (usually the result of poor diet and little exercise). Some people claim that stripping the coat of a Schnauzer once a year will minimize these issues but I am not certain of those claims. I have had many Schnauzers that have never been stripped that have never had any skin issues. My dogs also do not get bathed constantly, maybe only 4-6 times a year. I believe that too much bathing strips the necessary oils and can cause long term issues. Keeping the faces and furnishings clean is usually enough because that is usually what picks up any odors.
Miniature schnauzers have also been noted to have allergies to corn, wheat, and low-grade meat products. So, again, diet is very important. However, if your dog does not appear to have any issues with food that has grains in it, I see no reason that a grain free diet be mandatory. Owners do need to avoid foods that have replaced grains with a bunch of potato and pea products as it is currently suspected to be causing Taurine Deficiency which leads to a deadly heart condition. All of my dogs are currently on a mixture of Fromm Adult Classic and Purina Pro Plan Sport 26/16 All Life Stages.
For anyone with one to a few dogs, a pet insurance plan isn't a bad idea. There are several companies out there that provide pet insurance and you should do your own homework. My understanding is that you still need to pay the costs to your veterinarian but then the insurance plan will reimburse you.
Preferred method of communication?
Email works the best for me. I am happy to talk with you over the phone, especially when we first begin our relationship so that we can get a good feel for each other. After that, I prefer email because it lets me answer questions at midnight or 5 a.m. if that is when I have time. What can take me 5 minutes to answer in an email routinely turns into an hour long phone conversation when I'm trying to get other stuff done and I am not good at multi-tasking. If it is not vitaly important to have the answer asap, please send an email and I will get back to you within 24 hours.
Do you ship puppies?
I understand how difficult it can be to find a quality Miniature Schnauzer close to home. However, I have made the conscious decision to not ship my puppies. I want to meet you and I want you to meet my family and my dogs so that there are no misunderstandings or assumptions of how I keep my dogs and how the puppies are raised. You must be able to make a trip to see us and our dogs and meet in person. If you visit ahead of time from your puppy being ready to leave I have no issues with you hiring a flight nanny to transport your puppy for you. There are also ground shipping companies but please do your research and check references if hiring someone else to deliver your puppy. Depending on your location and my schedule, delivery could be a possibility at an additional charge.
How do I reserve a puppy?
View the "Waiting List" page for full details.
Deposits are taken for "order of choice". When making your deposit you must choose the "male" list or the "female" list. Color cannot be guaranteed but I will try to work with you. In the event that there are multiple litters ready around the same time, you will also choose the litter you want to pick from.
The deposit will hold the puppy until it is ready to leave around 9-10 weeks of age. Once notified that your puppy is ready to go home, you will have 7 days to pick it up before an additional $10.00 per day will be added for board and care of the puppy. Belle Vista always reserves first pick for ourselves regardless of deposits taken.
Can I visit?
If you have been approved - Most definitely! I'm always happy to schedule a visit to meet the dogs and let you see how they are kept. Earn bonus points with chocolate! ;-) I REALLY prefer people plan ahead and visit when I do NOT have puppies in the house. Puppies' immune systems can be fragile and they can be susceptible to common diseases up to 2 weeks after their vaccinations so I try to keep outside traffic to a minimum when I have puppies under 8 weeks of age in my home. It can also make it easier because once notified about accepting deposits, there sometimes isn't a lot of time for people to visit. If people are not 100% positive I'm the breeder they want to work with, it can mean they lose out on the litter due to their hesitation. If you want to visit, I suggest coming before notification of taking deposits. However, if you are just getting on the list and want to make sure we're right for each other, I will be happy to allow you to visit even if I have puppies.
How do I pay for a puppy?
Payment the day of pickup must be in the form of Cash.
No personal checks will be accepted the day of pickup. If paying by check, full payment must be received 20 days before pick up date to allow the check to clear. PayPal is not accepted for full payment but Walmart to Walmart, Zelle, or Western Union are acceptable.
Will my puppy have cropped ears?
All puppies are sold with natural ears and I do not offer ear cropping for pet puppies. If you would like to crop ears on a puppy you get from me, you may do so at your own risk and expense. Keep in mind that any anesthesia has the risk of causing complications and this is not covered in your warranty. Please realize that cropping ears is an "art" and not all vets are created equal when it comes to this skill. Also, it takes several weeks of after surgery care to insure a nice cropped ear, so make sure you are committed to it before doing it. As with any cosmetic procedure, results are not guaranteed. I am by no means against ear cropping and believe that each owner has the right to choose that for their dog if they like. I've had many puppies cropped in the past and do not think that it is "cruel". Just like children, they are very much in the moment and are running and playing within a few hours of the procedure. However, with my own dogs and day to day life, I've decided it is not something I want do for people anymore. If you are wanting to still get a puppy from me but are willing to take care of the cropping yourself, Dr. Jack Lust with Edgefield Animal Hospital in Marion, Ohio is the vet I have always used and recommend. Other people I know have also used Dr. Anne Midgarden in Wapakoneta, Ohio and been very happy
When should I spay/neuter my puppy?
New research is showing that spaying/neutering too young can be more detrimental than not doing it at all. Spaying/neutering while a puppy is still growing removes essential hormones at a critical time and can cause damage to the growth plates as well as damage to the endocrine system that can create problems in your dog's older years. There is much information about this on the internet and you are encouraged to do your own research to make an informed decision.
are a start. My health warranty requires you wait until your pup is at least 6 months of age but I prefer a year. Desexing your Belle Vista pup before 6 months of age voids the health warranty.
What dog food will the puppies have been eating?
Puppies will have been eating a mix of Fromm Classic Puppy and Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages with free choice access during the day. You can order both the foods from Petflow and have it shipped right to your door. Your first order can qualify for $10 off with THIS LINK. Many people recommend a very low fat food for Miniature Schnauzers with some saying 10% or less. My foods are at 16% and I have never had any issues.
How often do you feed puppies and how much?
Once you take your puppy home, it is most helpful to you for housebreaking if they are on a meal schedule starting with three times a day. My recommendation is that you fill a bowl and put the food down for about 15 minutes and let them eat their fill and then pick it back up. Sometimes they eat a lot and sometimes they will barely touch it depending on their activity level that day. As they get older meals can be cut to twice a day and a measured feeding may become necessary as Schnauzers are known for packing on the pounds which causes some nasty health issues. Most of my adult dogs are getting 1/2 a cup twice a day but they are very active out playing chase and wrestling in the yard. If you have a couch potato, probably 1/3 a cup twice a day is plenty. Just like with the puppies, sometimes they scarf it down and sometimes they barely touch it. As long as their behavior is normal, I don't let it bother me and I don't try to entice them to eat. It is best to limit the amount of treats they get, don't feed free choice, and never let your schnauzer have table scraps of junk food. Fresh, unseasoned meat and veggies such as carrot sticks and green beans are good and make a great treat. You can also use a portion of the kibble in your dog's regular measured meal as a treat for training. Coming from your hand, it is still a treat to them and when training is done, they can have the rest for their meal.
Will my puppy be housebroke by the time I take it home?
By the time they are ready to leave they are typically litter box trained. However, if left the run of the house they will "forget" to go outside or go to the litter box because they are so easily sidetracked at that age. Some puppies house train easier than others and a lot of it depends on the person doing the house training. With a consistent schedule and someone that has been good about watching them, by about 6 months they usually have the system down pretty well as far as being able to "ask" to go outside or to go find their litter box. However, some can be slower and I've had some owners tell me that it didn't "click" with their dog until they were almost a year.
I use a litter box with all of my puppies starting at about 3 weeks. The litter in the box consists Alfalfa Pellets made for horse food which can be purchased at stores like Tractor Supply, Rural King, or any local feed mill. The alfalfa pellets give it a grass smell so that it is easier for puppies to transition to going potty on grass. I pick solids out of the litter to flush down the toilet or throw in the trash and stir the litter twice a day to keep it fresh. I use a kitty litter scoop to shake out the pellets that have gotten wet and turned to dust. I discard the dust and put the dry pellets back in the box. With a litter of puppies I change out the litter every 2 days. For a single pup, it can go several days between dumping the litter and replacing it with new. I also start puppies going outside during the day when they are about 5 weeks of age so they are used to pottying outside.
The easiest way to house train is to make sure that you also crate train or use an exercise pen or baby gates for a small enclosure. The puppy should be crated any time that someone isn't watching him/her. It only takes a puppy a matter of seconds to potty and if you are not watching them you could easily miss it. The puppies are used to a crate or exercise pen here but they share that space with their siblings, so when they first go to a new home they may whine/cry because they are alone. Many people break down and won't crate them and then complain that there are "accidents" in the house. Puppies will NOT potty in their crate unless they absolutely can not hold it any longer and as long as the crate isn't too big. Also, keep in mind that if your dog ever needs to be boarded for a vacation or would have to stay at a vet's office for any reason, they will most likely be crated and if not already crate trained, it will make an already stressful situation even more stressful. You are doing everyone, including the dog, a favor by making sure it is crate trained. You will find that as your puppy grows, it will enjoy having it's own private space and many dogs will go in the crate on their own for naps and quiet time.
I also recommend that when your pup is not in his crate that you tether him to you. Simply put on his leash and attach the leash handle to your belt/belt loop with a double ended snap or carabineer. This keeps the pup from being able to sneak away and get into trouble. Once your pup learns good house manners and is housetrained, you can stop tethering and move to using baby gates to keep him out of areas that he needs to avoid. Keeping your pup tethered to you can also dissuade the "catch me if you can!" game and will help promote a good recall and/or heel command. With your puppy tethered to you, you can move away from your puppy and tell him "come" and if he doesn't come to you right away, you can use the leash to encourage your puppy toward you. This will easily help with the "catch me" game because they can't run away from you and the game is quickly ended. If every time you move away from your puppy you tell him "heel" and use the leash to have him walk with you on your left side, they will quickly learn that command also.
Have the puppies been vet checked?
Three times! Dr. Karen Henry of Buckeye Mobile Veterinary gives the puppies a physical exam at 6 and 9 weeks of age and gives them their first two sets of vaccinations and places a micro-chip. Her # is 614-563-3166 if you would like to talk with her or if you are just in search of a new vet for yourself. Her service is mobile and she comes to your house for all basic care which is really great for me since I have more dogs than I could comfortably take in to a vet’s office at one time. Also works great for dogs that don't travel well or that are just plain embarrassing at a veterinary office. She works in and around Franklin and Licking counties. Her website is: The puppies are also seen at the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center by Dr. Metzler or Dr. Miller (both board certified Veterinary Ophthalmologists) for their eye exams around 7 weeks of age and before going to new homes.
Do you perform “temperament testing” on the puppies?
I do not officially temperament test my puppies. According to everything I have read, it needs to be done by someone that the puppy does not know. I do not have someone come in and try to do it for me, I just observe the puppies as people come to visit. It is usually pretty easy for me to determine the bold ones compared to the timid ones and since I see them daily, I usually have a fairly good idea of their disposition. If you want to perform the testing on the puppies, you are more than welcome to do so.
Do I get to pick my puppy or do you tell me which one I can have?
Typically, your deposit will reserve the order in which you choose a puppy. However, I know for people wanting a pet, color and gender are usually very important. If someone wants a black male and there is only one black male in the litter, that is the puppy they will be offered and I will take deposits on the other puppies without giving that person a choice. If color is not an issue there could possibly be more choices. Most puppies are very malleable at the age that they go home and new owners can make or break the temperament that develops.
How many different breeds do you have?
Mini Schnauzers have been my focus since 2005 and I feel like I know the breed and most of my bloodlines pretty well.
Do you have a building for your dogs?
Yes, I do. It is called my home. I keep all of my dogs in the house and they truly are family pets. A bedroom has been converted into the "dog room" where they are crated at night to keep them from roaming the house and trying to guard it all night. I will crate them when people are coming over so that visitors are not overwhelmed when they walk through the door and then I will let them out so that they can greet our visitors and socialize. They are situated into groups and have free range of the first floor of our home on a regular basis. They also have a small room in the house that they can come and go as they please to the yard through the doggy door. In 2020 I will be adding a small building with some kennel runs that are used for daytime turnout only. This will help prevent any squabbles between males, unplanned pregnancies, and be a more secure and safer turnout area for puppies.
What type of health testing do you have done on your breeding dogs?
All breeding dogs have had a cardiac exam, their eyes examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist and certified on an annual basis, and have all been cleared with routine physical exams annually including an exam for patella luxation. Bile acid tests for liver function of breeding dogs is also becoming standard in the event it is proven that Liver Shunts are genetic. Depending on if there is risk in their pedigree, some dogs are DNA tested for Myotonia Congenita and MAC (Mycobacterium Avium Complex). A panel test through Embarkvet.com is also being done on most of the dogs. Miniature Schnauzers are not prone to hip or elbow dysplasia so those are not recommended tests for this breed.
Do you ever offer Full AKC registration with breeding rights?
Very rarely. Select individuals may be able to purchase a puppy for show/breeding. Show/Breeding potential puppies are determined by me and not all puppies will make the cut for that designation. Show/Breeding potential is exactly that, POTENTIAL. There are no guarantees to the dog finishing a championship or being able to produce puppies. These puppies are sold with a co-ownership agreement, meaning that my name remains on the paperwork as a partial owner and all breeding plans must be run past me for approval. I will not allow breeding for non-standard colors or cross-breeding of any sort and going against those rules will allow for my repossessing of the dog at such time I would learn the co-owner's indiscretion.
How often do your females have puppies?
There have been several studies done on what is healthier for a breeding female and the results of these studies conclusively show that it is healthier for a female to be bred every heat instead of every other heat (I have attached articles below). I do not believe that because you breed every heat that you should continue to breed as long as those that don't breed every heat, which means that my breeding females retire earlier than those breeders that breed every other heat. My girls are usually retired by 4-5 years old and off to a new loving home to enjoy retirement. This way they are breeding in their prime when it is healthier and safer for dam and puppies. While it is healthier for the reproductive organs to breed every heat, my girls aren't "just a uterus" and I use common sense and veterinary advice to make sure that they are healthy and carrying good weight before breeding again. I also judge case by case what is right for each of my females and her health. If the litter was incredibly large, required a c-section, or seemed to be really stressful, than I will skip to allow more time for recovery if I think it is necessary.
Here are a few articles:
Recently at an AKC Dog Breeding Discussion held at Michigan State University with key note speaker Dr. Claudia Orlandi Ph.D. (AKC's breeder of the year and author of The ABC's of Dog Breeding) shocked many breeders when it was disclosed that there have been scientific studies to show that it is detrimental for dams to skip heat cycles. It was shared that once you have begun to mate a dam that you should NOT skip any heat cycles until she is completely finished breeding. A dam is said to be "finished" breeding when her litter size is drastically decreased. The study involved following females that were bred every heat cycle and females that were bred every other heat cycle. After they were "finished" breeding, the dams were spayed and their uterus dissected.
Those showing most stress, and damage of the uterus were the females that were bred "every other" heat cycle. Part of the rational that skipping heat cycles is harmful stems from the fact that with consecutive heat cycles there is no "flushing action" of the uterus, which normally occurs by having a litter of puppies. The female will go through Estrus no matter if she is bred or not and by breeding a healthy dam back to back, can lessen the chances of the female experiencing pyometra, infections and false pregnancy. The choice to breed or not, should be contingent upon the goals the breeder has and for sure the mental and physical health of the female, above all else.