“Quality is generally transparent when present, but easily recognized in its absence.” – Alan Gillies
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: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/miniatureschnauzer.htm
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.
My dogs are fed Muenster Milling Company dog food. They may not be a big chain or well known name but they have a very good product, excellent customer service and it ships right to my door with auto ship. Depending on a dog's particular needs, I typically feed either the Perfect Balance Chicken, Perfect Balance Pork, or Ancient Grains with Ocean Fish. Sometimes even a combination. I also tend to customize the bags with Salmon or MCT oil and extra probiotics.
Use coupon code robison55 to receive 55% off your first order. Full disclosure - I do earn credit for my referral which helps me to get a discount on my food. I go through about a bag a week so appreciate you using my coupon codes (feel free to share with friends and family!) or clicking one of the bags below that have my affiliate link in them.
PORK CHICKEN OCEAN FISH
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. 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 video chat. 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. Ask for contact information from previous puppy buyers and contact them to ask about their experience. My Facebook business page has reviews on it from my buyers. Once you are on the waiting list, you are invited to join a private Facebook group for my past and future puppy families to keep in touch so it would be easy to get reviews there.
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. Don't just take their word for it! Make sure the breeder provides you with a copy of the test (my tests are posted with each dog's photos). 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.
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 they might not know the history on the dad. Again, it comes down to the stud dog owner being honest with the owner of the mother. The national breed club website www.amsc.us 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. Many dogs love fresh veggies such as carrots and green beans 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 at least once a week, preferably 2-3 times per week. 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. Be careful in offering super hard chews as this can exacerbate teeth issues. Offer bully sticks, yak chews, beef trachea, etc. Do NOT use antlers/horns as they are way too hard. 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.
These days many dogs of many breeds have been noted to have allergies to corn, wheat, and low-grade meat products and the Miniature Schnauzer is not exempt. 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.
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 puppies go home with an offer from Trupanion Pet Insurance that gives the first 30 days at no cost with no obligation to sign up and new owners are expected to take advantage of that offer.
A short lesson on Genetics and health testing.
Genetics is not a topic that is easily understood by the masses and sometimes not even understood by breeders! I’m going to try to do a basic genetics lesson that is as easy to understand as I can make it. There is MUCH more involved but for the purposes of the points I need to cover in the way I breed dogs in regards to known and testable diseases I’m going to only hit the high points. Many of the issues that we have genetic testing for are caused by mutations in a single gene. If the condition is known as being “dominant” than a single copy of that mutation can be inherited by only one parent and will cause a dog to be “affected” by that mutation and show the traits or disease involved. A mutation that is “recessive” means that in order to be “affected” the dog must inherit two copies of the mutation, one copy from the mom and one copy from the dad. In the case of a recessive mutation, if a dog only has one copy of the mutation than the dog is known as a “carrier”. A carrier does not show the traits or disease and is perfectly healthy. If a dog does not have any copies of a mutation than they are known as “clear”. Most of the conditions involved in our breed that have a test are Recessive.
When it comes to breeding in the case of conditions that are known to be RECESSIVE the following matches will produce the following results.
Clear X Clear – This is obviously the preferred type of breeding because no puppies will ever be affected or carry even a single gene for the disease in question.
Clear X Carrier – 100% of puppies produced will be free of the disease. Each puppy produced will have a 75% chance of being Clear and a 25% chance of being a Carrier.
Clear X Affected – 100% of puppies produced will be free of the disease. However, every puppy produced will be a Carrier.
Carrier X Carrier – Each puppy produced will have a 50% chance of being a Carrier, 25% chance of being Clear, and 25% chance of being Affected.
Carrier X Affected – There will be no Clear puppies produced. Each puppy produced will have a 50% chance of being a Carrier, and a 50% chance of being Affected.
Affected X Affected – 100% of puppies produced will be affected by the disease. This breeding is not recommended. However, in the case of rare breeds with diseases that are not life threatening, this breeding could be done and then offspring could be bred out to a Clear individual, producing puppies that are Carriers. Those Carriers could then be bred to a Clear partner and a Clear offspring could be kept to carry on the lineage and desirable traits of the affected dogs while eliminating the mutation for the disease in question.
Ethical Breeders do DNA testing to try and eliminate diseases that their breed is known for. They pride themselves on having all clear individuals in their program and that is great! DNA testing has come a long way and is a very helpful tool for creating healthier dogs in the future if used appropriately. Unfortunately, many breeders will completely remove an individual from their program based on the status of a dog instead of working towards eliminating the disease while keeping what is known as “genetic diversity”. All breeds have a limited amount of genetic diversity because most breeds were developed using a smaller number of dogs. Every time a new DNA test is developed for a disease to determine the genetic status of each dog, the gene pool shrinks because breeders will eliminate dogs from their program. While every good breeder’s goal is to produce healthy puppies, what many of them forget is that they are also eliminating the many good genes that dog carries. They are essentially “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. The problem with this, is that over time, since all of those good genes were thrown out with the bad one, new mutations are more likely to pop up and will be harder and harder to breed away from.
If a mutation is a serious, life threatening or debilitating disease I can understand the knee jerk reaction to cut that from a breeding program. Unfortunately, many breeders are doing the same thing with low level diseases that do not greatly affect the life of the dog which narrows our gene pool and is detrimental for the future. Luckily, I have not been faced with that decision and have only dealt with issues that were non-life threatening or easily fixed with today’s medical advancements. In the past I have always tested my stud dogs for MAC & Myotonia Congenita, two Recessive diseases. Knowing my stud dogs are clear, I can breed to any female and know that I will not produce Affected puppies that could be sick. Since all my puppies are placed with non-breeding agreements, that is perfectly acceptable.
With the 2020 addition of Embark DNA testing the same holds true. While I am working towards having all Clear individuals, I do have some that are Carriers. Being Carriers, they do not actually have the condition and the condition that they carry for is not debilitating to the dog. I am not going to throw out the good things that I want to keep from these Carriers and will be breeding to Clear dogs. If you refer back to the top or to the color coded chart below, you can see that all puppies will be unaffected by any DNA testable disease. In the rare event that a breeding would be done between individuals that could produce an affected puppy, the whole litter will be tested before placement and any puppy that would test Affected would either be retained here at Belle Vista or placed with full disclosure of the condition.
For the Miniature Schnauzer breed, there are really only a few things that we have genetic tests for: Myatonia Congenita, MAC (Mycobacterium Avium Complex), PMDS (Canine Persistent Müllerian Duct Syndrome), PRA-B HIVEP3, and Factor 7 Deficiency (rare in the breed). While I use and like the Embark DNA testing (there are other companies doing the same thing), they test every dog for everything; shooting out a report that says they are clear of 190+ diseases. The problem with this is that 187 of those were developed for different breeds and have absolutely no bearing on the Miniature Schnauzer. Even if the Miniature Schnauzer and Australian Shepherd are both prone to Inherited Cataracts, the same mutation does not cause it. So the test will say that the dog is free of Inherited Cataracts because the test was developed for an Australian Shepherd but that could be false because the mutation that causes Inherited Cataracts in the Miniature Schnauzer hasn’t been discovered yet and there is no test. So some breeders tout things like “Tested clear of 190 inherited diseases!” to make their dogs and breeding program sound superior. While it isn’t a lie, it is false marketing for the general public that does not understand how genetic testing works. As science advances more and more tests will be available for the breed but until then, many of the things we deal with have no tests.
Breeders must have awareness of what the puppies they produce experience and the only way they can know is with the help of their puppy families keeping them updated. One dog experiencing an issue can be a fluke but multiple reports from people with related dogs points to an issue and the breeder needs to use due diligence to try determining the culprit in the pedigree and remove it from breeding. This can be difficult because if the issue is a recessive issue, it could have ridden through multiple generations as a “carrier” before then getting doubled up on to produce affected offspring. Breeders also need to keep perspective on what type of issues create a problem big enough to cut good genes with the bad. Anything that causes death, greatly reduces the quality of life, or produces a hardship for the owners should be scrutinized and removed if possible.
Preferred method of communication?
Email works the best for me. I am happy to talk with you over the phone or schedule a visit, 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 vitally important to have the answer asap, please send an email and I will get back to you within 24 hours.
Do you ship puppies?
Absolutely not. 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. Legally in any instance where a breeder is active in "retail sales (including adoption) of dogs where the buyer, seller, and dog are not physically together in the same place so the buyer can observe the animal prior to purchase or taking custody" requires a USDA license which I do not have but would be required to get if I shipped puppies. This includes the use of Flight Nannies because payment must be made prior to the flight so the puppy is already yours and you don't really have the option to refuse it once the Nanny hands it to you. While I would really like people to meet the parents and see the dogs and puppies in person and know that they are happy with where their pup is coming from I am able to meet you at Columbus International Airport at which time you can determine that the pup is in acceptable condition before completing the purchase.
How do I reserve a puppy?
View the "Waiting List" page for full details.
In the event that there are multiple litters ready around the same time, you will possibly choose from multiple litters. For example, if you are slotted for first pick of salt and pepper females and 2 different litters are ready to go at the same time and have salt and pepper females, you meet all available salt and pepper females from both litters. If there are multiple litters but they are ready to leave at different times, you will only be offered a spot from a particular litter.
Puppies are 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. Plan ahead and visit before you are offered a spot in a litter. Once I contact you offering you a spot in a litter, there 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. Remember, I only give 12 hours for you to accept a spot that I offer you before moving to the next person. If you want to visit, come before notification of available puppies. You don't get to choose your puppy until pick up day so even if you visit when they are 6 weeks, it's just for socialization and not so you can pick your puppy. Puppies' immune systems can be fragile and they can be susceptible to common diseases up to 2 weeks after their vaccinations so outside traffic is kept to a minimum when I have puppies under 8 weeks of age in my home. 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 or Good Dog Pay. No personal checks, money orders, Zelle, PayPal, etc. 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. If you would like to pay with a credit/debit card, I only accept payment through Good Dog. Application fees can be paid via Check, Money Order, Cash, Zelle, PayPal (Friends & Family) or Good Dog but payments above that $50 fee must be with Cash, Good Dog, or check with 20 days to clear.
What if I can't pick my puppy up when they are ready to leave?
That typically is not a problem as long as it is within 2 weeks of the date they are ready to go. Anything past that and I will offer the puppy to someone else and put you back onto the list for a future litter. You must make arrangements as soon as you are notified that you have a puppy waiting and I start scheduling pick up dates and times. Take note that if you are higher up the list to get a choice between puppies, failing to be able to get your puppy on time will put you last. This means you will get the last puppy that matches your preferences instead of getting a choice between puppies. That way I can let the rest of the families take their puppies home on time. I will not make special arrangements for you to come pick out your puppy if you are not able to take it home when they are supposed to leave.
Will my puppy have cropped ears?
All puppies are sold with uncropped 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. Most Vets want to crop between 8 and 12 weeks of age. 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. They recover much more quickly than a spay or neuter which people do all the time for their convenience so why would I be against a cosmetic procedure? However, with my busy life, I've decided it is not something I will offer to people anymore. If you are wanting to still get a puppy from me but are willing to take care of the cropping yourself these are the vets I know of and can recommend:
Dr. Jack Lust with Edgefield Animal Hospital in Marion, Ohio http://www.edgefieldanimalcare.com
Dr. Anne Midgarden in Wapakoneta, Ohio https://www.facebook.com/midgardenearcrops/ I do know Dr. Midgarden is usually scheduled weeks and possibly months in advance so if you plan to use her you need to call as soon as you think you're getting a puppy.
Paula Steele at Murray County Veterinary in Georgia https://www.murraycountyvet.com/ does an excellent crop.
Dr. Brittany Faison in Delaware https://www.mapquest.com/us/delaware/holystone-veterinary-s-487491630
Rarely do I have puppies with uncropped ears that go up and look like a donkey but it has happened. I think the biggest mistake people make is that they decide to have their first grooming done at about 5-6 months of age. So that does a couple things all at once. At that age, puppies are teething and that process can cause inflammation in the jaw and affect ear carriage, then they have the pup groomed for the first time and take all the hair off the ears which may not seem like much but all that hair is helping to weigh the ears down. Depending on the groomer and the dog they will also pluck the ear hair which causes even more irritation. Normally these things are not an issue but about the time the dogs go from baby teeth to adult teeth, the cartilage in the ears harden and set. So, you take all the weight off, irritate the ears so they hold them funny and BOOM, the cartilage sets and you have wonky ears. I've seen this happen on puppies that I never expected funny ears on. They had large, heavy ears that never should have had a chance to stand up but the scenario I just described was the perfect storm to create donkey ears.
Here is a couple videos of how to glue ears so you have an idea if it were necessary for your pup. https://youtu.be/gg3nvp-G57k
Worst case scenario, I've had a dog cropped at 6 months of age because the ears refused to stay down. They turned out really great because they were already standing. Once the stitches came out I didn't have to do anything except medicate the scabs until they were healed.
Can I get a puppy with a tail?
No. All puppies are sold with docked tails and dew claws removed. Tails are docked within 3 days of birth and there is no way I know who is getting which puppy at that early stage. Also, since I always reserve first choice for myself, I don't want a full tail and would hate for the puppy with the tail to turn out to be the best prospect in the litter.
When should I spay/neuter my puppy?
You are not required to alter your dog if you know you can be a responsible pet owner. 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. Spaying can also cause "spay incontinence" in a female that would require a daily medication to help. There is much information about all of this on the internet and you are encouraged to do your own research to make an informed decision. 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 Muenster Milling Perfect Balance Chicken with free choice access during the day. I also will mix in some of the Pork and Ocean fish blends in order to give some variety and introduce their systems to other forms of protein sources. Many people recommend a very low fat food for Miniature Schnauzers with some saying 10% or less. My foods are at 18-20% and I have never had any issues. However, as your pup ages you should go to measured feeding to avoid weight gain that causes health issues. If your dog is still packing on the pounds with a measured feeding, you could try Muenster Milling Perfect Balance Pork w/ Ancient Grains as it is their low fat option. Dogs that seem to have sensitive systems report doing well on this or the Muenster Milling Ancient Grains w/ Ocean Fish. I do not believe in the "grain free" hype and do not recommend grain free food be fed. Here are a couple articles if you are researching food:
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. After a few weeks meals can be cut to twice a day and most people stick with that. By about 6-8 months of age, you can choose to only feed one meal a day if you like. A measured feeding usually become necessary as they near adulthood since Schnauzers are known for packing on the pounds which causes some nasty health issues. My adult dogs only get fed once per day and range from 2/3 of a cup to 1 1/2 cups. However, they are very active out playing chase and wrestling in the yard. If you have a couch potato, probably 1/2 a cup to 2/3 of a cup 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 to adult dogs, and never let your schnauzer have junk food. Fresh veggies such as carrot sticks and green beans are good and make a great treat. Mine love apples but I limit that because of all the sugar. 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'll be honest, I'm awful at house training! I'm way too easily distracted and have too much other stuff going on. There is a reason I have doggy doors. :-)
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, throw in the trash, or add to a compost heap/garden bed 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 or even a week 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 but don't know how to ask to go out yet.
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. 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: http://www.buckeyemobilevet.com/ The puppies are also seen at the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center by Dr. Metzler. Dr. Newbold, or Dr. Miller (all board certified Veterinary Ophthalmologists) for their eye exams around 8 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. I also found this article that has some interesting info: https://www.midwoofery.com/post/is-temperament-testing-really-worth-the-effort?postId=5edaf43e63a375001799f728
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. A bedroom has been converted into the "nursery" where puppies are born and raised. A 2020 addition to the house was created specifically for the dogs where they are crated at night to keep them from roaming the house and trying to guard it all night. There are also 3 separate yards with doggy doors and run ins that allow for them to play and exercise in smaller groups that I know will get along well. It is more of a kennel setup than some people agree with but it works well for me and the dogs are happy. In 2022 I added a small temperature controlled building with some kennel runs that are used for daytime turnout only. This helps prevent any squabbles between males, unplanned pregnancies, and is a nice 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 auscultation exam with a board certified Veterinary Cardiologist after their first birthday that is submitted to OFA, 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 (although not submitted to OFA). All DNA tested for MAC (Mycobacterium Avium Complex) and PRA-B HIVEP3 (an eye disorder). A panel test through Embarkvet.com is also being done which covers a bunch of stuff unrelated to the breed but does cover Myotonia Congenita, Persistent Mullerian Duct Syndrome (PMDS), and Factory XII clotting deficiency. Miniature Schnauzers are not prone to hip or elbow dysplasia so those are not recommended tests for this breed and is also why this breed does not need to wait until after 2 years of age to be bred. As new tests are developed and proven effective, they will be added.
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.
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.
Miniature Schnauzers are not a breed that recommends Hip or Elbow x-rays to be certified for dysplasia at 2 years of age so all health testing can be completed by 1 year old. My girls are typically bred for their first litter around 1.5 years of age. They are full grown adults at that point and the equivalent of a 20 year old person.
Here are a few articles:
Do you have any of the “rare” colors such as White/Parti/Liver/Merle?
I am sticking to the American Miniature Schnauzer Club standard adopted by AKC. This requires that I stay away from the non-recognized colors. White and Parti colored dogs are possibly a throw back from when they used Poodles and other breeds to breed down the size from the Standard Schnauzer. However, once those original breeders got the size down, they tried very hard to get back to the dogs looking exactly like small versions of the Standard Schnauzer which only comes in Black and Salt & Pepper. The Black & Silver coloring in the Mini came from the Pinscher that was used to bring down the size. At first it was mistaken for a variation of Salt & Pepper and it was too prevalent in the breed before it was recognized for what it is, so the alternative was to accept the color rather than bottleneck the gene pool by breeding it out. I have no idea where the Liver/Chocolate w/ green eyes, Wheaten/Red, or Merle coloring came from and my personal opinion is that those “Miniature Schnauzers” are truly crossbred in the recent background, but that is only my opinion. The "rare" colors are rare for a reason; They aren't supposed to exist!
Do you have “Toy” ,"Super Coat" or "Mega Coat" Schnauzers?
Not if I can help it. Again, I am trying to stick to the AKC standard of a dog that is 12-14 inches tall at the top of the wither (where the neck meets the back/shoulder). AKC does not put a weight limit in the standard, but typically, dogs of this height will weigh between 13-20 pounds at a healthy weight. They are good for a lap but not super petite, toy-ish, or easily broken. Occasionally, and especially in a large litter, I will get a “runt” that stays on the very small Mini size or smaller but I do not breed this on purpose. While some of my dogs/puppies may have a softer coat, I try to avoid breeding excessive coats because they are harder to maintain and really do not fit the standard. A coat that is too soft and long or a coat that is too hard and short are both faults in the AKC standard. Just about any coat that is not maintained will get long. The furnishings on a schnauzer must be cut down with scissors to keep a clean, well-kept appearance.
Male Vs. Female?
All in all, I feel that there is very little difference between the sexes. The males may tend to stay a little more playful and fun loving as they age but I've seen girls that are still very puppy-like as well. If you do a good job with house training and not letting the dog be alpha of the house, you should not have any problems with male dogs marking or humping. Believe it or not, females will mark and hump too if they think they own it all. I have watched a female dog back up to a wall and pee over a male's mark to claim the spot and I've seen a female hump their owner's leg to show dominance. It may be less likely to occur with a female but it does happen, so don't discount a male because of a stereotype.
Inbreeding, Linebreeding & Outcrossing
I've had people ask me about a puppy they are considering purchasing from another breeder and closer inspection shows that the parents are half siblings, father to daughter, or mother to son. While these breedings are too close for my comfort, it's a type of breeding that many do and has been done for decades. All individual breeds started with a small gene pool to set the characteristics that created the breed so in the long view, all breeds are inbred. Even within the Miniature Schnauzer breed, there is a bottleneck of genetics that essentially takes all of them back to three main stud dogs.
According to a company called Embark that provides DNA testing for breeders, the average "coefficient of inbreeding" or COI, for the Miniature Schnauzer breed runs around 30%. All of my breeding dogs are tested through this company and I have numbers ranging from 28% to 49%. Yet if I look at a 5 generation pedigree on my dogs, many times there are no common ancestors or linebreeding involved.
The thing to realize with inbreeding is that it will bring out the best and worst because it will double up on traits that are there genetically but that only get expressed when they come from both parents (see the "Short lesson on genetics). So if that father is exceptional with no hidden issues, then the puppies should be exceptional. Any bad traits within his pedigree that he does not express could come to the forefront in the puppies. However, this can happen when dogs are not closely related as well since all breeds have issues that are common within the breed that were probably carried within the founding dogs. So outcrossing (breeding two dogs of the same breed that do not appear to be related according to their pedigree) is more palatable to people because inbreeding is morally gross to them but does not always necessarily mean that the offspring are more likely to be healthy. Those unrelated dogs could be carrying the gene for the same defect but not expressing it and then when bred together it is doubled up which affects the offspring. All in all, breeding is a crapshoot! Two healthy individuals, whether related or not, can produce unhealthy puppies.
If you're considering a puppy from a very close breeding, you should definitely be asking about the health and temperament of those common ancestors as well as other offspring and whether or not this breeding has been done before and what the results were and the age of those puppies. How many puppies were produced in this litter and were there stillborn puppies or any that didn't make it past a few days? A high rate of neonatal death could indicate an issue whereby either the surviving pups are not affected at all or so mildly affected that it will either never cause a problem or not show up until the dog is mature. And why did they choose to do this close breeding? Was it intentional where they hoped to produce outstanding dogs as similar to that common ancestor as possible? (good answer) Was it an accidental breeding that they are just trying to make the best of? (sh*t happens and honesty is the best policy) Or was it just a case of convenience where they own both dogs and it was easier/cheaper than finding another male to breed to? (FYI - this answer would immediately turn me away from this "breeder")
Take all answers with a grain of salt though. #1, is the breeder being truthful with those answers? #2, so much in the Miniature Schnauzer suspects a genetic basis but has an external catalyst (first to my mind is diet when you think of bladder stones, diabetes, or pancreatitis) so if there are reports of things like that, you have to take into consideration that many people do not feed them properly and let them get obese. And while the breed as a whole is known to have a higher incidence rate, all dogs are susceptible. I would be more concerned with things such as Liver Shunts or Epilepsy, (both are suspected genetic) or even dog aggression since base personality traits are inheritable. However, temperament is routinely man made with bad handling so again, it needs to be taken with some of that in mind.
I can't tell you whether or not to get that puppy. I know of some outstanding dogs that are very closely bred according to their pedigree with no issues and I know of some horribly afflicted dogs that are not inbred at all. Some of it would also depend on how much I trusted the breeder and what kind of health warranty they provide.