What Colors Do Miniature Schnauzers Come In?

The Schnauzers have been a favorite farm dog of Germany for hundreds of years. It wasn’t until the 1880’s that the Germans began to breed the Miniature Schnauzer, since a smaller version of the already popular medium-sized Standard Schnauzer was desired. It is believed that the Standard Schnauzer was bred with the Affenpinscher to create a smaller version of the breed. It is widely thought that at this time some Spitzes, Poodles, and Brussels Griffons were also bred in, in order to set the salt and pepper and solid black coat varieties. Before the time of the professional pest control, a dog’s ratting abilities were essential to keeping people safe from pest-borne diseases. It is largely believed that this was the motive behind the miniaturization of the Schnauzer into the Miniature Schnauzer, since they could access mores spaces than their larger brethren. 

The first Miniature Schnauzer litter was born in America in 1925, prompting the start of America’s love affair with this plucky breed. 

Germany is the country of origin of the Miniature Schnauzer breed. Germany’s Pinscher Schnauzer Club recognizes four colors:  Black, Pepper and Salt, Black and Silver, and White.

Ironically, the US, Canadian, British and Australian Kennel Clubs decided to ignore German guidelines and establish their own criteria for judging the Miniature Schnauzer. For example, none them regard the White Miniature Schnauzer as an acceptable color and in Britain, even Black and Silver is not accepted!

 According to AKC, there are three acceptable colors for the top coat: Salt and Pepper, Black and Silver, and solid Black. The salt and pepper are characterized by a banded hair and can be any shade of gray. 

There are many colors of Miniature Schnauzers out there, but only the above three colors are allowed in AKC sanctioned conformation shows. Other colors include: White, White Chocolate, Liver and Tan, Liver, Liver Pepper, Wheaten, and a Parti version of all Schnauzer colors.

The Parti’s and other colors are extremely “old blood,” found in most of the early lines of the Miniature Schnauzer breed. Parti colors were common in these early litters and were originally one of the acceptable colors in the German Breed Standard.

Breed standards were set by people, not God! A group of enthusiasts simply decided that they liked this or that and thus “outlawed” any “off” colors they deemed not acceptable. Breeders breeding for the show ring do all they can to eliminate the non-official colors from their lines, leading to an attitude of “color prejudice” against these colors within such circles. How sad!

While they can’t compete in the Show Ring, many unofficial colors are still allowed to be registered as purebreds and can compete in other Kennel Club competitions such as agility and obedience.

Given the many breeds that were used to down-size the Standard Schnauzer to produce the first Miniatures, it’s not surprising that “non-official” colors have appeared in the breed…There is nothing wrong with the other colors. They are 100% purebred Schnauzer and can be registered.

Unofficial Colors in the US are:

White Miniature Schnauzer

Chocolate or Liver (Brown) Miniature Schnauzer

Parti (which is white with any size patches of another color)

Black and Silver Miniature Schnauzer

Chocolate or Liver and Tan Miniature Schnauzer

Liver and Pepper Miniature Schnauzer

Silver or Platinum Miniature Schnauzer

Wheaten Miniature Schnauzer

You may occasional hear mentioned “Phantom” coloring, which (unofficially, of course) describes dogs with very pale, almost white furnishings, of any of the following colors: Black and Silver, Chocolate or Liver and Tan. 

To register your Miniature Schnauzer puppy of a non-traditional color, you can send the application to  Colors @AKC.org   You must fill out both sides of the registration application. Be sure that you can read all of the application from the picture. When registering a non-traditional color with AKC, you also have to send two photos of the puppy with the registration application. The pictures must be a front view and a side view of the puppy/dog.