Cookies on VetMed Resource

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.


Continuing to use  means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

VetMed Resource

Veterinary information to support practice, based on evidence and continuing education

User notification: Please be aware that there may be intermittent issues with speed on this site. We apologise for the inconvenience, and we are working on resolving the issue as a matter of urgency. Please contact if you have further questions.

Sign up to receive our Veterinary & Animal Sciences e-newsletter, book alerts and offers direct to your inbox.

News Article

Miniature Schnauzers: study of breed health

Study identifies periodontal disease, obesity/overweight and anal sac impaction as the most common disorders in the UK

A study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) reports demographic, longevity and disease data for the general population of Miniature Schnauzers in the UK. The study population included all dogs under primary veterinary care at clinics participating in the VetCompass™ Programme during 2013. The results are published in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology.

The study, which was the largest ever study of the breed, analysed 3,857 Miniature Schnauzers from a population of over 450,000 dogs across the UK. Its findings include:

  • The average lifespan of Miniature Schnauzers was 11.7 years, which is similar to the average of 12.0 years for dogs overall.
  • The average adult bodyweight of Miniature Schnauzers was 10 kg. Males on average were heavier than females (11 kg vs 9 kg).
  • The most common disorder affecting the breed was dental disease (affecting 17.4% Miniature Schnauzers). This is similar to that of other similarly-sized breeds such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (15.2%) and Border Terrier (17.6%).
  • The next most common disorders were obesity/overweight (8.3%), anal sac impaction (5.8%), vomiting (5.1%) and otitis externa (5.0%).
  • Female Miniature Schnauzers are more likely to have dental disease, obesity/overweight and heart murmur. However, the males are more prone to diarrhoea and claw injury.
  • The most common causes of death were neoplasia (14.7%), collapse (13.3%), mass-associated disorder (10.7%) and brain disorder (10.7%).


Dr Dan O’Neill, Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Epidemiology at the RVC and Vet Compass researcher, said: “To do their best for their dogs, owners need to know what aspects of their dog’s health are the most important to protect. Thankfully, we now have the data to identify these: owners of Miniature Schnauzers and also dogs overall should pay special attention to dental care, weight management, anal sac issues and making sure their dogs eat a healthy diet.

“Based on VetCompass™ Programme data, the Miniature Schnauzer is currently Britain’s most average dog from the breeds that we have studied to date. Extreme breeds such as flat-faced, long-backed or teacup-sized dogs may currently be in vogue but we need to move away from extremes and towards the healthier middle-ground.”

Dr Alex Gough of Independent Vet Care and co-author added: "Although a number of diseases were identified in the current study that affect Miniature Schnauzers, the common ones did not occur more frequently in this breed than in others studied. Many popular breeds are prone to life-threatening and distressing conditions related to their breeding. Our study suggests that the Miniature Schnauzer should be considered as a relatively healthy breed, which can help owners make a decision when acquiring a new dog."

Read article: Miniature Schnauzers under primary veterinary care in the UK in 2013: demography, mortality and disorders by Dan G. O’Neill, Charlotte Butcher, David B. Church, Dave C. Brodbelt and Alex G. Gough published in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology (2019) 6:1, doi: 10.1186/s40575-019-0069-0

Article details

  • Date
  • 19 February 2019
  • Source
  • Royal Veterinary College
  • Subject(s)
  • Dogs, Cats, and other Companion Animals