The White Schnauzer
Exactly What Is It?
A white Schnauzer is virtually always a Miniature Schnauzer - there are almost no white Standards or Giants. They used to be quite rare, but are becoming increasingly popular, along with parti (colored) mini schnauzers.
They are NOT albinos, as their skin has pigment. For those of you interested in the technical reason for whites, they are Schnauzers which carry the double recessive e/e gene.
Some people think that Miniature Schnauzers were bred with Westies (West Highland Terriers) to create the white color. That's not true either and although they can look a bit similar, they are two completely different dog breeds with different characteristics and temperaments.
How White is White?
If you buy a nice white car and are unlucky enough to have a bump in it, you'll realise there's lots of different types of white paint when you come to do the repairs .... Well, white Schnauzers are a bit the same!
There are quite a few different types of white -
- A no color is a dog with a pure white coat. They are born with pink lips, pads and noses which later turn the base color.(The natural color of the nose and paw pads is the dog's base color and can be brown or black).
- A true white is also known as black-nosed white - no prizes for guessing why - see photo on right.
- A white chocolate is also called a brown-nosed white (the clue is in the name again!) This is genetically the same coat is the black-nosed white, only the base color is brown, not black.
- False white, platinum silver and wheaten are all variations of white Schnauzers. False whites are born a tan color, but lighten to white when they are fully grown. Wheaten minis are more of a yellowy white (with a brown base color) and platinum miniatures have more of a silver colored coat with a black base color.
White Schnauzer History
Miniature Schnauzers were first created by reducing the size of - or “breeding down” the Standard Schnauzer. German breeders did this by crossing the Standard with various other breeds of dog, such as the Affenpinscher.
The breeders wanted to produce a smaller version of the Standard Schnauzer in every way - same appearance, temperament and color.
The Standard Schnauzer only has 2 colors, salt & pepper and the less common black.
In the late 19th century breeders had far less understanding of genetics than they do now. By crossing the Standard with different colored dogs, they actually produced Miniature Schnauzers in a 3rd color - black and silver.
These were originally classed as salt and pepper! Breeders then realized that the black & silver color bred 'true' when both parents had this color.
By then it was too late to unregister all black and silver dogs, so this 3rd color was created and accepted.
The same universal acceptance has not, however, been given to whites.
Early German breed records record a "gelb" (German for yellow) color. This was introduced into the breed through German black champion Miniature Schnauzer Peter V Westerberg, born in 1902.
Peter was mated to a female called Gretel and they produced a "yellow" pup named Mucki VD Werneburg in 1914. (Nice to know Peter was still going strong and 'producing the goods' at 12 years old - which is the equivalent of 84 in human years!!)
Two years later, Mucki gave birth to German Champion Peterle VD Werneburg.
Almost every Miniature Schnauzer line researched in AKC records can be traced back to Peterle or his grandfather Peter V Wersterberg.
It's often said that gelb meant white , but there is no definite proof of this. But when hand stripped, most white Schnauzers with the proper wiry coats have a yellowish streak on their backs and heads. It's thought this is why they were originally called "yellow" in German records.
The White Schnauzer in Events
Even though White Schnauzers may have AKC papers - if both of their parents are registered - they are not accepted in shows under AKC or AMSC (American Miniature Schnauzer Club) rules.
They CAN compete in other events such as Agility, Canine Good Citizen, Obedience and Earthdog trials.
A white Schnauzer can also be shown in rare breed classes organized by the IABCA (International All Breed Canine Association). In fact there are some highly successful white champions from these events.
The topic of different Schnauzer colors - and in particular white - is controversial in the Schnauzer world.
The breeders of whites claim that they occur naturally - like black and silver Schnauzers - and therefore should be fully accepted.
The White Miniature Schnauzer Initiative was established in 2006 in Germany for worldwide friends and breeders of Whites. Their aim is to provide a network for sharing ideas and information and to give breeders the opportunity expand the gene pool of the white Miniature Schnauzers internationally.
There is some talk of a similar organization being formed in the US, but nothing has come of it so far.
Breed societies and the AKC disallow the whites as they claim the white Miniature Schnauzer does not conform to the 'ideal breed standard'. A further point they raise is that some whites are bred in 'puppy mills' set up by unscrupulous breeders to cash in on the rarity factor - and high prices - of white Schnauzers.
Head over to our page on Schnauzer Colors – the Great Debate to read both sides of the discussion on more detail.
If you do decide to get a White Schnauzer, you may not be able to show him in major AKC or UK Kennel Club shows, but that doesn't mean he won't make a fantastic pet.
The main problem with puppy mills is that they often breed puppies of poor genetic stock. This can lead to health and temperament problems later on - causing a lot of heartache for the poor family or person who bought the Schnauzer puppy in good faith.
What's our best advice? It's simply this - if you are buying a white Schnauzer puppy, get one from a good breeder
Make sure you first read our section on How to Find a Responsible Schnauzer Breeder
Here are some other interesting pages to visit -
A Full Description of The Miniature Schnauzer and its Personality
AKC Miniature Schnauzer Breed Standard
Kennel Club (UK) Miniature Schnauzer Breed Standard
History of the Miniature Schnauzer
Schnauzer Colors – the Great Debate
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