5 Small Family Dogs


Miniature Schnauzer

The distinguished-looking miniature schnauzer can appear quite serious with his salt-and-pepper coat, pronounced eyebrows and voluminous beard, but this wiry terrier is a lively pet that's considered extremely intelligent and easy to train, making him an excellent choice for most families.

Standing about 12 to 14 inches (30 to 35 centimeters) at the shoulder, this handsome dog originated in Germany. Classically employed on farms to keep vermin away from crops, he's naturally loyal and protective of those he loves. This breed will alert you with lots of barking when someone comes to your door, but that's about as far as his guard dog tendencies go -- he's typically cheerful and happy to make new friends. The AKC says miniature schnauzers adapt well to most living spaces, including small apartments, so long as they get regular exercise and a daily dose of playtime.

Related Articles


  • American Kennel Club. "Cavalier King Charles Spaniel." (August 7, 2011) http://www.akc.org/breeds/cavalier_king_charles_spaniel/
  • American Kennel Club. "Miniature Pinscher." (August 7, 2011) http://www.akc.org/breeds/miniature_pinscher/index.cfm
  • American Kennel Club. "Miniature Schnauzer." (August 7, 2011) http://www.akc.org/breeds/miniature_schnauzer/
  • American Kennel Club. "Norfolk Terrier." (August 7, 2011) http://www.akc.org/breeds/norfolk_terrier/
  • American Kennel Club. "Shih tzu." (August 7, 2011) http://www.akc.org/breeds/shih_tzu/
  • American Norfolk Terrier Association. (August 5, 2011) http://www.norfolkterrier.org/
  • American Shih Tzu Club. (August 5, 2011) http://www.americanshihtzuclub.org/
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club. (August 5, 2011) http://www.ckcsc.org/
  • Miniature Pinscher Club of America. (August 7, 2011) http://www.minpin.org/gen_info.htm
  • Palika, Liz. "The Howell Book of Dogs: The Definitive Reference to 300 Breeds and Varieties" Wiley Publishing. 2007.


Who Ya Gonna Call? The Dogs of R.A.T.S.

Who Ya Gonna Call? The Dogs of R.A.T.S.

In rat-infested New York City, the dogs of R.A.T.S. are working to rid the city of its burgeoning rat problem. HowStuffWorks goes along for the ride.