Miniature Schnauzer vs Border Terrier Which is Better?

Border Terrier

The vs  . When glancing at these two wiry little terriers, it’s pretty easy to tell the two apart, but they do have a lot in common and a few differences.

Let’s compare these the Miniature Schnauzer and the Border Terrier in our on-going series, vs. Dog.

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Miniature Schnauzer vs Border Terrier History

Border Terrier
Border Terrier

Touted as among the oldest of the British terriers, the Border Terrier was developed near the Cheviot Hills between England and Scotland. Originally, the dog was bred to chase and kill that caused trouble for farmers and later to accompany Border Foxhounds on fox hunts. The Border Terrier, which was the smallest among long-legged terriers, had to be very fast to match a horse’s pace and yet be of small enough to dig out or follow a fox into its burrow.

The first record of this breed dates back to the 18th century; its ancestors were said to be associated with the .

Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzer

The development of the Miniature Schnauzer isn’t as well documented. There aren’t any records on how the Miniature Schnauzer was developed, but the intent, or perhaps by accident, was to create a smaller version of the well-established much larger to work as a small ratter, a job which the breed excels at.

The earliest record of a Miniature Schnauzer was a black female named Findel, born in 1888. In 1895, the first breed club was formed in Cologne, Germany.

The Miniature Schnauzer was developed in Germany by crossbreeding the Standard Schnauzer with smaller breeds, such as the , , and .

In Germany, the Miniature Schnauzer is known as the Zwergschnauzer. Zwerg means “dwarf”.

According to the AKC, unlike all the other Terriers, the Miniature Schnauzer has no English bloodlines. This explains that though the Mini was bred to do the traditional work of small terriers, his personality is quite different, as we’ll see in a bit.


These two small, but sturdy terrier breeds are close in size. The Miniature Schnauzer can be slightly heavier at 11 to 20 pounds, compared to the Border at 11 – 16 pounds. But the Border can be a bit taller at 10 -16 inches tall compared to the Mini Schnauzer at 12 – 14 inches tall.

Miniature Schnauzer vs Border Terrier Appearance

Border Terrier
Border Terrier

The Border Terrier is a small dog with a compact body. Their ears are typically folded over the forehead and their bushy eyebrows give the impression that they are always thinking.

The Border Terrier’s wiry coat can be red, grizzle and tan, blue and tan or wheaten.

This small square Miniature Schnauzer has a wiry coat and profuse furnishings on the legs, a distinctive beard, and bushy eyebrows, much like its larger Standard Schnauzer brother. The coat color is pepper and salt (greyish), black or a striking black and silver.

Miniature Schnauzer vs Border Terrier Personalities

Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzer

The Border Terrier has a distinctive temperament to go along with its distinctive looks. When it comes to vermin, the Border has the Terrier fire, but the Border is also more flexible than most other terrier breeds.

This is a very friendly breed. The Border Terrier is good with kids, families, strangers and even other pets, for the most part.

With its family, it’s affectionate but self-reliant. The Border loves to cuddle, but also has no trouble keeping itself entertained.

A note of caution, the Border has an incredible wanderlust and can be an escape artist!

A Miniature Schnauzer is full of life. An extrovert, this breed loves to be in the middle of any family action. The Mini wants to touch you and be next to you all the time, and you can bet it’ll demand to sleep in your bed.

The Miniature Schnauzer isn’t as kid or stranger friendly as the Border Terrier, but with early socialization, this can be overcome.


Miniature Schnauzer vs Border Terrier
Border Terrier

Though both breeds are of high intelligence, don’t assume they are easy to train.

Both share a typical terrier stubbornness and neither is focused or patient with training.

But, both breeds are eager to please and are highly trainable. You just have to put in the work and not fall more their manipulation.

Miniature Schnauzer vs Border Terrier Activity Levels

The Border Terrier is a highly energetic spunky little dog born to run. Thankfully because of its small size and medium exercise needs you can get away with a good long walk a day and a game of fetch or two in the house or yard.

Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers are versatile dogs who can live in the city or the country. They need daily walks and time to run every week, but they can be just as happy living in an apartment as a farm. The Schnauzer’s yard should always be fenced in because these terriers will take off like a shot if they catch a glimpse of a cat, rabbit, bird or squirrel.

Both breeds need to chase and dig which can be channeled productively by enrolling your pooch into earthdog activities, or agility training. These activities can keep you Schnauzer’s mind and body active, and it’ll love the bonding time spend with its favorite person.

Miniature Schnauzer vs Border Terrier Health and Lifespan

Miniature Schnauzer vs Border Terrier
Miniature Schnauzer

The Border Terrier and the Miniature Schnauzer have similar lifespans with the Border Terrier typically living between 12 to 15 years and the Schnauzer between 12 and 14.

Both breeds are generally healthy dogs, although the Miniature Schnauzer may have an advantage when it comes healthiness.

The Border Terrier can be prone to heart murmurs, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and seizures.

The Mini Schnauzer can suffer from vision problems including cataracts and retinal atrophy, usually both associated with old age, as well as a chronic lung condition called Mycobacterium Avium Infection.

Both dogs can be prone to overeating and without proper exercise can become obese, risking other weight-related complications.

So, which of these tough little terriers do you pick? Let us know in the comments.

If there are other breeds you’d like us to compare, shout them out, we’ll give them a look.

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