The Miniature Schnauzer is a breed of small dog of the Schnauzer type that originated in Germany in the mid-to-late 19th century. Miniature Schnauzers developed from crosses between the Standard Schnauzer and one or more smaller breeds such as the Poodle and Affenpinscher, as farmers bred a small dog that was an efficient ratting dog. They are described as "spunky" but aloof dogs, with good guarding tendencies without some guard dogs' predisposition to bite. Miniature Schnauzers are recognized in three colors internationally: solid black, black and silver, and a color known as 'salt and pepper'. There is a controversial fourth color variant in Miniature Schnauzers, pure white, which is not recognized universally.
The breed remains one of the most popular worldwide, primarily for its temperament and relatively small size. As of 2013 it is the 17th most popular breed in the U.S.