According to breed standard in Canada and the USA, there are only three recognized colors for the Miniature Schnauzer Canada: Black, Salt/Pepper and Black/Silver. There are many more colors that exist but, since they are recessive to the three standard colors, they occur very rarely in the breed. The color gene is also separate from the pattern gene (ie. Salt/Pepper or Parti). If you want to show your dog, it must be one of the recognized colors however, both AKC and CKC will register a dog that is not a standard color, it just can’t be shown in a conformation class.

A short article on the regular Miniature Schnauzer Canada colors can be found by clicking here.

Where did the recessive colors come from?

Because the original Miniature Schnauzers were a result of breeding the Standard Schnauzers with Miniature Pinchers, Affenpinsers, Miniature Poodles, etc. a gene pool for colors other than the three recognized colors was created. Some reputable breeders have selectively bred their dogs to encourage these “rare” colors while the staunch show breeders have selectively bred to discourage any of the rare colors.

An excellent article providing the history behind the recessive colors of Parti and Liver (Chocolate) can be found here. It is worth the read if you don’t believe the Parti or Liver colored Schnauzer are “real Schnauzers” The recessive schnauzer colors have been recorded in litter records and stud books as far back as 1884.

Below are some examples of the some of the colors schnauzers come in. All of the photos are dogs that are in our breeding program or have been produced by our breeding program. They are listed here as examples of schnauzer colors. They are NOT for sale.

Wheaten Color

The Wheaten color was first identified in a schnauzer litter in 1879.  The color was identified as yellow (Gleb) in early stud books and was thought to occur as a result of the influence of the Affenpinschers in the development of the breed.  Because it was not a color that was desired in the breed, many of the early ‘yellow’ pups were destroyed making the genes that produced the color hidden in the dna of the schnauzers that were one of the acceptable colors.  Today, we know that Wheaten is very recessive and producing it with any degree of consistency is only possible with a close study of both dna and the red intensity a dog carries.  Wheaten is produced when the pup receives the little ‘e’ gene from both parents.  They are genetically ‘ee’ at the E locus which is very recessive.  Embark calls ‘ee’ recessive red.  In addition to being ‘ee’, for the coat to have a ‘yellow’ color, red intensity must be present.  The red intensity has 5 pairs of chromosomes.  A dog that identifies as red at 1 of the 5 pairs has a red intentsity of 1/10.  Different chromosomes have different impacts on the intensity of the coat color.  A 4/10 red can look very white in  one dog but can look very blond or gold on another dog if the 4 red markers are at different places that carry more influence on the ‘red’ or wheaten color.  After a substantial investment in DNA testing to identify dogs in our breeding program that carry the ‘e’ gene as well as what their red intensity is, we have purchased a new stud that is Ee, 6/10 red.  Axel is not Wheaten but he can produce pups that are wheaten and can have a red intensity of 7/10 when paired with certain females that carry red markers in different places than he does.  We hope to continue to produce the stunning new, very rare color over the coming years and to be able to gradually increase the red intensity in our pups.
Miniature Schnauzer
"TaterTot" - Wheaten boy 6/10 red
Wheaten Mini Schnauzer Puppies
Newborn Wheaten Pups

Solid Colors

There are three solid colors of Schnauzers. If the parents of a puppy are both a solid color and have ancestors that are only solid colors, all puppies produced by these parents will only be a solid color and will never produce anything but solid colors. Solid color is a dominant gene. The color gene is also a separate gene from a pattern gene. A solid color Schnauzer may also have some white markings on the chin, chest or feet.

Miniature Schnauzer Puppy Black
Miniature Schnauzer Puppy Liver
Miniature Schnauzer Puppy White

Regular Patterns

The Salt/Pepper pattern is the most common of all the Schnauzer patterns.. The traditional markings include a solid color body with light eyebrows, muzzle and cheeks, a light colored band across the chest, light colored socks on the legs and light coloring up the bum. The lighter markings can be white, cream or silver depending on the color of the body. Markings will often start off looking very tan or silver but will generally lighten as the dog ages.

Salt/Pepper Miniature Schnauzer Puppy
Miniature Schnauzer Puppy Liver Pepper
Black/silver male - Javelin/Bentley Puppy

Irregular Patterns

Parti is a unique pattern. It consists of a white coat with a color overlay. The color overlay may be black, grey or chocolate. The pattern is unique to each dog with no two Parti pups being alike. If the color overlay covers the dog from head to tail like a colored blanket, the color is referred to as “Blanket Parti”. Parti is the more recessive of the schnauzer patterns. The white coat in this pattern can also appear to have ticking or spots on it. Ticking is dominant over no ticking. The ticking will often be visible only after the dog has a haircut. Often, as the white coat grows out, the hair covers up the spots.

Black Parti Miniature Schnauzer
Black Parti
Toy Schnauzer Dam - Black/Pepper Parti
Salt/Pepper Parti
Chocolate Parti Miniature Schnauzer
Liver or Chocolate Parti

Rare Combinations

Sometimes we encounter a very rare combination of patterns and colors such as those listed below. We can end up with two patterns and/or a rare color in one puppy. This is very unusual. In both examples below, we have one dog that displays both the markings familiar with the Salt/Pepper pattern and the Parti pattern simultaneously. In addition to the rare combination of patterns, one of the puppies is also the rare liver color.

Black/Silver Miniature Schnauzer Puppy
Black/Silver Parti
Miniature Schnauzer Stud - liver/tan parti
Liver/Tan Parti

Fading Color

There is a gene responsible for fading that does not seem to be attached to color. It dictates whether the color of your dog will fade out over time. It may mean that a very black dog at birth will be silvery grey by the time it is one or two years old. It is very difficult to predict if puppies will retain their nice dark color as they age. If both parents have retained their dark color, puppies may as well but that is not always the case. We have also encountered examples of non-fading puppies from fading parents.

Here are some examples of faded color:

Jetta - Miniature Schnauzer Puppy
Jetta - Puppy
Spencer - Miniature Schnauzer Puppy
Spencer - Puppy
Rugby - Miniature Schnauzer Puppy
Rugby - Puppy
Jetta - Adult Miniature Schnauzer
Jetta - Adult
Spencer- Adult Miniature Schnauzer
Spencer- Adult
Rugby - Adult Miniature Schnauzer
Rugby - Adult

There are other colors of schnauzers available such as Wheaton (creamy white) and Liver/Pepper. A rare color or pattern can be produced from a Schnauzer that is a recognized color if it “carries” for the recessive color or pattern and it is bred to another Schnauzer that is either a rare color or “carries” for the rare color or pattern.

Note: This is a very brief summary of Schnauzer colors and patterns just to give you an idea of what is available.