The American Kennel Club (AKC) has certain specifications for every breed of dog, which state what they must look like and how they must perform. The Schnauzer first became a breed in the United States in 1924, and was accepted as a registered breed in the AKC two years later in 1926. They put them in the same group as terriers because of their similarities to the terriers of Britain and Ireland.
The size of the miniature Schnauzer is between 12 to 14 inches in length. They have an almost square build that has to be in proportion length wise to height. They cannot resemble a toy breed in any way, nor can they be under 12 inches or over 14 inches.
The eyes of the Miniature Schnauzer are oval-shaped, deeply set and dark brown. They cannot be light colored or large in size. The ears, if cropped, have to be identical in length as well as shape, and they must have pointed tips. They have to be set high on the skull and be perpendicular. If they are not cropped (which AKC prefers not to see) they will be V-shaped and small, folding very close to the head, which is strong and rectangular. From the ears to the eyes the width begins to lessen, and again from the eyes to the nose. The head cannot be coarse otherwise they will be disqualified. The teeth must have a perfect scissor bite. Any other kind of under or overbite will also result in disqualification.
The front legs must look straight and parallel regardless of what angle they are viewed at. They must exhibit good bone structure with the elbows close to the body. The ribcage is spread in a manner which allows the elbows to continue to move closely to the body. The muscular shoulders slope down but are in a vertical alignment with the elbow. The hindquarters consist of strong, muscular thighs that are angled so that the hocks are behind the tail, which must be set high and always carried erect. It is usually docked but must be visible over the back of the body. Sickle hocks, open hocks, or cow hocks are all regarded as disqualifications. The feet are short and round with sturdy black pads and arched toes.
The coat, which can only be solid black, salt and pepper, or black and silver, consists of a hard wiry over coat and a close undercoat. The body must be plucked (head, neck, tail, chest, ears, and body) so it is the correct length, and so the judges can see the correct texture. Texture is very important for the Miniature Schnauzer. The coat cannot be too smooth or too soft. Black is the only solid color that is acceptable with the AKC. Many breeders have tried to breed the miniature Schnauzer with other breeds to get new colors, but these colors are not accepted by the AKC or the Schnauzer clubs.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a dog that uses the trot as their main gait. This is also the gait they are judged at by the AKC and the gait must be performed perfectly.