The coat of the Miniature Schnauzer is a double coat with a brittle, wiry outer coat and a close undercoat. Their coat comes in three different colors: black, salt and pepper, and black and silver. Any other colors are not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The outer coat gets wiry when it is hand stripped, which is required by the AKC if the dog is going to be in the show ring. Hand stripping is pulling the dead hair out of the coat. A wiry coat like the Miniature Schnauzer has completes a cycle where the hair grows and then when it reaches its maximum length, it begins to shed. Hand stripping balances out the shedding and allows a new coat to grow.
Hand stripping can be done by hand with your fingers or with a stripping knife from your local pet store. The entire body must be stripped or plucked because the coat has to be long enough so the original texture is still visible. If the coat is too soft or smooth, the dog will be disqualified when shown. If the Miniature Schnauzer is not going to be shown, they can get their hair cut with clippers, but if they will be in the ring, the AKC requires them to be stripped to give the dog's hair the texture that is part of the breed standard. Hand stripping will also keep the dog's natural color whereas clipping it often makes it lose some of its natural color.
When grooming your miniature Schnauzer, there is much more to it than just brushing and hand stripping. Many Schnauzer owners choose to take their pet to a professional groomer to be sure that it is done correctly. Other owners, however, enjoy learning to do this and doing it with their dog is a nice way to bond together. There is different equipment you will need if you plan to groom the dog yourself.
Before your Schnauzer is bathed, his hair needs to be brushed with a pin brush to get out any snarls or knots. Follow this up with line brushing and then combing to make sure the hair is smooth and snarl-free. You can use any good quality dog shampoo on the Schnauzer, but it needs to be diluted with water. Always make sure no shampoo gets in their eyes or mouth. Any shampoo that is not thoroughly rinsed out can cause the dog to get dry and flaky skin. You can put cotton balls in their ears to make sure water doesn't get inside. Make sure the hair is thoroughly dried by squeezing out the excess water and brushing the beard, legs and body. After the coat is dry, it will be ready to be clipped or hand-stripped depending on what your intentions are with your miniature Schnauzer.
Clipping their nails is also a very important part of their grooming and appearance. Make sure you do not clip them too short and cause bleeding. This is not only painful to the dog, but will leave him with a very negative attitude towards his grooming sessions and lead to potential problems in the future. Dogs have a very good memory regarding painful negative things that happen to them. You may attempt to clean the outer part of the ears. Many owners take their miniature Schnauzer to the vet or a groomer for thorough ear cleaning and gland expression.