Last Updated on January 16, 2023 by Becky Roberts
Quick Summary: The Miniature Schnauzer (Mini Schnauzer) is the small version of the Standard Schnauzer. The West Highland Terrier (Westie) is shorter than the Mini Schnauzer. The Mini Schnauzer usually has a more elegant appearance compared to the Westie. A true Westie is always white in color. On the other hand, Mini Schnauzers have more color variations, such as black, salt and pepper, and black and white. The most significant difference between these two dogs is that the Westie is friendly with strangers and outgoing, while the Mini Schnauzer is a reserved and suspicious pup. Both breeds need plenty of exercise and entertainment; otherwise, they could chew your furniture and dig around out of boredom. Positive reinforcement training is the best way to teach them the proper behavior. Both the Mini Schnauzer and Westie are generally healthy dog breeds with an average lifespan of up to 15 years.
The West Highland Terrier and the Miniature Schnauzer are both small but fiercely independent dogs that deserve a family and a home. However, they need different types of families in order to be happy. Are you still deciding which dog to get? Let’s see which dog is best for you.
The Miniature Schnauzer and the Westie are very similar in many ways but completely different in others. Both dogs are full of canine personalities and fit into small bodies. The Westie is a great choice for those who are looking to get their first dog. It’s a gentler breed than the Schnauzer.
After reading this comparison guide, you will be able to determine which one is best suited for you and your lifestyle.
- 1 Breed History and Background
- 2 Temperament and Personality Traits
- 3 Size and Appearance
- 4 Exercise Requirements
- 5 Training and Socialization
- 6 Grooming Requirements
- 7 Nutritional Guide
- 8 Health Issues and Lifespan
- 9 Reputable Breeders and Puppy Prices
- 10 Conclusion
Breed History and Background
A dog breed’s history can reveal a lot about their past and how they will behave in the home. Let’s look at a brief overview of the Westie and Miniature Schnauzer to know and understand them better.
Westie: An Overview
The West Highland White Terrier is the official name of the “Westie.” Many terriers were born in Scotland due to the commonality of the farmer’s rodent problem. These little guys were designed for hunting rats and removing the pest problem.
Although it is not officially known when the Westie was created, historical documents show that they came into focus in the 18th century. Legend has it that the Malcolm clan started breeding white dogs at their Poltalloch estate after accidentally shooting one of their wheaten-colored terriers (unfortunately, the Colonel mistakenly thought one of his dogs was a fox). This is why you may hear this breed called the Poltalloch Terrier.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) registered the first Westie in 1908. Since their arrival in America, they have been a popular breed. They are known for being cute as buttons and having a spunky attitude. Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Aniston are just a few of the celebrities who have fallen for them. The AKC consistently ranks anywhere between the 40th and 50th most popular dog breed in America.
Miniature Schnauzer: An Overview
As you might have guessed, the Miniature Schnauzer is the mini version of the Standard Schnauzer. They realized they needed smaller versions to hunt rats in tight spaces and nests at farms. To achieve the required size, they merged the Miniature Poodle and Affenpinscher into their bloodline.
Due to their ratting history, the Mini Schnauzer is in the Terrier group. This group also includes the Westie. But technically, they are not terriers at all. The Mini Schnauzer, unlike the West Highland Terrier, is rarely used as a ratter. They are one of the most beloved Schnauzer breeds, enjoying the best life as companion dogs.
Ever since their registration with the AKC in 1926, they have continuously found themselves in America’s top 20 dog breeds. Celebrities who have succumbed to the charm of the Mini Schnauzer include Bruce Lee, Sugar Ray Leonard, Katherine Heigl, 50 Cent, and Doris Day.
Temperament and Personality Traits
The Mini Schnauzer may not be a terrier, but he behaves like one. This means they are both energetic and playful. These guys are great for families looking for fun times and a dog companion.
They also both have high prey drives, especially for small rodents. This means that both can be used to deal with a rat infestation. The Westie will have a higher prey drive than the Mini Schnauzer, however. These guys can’t live with small non-canine dogs.
They are both curious and will do anything to get their attention. Both need stimulation throughout the day. Despite being small dogs, they can be bold and confident, believing they are always right. These dogs are strong and can be intense, so some families prefer calmer, more submissive breeds. The Mini Schnauzer, out of both breeds, is more stubborn. They will sulk for hours if they don’t get what they want.
The most significant difference is that the Westie is friendly with strangers and outgoing. The Mini Schnauzer, on the other hand, is a reserved and suspicious pup. This little guy is a guardian and has a loud bark. The Mini Schnauzer is the best choice if you’re looking for a small guard dog. The Westie might be your best choice if you are looking for a friendly dog.
Size and Appearance
The only commonality between them is their small size. The Westie is shorter than the Mini Schnauzer, while the Mini Schnauzer, besides looking taller, is more elegant in appearance.
The Mini Schnauzer measures between 12 and 14 inches tall, from paw to shoulder. Compared to the Westie, who measures between 10 and 11 inches tall. The Westie weighs, on average less than the Mini Schnauzer. The Westie weighs between 15 and 20 pounds, and the Mini Schnauzer ranges from 11 to 20 pounds.
The Mini Schnauzer usually has a neater appearance compared to the Westie. To maintain their beautiful appearance, many Schnauzer owners groom their dogs meticulously. This includes their thick beards and large eyebrows. The Westie’s hair tends to be longer at the ends, which gives them a more scruffy appearance.
A true Westie is always white in its coloring. Mini Schnauzers come in darker colors like black, salt and pepper, and black and white. Mini Schnauzers have more color variation than the always brilliant white Westie.
Despite their small frame, they are energetic and tireless. You are much more likely to get tired before them. They both need about an hour of exercise each day. Although this may seem excessive for small dogs, they are working terriers who need adventure.
They need a lot of entertainment throughout the day, so don’t assume they quit after an hour of exercise. Both enjoy playing in the yard and chasing toys. They also enjoy chew sticks and treat-dispensing puzzle toys. And given their love (or hate, depending on how you look at it) of rats, they also go mad for squeaky toys.
If you don’t exercise or entertain your Mini Schnauzer and Westie, they could cause many problems. Both dogs love to chew furniture and dig. Because of their bossy and bossy personality, the Mini Schnauzer will likely become more disruptive than the Westie. However, you should ensure that you can meet the needs of any dog you choose.
Training and Socialization
The Mini Schnauzer is more stubborn than the Westie and believes they are always right. The Westie is more tolerant of training. It is much easier for first-time dog owners to train their Westie. Mini Schnauzers work better for people who have more experience.
Both are at risk of developing something known as “small dog syndrome.” This occurs when dog owners essentially let their small dogs get away with naughty behaviors that big dogs cannot get away with. This can be more problematic with the sassy Schnauzer, which is more of a diva doggo than the Westie. Schnauzers can also be vocal, so they should learn the “quiet command,” which you can use when your Schnauzer gets too loud.
They both require socialization from an early age, just like all dogs. The crucial period for teaching them how to interact politely with other dogs, humans, and the world around them is between 3 and 12 weeks. The Westie is more likely to pick up polite manners quicker than the Westie. The Mini Schnauzer, a protective and strong breed, needs to be reminded of their manners regularly. This can sometimes take a lifetime commitment.
Despite the differences, doggy owners should start training their dog breeds as soon as possible to ensure that they achieve the best results. Positive reinforcement training is the best way to teach the Mini Schnauzer and Westie. Both are motivated by treats and toys to play with. Keep training sessions fun and short to keep them interested. Persistence is key to success.
The grooming regimens of the Mini Schnauzer and Westie are different. It is important to put in the effort and money to keep your Mini Schnauzer looking its best, especially as their haircuts are more specific than those of the Westie.
Let’s say you are interested in showing your dogs at competitions or prefer the classic terrier look. A trimmed topline with a longer underbelly and a longer neck is ideal. To preserve their wiriness, you must hand-strip your dog’s coat. A professional is best for this. The Mini Schnauzer’s hairstyle is more complicated because they have more facial hair. Both dogs’ owners send their puppies in for a pampering session about every four to eight weeks.
Dog owners who don’t require or want to groom their pets at this level tend to give them a puppy or Teddy Bear cut. This is easier to keep clean. You can do it yourself. Their rough and wiry hair must be brushed at least three times per week to remove dead hair and prevent matting. For both of them, a soft slicker brush or a metal comb are great tools to have in your toolkit.
They are both hypoallergenic dog breeds that shed less than the average pup. Neither are hypoallergenic but they can be adapted to mild allergy sufferers. Both pups need to be bathed once every four to eight weeks. Regular teeth cleaning is also essential for both pups. Their small mouths make them susceptible to periodontal disease.
These two breeds eat approximately the same food, and their monthly food bills are similar. As they have a lot of nutritional needs, it is important to give both dogs the highest quality food possible. Remember, a happy puppy is a healthy puppy.
The Miniature Schnauzer and Westie are small dogs that can benefit from food designed for small breeds. These foods have more energy to suit their needs. You can also feed them kibble if they prefer. They will be able to chew the food easily. Both have larger eyes than their stomachs, so make sure you keep the treats under control to avoid any weight-related health issues.
Health Issues and Lifespan
These toy dogs are comparatively healthy dog breeds that both enjoy an average lifespan of up to 15 years. Both are at risk for eye problems. The most common concern in both is progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative disease of the retina. This can cause total vision loss if not treated.
A cardiac test is the only recommended test for Mini Schnauzers. A common cause of death for Mini Schnauzers is mitral valve disease. The Westie should undergo a test for hip Dysplasia. This condition is usually caused by a poor hip heritage. Ask your breeder about their hip scores. Westies can also be susceptible to luxating patella. This is where the kneecap floats and dislodges.
Reputable Breeders and Puppy Prices
The average starting price for a puppy from a responsible breeder is around $1,000. If you are looking for a high-quality puppy, this price can rise to several thousand. There is one difference between the breeders: Mini Schnauzer breeders are more likely to have more Westie breeding partners than Mini Schnauzer ones. This is because they are more popular.
Working with a responsible breeder is crucial if you want a better chance of securing a healthy puppy. Always research any breeder you choose to work with and be aware of the tactics used by irresponsible breeders and puppy mills.
Puppies can have additional costs beyond the initial price. But considering that they have an average starting price, are similar in size and lifestyle, and have an equal lifespan, they are likely to cost roughly the same across their lifetime.
The Miniature Schnauzer and Westie are indeed very similar. This is why people who are considering both breeds will need to be able to choose between them. You can choose which breed is best for you by focusing on the differences.
The Westie is easier to train and more sociable than the other pups, making it a better choice for new dog owners. They are friendly with strangers and are happy-go-lucky dogs.
Mini Schnauzers can be stubborn, which makes them difficult to train for people with less dog experience. They are also more protective and can be a better guard and watchdogs than the other dogs.
Ultimately, it all comes down to which qualities are most important for your family. They surely make great family pets, despite their differences.