Miniature Schnauzers have a squarely proportioned build, measuring 12 to 14 inches (30 to 36 cm) tall and weighing 11 to 15 pounds (5.0 to 6.8 kg) for females and 14 to 18 pounds (6.4 to 8.2 kg) for males. They have a double coat. The exterior fur is wiry and the undercoat is soft. The coat is kept short on the body, but the hair on ears, legs, and belly are retained.
Miniature Schnauzers are often described as non-shedding dogs, and while this is not entirely true, their shedding is minimal and generally unnoticeable. They are characterized by a rectangular head with bushy beard, mustache and eyebrows; teeth that meet in a "scissor bite"; oval and dark colored eyes; and v-shaped, natural forward-folding ears (when cropped, the ears point straight upward and come to a sharp point). Their tails are naturally thin and short, and may be docked (where permitted). They will also have very straight, rigid front legs, and feet that are short and round (so-called "cat feet") with thick, black pads.
The Official Standard of the Miniature Schnauzer for the American Kennel Club describes temperament as "alert and spirited, yet obedient to command...friendly, intelligent and willing to please...should never be overaggressive or timid." Usually easy to train, they tend to be excellent watchdogs with a good territorial instinct, but more inclined toward barking than biting. They are often aloof with strangers until the owners of the home welcome the guest, upon which they are typically very friendly to them.However, they will often express themselves vocally, and may bark to greet their owner, or to express joy, excitement, or displeasure.