“Westie Miniature Schnauzer Mix”
Designer dog breeds have become all the rage in the last couple of decades, and a few breeds can even be dated back as many as 40 years ago. The Wauzer is one of the more recent developments in the trend. Staying with the trend of basing the name of the new breed on the names of the purebred parents, its name is derived from the West Highland White Terrier and the Miniature Schnauzer. As you’ve most likely never heard of this unique dog breed, here is a little history about the breed to help you decide if it could be right for you.
Most of the designer breeds that have been developed, the Wauzer included, were bred with the intention of combining certain desirable traits of each of the parents into the new breed. When it comes to buying any designer breed, spending a little time reviewing the characteristics and personality of both parent breeds is a good idea.
Bred in Germany in the mid-1800s, the Miniature Schnauzer was developed specifically to hunt vermin on farms, and to act as a guard dog. Breeders crossed the Standard Schnauzer with several small breeds, two of which were the Miniature Pinscher and the Affenpinscher. Some believe that the Poodle and the Pomeranian also provided some of its genetics. It’s one of the few dog breeds developed in Germany prior to the two World Wars that still exists today.
They have evolved over time, however. The dog we see today is found mainly in black and silver, whereas a century ago many other colors were available as well. The natural affinity to hunt vermin has also been lost for the most part, as the breed is primarily used as pets and for dog shows today. It’s a very outgoing dog that doesn’t like to be left out of the festivities. It is very loyal, and often positions itself against its owner’s leg when sitting. Because the breed is so energetic, professional training is advised. Fortunately it’s a very intelligent dog that trains easily.
West Highland White Terrier
Also known as a “Westie,” the West Highland White Terrier dates back to the 1600s. It was bred in Scotland for much the same reason that the Miniature Schnauzer was later bred in Germany, to hunt vermin. The breed wasn’t officially recognized by the English Kennel Club until the 20th Century, which is when it received the name that we know it by today. Prior to that, it was known as the Poltalloch Terrier or the Roseneath Terrier.
It’s known for being a very affectionate and happy dog. It can also be bold, and somewhat mischievous, particularly when it isn’t properly trained. Don’t be fooled by its small size, as it isn’t what you would normally think of as a lapdog. While it does love to be cuddled, it also has an independent streak. It can display an aggressive side when around other dogs, particularly those of the same sex, and it’s unlikely to be deterred by the size of the other dog.
The Wauzer has inherited its parent’s good nature and personality. It is highly intelligent, very outgoing, and loves to be cuddled. It’s the type of dog that will go out of its way to catch your attention, and revels in being played with and fussed over. It makes a wonderful family and companion dog, and is so much joy to be around.
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine though, as it’s also inherited a few of its parent’s less desirable traits. As its parents were both bred for hunting vermin, it loves to dig, which means that you might want to section off a smaller section of your yard for your pet if you’re particular about your landscaping. You’ll also want to keep a supply of chew toys on hand because this particular dog breed loves to chew on things. On the bright side, it’ll be easy to entice your pet into a game of tug-o-war!
Not surprisingly, considering the breeds that were used to develop the Wauzer, it’s a relatively small dog, weighing in at 8 to 18 pounds, and standing 7.5″ to 12″ tall. It has a double coat, but it doesn’t shed quite like other double coated breeds do. The undercoat is dense to keep it warm and dry, while the outer coat is wiry to provide an additional layer of protection. It can be purchased in a variety of colors, but red, white, brindle, silver, and black are the most common. Its ears can either flop over or stand erect, and its tail is long. Very similar to the Westie, its body tends to be long with disproportionately short legs, small feet, and a stocky build. Its eyes are brown.
An Energetic Breed
You probably assumed correctly that it’s a very active breed. If you choose to buy one, you’ll need to be aware of the commitment that you’ll be making to provide plenty of exercise opportunities, or you little bundle of joy will find other, less-desirable, ways of releasing its pent up energy.
Regular walks twice daily, visits to the local dog park where it can run freely and socialize, and plenty of play time at home, will keep your new pet happy. The breed does very well in agility competitions due to its high intelligence, high energy, and the ability to jump very high for its size. You’ll want to make sure that your yard is fenced appropriately to keep it inside. If you don’t have a yard, it can adapt quite well to apartment living, provided that you do not neglect to provide the necessary play time.
How Easily Is It Trained?
As an intelligent dog, it won’t need a lot of repetition or effort to train it with different commands. It likes to please its owner, so it’s generally willing to go along with your efforts. Your training methods should focus on consistency, firmness, and patience. Treats, attention, praise, and rewards do wonders to motivate it, however avoid scolding or punishing it as it won’t lead to the results that you’re hoping to achieve. As you’re able, provide regular socialization to avoid the development of an aggressive streak with other dogs. Properly socialized, it’ll do well in a variety of situations.
Life With A Wauzer
Though it doesn’t shed a lot, you’ll still have to plan on daily grooming as a preventative measure for keeping tangles at bay, and for removing any debris that it may pick up in its play. The hair around its eyes needs to be wiped regularly to prevent clumping up, which is unsightly and can trap debris in the vicinity of the eye. The hair on its legs and stomach needs extra attention, as these are the areas that are most likely to mat up. Fortunately the breed loves water, and it’ll take easily to baths when needed, however avoid bathing it too frequently or skin problems could develop.
It’ll also have some specialized grooming needs that will require the services of a professional, particularly if you aren’t comfortable doing it on your own. Its hair will need to be clipped or trimmed ever 7 or 8 weeks, and its nails will need to be clipped to prevent them from growing too long. Your grooming professional can also brush your pet’s teeth, and clean and check the ears for any sign of infection.
How Does A Wauzer Behave Around Children And Animals?
Just like its parents, it loves children. It’s very affectionate toward them, and enjoys playing with them, provided they’ve been taught how to play nicely with it. It’ll also get along well with dogs and other animals as long as it’s been properly socialized with them. Remember, it comes from parents that were bred for hunting, so it’s only natural that it’ll tend to want to chase smaller animals. Proper socialization will help it to learn when and where this is appropriate.
Unless you live on acreage and don’t mind listening to a barking dog, you’ll need to focus part of your training to teach it to control its barking. Otherwise, your neighbors might not be thrilled that you’ve adopted a new pet.
There are some health considerations that you should know about that have been inherited from its parents. Every dog breed has some health issues that they are prone to, and the Wauzer is no exception. These health conditions include urinary stones, eye problems, dental problems, allergies, ear infections, Westie lung disease, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, Congenital Megaesophagus, Myotonia Congenita, and Von Willebrands. Not every puppy will develop these problems, but they are something that you’ll want to be aware of and to watch for.
Costs of Ownership
Wauzer puppies can cost as much as $600. Some medical needs to plan for are vaccinations, deworming, neutering, veterinary check-ups, and micro-chipping (if you’re so inclined.) These can cost as much as $300 initially. Annual medical costs for checkups, flea control, vaccinations boosters, and pet insurance can add another $500 to the list. Non-medical costs like food, treats, play toys, training, grooming, and licensing can easily add another $600. Like any pet, it’s not cheap to take care of them properly, so you’ll want to make sure that it’s an expense that you’re willing to take on.
The Wauzer is a wonderful, lovable dog breed that makes a great family pet. It’s playful, friendly, and loyal, but it does require a lot of attention. If you decide to buy a Wauzer, you’ll be adopting a friend for life!