The Parti Schnauzer
What is a Parti?
"Parti colors" are easily described as being patterned like a Holstein cow; random spots of color on a white background. In a field of Holstein cows, all the cows will be black and white, but no two cows will have the same pattern. The base color of a parti is always white, and the darker color can range from a small area to larger areas. The darker color can vary- black, chocolate/liver, salt and pepper, and even white are all colors that can occur in a parti-colored dog.
The above diagram shows the progressive reduction of pigmented areas as seen in the parti schnauzer. Figure #4 is a good example of the type of parti schnauzer that I prefer, which is the Saddleback or Blanket Parti. These terms are used to describe a parti that has one large spot of color on the topside which resembles a blanket or saddle placed over his/her back. Photos above are two of our Saddleback Parti breeding stock, Katie & Diana!
History of the Parti Schnauzer
If you research German history, you will discover that in 1880 Germany’s Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub published its first Schnauzer Breed Standards Book. The book detailed all acceptable colorings for the breed including “white with black patches” (parti color). So, the parti obviously existed from the beginning of the Miniature Schnauzer breed. On September 4, 1929, a litter of black schnauzers was born at the Abbagamba Kennel in Podangen, Germany. This litter included 3 Black and White parti pups. The Abbagamba Kennel then started producing the parti miniature schnauzers to be officially recognized and registered in Germany. For the next 4 years, they were accepted and welcomed by the Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub (PSK). However, in 1933 Germany was in the midst of a great economic depression.
In many German villages, the population of Salt and Pepper Schnauzers was higher than the human population. Breeders were unable to sell their Salt and Pepper puppies because of the widespread popularity of the new and trendy Wired Hair Fox Terriers from England, which were selling faster than they could be produced. Allowing the Parti-colored schnauzers to remain in the PSK would only further hurt the sales of the many unsold Salt & Pepper and Black puppies. The true reason for the ban of the parti-color was the fear of sales competition and the potential for economic ruin. The owner of the Abbagamba Kennel was rightfully outraged, but her request to keep the parti color in the PSK was denied. The Board of the PSK promised to create a separate breed for the parti schnauzers in the future, but the onset of World War II halted these plans. As of today, Parti Schnauzers are still discriminated against based solely on their color not only in Germany but in dog miniature schnauzer clubs all around the world!