ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Standard Schnauzer

Standard Schnauzer dog breed
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The Standard Schnauzer is a versatile medium-sized breed. They were bred for hunting, catching rats and vermin, guarding and herding farm animals and other general farm work and are the smallest of the working breed. Today, they can still be found on farms, they can also be found in search and rescue as well as police and military work and as therapy dogs. They make great companions, skilled watch dogs and guard dogs. They are sensitive and loving towards their families and especially the younger members of the family who will find a new best friend in the Standard Schnauzer.

They are very intelligent, alert, excellent problem solvers, spunky, fun and graceful with a touch of stubbornness and a knack for finding mischief. The Standard Schnauzers are adaptable and are suitable for life in an apartment as long as they are sufficiently exercised. They are a high energy breed and need to be provided with plenty of opportunities to vent their physical and mental energy.

Breed characteristics

AdaptabilityHigh
TrainabilityHigh
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group:Working Dog
Height:17-20 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight:30-58 lb
Life Span:13 to 16 years
Main Highlights
  • The breed originated in Germany and was mainly used for general farm work.
  • It was customary back in the day for one litter to produce multiple breeds. The Standard Schnauzer originated from the same litters as the German Pinscher.
  • They excel in many dog sports and can be found in multiple different jobs in military, police and therapy.
  • The Standard Schnauzers don’t fully mature physically or mentally until they are 2 years old.
  • They have been used for skin and lung cancer detection.
  • They are not hypoallergenic but shed very little, they are one of the better choices for people with allergies or asthma.
  • The breed can be very head strong and requires a handler that can establish themselves as the pack leader.
  • They are affectionate and loving with children.
  • The breed loves to be in the centre of attention and doesn’t like sharing the limelight. The Standard Schnauzers are suspicious of strange dogs but with early socialization can tolerate living with other dogs and cats.
  • They are not trustworthy with small critters such as gerbils or hamsters as they have been bred to be ratters.
  • The Standard Schnauzer is the oldest of the Schnauzer breed. The Miniature and Giant Schnauzer were both developed from the Standard Schnauzer.
Breed History

The breed originated in Germany and has been around since 1501 according to some, based on drawing and their presence in literature and art from that time frame. It wasn’t uncommon for the same litter to produce both German Pinschers and Standard Schnauzers. They were classified purely on the length of the coat: puppies with short hair were classified as German Pinschers and puppies with a longer coat were considered to be the Standard Schnauzers which were called the Wire-haired Pinschers in the late 1800’s until their present name was adopted. Later on, the Standard Schnauzer was believed to be bred with the black German Poodle to give them the regal look they are known for today. Some believe they were also descendant from the grey Wolfspitz but there is no evidence to support that theory.

In the late 19th century, 2 more breeds were developed from the Standard Schnauzer, the Miniature Schnauzer and the Giant Schnauzer.

They were mainly used for farm work by the German farmers, herding and guarding the cattle, hunters and ratters. During World War I, they were used as search and rescue dogs and as messengers by the Red Cross. They were first introduced in the United States in the early 1900’s and it wasn’t until 1904 that they were officially recognized by the AKC. After World War I the Standard Schnauzers were imported to the United States in large numbers. They are very popular in Europe, but not as much in the United States and rank 95th most popular breed according to the AKC.

Today, they still can be found on farms and as loyal family pets, but their stamina, intelligence and work ethic also led them to search and rescue, therapy work, drug and bomb detection and various doggy sports.

Size

The male Standard Schnauzer measures at 18-20 inches tall at the shoulder and generally weigh 35-58 lb. The females are usually smaller and measure 17-19 inches tall at the shoulders, weighing 30-45 lb.

Personality and Character

The Standard Schnauzer is one of the smartest breeds out there, they rank 18th out of 80 different breeds in Dr. Stanley Coren’s dog intelligence trials, based on their ability to learn and obey new commands.

They are very versatile and can perform a variety of jobs such as search and rescue, bomb and drug detection and even cancer detection. Their sensitive nature makes them perfect for therapy jobs. They seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to their owner’s moods and needs, they like to be close by, keeping an eye out for their human.

They make a great addition to the active family, they enjoy going on hikes, jogs, swims or runs with their humans. They thrive on companionship and are loyal, devoted and affectionate with their families. They get along great with the younger members of the family and can match their energy and mischief levels.

The Standard Schnauzers adapt well to different environments and climates. They are just as suited to living in the city as they are to life in the country, but only if they are sufficiently exercised. A bored Standard Schnauzer can be highly destructive, chewing, barking and digging.

Overall, they are a happy, fun, reliable, versatile breed with developed guarding instincts.

Health and Potential Problems

The Standard Schnauzer is generally a healthy and sturdy breed. Most reputable shelters and breeders make sure the puppy or dog have received a clean bill of health prior to the adoption or purchase. The majority of reputable breeders test their dogs prior to breeding and also test the puppies for any hereditary of genetic disorders.

Be aware of backyard breeders who generally don’t have the sufficient understanding and knowledge of the breed and can produce dogs with health problems and behavioural issues without clear or known bloodlines. Never buy a dog or puppy from a puppy mill as those operations are more interested in the financial gain rather than the physical and mental well-being of the animals in their care. Most times their animals are kept in horrible conditions.

The one disease you have to be on the lookout with this breed is hip Dysplasia. This is a common hereditary condition among dogs, caused when the femur doesn’t fit properly into the hip socket and may cause discomfort, lameness and arthritis in advanced age. The condition is usually treated with medication or surgery in severe cases.

However, with a proper diet, sufficient exercise and regular vet visits, your loyal friend will remain by your side for many years to come.

Care Features

The breed’s guarding instincts and their tendency to be suspicious and aloof with strangers, makes early socialization even more important for a well-rounded and emotionally balanced dog. The process of introducing the Standard Schnauzer to new people, kids, animals and different environments as well a variety of scenarios should begin as soon as possible, preferably in puppy-hood.

Enrolling them in puppy kindergarten is highly recommended as the introduction to the new world is done under professional guidance, allowing for a bond to form between the Standard Schnauzer and their human.

Their stubbornness makes them slightly more difficult to housetrain than other breeds. Crate training is a highly efficient tool in that regard, the puppy perceives the crate as their den and are less likely to soil it, as long as they get consistent bathroom breaks in the same spot at the same time, followed by plenty of praise and tasty treats.

Crate training is also very helpful with separation anxiety, alleviating the stress levels associated with the owner’s leaving. The crate also provides a special spot for them to retire to when needing space or when tired. Crate training also helps limit the destruction levels if the Standard Schnauzer is bored. They can be very destructive when bored and require plenty mental and physical activity.

The Standard Schnauzer is not a couch potato by any stretch of the imagination and requires plenty of exercise. They love going on long walks, light jogs, runs or swims with their humans. It is highly recommended to enrol them in activities which keep their brains thinking and bodies moving. They excel in agility, obedience, tracking, flyball and herding as well as hunting. The experience doesn’t only provide a vent for their high levels of mental and physical energy but it also allows for a bonding time between the owner and the Standard Schnauzer.

Their independent character and stubborn streak can prove to be a challenge for some people but they are also eager to please and fairly easy to train. Training sessions should be fun and interesting as they don’t see the point of repeating a task they’ve already mastered. The owner must be able to establish themselves as pack leader and set rules and boundaries, reinforcing them with positive rewards such as plenty of praise and tasty rewards. If the Standard Schnauzer perceives the owner to be meek, they will not hesitate to take advantage and do things their way.

They are a sensitive breed and can pick up on stress levels, their ideal home would be harmonious where voices are not often raised. Any harsh treatment or training should be avoided as it only makes the breed resentful and harder to deal with.

Their ideal home would have a fenced yard, in fact, a fence is a must with this breed as they have been known to take off after smaller critters they perceive as prey, placing themselves and others in danger. They have been also known to jump high fences so they should be supervised while outdoors and leashed whenever they are not in a secure and fenced area.

Feeding Schedule

The breed will benefit from 1-2 cups of high-quality dog food a day, divided into 2 meals.

Each dog’s nutritional needs are different and depend on their age, activity level and size. Puppies for example eat more than an adult to accommodate their rapid growth and development.

It is important to remember that high-quality food, free from unnecessary additives such as corn or grain, high in meat protein goes a long way.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The Standard Schnauzer has a weather resistant double coat that keeps them comfortable in a variety of climates. The outer coat is wiry, dense and hard while the undercoat is soft. The common colours are black, salt and pepper.

Their coat requires regular maintenance and attention and most owners opt for the services of a professional groomer. The time and money investment that goes into their upkeep is something to consider prior to adoption or purchase. They need to be hand stripped or clipped every 4-6 months. The coat becomes very wiry and harsh when hand stripped while clipping the coat makes it soft and the colour slightly faded.

Despite popular belief the breed is not hypoallergenic. Actually, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog since the allergens are commonly found on their hair and saliva. Allergies can also build up over time and the only way to truly know if one is allergic is to spend plenty of time with the specific breed. However, the Standard Schnauzer doesn’t shed much and might be a better choice for people with allergies or asthma.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The breed gets along great with children of all ages. They are gentle and affectionate but can also keep up with the energy levels of the younger members of the family. It is important to lay the foundation to mutual love and respect between children and dogs prior to bringing the dog or puppy home.

A very large number of dogs are being put down, surrendered to shelters or abandoned simply due to failure on the adults’ part on educating the younger members of the family on proper dog handling etiquette. Any tail or ear pulling or teasing should be discouraged immediately, and any play-time between dogs and children should be supervised by an adult at all times.

Standard Schnauzers are generally suspicious of strange dogs and cats but with proper socialization or if they were raised together, they can learn to live in harmony with other dogs and tolerate life under the same roof with cats.

They are not very trustworthy with smaller animals such as rabbits, gerbils, hamsters or any other smaller furry critter due to their high prey drive.

Although some breeds have general similar traits, every dog should be treated as an individual. Their temperament and behaviour depend heavily on socialization, environment, handler and training.

If you can keep up with the Standard Schnauzer, you will find a courageous, devoted and loving companion. Their coat upkeep and exercise needs are something to keep in mind before adoption or purchasing the Standard Schnauzer. However, if you are an active individual or family and you’re looking to add a four-legged partner to your activities, this is the breed for you.

They enjoy a variety of activities and excel at many types of dog sports, and at the end of the action-packed day, they would love nothing more than relax on the couch with their favourite humans. They love children and generally get along with other dogs.

They are suitable for city living as well as country dwelling. The breed was so popular, it was developed in three different sizes!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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