The name Schnauzer comes from the German word meaning “snout.” In colloquial German, this word means “mustached,” which refers to the Schnauzer’s full, thick beard.
The Standard Schnauzer is one of three types of Schnauzer. The two others are the Giant and Miniature Schnauzers. Standard Schnauzers, sometimes shortened to SS, as the name implies, are larger than Miniature Schnauzers, and smaller than Giant Schnauzers. If you’re looking for an intelligent, brave, and hardworking dog, then the Standard Schnauzer could be for you.
- This breed’s name comes from their characteristic beards
- The Standard Schnauzer was the original type of Schnauzer. Miniature and Giant Schnauzers were bred from Standards.
- In German, Standard Schnauzers are also called “Mittelschnauzer” or “medium Schnauzer
- Originally bred to be versatile helpers around the farm
While you’ll find Schnauzers of all sizes these days, the Standard Schnauzer was the original Schnauzer. They were bred to be able to perform various duties around the farm. This is because farmers preferred to have one dog that was able to do a wide range of tasks, rather than several different dogs bred for very specific duties.
Schnauzers were first bred in Bavaria, part of Germany, in the Middle Ages. Their purpose was to work as ratters guard dogs, herders, and hunters. Though today we know them as Schnauzers, up until the late 1800s they had a different name. They were referred to as Wirehaired Pinschers until a dog of this breed named Schnauzer won first prize at an international dog show in Hanover.
The Schnauzer migrated to the United States in the early 1900s. During World War I, Germans used these dogs to help Red Cross workers and to carry dispatches. It wasn’t until after World War I, however, that Schnauzers began to get a real foothold with American pet owners.
Appearance and Vital Stats
These dogs are square-built, heavy-set, and muscular, with a rugged look to them. Characterized by their thick beards and arched eyebrows, Schnauzers have a look of seriousness.
Dog breed Group
These dogs were first classified in the Working Dog Group, and then in 1926 were moved to the Terrier Group. However, in 1945-46 they were moved back into the Working Dog Group. This is because, although they share an aesthetic resemblance to Terriers, Schnauzers were bred by continental herders to be working dogs.
The Working Dog Group is made up of breeds created to help man with a variety of tasks. These dogs are alert and strong, and able to perform many duties like ratting or hunting.
Standing taller than Miniatures but smaller than Giants, Standard Schnauzers have a height of about 18.5 to 19.5 inches for males, and 17.5 to 18.5 inches for females. They are a medium-sized dog, and males will weigh around 35 to 50 pounds, while females weigh in at 30 to 45 pounds.
As medium-sized breeds, Standard Schnauzers can be expected to live longer than their large counterparts. A well cared for and healthy Standard Schnauzer can expect a life span of about 13 to 16 years.
Coat and Colors
The Standard Schnauzer’s coat is made up of a soft undercoat that is close to his body, as well as a much thicker and harsh outer coat. This outer coat doesn’t lie smoothly against the Schnauzer’s body. Instead, it stands up, with back hair measuring from ¾ to 2 inches in length.
Of course, the most prominent part of the Schnauzer’s coat will be on his face. Schnauzers are known for their thick mustaches and beards as well as their long and defined eyebrows. The fur on a Schnauzer’s legs will be longer than on the torso.
You’ll find Schnauzers either in all black or with a salt and pepper coloration. With the latter, it’s not unusual for the undercoat to be a tan or fawn color. The overcoat, however, should be somewhere between a very dark iron-colored gray, to a lighter, more silver color.
Schnauzers do not shed frequently. Their undercoat catches most of the overcoat that is shed, meaning fur cleanup around your house will be minimal.
In order to meet the AKC’s breed requirements, a Schnauzer’s tail must be docked. It sits moderately high on the dog’s rear and will be docked to about 1 to 2 inches in length.
Some owners do choose to leave the tail undocked. In this case, the tail will curve inwards towards the dog’s back.
The Standard Schnauzer’s ears can be cropped or left uncropped. They sit high on the dog’s head, and if they are cropped will be carried straight and erect. If your Schnauzer’s ears are left uncropped, they’ll be v-shaped and will flop over. Either is acceptable as part of the AKC’s breed standard.
You can expect Standard Schnauzers to be incredibly intelligent, curious, and hardworking. Their above-average levels of intelligence, however, can lead them to question some of your orders. Standard Schnauzers tend to have a stubborn streak and know how to take advantage of you.
That said, Schnauzers do want to please their masters. They might just require a little more work and consistency when it comes to training. Their high intelligence makes them quick learners, and you’ll be impressed by how soon they catch on to new concepts during their training.
Standard Schnauzers are quite playful and will love a game of fetch. They’ll respond well to positive reinforcement training that involves playtime.
Standard Schnauzers, having been bred to perform various tasks including guarding the home, can be territorial. They’ll bark at people or visitors they don’t know, but other than that won’t bark much. Though they might be wary of strangers at first, you’ll find that once you’ve welcomed your visitor into your home, it won’t take long for your Standard to warm up to them. This will be especially true if your visitor pays a lot of attention to your Standard Schnauzers. These dogs have big personalities and love to be at the center of things!
Schnauzers are highly adaptable dogs and will fare well in a house or an apartment, provided they are still able to go for daily walks. Since Schnauzers love company, the most important thing is to make sure that he doesn’t have to spend too much of the day by himself.
Children and Other Pets
There are a few aspects of the Standard Schnauzer that make them great family dogs. They are affectionate animals and will make great companions for your kids. As medium-sized muscular and solid dogs, they’ll be able to handle playtime with kids. If you have younger kids, you can expect your Standard Schnauzer to play lovingly and gently with them.
Before allowing your children and dog to play together, make sure your children know how to properly interact with a dog. They should never pull on any part of the dog, and make sure your kids know never to approach your dog while he’s eating. And make sure you don’t leave your dog and children together unsupervised.
Standard Schnauzers can sometimes be wary and even aggressive towards other dogs they don’t know. With a proper introduction and early socialization, however, your Schnauzer will be able to get along with any other dogs you have. Cats shouldn’t be a problem for your Standard Schnauzer, but you should be careful with your smaller pets. Schnauzers were bred to be ratters, and their hunting instincts might kick in around small animals like rabbits or rats!
Your Standard Schnauzer will need about 1 or 2 cups of high-quality dog food a day. It’s best to separate this food into 2 separate meals. This will keep your dog from over eating, and leave him feeling full throughout the day.
Because of their fur, especially the fur on their faces, Standard Schnauzers require a decent amount of grooming. Since the fur on his legs is longer, you’ll have to brush them frequently to prevent tangles or have the fur trimmed when you visit the groomer. When they eat, food can get stuck in their facial hair, so you’ll have to wash and brush out your Standard Schnauzer’s beard after mealtime.
When it comes to professional grooming, you have two options for your Schnauzer. The first is to have your Schnauzer hand-stripped. Hand-stripping is the process of removing the top coat of fur by hand. This is done by pulling it from the root. This allows a new coat to grow in and prevents the texture of your dog’s coat from becoming duller.
You can also have your Schnauzer’s fur clipped, but be aware if you go this route, your Schnauzer’s coat will likely lose its wiry texture, and he will shed more frequently.
No matter what grooming method you choose, you will have to brush your dog’s coat 2 or 3 times a week to prevent tangles and keep it looking nice.
The Standard Schnauzer is an energetic dog that needs at the very least 2 or 3 brisk walks a day. He’ll enjoy a good game of fetch in the backyard, too. You can also consider enrolling your dog in some dog sports. Some great options include agility, Frisbee, or even swimming to burn off some of his excess energy.
In general, Standard Schnauzers are very healthy dogs. There are, however, some things to be mindful of when it comes to your Standard Schnauzer’s health.
Hip dysplasia is a hereditary disorder that affects larger dogs more often than smaller dogs. Despite his medium size, hip dysplasia is one of the health issues that affect Standard Schnauzers most commonly.
Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and joint of the hip don’t fit together properly. This causes the bones to grind together rather than gliding smoothly into place. Over time, this can cause arthritis of the affected joint, and eventually lameness.
If you notice your Schnauzer beginning to limp, you should schedule an appointment with your vet to check for any other signs of hip dysplasia.
Schnauzers can be prone to a variety of hereditary eye diseases, like cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the lens of your dog’s eye. This makes it difficult for your dog to see. Many dogs can adjust to this loss of vision, though sometime a surgery may be performed to remove the cataract and improve eyesight.
Standard Schnauzers can also get a disease called distichiasis. This is when extra hairs grow inside the eyelid. These hairs rub on the surface of your dog’s eye, which can cause discomfort, pain, and corneal ulcers. Corrective surgery may be required to remove the hair.
As a variation of Schnauzers, the Miniature Schnauzer is almost identical in looks, except in size. These dogs stand at about 12 to 14 inches, and will weigh somewhere between 11 to 20 pounds.
They do tend to be louder than Standard Schnauzers, so expect more barking from your Miniature Schnauzer.
As the name implies, the Giant Schnauzer is a fair bit larger than the Standard. At the shoulder, these dogs stand at about 25.5 to 27.5 inches for male dogs, and 23.5 to 25.5 for female dogs. A male Giant Schnauzer will weigh about 60 to 85 pounds, and a female will likely weigh in at around 55 to 75 pounds.
You’ll likely have to brush your Giant Schnauzer more frequently than your Standard Schnauzer. A daily brush will be necessary, along with hand-stripping every few months.
Kerry Blue Terrier
These dogs are similar in both height and weight to the Standard Schnauzer.
Similar to Standard Schnauzers, Kerry Blue Terriers also have a beard adorning their faces. Unlike Schnauzers, the Kerry Blue Terrier’s tail is usually left undocked. Their fur is another factor setting them apart. They have thick, curly fur that comes in varying shades of blue.
These dogs are taller than the Standard Schnauzer, measuring about 23 inches in height. They also tend to weigh more, generally somewhere between 50 to 70 pounds, making them an overall larger dog than the Standard Schnauzer.
Airedale Terrier sport a beard and mustache, much like the Schnauzer. The coloration of an Airedale Terrier is distinctly different than Schnauzers, however. Airedale Terriers will be a tan color, with the fur on the back and upper parts of their bodies being black.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Another medium-sized breed, these dogs are very similar in size to Standard Schnauzers.
These dogs are characterized by their long, soft coat. Though they also wear beards, unlike the Standard Schnauzer’s wiry coat, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier’s coat is silky and wavy and is a white or wheat color.