Average Height: Standard: 17-20 in; Giant: 23½ -27½ in
Average Weight: Standard: 30-58 lbs; Giant: 75-95 lbs
Average Life Span: 10-14 yrs
Coloring: Black, salt and pepper, black and gray, white
Area of Origin: Germany
Similar Breeds: Airedale Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Bouvier de Flanders, Great Dane, Poodle, Keeshond, German Pinscher
History and Origin:
The Schnauzer is an old German dog, with evidence of it dating to the fifteenth century. The Schnauzer was used as a general farm dog; it guarded property, herded livestock, and served as an effective ratter. Of the three Schnauzer sizes (Miniature, Standard, and Giant), the Standard Schnauzer was the original. It was bred to different breeds such as the Affenpinscher and Miniature Poodle for the Miniature Schnauzer, and the Standard Poodle and Great Dane for the Giant Schnauzer. The Schnauzer was a pleasant companion for German nobility as far back as the fifteenth century, as many portraits of nobility and works of art depict the dog as a household pet. Regardless, the majority of Schnauzers throughout the centuries were used as working dogs, not only on farms, but also for pulling carts to markets. Once World War I broke out, the Schnauzer also became known for its fearlessness and common-sense; it was used as message carriers and also as aides to the Red Cross, navigating the battlefield to find wounded soldiers. Since then, the Giant Schnauzer in particular has enjoyed success as a police dog in Germany and around the world.
Personality and Temperament:
While classified as a terrier, the Schnauzer is friendly, robust, and obedient; much more affectionate than its British cousins, it is eager to please, spirited, yet docile, and is devoted to its loved ones. The Schnauzer can develop timidity around strangers if not socialized properly, but is typically outgoing with all dogs and people it meets. While friendly to all, it is extremely loyal to its family, and makes a good watch and guard dog (especially the Giant Schnauzer). It is intelligent, playful, and sturdy, suitable for active children. The Schnauzer is an option for a nervous or first-time owner desiring a terrier, as it is typically much more relaxed and attentive to its owner than other terrier breeds.
Exercise & Training:
The Schnauzer is an energetic dog, and will happily accept all exercised offered. Daily walks or runs are mandatory, and stimulating activities where it can interact with its owner, such as agility, flyball, or obedience trials, will help keep its mind happy and healthy. Apartment living is not ideal for the larger Schnauzer breeds, as their enthusiastic nature may cause them to be destructive if their exercise needs are not met. The Schnauzer is exceptionally easy to train compared with other terriers, and will quickly pick up commands under gentle and consistent leadership.
If kept short, the Schnauzers coat requires little grooming. A brushing once or twice a week will help keep a growing coat free of tangles. Professional grooming three or four times a year will keep the dog’s coat at a manageable level, and stripping, whether by hand or with a knife, is needed twice a year when the soft undercoat is shedding out. If the trademarked Schnauzer beard and furnishings (the fringe-like fur that adorns its legs and belly) are desired, they need to be combed daily to keep them free of matting. Bathe only when necessary to avoid excessive drying of the skin. As a very light shedder, the Miniature Schnauzer may be a suitable choice for allergy sufferers.
As with most German-bred dogs, the Schnauzer breeds have pinscher ancestry, and as such are related to breeds such as the German Pinscher or the Miniature Pinscher. The Standard Schnauzer breed standards were solidified upon breeding specimens back to the German Pinscher and the Keeshond, while the Giant Schnauzer has been influenced by the French Bouvier de Flanders and the Standard Poodle. In appearance and utility, the Schnauzer is similar to other giant terriers such as the Airedale and the Kerry Blue Terrier, but share little to no ancestry with the British terrier breeds.
4 Interesting Facts about the Schnauzer:
1. The existence of the Schnauzer during the Medieval to Renaissance period is evidenced by paintings and tapestries by artists such as Rembrandt, Albrecht Durer, and Lucas Cranach the Elder.
2. There is a statue of a Schnauzer dating back to the fourteenth century in Mechlinburg, Germany.
3. Throughout history, the Schnauzer has been known as the dog with the human brain due to its levelheadedness and bravery.
4. The American Kennel Club originally classified the Standard and Giant Schnauzer breeds as terriers along with the Miniature Schnauzer; they were reclassified under the working dog category in 1945 as the kennel clubs in Germany always considered the larger Schnauzers to be working dogs.