The Standard Schnauzer originated in Germany. This dog is the oldest of the three Schnauzer breeds. “Schnauzer” is a German word meaning “snout”. Around the 1900s, both smooth German pinscher and coarse-haired schnauzers were born in the same litter. After three generations of only schnauzers in a litter, they became a distinct breed of their own, separated from the German pinscher. Schnauzers were a favorite of Rembrandt, and he painted them in several of his canvasses. Lucas Cranach the Elder also shows a Schnauzer in a tapestry dated back to 1501.
Schnauzers are medium-sized and squarely built. The head is long and rectangular. Their nose and lips are black. Eyes are oval and medium-sized, and are dark brown. The ears are high on the head. When cropped, the ears stand erect; when left natural, they are v-shaped and droop down on the head. Schnauzers have a double coat with a wiry, dense, hard outer coat and a soft undercoat. Coat colors come in solid black and salt and pepper. They have bushy whiskers, beard and eyebrows. Schnauzers weight between 30 and 50 pounds and are 17 to 20 inches in height. They can live approximately 15 years or more.
This is the smallest of the working breeds and as such, Schnauzers make a loyal family addition. Originally a farm dog, Schnauzers can adapt to any climatic condition, including cold. They are good with children and were once known as “kinderwachters” in Germany. For these spunky dogs, training is a must. With a consistent training schedule, these dogs can learn to be very patient and tolerant. An ideal human companion for a Schnauzer is an experienced dog handler, families, farmers, and outdoorsy types. Schnauzers are alert and watchful, and will bark when they sense a threat to their household. However, they typically do not make random or excessive noise. This breed does well in an apartment. They are very active indoors, and can do well without a yard as long as they get consistent exercise. A daily brisk walk or jog is a must. Schnauzers also enjoy play time where they can run free. Young pups need exercise, too, but this must be kept to a minimum until their bodies are mature enough to handle anything vigorous.
Schnauzers are versatile. They can excel at dog sports such as agility, obedience, tracking and herding. They have been called “the dog with the human brain”, and have been listed in “The Intelligence of Dogs” as #18 out of 80 breeds on quickness of learning. Schnauzers have been used in the United States for bomb detection, search and rescue and skin and lung cancer-detection.
Featured Photo: Courtesy of Stefan Baudy via Flickr (CC by 2.0)