Standard Schnauzers date back to the 15th century and have been crossed with the gray wolfspitz and black German poodles to create the dog we know today. Making their appearance in the paintings of Albrecht Durer depicting rural farm life, the Standard Schnauzer has long been a well-loved, integral part of Germany’s history. As the oldest of the three breeds of Schnauzer (Miniature, Standard and Giant), this working dog held many jobs in the household and on the farm as guard dogs for their family and livestock, and even as vermin chasers. In WWI, they were used “as dispatch carriers, Red Cross aides, and in police work”.
Standard Schnauzer APPEARANCE
Male Standard Schnauzers are usually between 18-20 inches tall and 40-45 pounds, while females are generally between 17-19 inches tall and 35-40 pounds. They have a “moderately arched back, middle-sized eyes and a shrewd expression”. Their coats range in color from: Pepper and Salt; Iron Gray; Silver-Gray; Dull Black with Yellow or Tan markings on the Head and Legs; Rust-Yellow; or Gray-Yellow. Their low-shed hair will be shaggy, and they will also have a distinctive beard-like muzzle. There is also the rare and beautiful Black Standard Schnauzer whose coat will be softer and curlier. The hallmark of the breed, as the AKC puts it, is the “arched eyebrows, and the bristly moustache and whiskers”. Grooming is an absolute necessity.
The Standard Schnauzer fearlessness is evident in their alert expression, arched brow, high-set ears, strong muzzle and precise bite. With a beautifully arched neck, strong, straight back and high heard, the Standard Schnauzer is a masterpiece to behold.
TEMPERAMENT AND PERSONALITY:
So many wonderful adjectives describe the Standard Schnauzer: fearless, alert, protective, reliable, sense of humor, courageous, very intelligent, strong-willed, playful, tolerant, devoted, protective, quick as lightning, athletic, high energy, curious, bold—but certainly not a couch potato.
Because of their breeding, they make a really good family pet. Are they great with kids? Yes. Especially if the kids can help them expel their energy. However, they are wary of strangers until they get to know them, so they will also make good guard dogs. Also, because the Standard Schnauzer was originally bred to chase, catch and kill rat and vermin, any other pet besides a dog or cat, like a mouse, rat, hamster, etc., will not likely fare well around them. With higher than average intelligence, they require a firm alpha human in the home, otherwise if they sense that they can take over and be in charge, they will surely take that liberty. Standard Schnauzers do have aggressive tendencies towards other dogs of the same sex. They will chase things they see as fleeing. They can develop separation anxiety, but the anxiety can be ameliorated with some basic training, treats (calming) and trials at leaving the home, but returning after a short period of time. Being patient and strong with them will give them the right direction.
With few genetic health risks and freedom from many of the disorders genetically predisposed in other dogs, the life expectancy of a Standard Schnauzer is between 13-16 healthy years.
CARING FOR Standard Schnauzer:
Now we’ll show you how to care for a Standard Schnauzer.
There are a few things to consider with the Standard Schnauzer diet. First, feed them a high quality product in equal portion once in the morning, and again once at night. Better quality food will have better ingredients and therefore more nutrients. Second, active dogs will need more food than sedentary dogs. Third, boutique or fad diets (like kangaroo, alligator, ostrich or boar meat) may actually increase the potential for diseases in the Standard Schnauzer. Maintaining regular checkups with their veterinarian will help you keep tabs on the benefits and effects of the diet you are feeding them.
Standard Schnauzers are very active dogs and they read their humans well, so if you are enjoying your activity (like hiking, running, walking, or playing), they will glean the excitement from you and enjoy it just as much. Standard Schnauzers genuinely like to play with other dogs, too. So, if they are well socialized while they are young, dog parks will be a big benefit by helping use up any excess energy they may have. Because they are so smart, sports that have courses (like agility) will also make excellent activities for them. Chew toys will help pick up the slack on boredom, too.
Standard Schnauzers are said to be “crafty” dogs, so they will certainly do well with training early on. Granted, they are smart enough to learn what to do without training classes, but their intelligence might make them more apt at learning how to do something—but the wrong way. If you teach them to respect you; use the right words; have patience and a strong personality, then your Standard Schnauzer will be an amazing, polite and well-behaved dog. Keep them in a fenced yard or on a leash at all times, because their prey drive is very difficult to break.
Dogs require regular grooming to promote health and wellness. For the Standard Schnauzer this is not just a good idea, it is actually necessary. There is a certain balance of oils in their coats that help keep their skin healthy. Grooming your Standard Schnauzer can also remove bacteria, or even improve their circulation. Regular nail care isn’t just about short nails, but also about maintaining foot and pad health. Dental hygiene helps promote clean, healthy teeth and gums. Because Schnauzers have a greater tendency for bad teeth, daily care is a good idea. Any loss of teeth can mean damage to internal organs, but a potential for a shorter lifespan!
Granted, the Standard Schnauzer is an extremely healthy dog, and with few health problems in general, but there are a few things to look out for:
- Bacterial and Viral Infections (many can be alleviated with regular vaccinations)
- Obesity, which can lead to heart disease, joint problems and back pain (a solid, healthy diet can keep your dog on the right track)
- Parasites (avoidable with regular veterinary care, routine blood tests and preventative medication)
- Cataracts, Dry Eye and Distichiasis (treatable or controllable conditions with regular grooming habits and veterinary care)