Originally bred to be a diligent all-purpose dog, the Standard Schnauzer is a high-spirited, highly-intelligent, sometimes strong-willed, fast and agile breed from Germany. Today, he expanded his repertoire, now serving as an entertaining family companion and a show dog, with his conspicuous bushy eyebrows and whiskered chin. Though he can be willful at times, expect him to be more often reliable and alert while doing his jobs and protective towards his beloved humans.
Origins of the Standard Schnauzer
The Standard Schnauzer is the eldest of the three Schnauzer breeds, originating from Bavarian’s farm country in Germany during the Middle Ages. During the long periods when mechanized tools are yet to be invented, these dogs served as versatile helpers on farms, guarding livestock and the property, controlled rodents and other vermins’ populations, and even protected their owners as they went and came home from the marketplace.
While exact ancestry is unknown, it is believed that their ancestors were herding and guardian breeds. Meanwhile, the Standard Schnauzers themselves also became progenitors, with the Miniature and Giant Schnauzers varieties coming as offshoots of the original Standard type. Originally known as Wirehaired Pinschers, they were then crossed with the black standard Poodle and the gray Wolfspitz, providing them the distinct black and pepper and salt coats that the breed sports today.
In the 1870s, the breed was still exhibited as the Wirehaired Pinschers. It was only at the beginning of the next century when they started to be called the Schnauzer, which means “whiskered snout,” in reference to their notable facial feature. In 1904, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed under the terrier group but then reclassified the Standard Schnauzer as a working breed in 1945. Though the Standard is the original breed, it has never gained the same popularity attained by the other two varieties.
Characteristics of the Standard Schnauzer
Height: 17.5-19.5 inches
Weight: 35-50 pounds
Life Expectancy: 13-16 years
The Standard Schnauzer is a sturdy, well-proportioned dog, with strong musculature and heavy boning. Though he excuses an air of nobility, he is never delicate. He is fast, agile, and boasts a powerful stride. His coat has a hard, wiry, and tight-fitting, dense topcoat, with a softer undercoat. The breed’s trademark is his bushy mustache, whiskers, and eyebrows, accentuating his vigilant, spirited expression.
Expect that life will never be dull when having a Standard Schnauzer. He is a sociable, energetic, and playful dog with an innate sense of humor, entertaining the people around him. Highly devoted and loving, he is also an excellent fit for most family types and is even reliable with children.
However, strangers and unknown dogs may see his protective and aggressive side. The Standard Schnauzers is territorial and highly discerning, and it’s only because he is a loyal guardian, with strong instincts to protect his family. If they deem something is amiss, expect them to bark violently. Not to worry, he is amenable to accept friends and known visitors as long as he is adequately socialized.
Brimming with smarts, the Standard Schnauzer is clever but also headstrong. Unless trained and mentally stimulated, he can have a mischievous streak, a curse any owner would want to have. However, with tons of affection, attention, patience, and training, his intelligence can easily be turned into a blessing, with him growing as an adorable family dog.
Caring for the Standard Schnauzer
The Standard Schnauzer is a relatively hardy breed, which doesn’t face many health problems. However, like all other dog breeds, he is susceptible to a few potential health issues, such as hip dysplasia, eye disorders, skin allergies, and dilated cardiomyopathy.
With that, always deal with a reputable breeder that screens their stocks or consult your veterinarian for reliable sources of healthy pups. Getting or adopting a robust puppy at the onset increases your chances of getting a longtime pal.
Once your dog at home, feed him a balanced diet of high-quality dog food. Follow the recommendations on the food label, and divide the required amount into two separate meals. If you aren’t sure about the proportion or which food to eat, you can again reach out to your veterinarian to help you devise a diet plan that fits your dog’s age, size, and needs.
Definitely not a couch potato, the Standard Schnauzer is an energetic canine that needs at least an hour of exercise daily to keep in tip-top condition and keep him mentally stimulated. Be aware that if he doesn’t receive much exercise, he’d be happy to exercise by himself. However, it is usually in manners you won’t like, such as chasing the kids or running around the house. So, make sure to get him going daily. Activities can take in the form of a long walk, vigorous games, or romps in a well-fenced backyard.
As for his grooming needs, the Standard Schnauzer needs regular brushing to keep his coat tidy. Expect to bring him to a professional groomer for trimming or clipping every six to eight weeks, especially if you want to retain his distinctive look.
However, other breeders believe that clipping makes the coat softer, lightens its color, and makes it vulnerable to matting. With that, they recommend hand-stripping instead, which removes dead hair and promotes the growth of a new one. Again, some breeders contradict this as it can be uncomfortable for the dog. Make sure to assess how your dog and his coat fare with both methods and see which one will work for him.
The rest is primary care that includes: checking and wiping ears weekly to free them from dirt, debris, and infections, and brushing his teeth using vet-approved toothpaste to avoid gum disease and tartar buildup. Trim his nails as well every three to four weeks to prevent any injury. It is best to keep your dog acquainted with all the upkeeps at a young age so that he can be more accepting and partake in these activities without any fuss, making grooming sessions fun for you and your dog.