Standard Schnauzer

Breed At A Glance


High-spirited, clever, fearless and protective

Life Expectancy
14-15+ years

Average Height
Males 18-20 inches; Females 17-19 inches

Average Weight
Males 30-45 lbs; Females 30-40 lbs

Coat Color
Solid black, salt-and-pepper

Coat Length/Texture
Coarse, wiry, dense outer coat, with soft, dense undercoat

Shedding Propensity
Little or not at all

Also known as Mittelschnauzer, Schnauzer

General Temperament

Standard Schnauzers are extremely loyal and protective dogs, forming strong bonds with their human families. They are wary of strangers and were bred to alert their owners of the approach of visitors, and thus they make excellent guard and watch dogs with little to no training. Additionally, they are affectionate and charming and supremely intelligent. Standard Schnauzers thrive on human attention and need to live as a part of the family. With proper training, they can excel in agility, obedience, herding, tracking, and military and police work.

Early socialization is essential with this breed, especially if they are expected to live with other household pets. The Standard Schnauzer often prefers to be the sole pet of the family, as they can be dog aggressive and may try to hunt smaller pets. This breed is extremely protective over it’s objects, territory and people, and should be extensively socialized from a young age to minimize any potential problems later in life. With proper introduction at a young age, they can be wonderful and protective companions for children, although children should be taught not to tease or roughhouse the dog.

Inquisitive and clever, Standard Schnauzers can be trained in a number of tasks, duties and tricks. But with their high level of intelligence comes quite a stubborn streak. Standard Schnauzers require a firm owner that can provide consistent and firm training, otherwise they will take over. They are energetic and active, and require a handler that can match that energy. As such, they are not recommended for the sedentary or apathetic household.

Although it is an active and energetic breed, a Standard Schnauzer can be as happy living in an apartment as it is in a home with a yard. They are active indoors, but without regular access to open space (i.e. a fenced back yard), they require daily walks to maintain good health and demeanor. These dogs are adaptable and are good travelers.

Breed History

The Standard Schnauzer, the prototype for the Miniature and Giant Schnauzers, has existed for at least 600 years. It’s image appears in paintings dating back to the 15th century, and acclaimed artists Rembrandt and Durer are known to have owned specimens themselves. The breed is thought to have come about as a cross between the wirehaired Pinscher, gray wolf spitz and German Pinscher, and was used as an all around farm dog, standing guard and eliminating vermin. Over time, the Standard Schnauzer developed near human-like intelligence and of late, they function in a variety of roles, from police work to hunting & tracking to general companionship.

This breed did not become popular in the United States until after World War I. The Standard Schnauzer Club of America was formed in 1933.

Body Structure and Composition

The Standard Schnauzer is a sturdy, heavily-boned dog with a square body, wiry coat, and a rectangular head. The head tapers slightly to a blunt nose, and thick whiskers cover the muzzle and accentuate the arched eyebrows, giving the dog it’s characteristic “Schnauzer” look. The topline slopes from the shoulder to the tail set. The forelegs are quite straight and, like the rest of the body, heavily boned. The hind legs are strongly muscled. The feet are small and compact with arched toes, much like cat’s paws.

The tail of the Standard Schnauzer is often docked, and the ears are sometimes cropped. The practical purpose of docking the tail is to help prevent injury as they wag vigorously in the bush, although this is done more for cosmetic purposes in dogs that are strictly companions. Ear cropping serves to help focus sound and can make them easier to maintain, and although again it is largely done for appearance in companion pets. Docking and cropping have been outlawed in many countries.

Medical Information

The Standard Schnauzer is a healthy breed without any major hereditary medical issues known to affect the breed in the United States. A small number of individuals have suffered from Hip or Elbow Dysplasia, which occurs when the head of the bone degenerates and no long fits comfortably in the cup provided by the joint socket, resulting in lameness and arthritis-like symptoms. The rare few Standard Schnauzers have also shown symptoms of Hypothyroidism, which causes underactivity of the thyroid gland, affecting the dog’s metabolic rate, with symptoms including lethargy, weight gain, skin infection and hair loss, cold intolerance, chronic ear infections or severe behavioral changes. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) provides certification of breeding stock to help prevent the spread of these diseases, among others.

The Standard Schnauzer requires a significant amount of grooming to keep it’s coat in proper condition. The soft and dense undercoat is prone to matting if the dog is not brushed regularly, and professional trimming is recommended twice per year. Show dogs must be hand stripped periodically to remove dead hairs. Whiskers on the muzzle should be cleaned after meals.

Anecdotal Information

A Standard Schnauzer named George has gained quite a bit of acclaim in the U.S. as being able to sniff out skin and lung cancer. Prior to this training, George served as a bomb-sniffing dog with the Tallahassee (Florida) Police Department. He also won over 400 awards in obedience trials.

The Standard Schnauzer is less common in the U.S. than both the Miniature and Giant Schnauzer, ranking 102nd out of 157 breeds registered with the American Kennel Club in 2007. (The Miniature and Giant Schnauzers were ranked 11th and 83rd, respectively.)

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