Not one breed but three, the distinctive schnauzer boasts numerous attributes. Standard, giant and miniature schnauzers are all intelligent dogs with athletic bodies and lively personalities. They are well-suited to family life but they like the sound of their own voices and must be groomed regularly.
Which breed group is the schnauzer in?
Breed group: Utility
Schnauzer breed history
As with many breeds, the precise origins of the schnauzer are unknown. It is believed that these dogs first appeared in Germany or Austria as early as the 14th century. The term Schnauzer is derived from the German word for snout. The dogs possess a bearded snout and were originally called wire-haired pinschers. But when a wired-haired pinscher called Schnauzer won the International Show in Hanover in 1879, the breed acquired a new name. The dogs were bred as ratters and guard dogs. They have also carried messages in wartime, helped the Red Cross and been police dogs.
Over the years, schnauzers of different sizes were evolved and the breed now includes the standard, giant and miniature schnauzer. Giant schnauzers were developed by crossing standard schnauzers with great Danes, German shepherds, rottweilers, and other larger dogs. Miniature schnauzers are thought to the result of crossing standard schnauzers with the Affenpinscher or miniature poodle.
Schnauzer breed characteristics
Schnauzers vary in size but share many of the same characteristics. Naturally, it is their bearded snouts which ensure that they are instantly recognisable. They have bushy eyebrows, flat foreheads, and black noses. Their compact bodies are robust and athletic and these dogs boast powerful hindquarters with strong back legs. Their V-shaped ears are set high and drop forward while their tails are carried straight. Schnauzers’ coats are short and dense. They feature softer undercoats and can be black, black and silver, salt and pepper or white.
Standard, giant and miniature schnauzers are all intelligent, loyal and friendly dogs. They do have a tendency to bark and can be both stubborn and territorial.
- Lifespan: 11-13 years (standard)
- Lifespan: 9-12 years (giant)
- Lifespan: 12-15 years (miniature)
- Height: up to 46cm (standard)
- Height: up to 61cm (giant)
- Height: up to 30cm (miniature)
- Weight: up to 20kg (standard)
- Weight: up to 36kg (giant)
- Weight up to 9kg (miniature)
- Coarse coat
- Bearded snout
- Tend to bark
- Good guard dogs
- Can be territorial
Health issues with schnauzers
Schnauzers are prone to a number of health issues as follows:
- Mycobacterium Avian Complex (MAC)
- Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
- Renal Dysplasia (RD)
- Hereditary cataracts (HC)
- Congenital hereditary cataracts (CHC)
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
- Persistent Mullerian Duct Syndrome (PMDS)
- Von Willebrand disease (VWD)
- Schnauzer comedone syndrome
- Fatty Tumours
What is the schnauzer bred for?
The standard schnauzer was originally bred as a ratter and guard dog. Giant schnauzers have proved to be excellent working dogs for both the police and the military. Miniature schnauzers retain the qualities of the standard dogs and are excellent guard dogs but are now mostly valued as pets and show dogs.
What sort of owners does the schnauzer suit?
There’s no doubt about it, schnauzers of all sizes are smart! They are relatively easy to train and they are friendly. They are good with children and enjoy family life. All of which means they are amazing pets which are excellent choices for first-time owners. Schnauzers are good watchdogs and will get on with other dogs and even cats. However, they bark a lot and so are probably best suited to homes where there are no neighbours close-by. Schnauzers can be left home alone but not for too long and they require regular grooming.
As schnauzers are lively and athletic, they do require a copious amount of exercise. While owners don’t need to spend all of their time with these accommodating charmers, they will need to devote an hour or more each day to canine walks with as much time as possible spent off-lead.