This article also relates to: Giant Schnauzer and Miniature Schnauzer
Classified as three distinct varieties, the Giant, Standard and Miniature Schnauzer, the breed is thought to date back as early as the 1400s, with depictions that align with our modern perception of the breed appearing on tapestries and paintings of the century. The breed's early usage was that of a guard dog, standing watch over traveller wagons as merchants moved between villages. Part of the 'working' breed group, the Schnauzer was primarily bred in Germany for the purposes of cattle droving and as retrievers and livestock guardians. During WWI the breed was widely used as a dependable messenger dog, carrying its message doggedly through shellfire to reach its recipient. The Giant Schnauzer was officially registered by the American Kennel Club in 1930.
Distinctive in appearance, the Standard Schnauzer possesses a medium-sized, square build, with short, straight legs, a pronounced muzzle with feathering and round, dark eyes. The Schnauzer's double coat is typically dense and hard with a soft undercoat, common in colours of 'salt and pepper,' grey, black or white. Characteristic to the breed are its bushy whiskers, feathered beard and eyebrows, observed across the three size classifications. Boasting keen senses, agility and vigilance, the modern Schnauzer is commonly seen in police and security work across Europe, assisting in drug and arms detection.
Retaining its natural guarding instincts and protective temperament, the Schnauzer requires firm leadership, consistent training and early socialisation in order to adapt well to comfortable domestic living. When trained, the Schnauzer is both obedient and affectionate, adapting well to new situations and people. A great addition to the active family home or to a dedicated sole owner, providing its needs for exercise and companionship are met. Typically, a healthy Standard Schnauzer will weigh 14-20 kg, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years, although it is not uncommon for the breed to outlive this expectancy.
The Schnauzer is amongst the healthiest and most resilient of breeds, although it does not escape all medical ailments. As with most breeds, hip dysplasia and associated orthopedic complaints, as well as optical and thyroid disorders are identified in the breed, with the serious conditions of bloat and gastric tortion seen in the Giant variety.