Meet the Breed: The Standard Schnauzer



  • Height: 17"- 20”
  • Weight: 30-45 pounds
  • Historical function: Vermin hunters, household and livestock watchdogs
  • Modern function: Companion, watchdog 
  • AKC classification: Working

Physical Characteristics:

The Standard Schnauzer was the prototype for both the Giant and Miniature Schnauzers. They are most recognized by their "schnauze" or mustache and beard that the breed is named after. The build is square and muscular. The gait is jaunty and smooth. The head is long and rectangular. There is a slight stop. The nose is large and black. The eyes are medium and dark brown and shaded by wiry brows. The ears are set high and may be cropped or left natural. (See the above photo for a comparison.)  If natural, the V-shaped ears fold forward, close to the head. If cropped, the ears are erect points. The tail may be cropped to 1-2 inches. The front legs are straight. Coat colors may be black or salt and pepper.  

History of the Breed:

The Standard Schnauzer originated in Germany and was a popular all-around dog used for ridding the farm of vermin, guarding livestock, and the family home as well as protecting vendors on the way to market. Originally the German Pinscher (short-haired) and wire-haired puppies were found in the same litters and were only distinguished by their coats. As Germans became interested in showing dogs and breed types, the Schnauzer look was locked in. The Standard Schnauzer has never been overly popular in the United States, so most dogs bred here are by fanciers dedicated to perfecting the breed. This translates into healthy and beautiful animals should you consider this mid-sized dog for your family.  


The Standard Schnauzer is an intelligent spunky dog that loves to be an active member of the family. They are known for being great with children. They do require regular exercise as their personalities tend to be somewhat like terriers. They make good watchdogs. Due to this dog's high intelligence, the owner needs to be firm, confident and consistent or he may become willful and stubborn (deciding he's too smart for you.) This dog makes a great agility partner, excels in obedience training and is an excellent jogging buddy. 

  • Best suited for: Active families who like having a dog be in the middle of their activities. Makes an excellent travel companion. A great service dog. Some find this a good breed for allergy sufferers. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog is happy as long as he is with his humans and has healthy boundaries. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The double coat can become matted without daily brushing. The coat does well with professional grooming a few times a year. The coat can either be stripped or clipped. Standard Schnauzers shed very little. Clean the beard and mustache after meals. 
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk or jog. Daily mental exercises are also important for this intelligent breed.
  • Life expectancy: 15+ years.
  • Health concerns: May occasionally have hip dysplasia or tumors. 

Breed Club Links: Standard Schnauzer Club of America Perfect Pairings: Check out our Schnauzer Oil Painting!

Have any stories about a Standard Schnauzer? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. 

This entry was posted by Mary.
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