WHAT IS A STANDARD SCHNAUZER?
There are many different ways to answer this question but I will start with the basics.
The standard schnauzer is the middle and oldest of the three breeds of schnauzer. All three originate from the areas in and around modern day Germany. While the exact origin of the breed is unknown, it appears most likely that the dogs were first developed in the 1400’s, used for a variety of farming related tasks including herding and guarding live stock, hunting rodents, pulling small carts and serving as guard dogs to the farmers who owned them. Because of the diverse purposes that these dogs served, they had to be small and wiry, powerful enough to protect, but gentle enough to live peacefully with live stock and families.
Although our dogs may live and work in very different environments than the ones for which they were originally bred, they still serve many of the same purposes… guardian, partner, and friend. These dogs excel at obedience, agility, herding, tracking, therapy work and numerous other activities. They are true “working dogs” in every sense.
That’s why the standard schnauzer as we know it today is a powerful, high energy, medium sized dog with a strong sense of independence and remarkable intelligence.
They are as different in temperament from their miniature and giant cousins as they are alike in looks. This is very different than other breeds where dogs sharing the same name are merely different sizes of the same breed and it can be quite confusing at first. Although all three Schnauzer breeds share the same name and certain physical qualities, they are actually three distinct breeds with very different genetic heritages. Each breed was intended to serve a different purpose and that breed heritage while difficult to describe in words is nonetheless very distinct on closer association.
Some of our friends have described miniature schnauzers as the “gateway” dog. Many standard schnauzer owners, including our family, have also owned minis. They are phenomenal little dogs with many wonderful qualities to recommend them. However, if that is the reason you are considering a standard, please reconsider. Standards are more similar in temperament to other working group dogs (German Shepard’s, Rottweilers, Boxers, etc) than to miniature schnauzers.
Because they are very independent and intelligent, standard schnauzers require a strong and assertive owner who is willing to spend time exercising, training and playing with their dog. If I make it sound like its a lot of work to own one of these guys, its because it is… but the rewards are totally worth the investment if this is the right kind of dog for you and your family.
Our own boy filled a void in our lives we hadn’t even realized was there and now we can’t imagine life without him.
For additional information about the development of standard schnauzers as a breed or about the modern accomplishments of these great dogs, please try the link for the Standard Schnauzer Club of America which can be found in the Favorite Links section of this web page.