The Standard Schnauzer is a medium-sized, muscular dog with square proportions (the height at the withers is the same as the length of the body.) It features a long head that sports a shaggy beard; prominent eyebrows accentuated by a medium stop and long moustache which are often trimmed to emphasize the square profile of the breed, a straight, powerful muzzle with a black nose. It has dark, oval, forward-setting eyes, v-shaped ears that drop forward to temple, and a strong jaw with perfect and complete scissor bite. The neck is moderately long and provides a strong support for the head. The standard Schnauzer has a moderately broad chest, straight back but slightly higher at withers than hindquarters, straight and muscular legs with cat-like feet. The tail is commonly docked to three joints. The harsh, wiry outer coat covers a dense and close undercoat. Colours include salt and pepper, and pure black.
The standard Schnauzer is a German breed and the oldest among the three varieties of Schnauzers; the miniature, standard, and giant. There are historical evidences that show the breed with many German families as early as the 14th century. In fact, many paintings and literary works during the 15th to 16th centuries portrayed the Schnauzer as an inseparable household pet and companion. It was developed from a line of working and hunting terriers, mixed with wirehaired pinschers, black German poodles and grey wolf Spitz breeds. There are other claims that it was also crossed with the Beaver Dog, which is a rough-coated dog with striking similarity to the terrier breed. The schnauzer became an effective ratter and an excellent guardian dog. At the beginning of the 20th century, the breed was very famous among German farmers for guarding carts at the marketplace. The breed was first shown to the public as a wire-haired Pinscher during the German International Dog Show at Hanover, Germany in 1879. It was used during the First World War as a dispatch carrier and aide and as a guard dog by the Red Cross. It was also used at one time in police work together with the giant variety both by the German and American police departments. Today, the Schnauzer is moderately popular as a companion dog, compared to the miniature or giant variety which achieved enormous popularity.
The standard Schnauzer is a courageous, dependable, and cheerful dog. It is usually reserved with strangers and may exhibit aggressive behaviour towards other dogs. In general, the Schnauzer is good with other pets if socialized at an early age. This intelligent and very brave breed can learn quickly and will often take the lead when its master may think twice about doing something. It has a tendency to bark excessively especially if it senses an unfamiliar scent around the house.
This agile and protective breed can have a tendency to be dominant and thus, it needs a firm and consistent training from a loving and patient handler. Early consistent training is necessary to discourage unpleasant behaviours such as the tendency to be stubborn and destructive when bored.
The wiry coat is practically easy to groom. However, the dense undercoat may need to be carefully groomed or it will become matted. Weekly brushing with a short wire brush is recommended, clipping out knots all over to an even length at least every three months. The ears should be checked regularly to avoid infections. The Schnauzer has no doggie odour and shed little to no hair.
The Schnauzer is a hardy breed with no known major health issue. It has an average lifespan between 12 to 16 years and given the right maintenance, it can even surpass this average. Like most dog breeds, it may be prone to hip dysplasia which can cause crippling lameness and severe arthritis of the hips.
Beef blended with wheat and corn is a good mixture in the dog’s diet. Any food which contains soy blend, white rice or poultry is not recommended feeding as poor diet may result in severe arthritis and may affect the quality of the coat.
The Schnauzer does not require a lot of exercise but it will take as much exercise as it can get. Vigorous exercise should be provided such as long walks or a romp in a safe area. The Schnauzer is suitable for an apartment life provided that it is given its daily dose of exercise. It will do best in a home with a large and secured area to run and play freely.
It is a loyal breed that forms a strong bonding relationship with its owner. Although it is generally good with children in its own family, it may prove to be too boisterous for smaller children and is not recommended for a family with very young children.