- Height: 17-20 inches
- Weight: 30-45 lb
- Lifespan: 13-16 years
- Group: AKC Working
- Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles and seniors, houses with yards, rural/farm areas
- Temperament: Fun-loving, affectionate, stubborn, mischievous
- Comparable Breeds: Airedale Terrier, Giant Schnauzer
Standard Schnauzer Basics
You can’t talk about Schnauzers unless you’re talking about multiple breeds. In the miniature Schnauzer, you get a dog that belongs to the toy group. In the Giant Schnauzer, you get just that – a giant. But for many people, they feel like Goldilocks when they decide that the Standard Schnauzer is just right for them. It was certainly right for the painter Rembrandt, who frequently included the Standard Schnauzer in his paintings.
But what does that mean for you? Does this English terrier lookalike really bring something unique to the table, or is it simply an also-ran in its own little group of Schnauzers? After all, it might not even be your favorite breed named a “Schnauzer”! Upon closer examination, we’re sure that you’ll find plenty to enjoy about this active, sporty breed that has its roots in obedience, loyalty, athleticism, and even guardianship. For many people, the Standard has become the gold standard in Schnauzers.
For many people, the Standard has become the gold standard in Schnauzers.
Although the Standard Schnauzer looks like a terrier, it doesn’t quite belong in that group. Its origins aren’t in England, where you’ll find many terriers. Instead, the Standard Schnauzer hail from Germany – hence the funky name – and have since risen to prominence. A Standard Schnauzer even won the Westminster Dog Show in 1997, taking home “Best in Show.”
Since the Standard Schnauzer comes from Germany, it bears its origins in that landscape. Even in the Middle Ages, dogs like the Standard Schnauzer were not very difficult to find, especially if you were walking around northern Europe. That doesn’t mean the Standard Schnauzer existed back then as it does today, but it’s certainly not a breed that’s particularly new to the world of dog breeding. In fact, the first Standard Schnauzers actually went to dog shows in the 19th century.
Standard Schnauzers actually may bear some pedigree in Pinschers – the words Pinscher and Schnauzer, for example, can actually be considered synonyms in some cases, or at least have in the past. This, of course, reflects the pure German pedigree of the Standard Schnauzer, and is actually pedigree to the other Schnauzers (the Miniature and Giant Schnauzers). So when you’re talking about older Schnauzers, you’re talking about the Standard.
As was stated, Standard Schnauzers had relatively close ancestors around Germany in the Middle Ages, when dog breeds of this type were not uncommon. Using dogs for guardianship as well as other sporty purposes, the Standard Schnauzer developed out of the need for a real working dog – hence, the Standard Schnauzer is not exactly a Miniature in temperament or demeanor.
Food / Diet
The Standard Schnauzer enjoys a good hunk of meat like any dog, but you’ll want to present it with an overall balanced meal on a regular basis in order to ensure proper nutrition. Since these dogs are capable of a lot of exercise, you might be surprised at how much food they can actually eat. Make sure regular exercise is part of the overall nutrition and health regimen.
The Standard Schnauzer is considered easy to raise, so you shouldn’t have many problems even if you’re new to dogs.
Keep in mind that despite their small stature relative to other breeds in their class, Standard Schnauzers can still have strong guardian instincts which are a throwback to its guardianship duties in Germany over the years. Today, the breed can be trained to be friendly, but your dog should be raised properly and should not be given overly excessive negative reinforcement for mistakes. It should be noted that the Standard Schnauzer is considered easy to raise, so you shouldn’t have many problems even if you’re new to dogs.
Expect a weight of around 30-40 pounds, varying depending on gender. This is relatively small for a “medium-sized” dog, but the Standard Schnauzer is not a perfect “middle ground” type of dog simply because there are larger and smaller versions of it. Feed it accordingly, making sure that you also remember that the Standard Schnauzer does love a good challenge and a good amount of exercise.
Temperament / Behavior
Standard Schnauzers are considered easy to get along with and easy to train, so they make good companions if you simply want a good family dog without a lot of trouble along the way. They do have relatively strong guardian instincts, so be sure that you are very aware of your own Standard Schnauzer’s need to protect you and your family and that these behaviors are under control. Of course, if you do want a dog that will be alert to potential intruders but don’t want a massive dog, a Standard Schnauzers can be a perfect fit.
Common Health Problems
The Standard Schnauzer comes with a good benefit: it’s considered one of the healthier breeds out there, with very few Standard Schnauzers experiencing significant health issues in its lifetime. This is good if you want to keep trips to the veterinarian to a minimum.
Around 13 to 16 years for a dog of this size, though you can expect even longer if you have a healthy dog on your hands.
Don’t worry so much about exercise – which should be regular, of course – but about mental challenges. The Standard Schnauzer can handle plenty of tasks and needs to avoid boredom and should be good and tired after working out if you want to really give them a full day’s experience.
Standard Schnauzers are considered easy to get along with and easy to train.
According to the American Kennel Club, the Standard Schnauzer is a sturdy breed. To show this dog, you’ll want to make sure to adhere to tight coat requirements.
The coat is important on the Standard because it doesn’t have a lot of variance across the breed – that is, if you’re looking to show your Standard Schnauzer. The coat will be either “salt and pepper” or simply black.
Raising your dog with discipline and plenty of mental challenge will be important throughout its life.
Photo credit: Jagodka/Shutterstock