The Standard Schnauzer is a stocky and quick-witted versatile working dog with its origin in Germany. For centuries this breed was greatly valued by German farmers and land owners for its talents in eradication of rats and other vermin. Nowadays its pleasantly lively nature, strong protective drive and affection of its masters make it a highly popular companion animal.
The middle-sized Standard Schnauzer has long and rather colourful history, which started somewhere in the Middle Ages. It’s believed its first specimens were bred by Bavarian farmers and ranchers. Since they concentrated solely on working qualities of their dogs and therefore didn’t keep any record, very little is known about the ancestry of this breed. However it’s commonly thought that working, hunting and Terrier canine varieties were involved in its development. The venerable age of this breed is well-proved by appearance of its pictures on the masterpieces of Rembrandt and Cranach, which date back to the XV century.
The Standard Schnauzer played the role of a universal assistant of German farmers for several centuries. Its major duty was the extermination of household and agricultural rodents but it was also tasked with guarding duties and even was herding and protecting livestock. In the middle of the XIX century the breed’s enthusiasts resorted to crossing the breed with the black German Poodle and the gray Wolfspitz in order to produce dogs with the coarse coat and modern salt-and-pepper coloration.
The first rough-coated Standard Schnauzers were exhibited in Hanover, Germany in the late 70s of the XIX century. The show was won by the specimen named «Schnauzer», which actually means «whiskered snout». That’s why some fanciers reckon that the breed owes its name to this particular dog. Nonetheless majority of canine experts ascribed the dogs’ origin to its most conspicuous trait, which is a square-shaped and elongated muzzle (a «schnauze» is a German word for a muzzle). Regardless of its true etymology by the end of the XIX century the name seemed to have firmly stuck to the breed.
The members of the Standard Schnauzer were initially imported to the North America in the first decade of the XX century but the breed was extremely rare in this country until after World War I. American Kennel Club (AKC) gave full recognition to the breed as early as in 1904.
Presently this dog is mostly famous as a gentle, animated and fun-loving family companion that also thrives in agility and obedience competitions as well as in the show ring. It has also earned wide recognition as a therapy dog, sniffer dog and search-and-rescue dog. The Standard Schnauzer makes an excellent hunter and retriever as well.
The Standard Schnauzer has international reputation of a well-balanced, moderately frisky and extremely loyal companion animal. This dog wants to be a part of each and every family activity and craves for constant human companionship. It’s commonly fine with children and often establishes especially intimate relationships with them. Furthermore it’s much more accepting of rough-housing from a familiar child than majority terriers.
As a proficient guardian the Standard Schnauzer will always view strangers with certain suspiciousness. Of course a properly socialised dog will behave itself politely around newcomers in your house but don’t expect it to be very friendly or welcoming. In fact it is a perfect choice for those who are searching for both a guard and companion dog. Always alert the Standard Schnauzer will also make a highly dependable watcher of your property.
The Standard Schnauzer is prone to clash with other canines. Because of such animosity it’s advisable to keep it as a single dog or with a canine of the opposite sex. For the same reason it’s absolutely essential to always keep its specimen securely leashed in public places. The breed is relatively good with cats and other non-canine pets but only if it has familiarized itself with other animals in an early age. Being a farm dog it gets on extremely well with larger types of domestic animals (cattle, sheep).
The most common problems for the breed include:
· canine hip dysplasia;
· hereditary eye disease;
The proper grooming of the Standard Schnauzer is rather a time-consuming task. Its wired and dense hair should be brushed every other day in order to save them from matting. The coat of this dog requires stripping or trimming several times a year. Although it’s not overly difficult to perform these grooming procedures, most owners take preference to have recourse to a professional groomer. It’s rather a bad idea to shorten the coat of this dog by clipping as it may soil its original colour and unique texture. If your dog participates in Dog Show it must be rolled.
Other care is a rather fixed routine and consists of monthly nail trimming and weekly teeth brushing. Make sure to check the ears of your pet on a regular basis for the signs of redness and nasty odour, which indicate a possible infection. The properly groomed Standard Schnauzer sheds little to nothing.
Outstanding intelligence and natural inquisitiveness make the Standard Schnauzer a very gifted learner. This dog loves solving difficult problems so it’s able to master very advanced tricks. This breed is quite fairly reputed as one of the most trainable of terriers. Unfortunately it also possesses strong and independent personality, which is responsible for its occasional fits of disobedience and wilful behaviour.
In general this dog will eagerly obey only to that person who has an air of authority and handles it with due respect. The best way to achieve a success in the training of the Standard Schnauzer is to encourage its efforts with exclusively positive reinforcement with the accent on its favourite treats.
The Standard Schnauzer is an athletic-looking and spirited dog with average exercise requirements. It should be taken for a long and vigorous walk on a daily basis and it would surely appreciate an occasional chance to frisk and run off-leash in a securely fenced yard.
Be aware that the breed remains rather active within the house even after a playtime outside. Thanks to its thick double coat this dog adapts well to various types of climates including northern one. The Standard Schnauzer that doesn’t get at least an hour a day of a physical stimulation is prone to become uneasy, easily excitable and very destructive inside.