Breed Group: Working
Height: 17.5 to 19.5 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 30 to 50 pounds
Life Span: 13 to 15 years
The Standard is the oldest of the three Schnauzer breeds. German farmers and land owners kept him as a ratter, hunting dog, and watchdog, and he is still good at all of those jobs today, as well as being an entertaining companion and dignified show dog. He is a medium-size dog with a hard, wiry coat in salt and pepper or solid black.
Did You Know the Standard Schnauzer is Mischievous, Quick, and Active?
The Standard Schnauzer was originally classified by the American Kennel Club as a terrier, but in 1937 the breed club voted to switch to the Working Group because of the breed’s history as a working farm dog and guardian. The change was made in 1945.
This is a thinking dog. His fanciers like to claim that he has a human brain, and indeed, you can almost see him stroking his beard as the wheels go round in his head, plotting his next move to take over your household and run it in an efficient German manner. The Standard Schnauzer is smart, smart, smart, and you should be too if you want to stay one step ahead of him.
You’ll need to give this mischievous, quick and active dog plenty of physical and mental exercise every day, or he will get bored and find his own job to do. Take him on three 20-minute walks at a fast clip or an hour-long hike, or schedule active playtime in a safely enclosed, traffic-free area.
As far as a job goes, daily training practice counts as “work,” as does guarding the house, greeting visitors, going with you to bring in the mail, helping you in the yard… you get the idea. The Standard Schnauzer is also a whiz at canine sports, including agility, herding, obedience, rally and tracking, and he makes an excellent therapy dog.
A proper Standard Schnauzer has natural guarding instincts, but he needs early, frequent socialization so he can learn how to distinguish between threats and normal situations. Purchase a Standard Schnauzer puppy from a breeder who raises the pups in the home and ensures that they are exposed to many different household sights and sounds, as well as people, before they go off to their new homes.
Continue socializing your Standard Schnauzer throughout his life by taking him to puppy kindergarten class, visits to friends and neighbors, and outings to local shops and businesses. He will welcome people that you invite into the house, but other strangers can expect a cold reception.
On the down side, a Standard Schnauzer can be messy to keep. His beard will drip water after he drinks and will need to be cleaned after meals. His coat must be combed a couple times a week and needs professional grooming or at-home clipping to maintain its distinctive appearance.
Begin training as soon as you bring your Standard Schnauzer puppy home. Use positive reinforcement training techniques such as praise, play and food rewards, combined with a nothing-in-life-is-free program that requires him to “work” for food, treats, toys and playtime by first performing a command such as sit or down. The Standard Schnauzer thinks for himself, but he learns quickly and will respond to kind, firm, consistent training. Don’t make him repeat the same action over and over again. He’s smart and becomes bored easily, so keep training sessions interesting. He’s a bit of a comedian, so expect him to put his own clever spin on anything you ask him to do.
The Standard Schnauzer is best suited to a home with a large yard surrounded by a solid fence that is at least five or six feet high. Do not rely on an underground electronic fence to keep him contained. The shock it provides is nothing to this tough dog, and he won’t let it deter him from leaving the yard if that’s what he wants to do.
Standard Schnauzers can be a good choice for families with children, but parents should always supervise. Standards can also get along well with other family pets, including cats, but they may be aggressive towards dogs they don’t know.
The Standard Schnauzer’s coat must be brushed or combed at least a couple of times a week to prevent or remove mats and tangles. To maintain the Standard Schnauzer’s distinctive look, you’ll need to trim his head and body regularly. You can take him to a professional groomer or learn to do it yourself. Other grooming requirements include cleaning the ears and trimming the nails as needed, brushing his teeth and bathing him when he’s dirty.
While you might think of him as an outdoor dog, nothing could be farther from the truth. Standard Schnauzers are guardian dogs, devoted to their people. A Standard Schnauzer should certainly have access to a securely fenced yard, but when the family is home, he should be in the house with them.
Other Quick Facts About the Standard Schnauzer
When you look at a Standard Schnauzer you see a sturdy dog with a square body covered in a dense harsh coat of salt and pepper or solid black, with a docked tail carried erect. The head is rectangular with arched eyebrows above dark brown eyes, a bristly mustache and beard, and ears that can be cropped or natural.
Standard Schnauzers have been trained to be hearing dogs, therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, and cancer and explosives detection dogs.