The Standard Schnauzer
This is the original schnauzer, and he is a breed in itself. The Mini Schnauzer was developed by breeding the Standard into a terrier, and the Giant was created by breeding the Standard into Great Dane and perhaps Irish wolfhound. Thus we actually have three distinct breeds, not simply three size differences of the same breed. This is very important to keep in mind. The Giant schnauzer resembles the Standard Schnauzer in looks and character, but he is not just a large version of the Standard. The same can be said in reverse for the mini. Each breed of schnauzers have different personalities, but the standard and giant breeds are more closely similar in my opinion.
The Standard Schnauzer breed is very popular in many European countries and the litter registrations reveal this fact. It is my opinion that since we can have larger breeds more easily here in the States that the Standard Schnauzer simply gets overlooked. The most popular schnauzer breed is the Mini Schnauzer due to its diminutive size; and for those who want a big dog they usually get the giant schnauzer and overlook the mid-sized standard. The mid-sized standard is a true functional working breed of dog and in no way shape or form resembles a small yappy lap dog.
I believe the Standard Schnauzer simply gets overlooked and many people do not take the medium sized Standard Schnauzer seriously enough. Along with this, in most European countries the land mass area is much smaller with high population densities, thus a 20 inch dog that weighs 35-45 pounds fits into their culture perfectly. However with that said, this sized dog is quickly becoming a size of choice for many American dog owners. The large breeds need more room and eat significantly more food, and many people are starting to tire of the diminutive mini breeds that keep getting bred smaller and smaller which is leading to more and more health problems.
In a way I am glad that the Standard Schnauzer is rare in this country, because it keeps this very unique animal on the “this is special” list. Most of the people who read this information package of mine have never seen a Standard Schnauzer in real life, and due to this it is hard for most to fully appreciate what he is. Since I have had all three varieties, I can speak from a little experience. Of the three, the Standard is the most agile and versatile capable of doing much more than the others due to his mid size and more naturally athletic ability. The giant schnauzers are often too large for some things, and many things the minis are too small for.
Another aspect that sets the Standard apart from the two others is that he truly is a step above in overall intelligence. In the right hands this dog can be trained to do anything he physically is capable of doing, and takes to this training readily. Some say that he would be a fantastic circus dog able to be trained at daring, and extremely complex tricks. He truly is an incredibly intelligent animal, and this may be why some have a hard time with him as this is not an ordinary breed of dog that most people are familiar with. However, he is as some Germans can be, stubborn.
The Standard Schnauzer being a German working breed is actually a very old breed of dog, whereas the other two are more recent creations from the late 1800’s. The Standard Schnauzer is recorded going back to the 14-15 centuries, and this is part of the medieval ages when life was harsh and rugged to say the least. Most of us think of castles, peasants and movies like Robin-hood or Braveheart when we think of medieval times. Some people don’t realize it, but Germany has it fair share of castles from that era. It was during these harsh medieval times that the Standard Schnauzer was working as a tuff and rugged dog. At this time in history the German countryside had rural farming made up of very hard working families who were simply just trying to survive. The crops were precious, and the livestock were vital for survival. Of course the Schnauzer of that period did not have the ears cropped and groomed with a show cut. Rather a rugged rough-coated farm dog that probably was not much to look at in his natural un-manicured state.
Part of the attraction I have towards the schnauzer is that the lineage of my family is traced back to German farming immigrants that settled in Southern Minnesota and Eastern South Dakota, and I grew up in a small German farm town in the Midwest . My Grandfather and his sons were all very hard working farmers; my father branched off and became a Dr. of Veterinary medicine, and was the old style vet which would make calls to the farm any hour of the night! Something you don’t see much anymore. It is possible that my ancestors had the German Schnauzer farm dogs back in Germany.
The Germans developed many awesome breeds of dogs such as the ever so popular German shepherd. All of which were working dogs, and much of their occupation was found on the farm. Dachshund as a hunter of ground prey, shepherd to herd sheep, and the Standard Schnauzer had his farm duties as well. The Standard Schnauzer was developed long before the German shepherd was ever created, and he was a versatile and incredibly important member of the German family. The German farmer needed a dog to keep vermin out of the precious crops and the barn where young animals were kept. Thus the Schnauzer was used greatly in predator control. Some literary sources documented that he was used as a hunter, and this would make sense to help supplement the food for the table during the harsh medieval times. The term ratter was used, but he did much more than find and kill rats on the farm, he would in fact tackle anything that came unto the farm, including thieves.
The rural farmer also used the Schnauzer for gathering farm animals from the pastures to bring up into the barn or smaller paddocks. Today the Standard Schnauzer is proven to win herding dog field trials! Some people scratch their heads and ask why this breed of dog is able to do this competitively and win, the answer is because before the German shepherd ever existed as a recognized breed the Standard Schnauzer was herding animals for the German farmer in the 15th century.
In the autumn of the year the German farmers began to bring his wares from the growing season to the markets for sale and trade. The items sold at market were brought to market on wooden wagons pulled by ox or horse. Here on the roadway was a place for homeless vagabonds in a starved desperate condition to make havoc with the German farmer with all of his precious goods for market. In today’s world it would be like traveling down the road with your paycheck that would support you throughout most of the year. In short you would need your annual paycheck to survive the year. These German farmers going to market were easy targets, but one thing the farmer always had with him was a tenacious dog or two. Standard Schnauzers are natural guardians because they did more than herd sheep. One should keep in mind that before the German shepherd was protecting his family there was a feisty dog that performed that duty several centuries before, and it was the tenacious Schnauzer!
I often wondered what it would have been like to travel these roads in the 1500’s and see the original dogs of Germany doing what they were bred to do. One wagon may have a pair of Rottweiler’s (extremely old bred of dog possibly from Rome ), while another wagon had the Schnauzers. All I know is that it is possible that my farming ancestors could have had these dogs working and protecting them in old time Germany.
I wanted to take the time to paint you the picture of what the Standard Schnauzer really is; he is in fact a rough and hardy working farm dog back in the period of time the medieval times. This is really what appeals me to this breed of dog, he has a very exciting history, and he developed out of hard times where mediocre dogs were not worth anything at all. Only the best dogs were kept and the farmer couldn’t afford to feed a lousy dog, so only the good ones were kept and the poor ones were culled. Mediocre dogs did not breed, only the best dogs gave pups to the next generation. This simply was the pressure that created and gave us an extremely outstanding breed of dog that we have today.
Today, the Standard Schnauzer still maintains his ratter heritage and will hunt down unwelcome animals. He still can be trained to herd sheep, and this is proven at herding dog trials. He still has the stamina and athletic ability to work in a variety of terrain all day long and not seem to tire. He still has the innate desire to protect his family, and has the tenacity to do it to the death if need be. He is a one family dog, and God speed to the man who tries to break in and do the family harm. Forty pounds of pure muscle behind strong teeth buzzing like a chain saw! I often get asked, do they really make good watch dogs or guard dogs; in one short answer, YES they can.
I really believe that we are missing an opportunity here in America. The Schnauzer has great hunting potential having exceptional scenting ability, high energy levels, and prey drive from his ratter varmint control background. I would love for more rural homes to develop these dogs into hunting companions. Along with the hunting terriers such as the Jack Russell, feist, and curs, the Standard Schnauzer has every bit of potential for being a versatile hunting dog for squirrel, opossum, bobcat, raccoon, fox, and etc. For you dads out there, who want to spend more quality time with your children, take them to the woods even if you don’t actually like hunting. Bring your Schnauzer (mini or standard) with you and enjoy watching him treeing the squirrels and chasing the bunnies. Get that responsible teenage boy a Standard or Mini Schnauzer and a gun and see what he might hunt up in the woods. You just might be surprised how good a hunting companion that old German farm dog can become!
There is an awesome book out there called “Last Child in the Woods” written by Richard Louv recipient of the 2008 Audubon medal. It talks about how we are losing our attachment with nature with our current generation. In my opinion we are losing that picture in our culture of that outdoor boy or “tom-girl” and his dog out exploring the woods together. Have you ever seen the movie or read the book “Where the Red Fern Grows”, or “Old Yeller”? These rural images of the past are truly being lost in many of our young people being replaced by ipods and video game culture.
Please keep in mind that the Standard Schnauzer was created for the German farm; he is in fact a very rugged dog capable of many outdoor activities such as hunting. He was NOT created for the show room floor; he is in fact a Working breed of dog.
Clean House Companions
All three Schnauzer breeds are great for the home for they have much less body odor than most other breeds of dogs. Along with less stinky doggy odor they also hardly shed at all. Both of these factors are extremely good attributes for a dog that is living with you in your home.
However, with that said if the dog is not groomed up properly and allowed to have a long shaggy un-kept coat he will pick up stuff that can make him smell. Anything that he may get into outside may end up in the un-kept coat. It won’t be the dog that stinks, it will be all the stuff that the messy coat picked up that stinks. Many will say that these dogs need to be professionally groomed. Hogwash, you can pick up a pair of trimmers and scissors for around $100 and keep the dog up yourself. Sure you may not win first place at a dog show if you do it yourself, but there is no excuse for having a sloppy coated Schnauzer. I am not a professional groomer, and if I can do it I think anyone can do it. If you mess up the first time or two, well guess what, the coat will grow back so you can practice again. Bottom line, if you don’t want to groom yourself then you can take him to the groomer and have it done for you. The choice is yours to make, just as long as you get the job done. My Standard Schnauzers have the hard German coat, which is the original coat texture of the breed. The hard wiry coat grows slower, tangles less, and picks up less stuff in it while outdoors. Thus, this type of jacket is extremely easier to manage as compared to the very plush soft coats that can be found in most of the mini schnauzers.
Many years ago I learned how to use the indoor kennel, and this makes keeping any house dog so much easier. The kennel ends up being the dog house within your house. Here the pup is safe from hazards such as chewing on an electrical cord while you’re out shopping, and at the same time keeps your favorite shoes protected. The kennel is in my opinion the number one training aid for house training. Simply put; the Schnauzer does not want to mess on itself so the small quarters of the kennel are used to train the pup to go outside. As soon as the pup is taken out of the kennel take him immediately outside, then when brought back into the house he can run and romp. Once mature, the kennel is the safe place and a dog used to the kennel will voluntarily go in there. When I have a house full of people during Monday night Bible study, I put my dogs up in their kennel.
Since the dog needs to go outdoors to go to the bathroom I suggest you water the dog outdoors also. They do have a beard and the only problem I have with cleanliness is after they drink. So let him drink outside and he won’t drip on your floor when done drinking.
Natural Guardian of Home and Family:
In this day of ever increasing vandalism, theft, and more serious crimes I can not imagine a better time to have a naturally protective guard dog. I understand that many breeds of dogs are claimed to be a natural watchdog, but the Standard Schnauzer is that and more. He is also a natural guard dog, and if someone upsets him they will have a 30+ pound schnauzer with very strong teeth to contend with! A watch dog is a dog that will alert you when something strange takes place, like someone driving up the driveway or coming through the yard gate. A guard dog is a dog that will physically position himself to keep the intruder out. A watch dog alerts, a guard dog stands between the threat and his home. If need be a guard dog will engage and become physical if the intruder pushes himself into the space that the guard dog is trying to protect. A watch dog is not necessarily a guard dog. The schnauzer is a watch dog and often times can be a guard dog.
Along with their natural protective instinct, the Standard schnauzer is an active outdoor companion. He loves the water and a great companion to take along for any outdoor activity. I like them for canoeing as they are not too big to rock the boat as compared to a larger dog. I am outdoors a lot with my secular job, and I know that more and more crimes are taking place in our rural places. Simply put, I feel better having a Standard schnauzer with me while enjoying the outdoors. We all know that our cities and even smaller towns have increased crime. Not that long ago my Pastor’s daughter was jogging in her neighborhood, and a guy in a car drove up next to her and tried to get her in the car! She was able to avoid the situation, but I know that having a Standard Schnauzer as a jogging partner would have given her much protection. Bottom line, due to our declining economy we are going to be faced with more crime.
Some people do not really fully understand the power of the Standard Schnauzer as many people have the little mini schnauzer picture in their mind. In itself the full sized Mini Schnauzer packs a big punch! Problem is, some of the minis are breed so small these days that many people think that the mini is supposed to be a tiny toy breed of dog which simply is not true. In reality the full-sized minis are a handful in themselves if in protect mode. The Standard Schnauzer is 35-40 pounds of solid muscle, lightening fast, and extremely agile. They are a true medium sized dog, and a medium sized dog can carry a big punch. These dogs are not to be taken lightly as not only do they have the physical ability to be a serious hard working breed, they have the mindset of a grizzly bear! Pound for pound, these dogs will give every fiber of their existence into whatever activity they are involved with, and if that activity is to protect you God help the person on the receiving end of the Standard Schnauzer’s wrath.
So with all of that said, I think you should see by now that it is your responsibility to watch your Schnauzer when you have a guest in your home. Especially if you have children and their friends come over that may want to play rough-house. This sort of activity will not be tolerated by your Schnauzer and the dog will respond accordingly for he may see this play behavior as someone attacking one of his. I suggest that in this sort of scenario that the dog be placed in another room or put up into his indoor dog kennel.
One should keep in mind that the personal protection instincts with these dogs continue to develop with age and between the ages of one and one and a half years is when it really begins to show. Some people are too impatient and push young pups too hard to be protective, often times scaring the pup which really does not do any good at building confidence. Back when I used to keep German lines of working German shepherd dogs I used to watch some of the police officers come to the house and look at my pups. As a total stranger they would shake a can with rocks in it or unfold an umbrella in front of the puppy to see if it would be scared or not. So what do you think? Yep, most of them would be scared and that same pup would grow up and take someone’s arm off if needed. Moral of the story, let pups be pups and don’t expect too much out of them! With the Standard schnauzer you don’t have to worry about training your dog to bark at strangers, it will come!!
If you are interested in showing one of my pups, I refer you to the information out there in books concerning this subject. I am not involved with showing dogs so my ability to assist you in this area is limited. All I know is that I have dogs that come from some of the best show dogs in the world, and I have no doubt that you will have great potential to show and win with one of my pups! If you plan on showing your puppy be sure and have the ears cropped by someone who knows how to crop the ears for the show ring.
More General Information
All of the Schnauzers bond up very strongly with their family, and I believe that it is this great bonding that really hooks people up with these dogs. It is one thing to own a Schnauzer, but in many aspects, you are actually owned by the Schnauzer. This just isn’t a play on words, but many people really feel as though that their dog is just as proud to own you as they are to own them. The dog will go out of its way to get your attention simply because he wants to interact with you. (However, with that said they are not in your face got to have your attention all of the time type dogs.) In doing this they really show off their unique behavior, and they really can be goofballs. He is serious in all he does, and if he loves on you it is serious, but if he is protecting you he is just as serious. If you throw the tennis ball or his favorite toy, watch out because he is going to get it! Out of the way, schnauzer coming through on mission to get toy.
Contrary to much of the literature out there the schnauzer can be mellow, but this comes with interaction with his human companion. If neglected and or abused, he can become a handful that I wouldn’t want to deal with. On the other hand if kept part of the family and treated with a firm respectful hand, he is in a word – awesome. If kept in the home he learns to be mellow in the home, but if he is stuck out in the back yard all the time when he comes in he will be rather rambunctious having to check everything out. However, if quality time is spent in the home, he will be a calm balanced companion.
A firm respectful hand, what is this? If you are one who would say something like this: “Fuzzy, please stop jumping on my favorite chair, you know how much I love my favorite chair”. The schnauzer may not be for you. It should go more like this. “Halt! Though shall not ever get on my chair again. I am the king(or queen) of this castle and I command you to remove thy bristly bottom from off my chair!” The schnauzer respects a firm position from his owner as he can actually relate to that temperament as it closely matches the temperament of the schnauzer. They are bold, fierce, and can sometimes be darn right stubborn. Well, the owner has to match this character and you need to be stubborn yourself sometimes to get what you want. If you don’t want the dog sitting on your favorite chair you need to not only tell him, but you may have to take him by the collar and remove him off the chair with a firm authoritative voice. Being a German myself, I remember my Grandma and when she laid the law down for us grandchildren. We knew what Grandma said was the law; we also knew she loved us when she gave us the law.
The schnauzer is extremely intelligent, and he may test someone who is not consistent or firm. If given the chance you can train the schnauzer pretty much anything that you want. On the other hand, he can quickly learn what you are or are not willing to put up with. The schnauzer will respect a command, but he does not do so well in listening to suggestions. Think of it more like giving a commandment rather than a suggestion when you want the dog to do something. These are not daft, dull, slow witted dogs!
Seriously, if you own a Schnauzer especially a Standard or Giant, one of you is going to be “top-dog”, and if you don’t assert yourself in the top position you may be ruled by your dog. However as a pup, they can be very sensitive to harshness so you have to find this balance so you don't break his spirit.
With regard to training, I have trained both Schnauzer and German shepherd, and they do train differently. The Schnauzer does best with training when it takes on a form of play. To do repetitive commands over and over most Schnauzers will tire of it, but if you mix this up with some spirited light-hearted play he sees the command as part of the fun. Unlike a breed such as a black blab, the Schnauzer does not put up with rough handling. I have seen some owners who could nearly knock the lab over the top of the head with a two by four and the dog would still put up with it. Not so with a Schnauzer! He in fact can read your body actions, intonation of your voice, better than you. He can tell when you are upset, frustrated, and losing your temper. If you get to this point while working your Schnauzer it would be best for you to put the dog up and do something else for awhile. Some dogs will shut themselves off and almost not do a thing if you start yelling at, jerking around, or hitting your dog. They respond with a firmness mixed with play. If too overbearing, you will lose “respect” from your dog. So if you have a hard time teaching obedience with your dog you need to question your actions, and not blame the dog. Also, in my opinion some people simply do not know how to train a dog, thus some should consider going dog training classes. This not only trains the dog, but teaches you how to train the dog.
JUMPING UP and BITING
Two things I want to mention about the schnauzer in regards to jumping up and being mouthy. Young schnauzers are very energetic when you first make contact with them. If you have him in the back yard and call him into the house or when you take him out of his kennel he is more than like going to want to jump up on you with excitement. (Remember if you take him out of kennel bring him outside to potty immediately). You need to know that this behavior is absolutely correctable; however you need to be the one to teach him not to jump up on you even when excited. If not, he will jump up on you and everyone else. From the time your puppy gets used to you, each time the puppy begins to jump up on you just hold your flat hand out in front of his face. After crashing into your hand a few times he will get the message. Once calmed down and if you invite the pup to come up on your leg so you don’t have to bend down as far to pet him, you have just trained your pup to jump up on your leg so you need to be 100% consistent. Hitting him off your leg or yelling at him will only make him scared of you and will not train him good manners. You can also use a leash and step on the end of the leash that is lying on the ground and when he tries to jump up he jerks himself back to the ground due to you leaving him just a short leash to move around on. Once calmed down, they do not jump up nearly as much. I figure when I let the dogs in the house I have about 5 minutes of burn off then they calm down and remember their manners. Pups eventually grow out of this.
During this time of initial excitement it is also common that the young schnauzer pup wants to chew on your hands, arm, pant leg or whatever else is part of you. This is play for them and a way to express their bonding to you, as this is how they rough-house play with each other. Again, you need to be consistent and not tolerate this behavior. I have a variety of toys in the house and when they get rambunctious like this I just shove a toy in their mouth. They will run around a bit with it then come back over to me for some more attention, and we repeat the routine. Saying no with a firm voice and a little flick or swat on the nose helps reinforce the outcome you want. If you have young children this is something that you MUST start right away, as little puppy teeth are sharp. Once again, this is something that they outgrow as they mature. The key is to have some puppy toys always available. If your pups runs up to you from the back room with a sock in its mouth, don’t over react and kick the dog across the room. Simply call him over to you remove the sock and shove a toy in his mouth. Guess what, he learns that his toys he can chew on all he wants, but everything else always gets taken away – no fun in that. Oh, as I always tell my children. Whose fault is it that the pup has a sock in his mouth? Do socks belong lying on the bedroom floor?
With both of these behaviors here is the bottom line. If the pup is left alone often for long periods of time, each time you return to him he is going to have a bundle of energy and over react to your presence for the first few minutes after being reunited with you. If you spend quality time with your pup on a regular basis he won’t have to over react to you each time you take a few minutes to give him attention. When you return home after work for the day you can do a little reverse behavior on a pup. I will get on the floor and torment the pup more than he is pestering me. I will pick him up in my lap, flip him upside down in my arms and let him chew on a toy. Then I will put him on the ground and as soon as he tries to get away I will grab him up again and simply maul the poor thing. After awhile the pup is like; help get this human away from me he won’t leave me alone. This does two things. First of all you are now spending quality time interacting with your pup, and secondly your have just burned up most of the pent up energy that would have been used to torment you. After 5-10 minutes of mauling your pup, he will then be much less likely to jump up on you to try and gain your attention. If you do it long enough it just might wear him out and he might want to actually be left alone. If you neglect your pup, good luck as you are going to have the energizer bunny to deal with each time he is lose in the house, they just keep going and going.
A great source of fun is to find a pen-lazar. In fact they even sell these as puppy and cat toys. Shine the red dot from the lazar in front of the pup and wiggle it. Soon the pup will try to bite at it, and then move the red dot away from him. Once he learns to give chase to the lazar you now can sit in your chair and work that puppy out! Back and forth around in circle and that poor pup will chase that red dot until exhausted. I do this in the back yard at night time and my back yard is very large. I exercise all my dogs at once very easily this way. The lazar is real fun and they are cheap.
Gretchen slightly pregnant.
There is alot of information on this page, take your time and read through this information as it will help you to learn more about the breed.
Ancil and Gretchen training for treeing squirrel.
Click on the icon on bottom right hand corner of picture to enlarge.