Standard Schnauzers fall right in the middle size-wise. Larger than the Mini and smaller than the Giant, the Standard Schnauzer is actually the oldest of the three breeds.
They are a loyal family dog that does well with children. Though protective of their people, they are also very social and friendly.
Highly intelligent, this breed is easy to train. But the Standard Schnauzer can be a bit stubborn, so you’ll need to be firm.
You’ll also need to put all that intelligence (and energy!) to a good use or your Standard could get bored.
And a bored Schnauzer usually makes for a mischievous Schnauzer! MWAHAHA (maniacal laugh)…
The Standard Schnauzer is the original Schnauzer, from which both the Mini and the Giant varieties were bred.
Pre-dating the other two by at least a few hundred years, the Standard is thought to have existed as early as the 14th century.
The breed is of German ancestry and served as an all-purpose dog. He guarded the family, property, and livestock as well as hunted mice and other vermin.
Despite the breed’s long history, it wasn’t until 1842 that the the name “Schnauzer” was first recorded.
Unsurprisingly, it was the breed’s distinctive beard and mustache that earned him his name, with “schnauze” meaning “snout” in German. Before this, the dog was referred to as the Wire Haired Pinscher.
The first Standards to arrive to the United States were brought in the early 1900’s by German immigrants. But it wasn’t until after World War I that the breed was imported in large numbers.
While owning a Standard Schnauzer can be very rewarding, it’s important for you to understand what caring for this breed entails.
Standard Schnauzers have a few basic needs that you’ll have to provide for. These include nutrition, grooming, exercise, training, and health.
And of course, lots of love and patience. Read on…
Standard Schnauzers need a balanced diet of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to stay healthy.
“People food” should be given sparingly as it can cause vitamin and mineral imbalances, tooth and bone problems, and obesity.
With both daily meals and extra goodies, it’s important to regulate what and how much your dog eats.
The amount of food the Standard needs is determined by activity level, metabolism, age, and overall health.
Labels on dog food give an approximation of how much to feed based on your dog’s weight. This is definitely a good place to start. However, adjustments may need to be made depending on your individual dog.
Speaking with your veterinarian can give you a good idea of exactly how much your Standard Schnauzer should be eating.
As a general rule of thumb, an adult Standard Schnauzer should eat between 1 to 2 cups of high-quality dog food daily. Because they are a larger-sized dog, they can do fine with one daily feeding, though some individual dogs may prefer two lighter meals.
Again, several factors affect feeding amounts, but these tips should give you a good starting point. Keep an eye on your dog to make sure he’s not too skinny or too pudgy and adjust if needed.
Grooming a Standard Schnauzer requires a bit more than a quick brush.
Standard Schnauzers have a double coat:
- The top coat is wiry and dense.
- The undercoat is soft.
Considered to be hypoallergenic by the AKC, you can expect very little shedding from this breed’s coat. However, the tradeoff for this low-shedding dog is a regular trip to the groomer’s.
Standard Schnauzers in the show ring are hand-stripped every four to six months. But the breed can also be clipped by the groomer (or by you if you choose to learn how).
Just be aware that clipping does make for a softer coat texture and lighter coat color. If you go this route, your Standard will need clipping every five to eight weeks.
Between visits to the groomer, you should brush your Standard two to three times a week to prevent tangles and matting.
The facial hair will need more daily attention.
That mustache is dashing all clean and proper, but a beard with water and food bits mixed in is not so charming. A daily wipe down and a light combing of the mouth area will keep your Standard’s beard clean.
Brush the teeth at least once a week to keep your dog healthy. Check the ears regularly for signs of irritation or infection. And trim your dog’s nails at least monthly.
The Standard Schnauzer is an adaptable dog with regards to living arrangements, provided they receive enough exercise.
An energetic and playful breed, these dogs need at least one hour of vigorous activity daily.
This could be:
- A brisk walk
- A game of fetch
- A hike, or any other physical task.
The Schnauzer isn’t picky, so long as he gets in all his needed exercise!
A fenced yard is highly advisable for this active breed. He’ll still need to go on walks, of course, but a yard provides a good outlet for some of that pent-up energy. The fence should be solid and at least five or six feet high, otherwise you may have a run-away pup on your hands.
The Standard Schnauzer is very intelligent.
He’s also independent and isn’t always eager to please. This can lead to some craftiness and mischief-making.
If not properly trained, your dog will teach himself his own tricks (and just a hint: you might not like the habits he adopts). To avoid this, start training early and continue it throughout your Standard’s life.
Again, the breed is very smart, and he can pick up on new commands with just a few repetitions. Once he gets the idea, however, move on past the reps.
Shake things up to keep your Schnauzer interested. Short training sessions will ensure your Standard gets the most out of them without getting bored.
Standard Schnauzer Health Issues
Standard Schnauzers are considered one of the healthier dog breeds. Their average life expectancy is 13-16 years.
Even so, the following conditions and diseases are of higher risk in Standard Schnauzers than in other dogs.
- Hip dysplasia
- Retinal dysplasia
- Pulmonic stenosis
- Bladder Stones
- Heart disease
Things to Know About Standard Schnauzers
1. The Inside Dog
Due to their large size and guarding instincts, you may assume that the Standard Schnauzer would make a good outside dog.
Sorry to disappoint, but this is not the case!
A yard is fantastic and is recommended. But make sure that the yard is not your Schnauzer’s permanent home.
The Standard Schnauzer is highly social and thrives on his family’s companionship. He will not do well left outside and separated from the people he most wants to love and protect.
2. The True Family Member
The Standard Schnauzer can make for the perfect family pet.
They are not inclined towards one person over the others. Rather, they love all the members of their family equally.
The breed is particularly good with children and in fact was historically used to watch children. He was even given the name “kinder watcher,” (“kinder” meaning “children” in German).
3. Ready to Alert
While completely loyal to his family, the Standard Schnauzer tends to be aloof with strangers.
They make good watchdogs and are quick to protect their home and family against threats (or the mailman!).
To avoid issues with the mailman, they will need proper socialization. With this training and practice, they are sensible and are better able to distinguish between friend and foe.
4. The Dog with the Human Brain
Because of their great intelligence, many owners refer to their Standard Schnauzer as “the dog with the human brain”.
Standard Schnauzers take very well to training and are quick learners, but they are also crafty and try to get away with whatever they can. You must be consistent and firm with your Standard because they will try to push the boundaries!
Instead of getting frustrated with your intelligent and independent dog, put that Schnauzer-human brain to good use!
Try out some fun training games or puzzles. Agility training can also be a rewarding activity for both you and your dog. These are just a few great ways to stretch your dog’s mind and tire him out!
5. The Comedian
Besides having the smarts, the Standard Schnauzer can also be quite the goofball.
Sure, the breed may appear to have a deep and wise expression with their beard and furry eyebrows. But underneath that handsome look is a true comedian.
This silly side often comes out in training. They can be very creative in the way they perform tasks and commands, sometimes putting their own twist on the things they’re asked to do.
6. The Pursuer
The Standard Schnauzer can potentially be trained to be off-leash, but it requires a lot of work and probably a professional.
It’s best to keep them on a leash at all times to maintain control and avoid problems. Because of their history as vermin-hunters, these dogs are likely to take off after just about every furry critter they see.
A secured yard is also a must to keep your Standard from running off while at home. An electric fence system is not recommended as this breed is likely to ignore the shock and cross the boundaries anyways.
An actual fence is best.
And make sure it’s tall. Like five to six feet tall.
This breed’s a jumper and can be a clever escape artist, so you don’t want to underestimate his determination when he sees something exciting to chase.
7. The Fearless Canine
Standard Schnauzers have a fearless streak that can sometimes get them into trouble.
They may confront larger dogs without a second thought and can become more territorial as they grow older.
Be sure to socialize them and watch their interactions with bigger dogs to make sure they don’t get themselves in a rut. Fearlessness can be a good thing, but it also can have some downsides.
Just something to be aware of.
8. Mr. Curiosity
The Standard Schnauzer is a curious canine and loves exploring
That fearlessness we just talked about–it doesn’t combine very well with curiosity. (Just another reason to always keep your schnauzer on a leash in un-fenced areas.)
When put to a good use, though, his curiosity can come in handy.
Your Standard will likely make an excellent hiking partner, as he loves exploring new places. You can also put his curious streak to good use by creating fun puzzle games for your Standard to solve.
9. The Working Dog
The Standard Schnauzer is part of the Working Group. This is due to his long history as a family guard dog, child watcher, and vermin hunter.
Though one of the smallest members of this dog family, the Standard Schnauzer makes up for his size with his strong will and persistence.
As you can probably guess, the Standard is not a dog to just lie around all day. Because of his working roots, this breed is very high-energy. He’ll need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to keep him happy and non-destructive.
10. The Big Teddy Bear
Though he may be a working dog that requires lots of exercise, the Standard Schnauzer can also be the sweetest cuddle-bug. When in the right mood, this dog loves snuggling up to you on the couch.
The breed is also very emotionally sensitive.
He is always aware of your moods and loves making sure you’re feeling okay. He enjoys being near you at all times and is observant of everything you do.
11. What’s With the Mustache?
Believe it or not, that handsome-ass mustache actually had a purpose.
Back in the day when they hunted vermin on farms, those beards were an essential feature.
As every Schnauzer owner can tell you, the Schnauzer beard gets matted and dirty without proper care. But in his hunting days, a Schnauzer with a matted beard had the advantage.
When hunting vermin, the thick, matted facial hair served to protect the dog’s sensitive snout from rodents’ sharp teeth and claws.
Nowadays, though, it’s just there to make the Standard look handsome and wise!
12. What are the Color Options?
There aren’t a lot of options when it comes to color. In fact, the Standard Schnauzer only comes in two colors:
- Salt and Pepper. The most common color is of course salt and pepper, in which the dog has a mix of both black and white hairs.
- Black. The second option for Standards is solid black. Or solid black with a white patch on the chest.
Both salt and pepper and black varieties are recognized by the AKC for showing.
So, is a Standard Schnauzer Right for You?
That depends on you and your lifestyle.
If you want an active, alert, and intelligent dog, you might enjoy the Standard Schnauzer.
But if you’re looking for a lazy-type breed, the Standard likely isn’t a good fit.
Only you can decide what kind of dog will fit your home best. But now you should at least have all the information you need to make that decision!