Considering adding a Schnauzer to your pack? Here's what you should know.
With their unmistakable bushy eyebrows and trademark beard, the schnauzer is known for their human-like expression and affectionate personality. This mustachioed breed is deeply loyal and eager to be a part of the family.
HISTORY OF THE SCHNAUZER DOG BREED
Originally known as the “bearded Bavarian farm dog,” Schnauzers were later named for their most defining characteristic – “schnauzer” translates to “whiskered snout” in German.
The standard schnauzer originated as farm dogs in 15th century Germany. They’re a hardworking dog breed who helped hunt prey and herd. The standard schnauzer was later crossbred when a need for other farm tasks came about, resulting in giant schnauzers and miniature schnauzers.
The standard schnauzer dog breed is a medium sized dog with a double coat that is either black or salt-and-pepper. They are low-shedding and popular amongst people looking for a dog that’s hypoallergenic.
They have a robust, athletic frame well-suited for their farm dog origins. They stand up to 19.5 inches at the shoulder and can weigh up to 50 pounds.
Known for their affectionate personality, the standard schnauzer thrives when they’re part of a family. They are highly intelligent, hardworking and energetic. Their determined nature and strong personalities can sometimes come across as stubborn, but they’re really just strong willed and aren’t afraid to let you know what they want.
These reliable and hardworking dogs are often used in police work like bomb detection and on search and rescue teams.
The giant schnauzer dog breed has an imposing stature that turns heads wherever they go. They range from 23 to 27 inches in height at the shoulder, and can weigh up to 95 pounds, sometimes more.
They were crossbred with larger breeds, like the great dane, to perform more arduous farm tasks. Their muscular body made them suitable for guarding livestock against large prey and herding cattle.
This gentle giant is extremely affectionate and very loyal to their families. They love to be around their people and are excellent watchdogs. Because of their vigilant personalities, they can become territorial so be sure to socialize them around other people and animals early on.
The miniature schnauzer is a tiny version of its larger cousins. They stand up to 14 inches at the shoulder and weigh anywhere between 11 and 20 pounds. They came around in the 19th century when farmers needed smaller dogs that could hunt tiny vermin. The standard schnauzer was crossed with the poodle and affenpinscher. Their coat can be black and salt-and-pepper like the standard and giant schnauzers, as well as black and silver.
Miniature schnauzers tend to be friendlier and more outgoing than other terriers. They are eager to please and easily trained. Their small stature make them great companions for families in smaller spaces but they also have lots of energy and love the outdoors thanks to their farmdog roots.
SCHNAUZER BREED-RELATED HEALTH ISSUES
Generally a healthier breed, schnauzers have a lifespan of 13 to 16 years. Make sure to bring them in for regular vet visits to catch any underlying problems like skin allergies, which can lead to excessive licking and scratching, eye issues, like dry eye or extra hairs that can grow inside their eyelid, and hip dysplasia, which causes loose hip joints and pain.
Schnauzers are prone to dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a disease that can lead to the heart becoming large, thin, and weak.
SCHNAUZER BREED CARE
Schnauzers have a “double coat”. That means they have a soft undercoat for insulation and a tougher, more dense topcoat that repels water and protects from dirt. You’ll want to stay on top of brushing and grooming as this type of coat requires a bit more care.
A grooming technique specific to schnauzers is called “hand stripping.” This is when you manually remove dead hairs to keep the wiry look of the top coat and to ensure coat health. While this method is preferred over clipping, it’s more time consuming and not easily done at home. The plus side of this method is that it leads to slower hair regrowth and only needs to be done a couple times a year.
Clipping is more common but can alter the wiry characteristics of the top coat, and can reduce its resistance to water and debris. It may also change the color. This type of grooming technique is typically done every 6 to 8 weeks.
The schnauzer's eyebrows, beard, and leg feathering require careful attention to keep out any dirt or debris. Give their beard a wipe every so often to avoid odor retention or discoloration.
Having originated as a work dog, the schnauzer is full of energy and needs about an hour of activity every day. Exercise should include training sessions and lots of play to meet their need for body and mind health.
The schnauzer is an extremely intelligent breed and is a fast learner. The best types of training activities should include a mix of mental and physical work, and requires a pet parent who can keep up with the demands of this willful pup.
If you’re an outdoorsy type, you’ll be happy to know that the schnauzer enjoys jogs, hikes and competitions with other dogs. They’re especially good at agility, rally, and obedience.
Although this dog tends to be up and about, they like the occasional snuggle with their pet parents and afternoon naps.
Schnauzers require balanced meals with high-quality dog food. Feed them two times a day according to their age and weight, and be mindful not to overdo it with treats.
Feeding these energetic dogs nutritious food helps them maintain their daily activity level. Sundays gently air-dried, human-grade food is made from the best ingredients to keep your schnauzer healthy and happy. It’s an alternative to kibble that’s healthier and tastier, but just as easy.