Originally bred in Germany as a ratter and guard dog, the Standard Schnauzer is often recognized for its arched eyebrows and bushy whiskers and mustache. In fact, its name comes from the German word schnauze, which translates to snout.
The Standard Schnauzer has a square-proportioned, heavy-set, sturdily built body. Strong and agile, it is able to cover ground quickly. The Schnauzer's alert and lively expression is enhanced by its bristly whiskers, eyebrows, and mustache. The dog's outer coat (which is pepper and salt or pure black in color) is also wiry, thick, and hard, while its undercoat is soft and close.
The brave and lively Standard Schnauzer serves as a perfect guardian and fun-loving companion. It is generally reserved with unfamiliar people or animals and may become overly protective or aggressive. However, the breed is devoted to its human family and friendly with domestic pets and children.
If not given daily mental and physical exercises, the Schnauzer may become headstrong and mischievous. Therefore, the Schnauzer is only recommended for firm yet patient dog lovers.
The harshness of the Standard Schnauzer's coat requires professional shaping, combing twice a week, and trimming four times a year. For show dogs, shaping is done by stripping, and for Standards kept as pets, it is done by clipping.
Some Standard Schnauzers do well outdoors in temperate climates, but most prefer to live inside the home and go out into the yard on occasion. In addition, its exercise routine should include leash-led walks, romps in the park, or off-leash outings in secure areas.
The Standard Schnauzer, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, does not suffer from any major health conditions, but is susceptible to minor issues such as canine hip dysplasia (CHD) and follicular dermatitis. Veterinarians will often recommend hip exams for this breed of dog.
Of German ancestry, the Standard Schnauzer is the oldest and the original prototype of the three Schnauzer breeds: Miniature, Standard, and Giant. And although its exact year of origin is uncertain, there is evidence that Schnauzer-like dogs existed as early as the 14th century, probably the result of crossing black German Poodle and gray wolf spitz with wirehaired Pinscher stock.
Schnauzers were first exhibited in Germany at the Third German International Show at Hanover in 1879. With its elegant appearance and unique expression, it became an instant hit in the show ring. A standard for the breed would later be published in 1880.
Whereas the breed was originally classified as a terrier in America, the Schnauzer has always been considered a working dog in its native Germany, functioning mostly as a rat catcher, and a yard or guard dog in the 1800s. During World War I, many of the dogs served as dispatch carriers and Red Cross aides; some were even used as a police dog (much like the Giant Schnauzer).
Today, the Standard Schnauzer considered one of the preeminent all-around event performance event dogs, and also serves as a therapy, service, and search and rescue dog.