Why Doesn’t Everyone Have a Standard Schnauzer?

Since the AKC registered its first Standard Schnauzer in 1904, the breed has had an ardent American following for whom no other dog will do. For them there are Standard Schnauzers, and then there are dogs. Perhaps you're one of them but just don't know it yet. Before we determine that, let's consider this magnificent sample of the breeder's art.
 

Looks

Of the three Schnauzer breeds, the medium-sized Standard is the original, the forerunner of the smaller Mini and the larger Giant.

Schnauzers of all three sizes share several handsome traits: a wiry, tight coat of pure black or “pepper and salt”; a rugged, square-built frame; and an elongated head furnished with arched eyebrows and bristly whiskers. The lavish facial hair, a hallmark of so many German breeds, accentuates deep brown eyes glistening with intelligence. Their sporty look is a canine classic, both a showstopper in the ring and a real conversation starter around the dog park.

At 17.5 to 19.5 inches tall and between 35 and 45 pounds, the Standard is compact enough to be easily portable, but robust enough for sentry duty and backyard roughhousing.

You could write a sonnet about the breed's beautiful undulating movement, but this AKC video is truly poetry in motion:

 

Brains

Not long after humans decided to give up their nomadic ways and stay put as farmers and herders, they began breeding for the perfect all-purpose farm dog. Over centuries, the nations of the world took different approaches to the same challenge. The Irish had their Kerry Blue Terrier, and the Belgians their Tervuren. Germany's all-around farmhand was the Schnauzer. Like other barn-and-stable breeds, Schnauzers made their bones as ratters, herders, guardians, hunters, and when the workday was done, congenial fireside companions and babysitters.

These hardworking dogs needed more than just physical grace and a sturdy build to get through a typical day of multitasking. They required the mental acumen to accept and execute complex commands, and the boldness to take charge and work independently when needed. A smart, confident dog: That's a well-bred Standard Schnauzer.

Basic obedience work, in this video performed to the aptly chosen song "Teach Me Tonight," is an ideal way to channel their ancient instinct for problem-solving.
 

 

 

Spirit

Standard Schnauzers today are exuberant and amiable companions eager to take their place in the family circle. They’re vigilant watchdogs and protective of loved ones of all ages. Their barnyard ratting days long behind them, Standards will still take off after small furry varmints with relish. The dashing high spirits that made the Schnauzer indispensable on the farms and pastures of old Bavaria is now utilized in obedience, agility, and herding trials, and in K-9 units around the world.

Devoted owners of the breed appreciate the gusto their dog applies to every task, no matter how unlikely the chances of success:
 

 

 

 

Are You a Schnauzer Owner Waiting to Happen?

With a wiry low-shedding coat, a pet Standard's grooming regimen is relatively simple (preparing an immaculate show dog is a different matter). Generally long-lived and healthy, and said to be particularly good with kids, they remain spry into old age. So, why doesn't everyone have a Standard Schnauzer?

A breed expert once wrote, "Standard Schnauzers are not for those who want a slow, placid dog or one that can be fed and forgotten. Schnauzers insist on being part of family activities." The unsuspecting novice owner might be overwhelmed by a Standard. They can be strong-willed, determined, über-alert, and like other thinking breeds who delight in outsmarting the master, an endless source of mischief. They live life at the height of their senses and do best with a job to perform.

If you're in the market for a four-legged throw rug, you've wasted your time scrolling down this far. The Standard might be too much dog for some people. But if you're an experienced dog owner ready to trade up to the Mercedes-Benz of working breeds, the Standard Schnauzer is the dog of your dreams.

Learn lots more from the nation's leading authority, the Standard Schnauzer Club of America. For more on the versatile performers of the AKC Working Group, see "Working Dogs: The Blue-Collar Breeds."