Standard Schnauzer

Introduction | History & Health | Temperament & Personality | Breed Standard

Standard Schnauzer

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Introduction

The Standard Schnauzer, once known as the Wire-haired Pinscher, the Mittelschnauzer (Medium Schnauzer) or simply the Schnauzer, is the oldest of the three distinct Schnauzer breeds (the other two being the Miniature Schnauzer and the Giant Schnauzer, which descend from the Standard Schnauzer). This is a working breed that is generally healthy, sound and long-lived. It is extremely intelligent, active and reliable and is especially good with children. As noted in an American Kennel Club publication, "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 and develop best when treated in this manner. Outstanding companions known for their devotion and love of family, they are not one-person dogs but rather become true family members." The American Kennel Club accepted the Standard Schnauzer into its Working Group in 1904.
The ideal height of a mature male Standard Schnauzer is 18½ to 19½ inches at the withers; bitches should be 17½ to 18½ inches in height. Males typically weigh 40 to 45 pounds, and females weigh 35 to 40 pounds at adulthood. The outer coat of this breed is tight, hard and wiry, with a soft undercoat. It must be salt-and-pepper or black in color. The American breed standard allows both cropped and natural ears in the show ring.

History & Health

History

The medium-sized Standard Schnauzer dates back to the Middle Ages and comes from the farming and ranching areas of Bavaria, which is now part of southern Germany. It is some combination of working, hunting and terrier stock. It was used as an all-around farm dog, which included exterminating vermin, guarding family and property, herding flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, and providing protection on travels to market. An interesting breed fact is that the German artist Durer owned a Standard Schnauzer in the 1400s, which was painted by both Rembrandt and Cranach.
In the mid-1800s, fanciers of the Standard Schnauzer crossed it with the black German Poodle and the gray Wolfspitz to get the rough coat and salt-and-pepper color of the breed today. Other enthusiasts crossed those Standard Schnauzers with other breeds to create the Miniature and later the Giant Schnauzer varieties. The first Wire-haired Pinschers were shown in Hanover, Germany in the late 1870s. The winner at that show had a pet name of "Schnauzer," meaning "whiskered snout," and one school of thought attributes the breed name to that dog. Most fanciers attribute the breed name to its hallmark, which is a long, square muzzle (a "schnauze," or nose, in German) sporting a bristly beard and mustache. Regardless, by the turn of the century, the breed was becoming consistently called the Standard Schnauzer. The German Schnauzer Klub adopted a standard for the breed in 1907.
The Standard Schnauzer came to North America in the very early 1900s but did not gain much recognition until after World War I. It was accepted into the Working Group of the American Kennel Club in 1904. The Schnauzer Club of America was founded in 1925 to promote both the Standard and the Miniature Schnauzer. The first American breed standard covering both varieties was adopted in 1929. The Schnauzer Club of America split into the Standard Schnauzer Club of America and the American Miniature Schnauzer Club in 1933, with each becoming the AKC parent club of its respective breed.
Today's Standard Schnauzer is an affectionate, spirited and often humorous family companion that also excels in agility, obedience and the conformation ring. They also make good therapy dogs, service dogs for the disabled, search-and-rescue dogs and drug and bomb-detecting dogs. Standard Schnauzers have become competitive in herding and are accepted for participation in AKC herding trials. Schnauzers are good hunters and retrievers as well.

Health

The average life span of the Standard Schnauzer is 13 to 16 years. Breed health concerns may include cataracts, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye), follicular dermatitis and hip dysplasia.

Temperament & Personality

Personality

The personality of the Standard Schnauzer can vary from dog to dog. Some are high strung, some are laid back and easy going, some don't like new people, others love anybody and everybody. The key to raising a happy and well-adjusted Standard Schnauzer lies in commitment to exercise and training from an early age. Properly trained Schnauzers make excellent family pets – reliable with children, properly mannered with strangers, respectful of boundaries. Improperly trained and exercised Schnauzers can be much more challenging. Experienced dog owners describe Standard Schnauzers as loyal, loving companions who bring them nothing but laughter and joy. They can be quite clownish and if silly behavior gets them a laugh and some attention, they'll pick up on that and become show-boaters. With Schnauzers, more so than other breeds, you get out of them what you put into them.

Activity Requirements

For people who aren't prepared to walk several times a day, the Schnauzer is not the right choice. For active people, he makes an excellent companion, as his daily activity requirements are moderate to high. Walking, or jogging are good ways to keep Schnauzers physically fit, and enrolling them in agility training can keep their minds sharp. Proper exercise not only keeps Standard Schnauzers physically fit, but it also helps maintain a steady temperament. High-strung Schnauzers are probably not getting enough exercise.
It is important to keep your Schnauzer's mind active, as well. They are intelligent dogs who bore easily, and when bored, they can become destructive. Agility or advanced obedience creates "thinking time" as well as extra bonding time with family.

Trainability

Training a Schnauzer varies from individual dog to individual dog. Training should be begin as early as possible, and should be conducted with firm leadership, 100% consistency, and a lot of delicious treats. Schnauzers generally won't accept a wishy-washy trainer as a leader. Once basic obedience is mastered, Schnauzers should be graduated on to advanced classes and if possible, enrolled in agility activities where they almost always excel.
Schnauzers need more socialization than a lot of other breeds. They can be timid or shy around strangers, and this can often lead to snapping or biting. It is important to teach a Schnauzer early and often that new people can be trusted and new situations are nothing to fear.

Behavioral Traits

Animal aggression is a common trait among Standard Schnauzers. Cats and small dogs should be kept away, as Schnauzers are prone to chase. They are best for one-pet homes, and their same-sex aggressive tendencies are high. Schnauzers should always be kept in a fenced yard and when out walking or jogging, should be leashed at all times. Proper socialization helps, but it's difficult to train aggression out of this breed, even if they are generally an even-tempered individual.
Destructive tendencies are also very common with Schnauzers, but this trait is also avoidable. A well-exercised Scnhauzer is a reliable housemate. A bored Schnauzer will destroy a home in record time.

Breed Standard

General Appearance
The Standard Schnauzer is a robust, heavy-set dog, sturdily built with good muscle and plenty of bone; square-built in proportion of body length to height. His rugged build and dense harsh coat are accentuated by the hallmark of the breed, the arched eyebrows and the bristly mustache and whiskers. Faults--Any deviation that detracts from the Standard Schnauzer's desired general appearance of a robust, active, square-built, wire-coated dog. Any deviation from the specifications in the Standard is to be considered a fault and should be penalized in proportion to the extent of the deviation.

Size, Proportion, Substance
Ideal height at the highest point of the shoulder blades, 18½ to 19½ inches for males and 17½ inches to 18½ inches for females. Dogs measuring over or under these limits must be faulted in proportion to the extent of the deviation. Dogs measuring more than one half inch over or under these limits must be disqualified. The height at the highest point of the withers equals the length from breastbone to point of rump.

Head
Head strong, rectangular, and elongated; narrowing slightly from the ears to the eyes and again to the tip of the nose. The total length of the head is about one half the length of the back measured from the withers to the set-on of the tail. The head matches the sex and substance of the dog. Expression alert, highly intelligent, spirited. Eyes medium size; dark brown; oval in shape and turned forward; neither round nor protruding. The brow is arched and wiry, but vision is not impaired nor eyes hidden by too long an eyebrow.
Ears set high, evenly shaped with moderate thickness of leather and carried erect when cropped. If uncropped, they are of medium size, V-shaped and mobile so that they break at skull level and are carried forward with the inner edge close to the cheek. Faults--Prick, or hound ears.

Skull ( Occiput to Stop ) moderately broad between the ears with the width of the skull not exceeding two thirds the length of the skull. The skull must be flat; neither domed nor bumpy; skin unwrinkled. There is a slight stop which is accentuated by the wiry brows. Muzzle strong, and both parallel and equal in length to the topskull; it ends in a moderately blunt wedge with wiry whiskers accenting the rectangular shape of the head. The topline of the muzzle is parallel with the topline of the skull. Nose is large, black and full. The lips should be black, tight and not overlapping. Cheeks--Well developed chewing muscles, but not so much that "cheekiness" disturbs the rectangular head form.

Bite-A full complement of white teeth, with a strong, sound scissors bite. The canine teeth are strong and well developed with the upper incisors slightly overlapping and engaging the lower. The upper and lower jaws are powerful and neither overshot nor undershot. Faults--A level bite is considered undesirable but a lesser fault than an overshot or undershot mouth.

Neck, Topline, Body
Neck strong, of moderate thickness and length, elegantly arched and blending cleanly into the shoulders. The skin is tight, fitting closely to the dry throat with no wrinkles or dewlaps. The topline of the back should not be absolutely horizontal, but should have a slightly descending slope from the first vertebra of the withers to the faintly curved croup and set-on of the tail. Back strong, firm, straight and short. Loin well developed, with the distance from the last rib to the hips as short as possible.
Body compact, strong, short-coupled and substantial so as to permit great flexibility and agility. Faults--Too slender or shelly; too bulky or coarse.
Chest of medium width with well sprung ribs, and if it could be seen in cross section would be oval. The breastbone is plainly discernible. The brisket must descend at least to the elbows and ascend gradually to the rear with the belly moderately drawn up. Fault--Excessive tuck-up. Croup full and slightly rounded. Tail set moderately high and carried erect. It is docked to not less than one inch nor more than two inches. FaultSquirrel tail.

Forequarters
Shoulders-The sloping shoulder blades are strongly muscled, yet flat and well laid back so that the rounded upper ends are in a nearly vertical line above the elbows. They slope well forward to the point where they join the upper arm, forming as nearly as possible a right angle when seen from the side. Such an angulation permits the maximum forward extension of the forelegs without binding or effort. Forelegs straight, vertical, and without any curvature when seen from all sides; set moderately far apart; with heavy bone; elbows set close to the body and pointing directly to the rear. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed. Feet small and compact, round with thick pads and strong black nails. The toes are well closed and arched (cat's paws) and pointing straight ahead.

Hindquarters
Strongly muscled, in balance with the forequarters, never appearing higher than the shoulders. Thighs broad with well bent stifles. The second thigh, from knee to hock, is approximately parallel with an extension of the upper neck line. The legs, from the clearly defined hock joint to the feet, are short and perpendicular to the ground and, when viewed from the rear, are parallel to each other. Dewclaws, if any, on the hind legs are generally removed. Feet as in front.

Coat
Tight, hard, wiry and as thick as possible, composed of a soft, close undercoat and a harsh outer coat which, when seen against the grain, stands up off the back, lying neither smooth nor flat. The outer coat (body coat) is trimmed (by plucking) only to accent the body outline.
As coat texture is of the greatest importance, a dog may be considered in show coat with back hair measuring from 3/4 to 2 inches in length. Coat on the ears, head, neck, chest, belly and under the tail may be closely trimmed to give the desired typical appearance of the breed. On the muzzle and over the eyes the coat lengthens to form the beard and eyebrows; the hair on the legs is longer than that on the body. These "furnishings" should be of harsh texture and should not be so profuse as to detract from the neat appearance or working capabilities of the dog. Faults--Soft, smooth, curly, wavy or shaggy; too long or too short; too sparse or lacking undercoat; excessive furnishings; lack of furnishings.

Color
Pepper and salt or pure black.

Pepper and Salt-The typical pepper and salt color of the topcoat results from the combination of black and white hairs, and white hairs banded with black. Acceptable are all shades of pepper and salt and dark iron gray to silver gray. Ideally, pepper and salt Standard Schnauzers have a gray undercoat, but a tan or fawn undercoat is not to be penalized. It is desirable to have a darker facial mask that harmonizes with the particular shade of coat color. Also, in pepper and salt dogs, the pepper and salt mixture may fade out to light gray or silver white in the eyebrows, whiskers, cheeks, under throat, across chest, under tail, leg furnishings, under body, and inside legs.

Black-Ideally the black Standard Schnauzer should be a true rich color, free from any fading or discoloration or any admixture of gray or tan hairs. The undercoat should also be solid black. However, increased age or continued exposure to the sun may cause a certain amount of fading and burning. A small white smudge on the chest is not a fault. Loss of color as a result of scars from cuts and bites is not a fault.

Faults
Any colors other than specified, and any shadings or mixtures thereof in the topcoat such as rust, brown, red, yellow or tan; absence of peppering; spotting or striping; a black streak down the back; or a black saddle without typical salt and pepper coloring-and gray hairs in the coat of a black; in blacks, any undercoat color other than black.

Gait
Sound, strong, quick, free, true and level gait with powerful, well angulated hindquarters that reach out and cover ground. The forelegs reach out in a stride balancing that of the hindquarters. At a trot, the back remains firm and level, without swaying, rolling or roaching. When viewed from the rear, the feet, though they may appear to travel close when trotting, must not cross or strike. Increased speed causes feet to converge toward the center line of gravity.

Temperament
The Standard Schnauzer has highly developed senses, intelligence, aptitude for training, fearlessness, endurance and resistance against weather and illness. His nature combines high-spirited temperament with extreme
reliability.

Faults--Any deviation from the specifications in the Standard is to be considered a fault and should be penalized in proportion to the extent of the deviation. In weighing the seriousness of a fault. greatest consideration should be given to deviation from the desired alert, highly intelligent, spirited, reliable character of the Standard Schnauzer, and secondly to any deviation that detracts from the Standard Schnauzer's desired general appearance of a robust, active, square-built, wire coated dog. Dogs that are shy or appear to be highly nervous should be seriously faulted and dismissed from the ring. Vicious dogs shall be disqualified.

Disqualifications
Males under 18 inches or over 20 inches in height. Females under 17 inches or over 19 inches in height.
Vicious dogs.

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