Standard Schnauzer

Breed Group: Working

Temperament and Behavior

With a solid temperament, the Standard Schnauzer is perhaps the best choice as a family pet of all three Schnauzer sizes. But understanding their unusually high activity level is important. They need a goodly amount daily exercise which can include a long walk on a leash, yard and gameplay, and a field outing. They can adapt to apartment life but retain their high activity level both indoors and out, even when their daily exercise needs are met. They are also a breed so intelligent, they require activities to keep them from becoming bored. Otherwise, they may decide a home makeover or re-landscaping your yard is needed. Although usually not as affectionate as their smaller Miniature Schnauzer cousin, Standard Schnauzers are none the less strongly devoted to their family. They are generally reliable with children if given proper socialization and supervision. They can do well with other pets if socialized with them as a puppy; however, they tend to be aggressive with strange dogs of the same sex and other unfamiliar animals. Most are quite reserved with strangers and may treat them with suspicion. With their tendency toward protection and in some dogs even aggression, they make an excellent watch and guard dog. In keeping with their protective nature, some tend to bark quite a bit; others only when sensing danger.

Physical Characteristics

A sturdy, medium-sized dog, the Standard Schnauzer is 18 to 19 inches tall and weighs between 35 and 45 pounds. There is only a slight difference in size between males and females. Their short outer coat is wiry and bristly with a softer dense undercoat. Available coat colors are salt and pepper and solid black. However, their most distinguishing features, are their bristly whiskers, eyebrows, mustache, and beard. Although their coat is thick and wiry, Standard Schnauzers tend to tolerate only moderately cold temperatures. They require protection from extreme heat and cold.

Trainer's Notes

Extremely clever with a headstrong streak, Standard Schnauzers can be a challenge to train. They respond best to firm and patient training techniques and owners who assert their dominance over their dogs. They are smart enough to ponder what is being asked of them and why. Their fun-loving nature adds to the challenge, as they would rather play to the crowd than unquestionably obey their master. Be creative with training; find what motivates your dog to want to please. But use only positive training techniques as forcing an issue will result in the dog becoming more stubborn. Socialization requirements are high for the breed. Their tendency to be overly protective and dominant can lead to a disagreeable dog if not taken care of as puppies. Socialization with children, other dogs, pets and people is essential. Otherwise, you can find yourself with a dog, who guards objects, places, and even people from other people. Because of these challenges, they are not a good choice for a first-time dog owner.

Photo © by Madwren available under the CC 3.0
Standard Schnauzer

Standard Schnauzer


Standard Schnauzers are reasonably healthy dogs. Hip Dysplasia may be their most significant health challenge but less than 1 dog in 11 is affected. Other minor health concerns include just over 5% suffering from Elbow Dysplasia. Some lines are prone to Cataracts, Cancer, especially melanoma, and skin problems. A Standard Schnauzer has an expected lifespan of 12 to 14 years.


Although the original Schnauzer bred, the Standard falls behind both the Miniature and Giant in popularity. With an AKC ranking of 99th in popularity; only 500 to 600 dogs are registered in a typical year.

Breed History

The oldest of the three Schnauzer breeds, the Standard Schnauzer dates back to the Middle Ages. there is definitive evidence of their existence in Germany as early as the 1300s. Their original function was as a ratter and guard dog, but they were also considered good hunting dogs and desireable household companions. By the mid-1800s, German breeders began crossing the Schnauzer with black German Poodles and the grey Wolfspitz, resulting in the Standard Schnauzer’s coat colors of salt and pepper and black. About the same time, Standard Schnauzers were crossed with several other breeds, eventually creating the Miniature and Giant versions of the breed. First shown as Wire-Haired Pinschers in 1879, they became increasingly popular and by 1900 was known as the Schnauzer. Their name is derived from the German word for muzzle (Schnauz), no doubt for their characteristic wiry whiskers, mustache, and beard. The Standard Schnauzer appeared in the United States around the turn of the century, but the breed’s popularity has been limited. Originally classified as a terrier in the U.S., they later were moved to the Working Group. In World War I, they were used as couriers and Red Cross aides. The Standard Schnauzer became more common in the U.S. after World War II but remains far less popular than its larger and smaller brothers. Like the Giant Schnauzer, they were widely used for police work in Europe.

Additional Information

Each Schnauzer breed becomes less accepting of other dogs as their size increases. Famous Standard Schnauzer owners include advice columnist Heloise, Brooke Astor, Bo Derek, Otto Graham, Bruce Lee, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Steve McQueen. The National Breed Club is the Standard Schnauzer Club of America.

Is A Standard Schnauzer THE BEST Dog For YOU?

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