The Standard Schnauzer is the original breed of the three breeds of Schnauzer, and despite its wiry coat and general appearance, is not related to the British terriers. Rather, its origins are in old herding and guard breeds of Europe. Generally classified as a working or utility dog, this versatile breed is a robust, squarely built, medium-sized dog with aristocratic bearing. It has been claimed that it was a popular subject of painters Sir Joshua Reynolds, Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt, but actual proof remains elusive.
Standard Schnauzers are either salt-and-pepper or black in color, and are known for exhibiting many of the “ideal” traits of any breed. These include high intelligence, agility, alertness, reliability, strength and endurance. This breed of dog has been very popular in Europe, specifically Germany where it originated. The breed was first exhibited at a show in Hanover in 1879, and since then have taken top honors in many shows including the prestigious “Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club” in the United States in 1997.
Distinguished by their long beards and eyebrows, Standard Schnauzers are always pepper and salt or less commonly black in color, with a stiff and wiry hair coat on the body similar to that of other wirehaired breeds. Their hair will perpetually grow in length without properly shedding, but contrary to popular belief Standard Schnauzers are not hypo-allergenic and they all shed to some degree. The more wiry – and correct and weather-resistant – the coat, the more that the coat will shed, though the hair dropped from a single dog is said to be nearly unnoticeable.
The smallest of the working breeds, the Standard schnauzer makes a loyal family dog with guardian instincts. Most will protect their home from uninvited visitors with a deep and robust bark. Originally a German farmdog, they adapt well to any climatic condition, including cold winters. In general, they typically are good with children and were once known in Germany as “kinderwachters”. If properly trained and socialized early to different ages, races, and temperaments of people, they can be very patient and tolerant in any situation. Like other working dogs, Standard Schnauzers require a fairly strong-willed owner that can be consistent and firm with training and commands.
Standard Schnauzers also widely known to be intelligent and easy to train. They have been called “the dog with a human brain”, and in Stanley Coren’s book The Intelligence of Dogs, they are rated 18th out of 80 breeds on the ability to learn new commands and to obey known commands. Standard Schnauzers are extremely versatile, excelling at dog sports such as agility, obedience, tracking, Disc dog, Flyball and herding. Members of the breed have been used in the last 30 years in the United States as for bomb detection, search and rescue, and skin and lung cancer-detection.
Like most working dogs, Standard Schnauzers will be rambunctious until about the age of two; and lots of exercise will keep them busy. Owners must be prepared to mentally and physically stimulate their Schnauzer every day, even into their old age. Like other high-intelligence breeds, a bored Schnauzer is a destructive Schnauzer.
According to the Standard Schnauzer Club of America, “The Standard Schnauzer is considered a high-energy dog. They need ample exercise not only for physical well-being, but also for emotional well-being. The minimum amount an adult dog should get is the equivalent of a one long walk a day. This walk should be brisk enough to keep the dog at a steady trotting pace in order to keep the dog in prime physical condition. The Standard Schnauzer puppy is constantly exploring, learning and testing his limits. As adults, they are always ready for a walk in the woods, a ride in the car, a training session or any other activity that allows them to be with their owner. This is a breed that knows how to be on the alert, even when relaxing by the feet of their owner.
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