Introduction to Breeds – Schnauzer

Introduction to Breeds – Schnauzer

Schnauzers come in different sizes and that is one of the best things about them. This is why there is a perfect fur pal for everyone. If you prefer a medium-sized dog, a Standard Schnauzer will accompany you on hikes and will love to frolic in the park. The Miniature Schnauzer is a smaller dog that is just as energetic, although they come in a slightly smaller package. They love to cuddle and play with their humans!

Whatever size of Schnauzer you prefer, these loyal and affectionate dogs make great pets. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this popular dog breed!


standard and miniature schnauzer history

Standard Schnauzer

Standard Schnauzers have a long history that begins in 16th century Germany. In the mid 19th century, they were cross bred with black German Poodles and Grey Wolf Spitz that gave their hair the distinctive colour and texture, for which they are now famous for.

They were called Wire-haired Pinschers initially and later named after the first prize show dog in 1879 at the Third German International Show named “Schnauzer”. They were then recognised as a “Schnauzer” breed from then on. Standard Schnauzers were used to aid Red Cross workers and dispatch carriers in World War II.

Standard Schnauzers were originally classified in the Working Group and subsequently moved to the Terrier Group in 1926. They were then moved back to the Working group in 1946. Today they rank 99 out of 155 in the American Kennel Association.

Miniature Schnauzer

Mini Schnauzers are consistently one of the top 20 dog breeds. They were bred to be guard dogs and ratters on farms. Miniature Schnauzers were then developed by crossbreeding Standard-sized Schnauzers with other small dog breeds. These included Affenpinschers, Miniature Poodles, Pomeranians and Miniature Pinscher in the mid 19th century.

Dog breeding as a whole declined during both World Wars I and II. After the second World War, however, Miniature Schnauzer dogs became increasingly popular. Their first appeared in the US in 1924 and they were recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1926.


Standard Schnauzer

Standard Schnauzer dogs are a medium-sized breed with a square build. They have a dense, wiry outer coat and a soft undercoat. They have a bristly beard and moustache as well as arched hairy eyebrows. Males tend to grow up to 46 to 59 cm (18 to 20 inches) tall and weigh somewhere between 15.8 to 18.1 kg (35 to 50 lb). Female Standards are typically 43 to 48 cm (17 to 19 inches) in height and 13.6 to 20.4 kg (30 to 45 lb) in weight.

Miniature Schnauzer

Their appearance is similar to Standard Schnauzers, with minor variations. Mini Schnauzers are typically 30.4 to 35.5 cm (12 to 14 inches) tall and weigh anywhere between 5 to 9 kg (11 to 20 pounds).


Standard Schnauzer

Standard Schnauzers are very affectionate and loyal. They normally get along with well-behaved children. They tend to get along with other dogs and cats if they socialise properly, but they can be wary at first. Proper introductions will help with this transition.

Standard Schnauzers are highly intelligent and easy to train. However, repetition can bore them and they may become antsy. It is best to socialise your Standard Schnauzer at an early age to ensure that they get along with other dogs and humans.

As they are extremely energetic, Standard Schnauzers enjoy romping and playing with other dogs as well as their humans. They thrive to include themselves in family outings and they love long walks and even hiking. Running around a big backyard is something they really enjoy and they do not enjoy being left alone or tied up. They also excel in activities such as barn hunting, herding, lure coursing and agility sports.

“Standard Schnauzers enjoy romping and playing with other dogs.”

Although they seem noble for the most part, Standard Schnauzer dogs may have a mischievous side, especially when they get bored. It is best to keep an eye on them at all times as they may give in to their playful nature.

Standard Schnauzers are extremely protective of their family and can be wary and suspicious of strangers so it is best to keep a watchful eye on them whenever outsiders are present. Being bred as hunters, they should never be trusted around smaller animals such as guinea pigs, hamsters and other small furry rodents or pets.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers are extremely loyal and demand a great deal of affection and attention from their family. They have a high energy level and enjoy lots of playtime. They are unaware of their size, so they tend to have many of the same personality traits as Standard Schnauzers, including their mischievous nature.

Minis tend to be a bit suspicious of strangers, but once you assure them, they will warm up to visitors. Due to their smaller size, they do well in both apartment and urban dwellings, as long as they get regular walks and exercise. They are very verbal so they will warn you when guests arrive and make excellent watchdogs, despite their small stature.

Extremely playful, energetic and highly intelligent, Miniature Schnauzers are easy to train. However, they can be quite stubborn and will even “ignore” you as an act of rebellion. They are very affectionate and love to be the center of attention. Being alone for an extended period of time may cause them boredom and separation anxiety.

“They are very affectionate and love to be the center of attention.”

Miniature Schnauzers generally get along with other dogs and well-behaved children. Although it is advisable to never leave your Schnauzer unattended with other dogs and young children. It is best to socialise your Mini Schnauzer at an early age, either in obedience training, playgroups or both to ensure that they are properly socialised.

Health and Lifespan

Standard Schnauzers have a lifespan of 12 to 14 years, while Miniature Schnauzer dogs have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

Some of the health conditions that may affect Standard and Miniature Schnauzer dogs include the following:


Like humans, some dog breeds can develop cataracts as they age. The eyes will appear cloudy and can result in poor vision. In order to correct cataracts, it often requires surgery.


In this condition, the eyelid will roll inward, which irritates or causes injury to the eyeball. You can usually detect this as early as six months of age. If you notice your Schnauzer is constantly rubbing his eyes, he may have developed this condition, which can be surgically corrected.

Myotonia Congenital

This disorder is common in Miniature Schnauzers and is a hereditary disorder that affects the musculoskeletal system. It is similar to muscular dystrophy in humans. At just a few weeks old, puppies may experience difficulty moving. They may have difficulty swallowing and may experience enlarged tongues. There is a DNA test to determine if the gene is present.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

PRA is a gradual deterioration of the retina which can lead to blindness. PRA affects dogs that adapt well to their lost or limited vision in familiar surroundings.

Urinary Stones

Urinary stones are common in Schnauzers. If you notice that your dog is straining to urinate, urinates more frequently than usual or that their urine has traces of blood and is cloudy or smells awful, urine stones may be the culprit. Dietary changes can help prevent the formation of new urine stones.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

This is a blood disorder that often occurs in the first three to five years of life. Symptoms include bleeding gums, nosebleeds, and bloody stool. There is no cure, but it can be managed with proper care.

Any dog of any breed can develop a number of illnesses over their lifespan, as can humans. Proper diet and nutrition, along with routine veterinarian visits and vaccinations can help prevent many of these illnesses.


Standard Schnauzer

Weekly grooming for a Standard Schnauzer dog involves washing of legs and beard furnishings, cleaning foot pads, nail trimming and dental care. You should clip their wiry outer coat to remove dirt, tangles and help prevent shedding. This also ensures that the coat is soft and healthy.

Miniature Schnauzer

It is best to bring Miniature Schnauzers for grooming every five to eight weeks by a professional groomer to ensure that their coats maintain that gorgeous texture and style attributed to their breed. Meanwhile, in between grooming sessions, you need to hand-strip to remove dead hair from both the under and overcoat.

It is advisable to brush both Miniature and Standard Schnauzer hair weekly to avoid matting. You should also clean their mouths, nose, ears and feet regularly to avoid infection. Their teeth need regularly brushing to ensure proper dental health and hygiene, as well as prevent bad breath. Trim their nails weekly to prevent them from scratching either you or your furniture in the eagerness to frolic.

Care and Nutrition

Standard Schnauzer

As with any dog, you should feed your Standard Schnauzer high quality dog food that is both breed and age appropriate. Take caution not to overfeed to promote a healthy weight and longer lifespan. They should be fed 1 to 2 cups according to their weight and it is best to divide their meals two times per day.

Proper exercise is important for your Standard Schnauzer, they should go on walks at least once a day and engage in daily playtime.

Miniature Schnauzer

As smaller dogs tend to gain weight more easily than larger breeds, proper diet is essential. Always feed your mini Schnauzer age and breed appropriate dog food. Do not go overboard with treats. Recommended feeding is ½ to 1 cup of dry food a day, split into two meals.

You should walk your Miniature Schnauzer daily to maintain a healthy weight. They should also engage in playtime to cater to their energy levels.

Where to Find Schnauzer Dogs

If you decide to purchase a Schnauzer from a breeder, make sure that it is a reputable breeder and in good-standing. It is always a good idea to check your local animal shelter for both Mini and Standard Schnauzers. In addition, there are many animal rescues that devote their time to both sizes of this breed.

Fun Facts About Schnauzer Dogs

  1. The facial hair on a Schnauzer help to protect it from its prey.
  2. Mini Schnauzers are hypoallergenic as they have dense fur that does not shed as much as other breeds.
  3. You may see Standard Schnauzers as police dogs to sniff out bombs and drugs. They are also search and rescue dogs.
  4. The name “Schnauzer” comes from the German word “shnause”, meaning muzzle or snout.
  5. Doris Day, Usher and 50 Cent have owned, or currently own, Schnauzer dogs.