Get to Know the Vigilant Standard Schnauzer

Last Updated on April 27, 2023

Square, heavy-built and robust, the Schnauzer is a distinct breed that uses their impressive strength to protect their family while working hard on farms guarding the flock.

Also known as the Mittelschnauzer because of their German routes, they are a medium-sized high-energy companion dog that could be your adventurous forever friend.

Standard Schnauzer dog portrait

Is the Standard Schnauzer for you? Read on to find out!

Where did the Standard Schnauzer dog breed come from?

Before the Miniature and Giant Schnauzer, there was the Standard Schnauzer.

Known in their German homeland as the Mittelschnauser (medium Schnauzer), their breeders wanted to find a working dog that could help in the fields.

When mechanized agriculture was still centuries away, farmers wanted a breed that could become an all-purpose helper.

Workers in Bavaria, Germany, found their solution by breeding working dogs and Continental herders.

The Standard Schnauzer was the German answer to the Rat Terrier (United States), Kerry Blue Terrier (Ireland), and Scottish Terrier, which helped their masters as herders, ratters, hunters, and guardians

During their initial creation in the Middle Ages, they were mostly herding sheep and hunting vermin as farm dogs, but in the late 19th century, the Wire-haired Pinscher became a show dog.

Their signature mustache, whiskers, and eyebrows made them handsome competitors.

Their unique beard and mustache on their snout led to The Schnauzer name (“schnauze” is the German word for snout), which gained popularity in the 1900s.

Standard Schnauzers were helpful in the military during World War I as dispatch workers to aid the Red Cross. They now work closely with police officers.

Standard Schnauzer dog running on the grass

In 1904 the American Kennel Club (AKC) gave them recognition in the Working Group, but they moved to the Terrier Group in 1926.

In 1946 they were put back into the Working Group, which has led many to wonder if the Standard Schnauzer is really a terrier.

While the Standard Schnauzer does have some superficial resemblances to British terriers, they are not technically terriers.

The Terrier Group classifies their breeds as energetic and feisty, and while the Schnauzer has these traits, they are more strong, watchful, alert, and intelligent.

Overall, the Standard Schnauzer lives to work; their hunting and protection qualities are present but not at the forefront of their breed.

However, the United Kennel Club (UKC) does continue to classify them as terriers despite this discrepancy.

What does a Standard Schnauzer look like?

Close-up portrait of Standard Schnauzer dog

Standard Schnauzers are heavy-set, robust, and sturdy with heavy bones and strong muscles. Square-built and in proportion with their height and length, they are charming yet rugged.

This breed has a rectangular, strong, and elongated head that narrows from the ears to the eyes.

The Schnauzer’s ears are set high and alert and have an even shape and medium thickness if cropped. Uncropped ears are V-shaped and flop down the head.

The hallmark features of the Standard Schnauzer are their mustache, eyebrows, whiskers, and beard. Thanks to their dense, harsh coat, they can have such characteristics that you can trim round or grow out.

Schnauzer’s eyes are of medium size, oval and dark brown. They can still see you, even with their arched eyebrows on their face.

The nose is often black, large, and full, and the tail is of moderate size and stands erect. Some owners even dock their tails.

Overall their appearance is powerful, elegant, compact, and substantial. Schnauzers aren’t too slender or too bulky.

What sizes do Schnauzers come in? 

Muscular Standard Schnauzer standing on the grass

A Schnauzer comes in 3 variants: the Standard Schnauzer, the Miniature Schnauzer, and the Giant Schnauzer where Miniature is a small dog, Standard is a medium breed, and Giant can either be large or giant.

Miniature Schnauzer dogs (or Zwergschnauzers) are between 12-14 inches (30.4-35.5 cms) in height and weigh 11-20 pounds (4.9-9.0 kgs). 

Standard Schnauzers are much taller than the Miniature variant at 17.5-19.5 inches (44.4-49.5 cms) and weigh 30-50 pounds (13.6-22.6 kgs).

The largest size for this breed is the Giant Schnauzer. They are between 23.5-27.5 inches (59.6-69.8 cms) tall and weigh 55-85 pounds (24.9-38.5 kgs). Giant Schnauzers can be as big as a Great Dane!

Here is a chart that compares the three variants of Schnauzers:

  Standard Schnauzer Miniature Schnauzer Giant Schnauzer
Height 17.5-19.5 inches
(44.4-49.5 cms)
12-14 inches
(30.4-35.5 cms)
23.5-27.5 inches
(59.6-69.8 cms)
Weight 30-50 pounds
(13.6-22.6 kgs)
11-20 pounds
(4.9-9.0 kgs)
55-85 pounds
(24.9-38.5 kgs)

Standard and Giant Schnauzer males are often larger than their female counterparts by at least 10 pounds. Mini Schnauzers don’t vary much in height and weight between the sexes.

Miniatures take 12 months to grow, while the other two variants take 12 – 24 months.

Miniature Schnauzers can do well in an apartment, while Standard or Giant Schnauzers need a fenced yard and a large home.

Two different coats make one dog

Purebred Standard Schnauzers have a stiff, tight wiry coat that is incredibly thick, but their soft undercoat lays underneath the harsh topcoat.

This pup has a medium coat that feels dense to the touch on the head, legs, and tail.

Black Schnauzers’ coat colors are standard, but salt-and-pepper coats show up on this breed, especially as they age.

Pepper and salt colorings combine black, silver, and white hairs. Undercoats are either gray, tan, or fawn-colored unless they’re black. 

Salt and pepper Schnauzers will start to grey or turn white in the whiskers, eyebrows, cheeks, across the chest, under the throat and tail, legs, and on the belly when older. 

Although Black Schnauzers are often solid black, white markings often appear on the chin, chest, and feet.

If you’re really lucky, your Schnauzer can be completely white. Entirely white Schnauzers are rare, but two all-white parents could have a liter of this color.

Temperament: Are Standard Schnauzers good family pets?

Standard Schnauzers are curious, creative, and have above-average intelligence. However, they are too smart for their own good and are often stubborn and difficult to train.

You need to stay one step ahead of the Schnauzer to keep them out of trouble. 

Their stubborn nature and toughness come from their prey drive, but this temperament makes them fantastic watchdogs and guard dogs.

Schnauzers are protective of their family, including children, and will alert you when someone walks on your property.

Even though they can be aggressive towards other dogs, cats, and strangers, Schnauzers will often take direction from their owners.

A well-trained Schnauzer won’t bite or bark at anyone that enters their home as long as they get positive affirmation from the family.

Young Standard Schnauzer dog carried by the owner
Source: @fuschnauzer / IG

With proper socialization, anything is possible. The once aggressive and loud guard dog will turn into a cuddling lap-dog through training.

Without training, Schnauzers will only attach themselves to their family and fear strangers. 

Schnauzers insist on being included and love to exercise with their humans. Hiking, long walks, and running are their favorite past times, and they will naturally participate in sports.

Males are often more aggressive and independent than females and have more difficulty staying away from their owners.

Female dogs are more likely to bond with the whole family, while males will attach to the person that pays a lot of attention to them.

Females are less excitable, are easier to train, and have less of a stubborn streak. If they’re timid, they may become shy or scared around angry voices.

Females are also less protective in general and socialize better with other animals.

Are these guard dogs aggressive?

Standard Schnauzers are friendly with their family members but will become pushy and challenge other dogs of the same sex.

This aggression is more prevalent in males. As mentioned, without proper socialization, it will be difficult for Schnauzers to accept strangers.

Their protective nature comes from their ancestors that protected the farm from humans and other animals.

Schnauzers mean well when they bark at intruders, but their anxiety could cause them to bite other people or animals if they feel threatened. 

Introducing a Schnauzer in a home that already has pets will have a better chance of accepting other animals.

If you don’t have other pets, take them to dog parks frequently and introduce them to your friends and other strangers while they’re puppies.

Are they chatty or loud?

Yes, Standard Schnauzers are notorious barkers that make a lot of noise when hungry, frightened, bored, depressed, or when they want to assert their dominance.

Some Schnauzers are quieter than others, but you can always count on them to be louder than average.

Your family dog will bark mostly for territorial reasons and attention-seeking.

Schnauzers can be clingy towards one or more family members in the home and may bark or cry when their favorite person ignores them.

Standard Schnauzer lying on the grass
Image source

While a bit of separation anxiety is normal for Schnauzers because of their affectionate and protective nature, it could become excessive without proper training or socialization.

Dogs that can’t stay away from you will cry, bark, or howl when you leave home

To ease their anxiety when you leave, place a hot water bottle, stuffed toy, a piece of your clothing, or radio, so they don’t feel alone.

It’s better to tackle the issue before it becomes a problem by training them only to bark or howl when there’s a reason.

As mentioned, Schnauzers are smart and challenging to train, so be tough on them early on. They need to learn they aren’t the center of the universe.

Taking care of the Standard Schnauzer Requires Patience

Standard Schnauzers have above-average grooming requirements because of their fast-growing coat that needs frequent trimming and brushing.

This breed also requires at least 12-16 hours of sleep despite their high energy nature to stay healthy, so don’t adopt them to a loud household.

Schnauzers can tolerate both hot and cold weather, but it’s essential to keep them comfortable with a sweater in the winter and a short haircut in the summer.

Keep your Standard Schnauzer busy or say goodbye to your sleep schedule

Your pup will have a high energy level, love long hikes, and interacting with their family. They require daily exercise to make them less hyper and to tucker them out.

A bored, over-energetic Schnauzer is a recipe for ripped furniture and excessive barking.

A Standard Schnauzer needs 60 minutes of exercise every day. It’s preferable to walk them three times a day, 20 minutes at a time. Combine rough play with jogging, so they have some variety and stay interested.

Get them a toy that helps get some aggression out, like a hard chew toy or rope.

Black Standard Schnauzer playing his toy
Source: @jackity_and_lukin / IG

Grooming: Do Standard Schnauzers shed or need frequent hair cuts?

Pet owners know that grooming a dog with a double coat is already challenging, but a Standard Schnauzer requires more than just a seasonal blow out trim if you want them to look like a show dog.

The Schnauzer has a breed standard (traditional) hair cut that a skilled groomer can replicate.

The coat on the ears, neck, head, chest, belly, and under the tail are closely trimmed while the beard, eyebrows, legs, and hair over the eyes stay longer.

Another Schnauzer cut, the puppy cut, is an adorable alternative to the traditional cut. Groomers will trim the coat the same length all over the body for a fluffy, more rounded look.

Both haircuts will be challenging to do on your own unless you keep up with a monthly trim.

Standard Schnauzers are infrequent shedders and have a hypoallergenic coat. Non-shedding dogs shouldn’t have their hair clipped because this process removes a double coat’s water resistance.

If hand-stripped instead, the Schnauzers coat will retain its shine and luster.

Hand-strip your dog every 4 to 6 weeks and brush them 2-3 times a week. Trim your pet’s nails and eyelashes and clean their ears at least once a week to keep them comfortable.

Do Schnauzers often stink?

A Schnauzer pup can smell bad due to their naturally oily skin, but regular bathing will help with this.

Their bad odor could lead to infections, unhealthy gums, diabetes, and infections if you neglect bathing them for too long. 

If the coat is greasy but the skin is dry, you will need a high dilution dog shampoo with a moisturizing agent.

If the skin is damaged and smells, you should purchase a shampoo that’s medicated and recommended by your veterinarian.

For a quick lesson on how to groom your Schnauzer or other wiry-haired breeds like the Affenpinscher, watch the video below:

An energetic dog needs a diet to match

As a positive, the German Schnauzer isn’t likely to become obese because of their high activity requirement.

You should still watch your pup’s weight by withholding treats for special occasions or during training sessions.

The recommended daily amount for a Standard Schnauzer is 1 to 2 cups of high-quality dog food daily, divided into two meals.

However, it’s better to feed your pup based on their weight and height in combination with what the veterinarian says is best. 

A Schnauzer weighs between 30-39 lbs (13.6-22.6 kgs) needs 1 ⅔ cup of an 8 OZ measuring cup per day, two times a day. Add another ⅓ cup for every 10lbs (4.5 kgs) added.

On average, your pup will eat 781-961 calories per day or more.

Both the Miniature Schnauzer and puppies will eat much less. Puppies require a puppy formulated diet and more frequent feeding throughout the day.

Avoid human food if possible, especially chocolate, onions are raw meat. It’s better to keep them on a kibble diet or wet food to encourage good eating habits.

Also read: Best Dog Food for Schnauzers

Standard Schnauzers won’t cost you a lot in medical bills

Standard Schnauzer running on the field
Source: @fuschnauzer / IG

Overall, Schnauzers are a healthy breed that suffers from a few health complications and is mostly free from many health concerns that affect other dogs.

Breeders that concentrate on health screening are attempting to lengthen their life span.

Eye disorders and hip dysplasia, while uncommon, do appear from time to time.

New DNA testing for cardiomyopathy allows breeders to identify carriers so they can successfully eliminate diseases in the Schnauzer permanently. 

Other health issues related to the Standard Schnauzer include:

  • CHC
  • Follicular dermatitis
  • Cataracts
  • Skin allergies
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Heart disease

Schnauzers will often live long and healthy lives at 13 to 16 years. Smaller dogs may have a shorter life expectancy than the Miniature Schnauzers because the Standard variant has fewer health issues.

Miniature Schnauzer climbing the stair
Source: @schnauzer.gramm / IG

How much is a Standard Schnauzer going to cost you?

Standard Schnauzers will cost you a pretty penny, but if you want to adopt online or from a local shelter, you’ll spend significantly less.

There are plenty of rescues that specialize in Schnauzers of all types in the United States.

A legal Schnauzer puppy will cost between $400 and $1500. Standards over the age of 2 can cost less at about $75 and $400.

I only recommend adopting an adult Schnauzer as an experienced dog owner because they may have behavioral issues

Purebred pups with a long lineage like the Standard Schnauzer come at a high cost because their health and personality are consistent after centuries of breeding.

Other things that contribute to any dog purchase are shipping fees, kennel popularity, location, litter size, and the parents’ bloodline. Puppies descended from show dogs will be more expensive on average.

Although these prices seem high, Standards aren’t nearly as expensive as Miniature Schnauzer puppies, which can cost as much as $2700. Minis are fancier and more difficult to breed without health complications. 

A Standard Schnauzer litter size is usually 4 to 8 puppies, but 2-13 isn’t uncommon.

List of Schnauzer breeders

Thanks to the popularity of the Standard Schnauzer, you won’t have an issue finding a breeder.

However, their popularity will make it more likely you’ll find a breeder than uses unlawful or dangerous practices on their dogs.

Watch out for puppy mills that don’t offer enough space for their Schnauzers. As a positive, an abused or bored Schnauzer will be vocal about their mistreatment

Two Standard Schnauzer dogs sitting on the bench outside
Source: @schnauzerdallas / IG

Reputable breeders will have information about the pup’s parents available on their website or if you ask them.

It’s a red flag if they don’t want to provide health records or won’t let you visit where the puppies spend most of their time.

You can find Standard Schnauzer puppies for sale at these locations:

  • Amy Shaffer – Crivitz Standard Schnauzers LLC
  • Castlewood Standard Schnauzers  (Northern California)

Adopting a Standard Schnauzer will come with some challenges

Many Standard Schnauzers need a kind and loving home. You will need a lot of patience to train this breed because rescue Schnauzers often have behavioral issues.

Inexperienced dog owners are often unable to handle their temperament.

You will need to spend time training and socializing with your new rescue Schnauzer. They are more likely to distrust strangers and other pets – but that doesn’t mean they can’t grow more affectionate.

Rescue Schnauzer may be clingy.

Still, rehoming is an excellent option because it gives a dog another chance at a happy, healthy life.

If you aren’t worried about the breed’s purity or parentage, you will have a wide range of Schnauzers that will fit well with your family.

There are many rescues dedicated to rehoming Standard Schnauzers; some of them even have puppies.

Before adopting, ask if your new family member has special needs but, most will have few health defects because this breed is often healthy.

Here are a few places that will have Standard Schnauzers for sale:

  • Schnauzer Club of America (USA)
  • American Miniature Schnauzer Club (USA)

Is the temperamental Schnauzer for you?

Standard Schnauzer dog running fast
Source: @schnauzerdallas / IG

The Standard Schnauzer can be an all-around companion and guard dog or a temperamental barker if you don’t socialize them.

With proper training, they will be affectionate, active, and alert watchdogs that are content sleeping by your side.

On the other hand, Schnauzers have high exercise requirements, need constant attention, and are initially uncomfortable around strangers and other pets.

First-time dog owners should find a less needy breed that can’t adjust to the Schnauzer. If you don’t play your cards right, they could become manipulative and stubborn.

If you’re capable of giving the Schnauzer the love and care they deserve, consider adding them to your family.

What do you think of the Standard Schnauzer? Do you enjoy their free-spirited independence? Tell us about it below (and attach a photo of your pet, because we’d love to see them)!

Further reading: Schnauzer mixes



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