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Standard Schnauzer

Standard Schnauzer

Overview
The Standard Schnauzer is the original breed
Dog breed
Dog breeds are groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans, bred from a known foundation stock....

 of the three breeds of Schnauzer
Schnauzer
A Schnauzer is a German dog type that originated in Germany in the 15th and 16th centuries. The term comes from Schnauze , the German word for "snout", because of the dog's distinctively bearded snout. The word Schnauzer also means moustache in German; some authorities, such as Encyclopædia...

, 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
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. Generally classified as a working or utility dog, this versatile breed is a robust, squarely built, medium-sized dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

 with aristocratic bearing. It has been claimed that it was a popular subject of painters Sir Joshua Reynolds
Joshua Reynolds
Sir Joshua Reynolds RA FRS FRSA was an influential 18th-century English painter, specialising in portraits and promoting the "Grand Style" in painting which depended on idealization of the imperfect. He was one of the founders and first President of the Royal Academy...

, Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since...

 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
Breed
A breed is a group of domestic animals or plants with a homogeneous appearance, behavior, and other characteristics that distinguish it from other animals or plants of the same species. Despite the centrality of the idea of "breeds" to animal husbandry, there is no scientifically accepted...

.
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Encyclopedia
The Standard Schnauzer is the original breed
Dog breed
Dog breeds are groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans, bred from a known foundation stock....

 of the three breeds of Schnauzer
Schnauzer
A Schnauzer is a German dog type that originated in Germany in the 15th and 16th centuries. The term comes from Schnauze , the German word for "snout", because of the dog's distinctively bearded snout. The word Schnauzer also means moustache in German; some authorities, such as Encyclopædia...

, 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
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. Generally classified as a working or utility dog, this versatile breed is a robust, squarely built, medium-sized dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

 with aristocratic bearing. It has been claimed that it was a popular subject of painters Sir Joshua Reynolds
Joshua Reynolds
Sir Joshua Reynolds RA FRS FRSA was an influential 18th-century English painter, specialising in portraits and promoting the "Grand Style" in painting which depended on idealization of the imperfect. He was one of the founders and first President of the Royal Academy...

, Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since...

 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
Breed
A breed is a group of domestic animals or plants with a homogeneous appearance, behavior, and other characteristics that distinguish it from other animals or plants of the same species. Despite the centrality of the idea of "breeds" to animal husbandry, there is no scientifically accepted...

. These include high intelligence, agility, alertness, reliability, strength and endurance. This breed of dog has been very popular in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, specifically Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 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.

History


In the Middle Ages, schnauzer-type dogs of medium size were developed from herding, ratting and guardian breeds in Western Europe. A dog of the peasant farmer for centuries, with the advent of dog showing in the 19th century they finally captured the interest of German dog fanciers, who began to standardize their look and temperament for the show ring.

In the earliest days of the show schnauzer, puppies from a single litter could be classified as either German Pinschers (short haired puppies) or schnauzers (long-coated wire-haired puppies), dependent only on coat length. And before the original German Pincher breed was wiped out during WWI (it has since been brought back from different stock) the pepper-and-salt coat that is the trademark of the Standard Schnauzer breed in North America could be seen in the German Pincher (called the silberpinsch), attesting to the close relationship between the two breeds in modern times. It was also in the late 19th century that the medium-sized schnauzer was developed into three different breeds/sizes: the Miniature, the Standard (the original), and the Giant.

Speaking on the more distant origins of the breed, writers from the late 19th century proposed that the grey Wolfspitz and black German pudles contributed to the early development of the schnauzer, though this has yet to be confirmed through genetic work.

The three schnauzer breeds take their name from one of their kind, a medium-sized show dog named "Schnauzer", who won at the 1879 Hanover Show in Germany. The word Schnauzer (from the German word for 'snout', recalling the long hair on the muzzle) appeared for the first time in 1842 when used as a synonym for the Wire-haired Pinscher (the name under which the breed first competed at dog shows). The schnauzer was first imported into the United States in the early 1900s.

In modern history, the Standard Schnauzer has taken on a variety of roles. The Red Cross used the dogs for guard duty during World War I. Both German and (in one documented instance) American police
Police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 departments have put the dogs to work as well. Several Standard Schnauzers have been used in the USA for drug and bomb detection, and also as search-and-rescue dogs.

The current Standard Schnauzer excels at obedience, agility, tracking, herding, therapy work and, in Germany, schutzhund
Schutzhund
Schutzhund is a dog sport that was developed in Germany in the early 1900s as a breed suitability test for the German Shepherd Dog. The test would determine if the dog displayed the appropriate traits and characteristics of a proper working German Shepherd Dog...

. Despite being a popular pet in Europe, the Standard Schnauzer has never gained wide popularity in North America. For the past 20 years, the American Kennel Club
American Kennel Club
The American Kennel Club is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States. Beyond maintaining its pedigree registry, this kennel club also promotes and sanctions events for purebred dogs, including the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, an annual event which predates the official...

 has registered only ~540 Standard Schnauzer puppies a year (compared with ~100,000 Labrador Retreiver puppies each year).

Appearance


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.

Care



Grooming


Twice a year, when most other breeds of dog are shedding their coat, a Schnauzer’s coat will become dull and relatively easy to pull out and is said to have ‘blown’. At this point the coat can be stripped or pulled out by hand and a new wire coat will re-grow in its place. Stripping is not painful for the dog and can be performed at any stage of hair growth although it is easier to do when the coat is ‘blown’.

Alternatively, the coat can be regularly clipped with shears. Clipping as opposed to stripping results in a loss of the wiry texture and some of the fullness of the coat. Dogs with clipped fur no longer ‘blow’ their coat but the coat loses its wiry texture and becomes soft. The fur of clipped dogs tends to be more prone to tangling and knots, particularly when long, and is duller in color than that of stripped coats. In the case of the salt and pepper Schnauzers, the characteristic banded color of the hair is completely lost when maintained through clipping; each shaft of hair becomes entirely gray rather than being banded with multiple shades of gray, white, and black.
Clipping is most common in the US as it can be difficult to locate a professional willing to hand strip as the process is quite labor intensive. In Europe it is very uncommon to see a wire-coated dog which is clipped. It may not be possible to hand strip a poor quality coat, i.e. one that is soft in texture, but soft coats, while relatively common in pet quality Miniature Schnauzers, is not a widespread problem in Standards.

Regardless of whether the body of the coat is stripped or clipped the 'furnishings' or longer hair on the legs and face must be scissored or clipped regularly and require daily brushing to remain free of potentially painful mats. Whether a Schnauzer is stripped or clipped, his coat requires a great deal of grooming. In most cases this means an owner must either take care to learn the required grooming - for which the dog's breeder should be a great resource - or the owner must take their dog in for regular, often expensive, trips to a grooming salon.

Docking and cropping


Inside the US and Canada, ears and tail and dewclaws are typically docked as a puppy. Veterinarians or experienced breeders will cut tails and dewclaws between 3 and 7 days of age. Tails are traditionally docked to around three vertebrae. Ear cropping is usually performed at about 10 weeks of age in a veterinary clinic. Many breeders inside North America have begun to crop only those puppies retained for show purposes, or those puppies whose owners request it. There is still somewhat of a bias against natural ears in the North American show ring. However, there is a growing sentiment among breeders and judges that both ear types are equally show-worthy, and many North American show breeders enjoy both cropped and natural eared dogs in their kennels. However, unlike in Europe, the majority of North American breeders believe that the choice of whether to cut ears and/or tails should continue to remain with the breeders and owners. Outside of North America, most Standard Schnauzers retain both their natural ears and tail as docking is now prohibited by law in many countries.

Temperament


The smallest of the working breeds, the Standard schnauzer makes loyal family dog with guardian instincts. Most will protect their home from uninvited visitors with a deep and robust bark
Bark (dog)
A bark is a noise most commonly produced by dogs and puppies. Other animals that make this noise include wolves and quolls. Woof is the most common representation in the English language for this sound...

. 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
Dog training
Dog training is the process of teaching skills or behaviors to a dog. This can include teaching a dog to respond to certain commands, or helping the dog learn coping skills for stressful environments. Dog training often includes operant conditioning, classical conditioning, or non-associative...

. They have been called "the dog with a human brain", and in Stanley Coren
Stanley Coren
Stanley Coren is a psychology professor and neuropsychological researcher who has become best known to the general public for a series of books regarding the intelligence, mental abilities and history of dogs...

's book The Intelligence of Dogs
The Intelligence of Dogs
The Intelligence of Dogs is a book on dog intelligence by Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Published in 1994, the book explains Coren's theories about the differences in intelligence between different breeds 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
Dog agility
Dog agility is a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off-leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles...

, obedience
Obedience trial
An obedience trial is a dog sport in which a dog must perfectly execute a predefined set of tasks when directed to do so by his handler. According the American Kennel Club obedience regulations...

, tracking
Tracking trial
A Tracking trial is an event to encourage dogs to make use of their strongest facility, the ability to follow a scent trail. The competition emulates the finding of a lost person or article in a situation where the performance of the dog can be fairly assessed...

, Disc dog
Disc dog
Disc dog is the more generic name for what is commonly called Frisbee dog. In disc dog competitions, dogs and their human flying disc throwers compete in events such as distance catching and somewhat choreographed freestyle catching. The sport celebrates the bond between handler and dog, by...

, Flyball
Flyball
Flyball is a dog sport in which teams of dogs race against each other from a start/finish line, over a line of hurdles, to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught when the dog presses the spring-loaded pad, then back to their handlers while carrying the ball.Flyball is run in teams of four...

 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
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

. They need ample exercise not only for physical well-being, but also for emotional well-being. The minimum amount an adult dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

 should get is the equivalent of a one long walk a day. This walk should be brisk enough to keep the dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

 at a steady trotting pace in order to keep the dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

 in prime physical condition. The Standard Schnauzer puppy
Puppy
A puppy is a juvenile dog. Some puppies may weigh , while larger ones can weigh up to . All healthy puppies grow quickly after birth. A puppy's coat color may change as the puppy grows older, as is commonly seen in breeds such as the Yorkshire Terrier...

 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.

Health



Overall, the Standard Schnauzer is a very healthy breed
Breed
A breed is a group of domestic animals or plants with a homogeneous appearance, behavior, and other characteristics that distinguish it from other animals or plants of the same species. Despite the centrality of the idea of "breeds" to animal husbandry, there is no scientifically accepted...

. The 2008 health survey done by the Standard Schnauzer Club of America revealed that roughly only 1% of dogs surveyed had serious health issues. The final, full report can be found here but a general summary is as follows:

  • Data was collected for 10-15% of eligible dogs;
  • Median life span was 12.9 years
  • Only a few serious diseases were noted;
  • Potentially serious conditions affect less than 1% of dogs
  • Apparent progress has been made in reducing the incidence of hip dysplasia



The two major hereditary within the breed are: hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. It is a genetic trait that is affected by environmental factors...

 and hereditary eye disease. Both problems can be tested for and identified in breeding stock before they pass the trait onto the next generation, so the Standard Schnauzer Club of America recommends that every kennel test their breeding stock for hip and eye problems before breeding and to breed only healthy animals.

However, it is entirely up to breeders whether they choose to health test their animals and whether they choose use animals for breeding despite knowing they have tested positive for carrying a genetic disease. The SSCA also encourages all potential buyers to ask their breeder for up to date OFA and CERF certifications of the parent dogs before buying a puppy.

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is a not-for-profit organization based in Columbia, Missouri that aims to research and prevent orthopedic and hereditary diseases in companion animals....

 found at www.offa.org keeps a record of purebred animals that have passed an x-ray screening for hip dysplasia. Dogs must be a minimum of two years old to be OFA tested. The OFA results reported in the 2008 SSCA Health Survey are as follows:
OFA Hip Rating Number of Dogs Percent of Tested Dogs
Excellent 50 9.7%
Good 387 73.4%
Fair 70 13.2%
Poor 9 1.7%


The cost of OFA testing is relatively high (about 150-200 USD per dog per year) and born directly by breeders. OFA testing is not required for AKC registration of breeding stock or their offspring so the benefits of a good OFA test scores are more indirect and long range for individual breeders while a poor results represent a direct negative impact. Responsible buyers looking to buy from responsible breeders should only choose puppies from a litter where both parents have current OFA test certificates and scores of "excellent", "good", "fair".

The Canine Eye Registration Foundation is a registry for purebred breeding stock who have been certified free of any hereditary eye disease: results for this test can also be found at the OFA website. Dogs must be examined by an approved veterinarian who checks for the presence of heritable eye diseases. Testing is less inexpensive (about 20-40 USD) than OFA examinations but, like OFA testing, must be done annually to remain valid.

Famous Schnauzers

  • From the AKC: "Rembrandt painted several Schnauzers, Lucas Cranach the Elder shows one in a tapestry dated 1501, and in the 18th century one appears in a canvas of the English painter Sir Joshua Reynolds. In the marketplace of Mechlinburg, Germany, is a statue of a hunter dating from the 14th century, with a Schnauzer crouching at his feet which conforms very closely to the present-day show Standard." "

  • George, the cancer-sniffing Schnauzer, has received much acclaim. "

  • Tramp, the street-wise mutt from Lady and the Tramp
    Lady and the Tramp
    Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released to theaters on June 22, 1955, by Buena Vista Distribution. The fifteenth animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, it was the first animated feature filmed in the CinemaScope widescreen...

     resembles a Schnauzer.
  • Blu, Franklin's pet blue dog in Monica's Gang
    Monica's Gang
    Monica's Gang is a popular Brazilian comic book series. The series was created by Mauricio de Sousa, who signs his work as "Mauricio". Plots are centered on the adventures of a group of seven-year-old friends in the fictional neighborhood of "Limoeiro" in São Paulo...


  • Colin, dog in the UK comedy series Spaced
    Spaced
    Spaced is a British television sitcom written by and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, and directed by Edgar Wright. It is noted for its rapid-fire editing, frequent pop culture references and jokes, eclectic music, and occasional displays of surrealism and non-sequitur humour...

    , became a regular feature in the middle of the first series.

  • Shunaemon. dog from Fortune Dogs
    Fortune Dogs
    started out as comic by Shuji Kishihara and Yasuharu Tomono serialized in Nakayosi, Tanoshii Youchien, Otomodachi, about the lives of 48 puppies...



• Errol Flynn had two Standard Schnauzers. His first, "Arno", was very well known in the tabloids of the day and was, according to Flynn biographers, loved by the actor more than any human being in his life. Arno was a constant presence on the movie set and on Flynn's yacht, "Sirocco." One night, the dog fell overboard and drowned, and Flynn mobilized the Coast Guard in a search. A gossip columnist, Jimmy Fidler, wrote a scathing piece on the dog's death and Flynn, enraged, tracked him down in a nightclub and beat him senseless. Flynn later obtained another standard, "Moody", which—like Arno before him—accompanied the actor onto all his movie sets.

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