Though today three Schnauzer breeds are recognized, the Standard Schnauzer is the original. This pup can trace its ancestry 500 years back to the old herding and guard dogs of Europe.
Despite their similarities in appearance, the Schnauzer and Schnauzers in general are not related to the British Terrier. Instead, they are most closely related to spitz-type breeds such as German Pinschers.
In the beginning, during the early Middle Ages, Schnauzers were thought to be peasant dogs; the companions and work animals of farmers.
Rembrandt in particular was fond of the breed, though it wasn't until the 19th century that the breed debuted in the fancier dog circles of Germany and beyond.
The most notable aspect of a Standard Schnauzer's appearance is their facial hair. Long beards and furry eyebrows frame their face, while stiff, wiry coats cover their bodies.
Standard Schnauzers are almost always salt and pepper in color - a mix of white, gray and black - though occasionally a solid black Schnauzer is born.
The Standard Schnauzer sheds twice a year, during which time their coat becomes less shiny and the hair itself can be easily tugged from the dog.
Some owners choose to shear their dogs regularly instead of letting them shed. Regardless, a Standard Schnauzer's longer face and leg hair should be regularly clipped to keep it clean and healthy.
While originally a peasant's companion and farm dog, Standard Schnauzers make great family pets as well as show animals.
It is their inherent loyalty and instinctive guarding that makes them an excellent addition to the family. They are dedicated to protecting their home and territory and make good watch dogs with their husky bark.
Standard Schnauzers are small and friendly, making them a great dog to have around children. In fact, in Germany they were once referred to as "children watchers" because of their lack of aggression, playfulness and loyalty.
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If well socialized, Standard Schnauzers will befriend just about anyone without a second thought.
While known for being easy to train, the Standard Schnauzer is, ancestrally, a working dog. What this means for the owner is that while they are eager to please, they also require a firm hand and strong personality to dominate them.
Standard Schnauzers are known to be easy to train because of their high intelligence in relation to the rest of dogs.
Their intelligence has been compared to that of humans and the breed has been used for search and rescue, bomb detection and even disease detection in medical patients.
The energy level of a Standard Schnauzer will vary greatly based on the age of the dog. Under two years, Standard Schnauzers tend to be high energy and very playful.
They need lots of exercise and attention, making training easier. While the calm down as they age, even middle aged and old Standard Schnauzers need to be intellectually and physically intrigued daily.
This could mean toys, training, or tricks as well as runs, dog parks or beaches.