Choosing a Standard Schnauzer

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For many people, the schnauzer is considered the perfect family pet. Available in three different sizes, the schnauzer is a tough and hardy companion as well as protector. With their classic beard and long eyebrows, this breed is easily recognizable all over the world.

History and Origin

The schnauzer hails from Germany and is divided into the miniature schnauzer, standard schnauzer and giant schnauzer. Of the three sizes of schnauzer, the standard is considered the prototype and is the oldest. Even though these schnauzers may appear similar, they are all considered separate breeds.

All schnauzers are thought to have developed in the kingdoms of Wurttemberg and Bavaria, and the standard schnauzer has been around since at least 1492. Paintings of that era depict the schnauzer as a household companion. The dog was not only part of the family but was also used to chase rats and guard produce carts in the marketplace.

Today, standard schnauzers are beloved family pets. The standard schnauzer belongs to the working group of the American Kennel Club.

Appearance and Size

The schnauzer is a compact sturdy dog. All sizes have a stiff wiry hair coat with arched bristling eyebrows, whiskers and a beard. The most common coat color is salt and pepper but black is also available. In Germany, black is the more common color.

Most schnauzers in Germany have cropped ears but in the United States, cropped and uncropped are seen. Uncropped ears sit high on the head and fold forward.

The standard schnauzer stands 17 to 19 inches at the shoulder and weighs around 33 pounds.

Personality

All schnauzers are intelligent and reliable dogs. They are very protective of their family and make good watchdogs.

Home and Family Relations

The schnauzer is a wonderful family pet and is quite tolerant of children. They are often wary of strangers and will protect their family by alerting their owners of the presence of intruders.

Training

Schnauzers tend to be independent dogs and do not tolerate harsh training or reprimand. They are easy to train, as long as positive reinforcement techniques are used.

Special Concerns

Schnauzers are intelligent dogs and become bored easily. For the standard, if left alone for extended periods of time, destructive behavior may develop.

In order to keep their coat clean and tangle free, frequent grooming and clipping is necessary. Trips to the groomer are also necessary to maintain the classic schnauzer facial appearance.

Common Diseases and Disorders

In general, the standard schnauzer is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

  • Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland does not function adequately. Without enough thyroid hormone, illness can occur.
  • Atopy is an itchy skin disease of animals that is caused by an allergy to substances in the environment.
  • Melanoma is a tumor arising from melanocytes, which are the cells that produce pigment.
  • Lipomas are benign fatty tumors of the subcutaneous tissue.
  • Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that develops between the ages of 2 to 5 years.
  • Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.
  • Cryptorchidism is a condition in which one or both testicles do not descend into the scrotum.
  • Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas related to insufficient amounts of insulin production.
  • Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that results in lack of appetite, vomiting and abdominal pain.

    In addition, the schnauzer is prone to bladder infections and intact male dogs may develop sertoli cell tumors.

    Life Span

    The average life span of the standard schnauzer is 14 to 16 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

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