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Standard Schnauzer Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

By Michele Welton.
Copyright © 2000-2012

The AKC Standard says of the Standard Schnauzer, "His nature combines high-spirited temperament with extreme reliability."

Standard Schnauzers are high-energy dogs. Without lots of exercise and activity—this could include walks, jogs or constructive “tasks”—they can get a little off-kilter and destructive (chewing, digging, etc.). 

Clever and trainable, Standard Schnauzers nevertheless have a fearless streak. On walks, they may confront larger dogs. They may also become more territorial as they grow older. Make sure to always walk them on a leash, and remember to maintain a firm but positive hand while training. 

A healthy Standard Schnauzer can live as long as 15 years, maybe even longer. Relatively healthy, they can sometimes develop eye problems like cataracts. Standard Schnauzers need to be brushed regularly to avoid matting. You might want to occasionally trim their beards as well. These dogs need regular professional grooming to look their best.

The Standard Schnauzer's keen expression is what you may notice first. Some are "harder tempered," projecting boldness, seriousness, and vigor, while others are sweeter and more mellow.

Lively indoors and out, the agile, athletic Standard Schnauzer loves to play games and needs brisk walking every day and a chance to run several times per week.

Mental exercise (such as advanced obedience or agility) will satisfy his highly developed intelligence. Without structured activities, he will find his own amusements -- and his choices may change the appearance of your house or yard.

Most Standard Schnauzers are aloof with strangers, but with proper socialization are sensible and discriminating about who is a friend and who is not. Many Standard Schnauzers are aggressive with other dogs of the same sex.

One of the smartest of all breeds, and one of the best problem-solvers, the Standard Schnauzer is clever, strong-willed, and persistent. Unless you establish yourself as the alpha (number one), he can be demanding. Yet owners who know how to lead and who use upbeat training methods will find him eminently trainable.

This sensitive dog seems always aware of your moods and likes to be physically close to you and watching you.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is conveniently-sized and sturdy, yet also elegant, graceful, and light on his feet
  • Has a wiry coat that doesn't shed too much, and a whiskery face with a wise expression
  • Plays hard and thrives on vigorous athletic activities
  • Makes a keen watchdog and an effective deterrent -- stands firmly on the ground with boldness and confidence
  • Is versatile -- when well-trained, can learn and do almost anything

A Standard Schnauzer may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
  • Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough or left alone too much
  • Suspiciousness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
  • Aggression toward other animals
  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Regular clipping and trimming of the wiry coat

More traits and characteristics of the Standard Schnauzer

If I was considering a Standard Schnauzer, I would be most concerned about...

  • Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Standard Schnauzers MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing.
  • Providing enough socialization. Most Standard Schnauzers have protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be suspicious of everyone, which could lead to biting. Some Standard Schnauzers go in the opposite direction -- without enough socialization, they become fearful of strangers, which can lead to defensive biting.
  • Animal aggression. Many Standard Schnauzers are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Some have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures.
  • The strong temperament. The best Standard Schnauzers are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Some Standard Schnauzers are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.


 The Standard Schnauzer is an active and fun-loving companion, as well as a devoted guardian.

The beauty of this breed is impressive and often thrilling with grace and agility of their movement. The Standards are a strong breed with stubborn streaks, and very athletic


     When Looking for a Standard Schnauzer or Miniature Schnauzer; be careful and look and check off these very important points when looking for a Breeder:

     They keep the dogs in the home and as part of the family - not outside in kennel runs. You should also make sure the area where the puppies are kept is clean.

     They have Standard Schnauzers who appear happy and healthy. The dogs are excited to meet new people, and don't shy away from visitors.

     A good dog breeder will encourage you to spend time with the puppy's parents - or at least the the pup's mother - when you visit. They want your entire family to meet the puppy and are happy for you to make several visits.

     They breed only one or two types of dogs (maybe Standard Schnauzers and Miniatures) AND they are very familiar with the "breed standards". Follow the links at the bottom of this page to find out the exact breed standards for Standard Schnauzers.

      Responsible Standard Schnauzer breeders should provide you with a written contract and health guarantee and allow you plenty of time to read it. Good Miniature Schnauzer breeders will also show you records of the puppy's veterinary visits and explain what vaccinations your new puppy will need.

     Gives you guidance on caring and training for your puppy and is available for your assistance after you take your puppy home.

     They feed their dogs high quality "premium" dog food.

     They don't always have puppies available, but will keep a list of interested people for the next available litter.

     And finally...... good Standard Schnauzer breeders will provide references of other families who have bought their puppies. Make sure you call at least one.

     It could save you a lot of time, money and worry in the future and help to ensure that you and your chosen puppy are happy together for many years to come.

     Happy, healthy puppies are what we all want. Taking the time now to find responsible Standard Schnauzer breeders is time well spent.



Physical Characteristics:

The Standard Schnauzer is a medium-sized, rugged, robust dog with bushy eyebrows, whiskers and a beard. The head is long and rectangular, with a strong muzzle and a pronounced snout. The nose is black and the eyes are oval and dark brown. The teeth should form a scissors bite. The feet are small and cat-like, with arched toes. The tail is generally docked at the fourth vertebra, but cropping the ears is optional. The forelegs are very straight. Any dewclaws should be removed.  The front legs must appear straight from every angle, while its rear legs and thighs are oblique and very muscular. He has a harsh, wiry outer coat and dense, soft undercoat. The coat comes in salt & pepper or solid black.

The breed is robust, intelligent and adaptable. Often referred to as the dog with the human brain.  The Schnauzer requires human companionship and thrives as a member of a family, being great with children and loyal protector and watcher of home and hearth.

Height:  Males 18-20 inches (46-51 cm.)    Females 17-19 inches (43-48 cm.)
Weight: Males 30-45 pounds (14-20 kg.) Females 30-40 pounds (14-18 kg.)
Ideally, the height should be the same as the length, resulting in a rather square impression.

The wiry coat is reasonably easy to look after, but the undercoat is dense and it will become matted unless it is combed or brushed daily with a short wire brush. Clip out knots and brush first with the grain, then against the grain to lift the coat. The animal should be clipped all over to an even length twice a year - in spring and fall. A person can easily learn how to do it. Trim around the eyes and ears with  blunt-nosed scissors and clean the whiskers after meals. They have no doggie odor and shed little to no hair.

The Standard Schnauzer is probably the oldest of the three Schnauzer breeds. They are originally a German breed, named after the German word for muzzle, "Schnauze." They were used to accompany coaches, as messengers in World War I, and as vermin hunters and guards in stables and on farms. The breed was used to watch children, and even given the name "kinder watcher." Schnauzers have also been successfully trained as livestock guardians and as retrievers. The breed has been portrayed in paintings and tapestries of several European artists, including Rembrandt and Durer, who owned one. Today, it is esteemed as a watchdog and body guard, but above all, as a very lovable, spirited, loyal, intelligent companion. Some of the Standard Schnauzer's talents include: hunting, tracking, retrieving, guarding, military work, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks.