Other names: Miniature Schnauzer, Zwergschnauzer, Medium Schnauzer, Giant Schnauzer, Riesenschnauzer
All schnauzers have a strong and impetuous personality even though they are very balanced overall. They are very attached to their master and to family members. They feel very protective of children and wary of strangers. There are three varieties: medium, giant and dwarf. This dog is a good keeper because he is courageous and vigilant.
Key facts about the Schnauzer
Life expectancy :
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Origins and history
Their very ancient origins are common to those of Terriers, born for hunting, who are the ancestors of this dog. Then the selection of the breed was oriented towards the creation of a guard and defence dog. Towards the end of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, a similar dog appeared on numerous places which was represented in the company of horses and stagecoaches. The other two breeds developed from the average breed. The CFI officially recognises the breed in 1955 and three different standards are written for the three varieties: Dwarf, Medium and Giant, although it is mainly their size that distinguishes them.
Physical characteristics of the Schnauzer
Female : Between 18 and 20 in
Male : Between 18 and 20 in
Female Between 12 and 14 inches
Male Between 12 and 14 inches
Female Between 24 and 28 inches
Male Between 24 and 28 inches
Female : Between 31 and 44 lb
Male : Between 31 and 44 lb
Female Between 9 and 17 pounds
Male Between 9 and 17 pounds
Female Between 77 and 104 pounds
Male Between 77 and 104 pounds
The medium and giant varieties can have a black, pepper or salt coat. The miniature Schnauzer can also have a black, pepper and salt coat as well as a black silver or pure white coat.
Type of coat
The hair is medium/long.
The coat’s hair is hard (iron wire). This dog is well-coated and with a very dense undercoat.
This dog exists in three sizes: medium, giant and dwarf. The three sizes have almost the same appearance. This dog is robust, strong and square-built. The head is sturdy, and elongated but his apophasis occipital is not very protruding. The stop is clearly delimited. The head-facing axes are parallel. The muzzle ends in a moderately truncated cone. The eyes are dark, oval in shape and arranged semi-laterally. The ears are located high and form a "V", with their tip folded. The extremities are straight and strong. The tail is tied up.
Good to know
The name of the breed comes from the German word "schnauze" which means muzzle.
This dog is very attached to his social group even though his strong personality often makes him look like a proud dog.
He has a rather playful nature despite his proud appearance. He loves to play, especially with the kids. Pay attention to his fiery side which may not be suitable for the little ones.
Whatever his appearance, this dog is devoted, valiant, courageous and lively but he is not active and he has a very balanced personality that allows him to adapt to many situations.
Their abilities obviously change according to their size (the Dwarf is more of a companion dog and the medium and giant varieties are more guard dogs). However, they are eclectic dogs that easily learn to perform other types of activities because of their great psychophysics balance, strength and energy.
Although it was at the time used by German families to hunt pests, this dog, formerly known as a ‘hard-haired Pinscher’, no longer has a real predatory instinct.
Fearful / wary of strangers
He is naturally vigilant when in the presence of strangers. His caring instinct push him to be wary and take time to analyse a person and a situation before coming into contact.
He is very attached and loyal to his social group and even more to his master. However, it is rare to encounter subjects who suffer from hyper-attachment. They know how to behave and adapt perfectly to the moods and lifestyles of their adoptive family members.
Behaviour of the Schnauzer
If the Schnauzer puppy is accustomed from an early age to stay alone on certain periods of the day, everything will be fine.
On the other hand, if he is not taught early in time to deal with absences then, behavioural disorders will be observed.
Easy to train / obedience
These dogs are generally easy to educate if their masters are experienced. They may pose some problems to novice masters by being hard and stubborn: they only obey if they respect their master very much.
Education must be early and firm but without any brutality because this dog does not take well any unjustified reprimands.
Only a relationship based on respect and trust between the master and his dog makes it possible to obtain beautiful results with this breed.
Despite his vigilance, he never barks for nothing, which reinforces his efficiency during the guard.
Tendency to run away
Although he is no longer predatory, this watchdog is very lively and energetic. He needs several daily outings and if he does not get them, he will make sure to walk by himself given the opportunity.
Like many other dogs, if he is bored from a lack of activities, he can get destructive at home.
Greedy / Gluttony
Like every other dog, this watchdog enjoys his bowl and especially those treats given as a reward for his good deeds.
Traditionally, this dog was used for guarding. He was used in this capacity during the two World Wars by the German forces to keep an eye on the prisoners’ camps.
He is very protective of his family and his surroundings. Anyone with ill-intentions will be arrested by this dog.
The miniature version is more used to being a companion dog, but the other two larger varieties are very good watchdogs who can be very deterrent if necessary. The giant version is used to guard and defend.
Adopting this dog breed as your first dog can be a challenge due to his strong personality. It is essential that future adopters be aware of this race’s specific characteristics and that they are especially willing to invest time and money in his education.
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Schnauzer in a flat
This dog can adapt to a life in an apartment as long as all of his needs are fulfilled.
He can also live in the countryside, in a house with a garden where he will enjoy his role as a caretaker.
His robustness allows him to live indifferently inside or outside.
Need for exercise / Sporty
Energetic, and even athletic, whatever the variety, this watchdog needs at least two long daily walks, no matter if he lives in the city or in the country.
At home, activities that stimulate his intellect and olfactory abilities can also be offered to keep him active: games of intelligence, occupation, excavation, search for treats, hide-and-seek, etc.
He can also excel in many sports if you just train him regularly.
Travelling / easy to transport
The giant Schnauzer will of course be more difficult to carry than the medium and dwarf versions due to his size. Otherwise, if the Schnauzer puppy is accustomed from an early age to travelling with his masters, he will be able to follow them in all their travels.
Schnauzer and cats
This dog must live with felines from an early age to accept them. Since he is rather impetuous, his reactions may not be suitable to those of a rather quiet cat.
Schnauzer and dogs
Mainly the giant and medium varieties tend to misbehave in many situations. So you have to be vigilant and teach socialisation as soon as the puppy arrives home.
Schnauzer and children
This dog loves kids! He could spend his days playing with them since he enjoys their company.
Schnauzer and the elderly
The friendliness and joviality of this dog are qualities often very appreciated and sought by isolated people for example. In fact, he can be a good companion dog for masters of a certain age but his spending needs must never be neglected. The giant Schnauzer can be less suited to fragile and sedentary people.
The price of a Schnauzer varies according to his origins, variety (medium, giant or dwarf), age and gender. An average of £940 is asked for a dog registered with KC. Generally, the giant is more expensive than the other two varieties: dwarf Schnauzer and medium Schnauzer.
The average budget to support a dog of this size is between £20 and £50 per month depending on the chosen variety (dwarf, Medium or Giant).
The maintenance of this dog takes time, especially to correspond to his breed’s standards during exhibitions for example. His haircut should be done by a canine grooming professional. Mowing and epilating on certain surfaces of the dog's body are necessary.
Otherwise, weekly brushings are recommended to maintain the beauty and protective qualities of his hard coat.
Although he has an undercoat, his moulting periods are very moderate, or almost non-existent, especially if he is mowed and waxed regularly.
Nutrition of the Schnauzer
This dog prefers prepared dishes. He is very appreciative of household rations based on raw meat, cereals (full rice) and fresh vegetables.
But if his masters do not have the time or the knowledge to guarantee him balanced dishes, in the appropriate quantity, industrial food can also offer products of very good quality which will suit this dog.
Health of the Schnauzer
The lifespan is estimated at 13 years.
Strong / robust
Rather rustic, this dog is quite sturdy and enjoys a good longevity, except the miniature Schnauzer which is more fragile.
Like many dogs, it is necessary to pay attention to heat strokes and to take care of him by offering a space in the shade and constant fresh water.
These dogs, including the dwarf, are well protected from the cold and can live both inside and outside.
Tendency to put on weight
If he is well fed and he enjoys daily walks to eliminate the accumulated calories, there is no reason for this dog to suffer from overweight.
However, attention must be payed to dogs that live in the city environment which only have simple neighbourhood walks!
In Riesenschnauzer (Giant Schnauzer):
- coxo-femoral dysplasia
In the middle Schnauzer:
- Coxo-femoral dysplasia
In the Zwergschnauzer (miniature Schnauzer):
- Legg-Perthes-Calvé (bone necrosis) disease
- Porto-Systemic Shunt (blood does not get to the liver properly)