A Schnauzer is a dog breed type that originated in Germany.
There are three different types of Schnauzers: the Standard, the Giant, and the Miniature.
The name Schnauzer from the German word for “snout” and means colloquially “moustache”, or “whiskered snout”, because of the dog’s distinctively bearded snout. Initially it was called Wire-Haired Pinscher, while Schnauzer was adopted in 1879.
The Standard Schnauzer is the prototype from which the other two were bred.
It originated in Southern Germany in the 14th or 15th century. In those days tradesmen and farmers travelled the countryside with heavily laden carts selling their goods and produce at markets.
They needed a medium size and versatile dog which would be strong enough to guard the cart, but small enough to easily fit in that same cart.
These practical men also wanted a good ratter to keep down the vermin back at home.
As far as can be determined they were bred from the Gray Wolf Spitz, the German poodle (pudel) and the Wirehaired Pinscher.
Standard Schnauzers are from 43 to 51 cm (17 to 20 in) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 14 and 26 kg (30 and 58 lb). They are in the group of working dogs, bred as multifunctional dogs to catch rats and other rodents, as livestock and guard dogs, and later they have also carried messages in times of war, helped the Red Cross and been police dogs.
Giant Schnauzers are from 60 to 70 cm (23.5 to 27.5 in) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 25 and 48 kg (55 and 104 lb). They are working dogs that were developed in Swabia in the 17th century, once known as the Munich Schnauzer, originally bred to drive livestock to market and guard farms, and later used as police and military dogs.
Miniature Schnauzers are from 28 to 36 cm (11 to 14 in) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 4.5 and 8.2 kg (10 and 18 lb). They were developed since the late 19th century, and the cynologists
consider that the Miniature Schnauzer is the result of crossing the original Standard Schnauzer with a smaller breed like the Affenpinscher, and Miniature Poodle.
All three varieties have the distinctive whiskers, mustache and eyebrows.
They are generally either a salt and pepper color, black, or white, but they can be brown also.
Some owners shave their Schnauzers down the back while the hairs on their legs are kept long and curly, but this changes the coat color, so show Schnauzers especially will have their back coat “stripped” by hand, to encourage the salt and pepper pattern to emerge.
It was traditional to have the tails docked and the ears cropped to give an alert appearance.
Cropping and docking are now illegal in the European Union, Australia, and New Zealand, and are becoming less common elsewhere.
The Schnauzer’s beard and leg hair should be brushed often to prevent mats from forming.
The breed is of above average intelligence and can be independent minded, so early training and diverse daily exercise are recommended.
The Miniature Schnauzer is the most popular Schnauzer breed, and remains one of the most popular worldwide, primarily for its temperament and relatively small size.