Standard Schnauzers are either salt-and-pepper or black in color, and are known for exhibiting many of the “ideal” traits of any breed. These include high intelligence, agility, alertness, reliability, strength and endurance. This breed of dog has been very popular in Europe, specifically Germany where it originated.
Distinguished by their long beards and eyebrows, Standard Schnauzers have a stiff and wiry hair coat on the body similar to that of other wirehaired breeds. Their hair will perpetually grow in length without properly shedding, but contrary to popular belief Standard Schnauzers are not hypo-allergenic and they all shed to some degree. The more wiry – and correct and weather-resistant – the coat, the more that the coat will shed, though the hair dropped from a single dog is said to be nearly unnoticeable.
Twice a year, when most other breeds of dog are shedding their coat, a Schnauzer’s coat will become dull and relatively easy to pull out and is said to have ‘blown’. At this point the coat can be stripped or pulled out by hand and a new wire coat will re-grow in its place. Stripping is not painful for the dog and can be performed at any stage of hair growth although it is easier to do when the coat is ‘blown’.
The smallest of the working breeds, the Standard schnauzer makes a loyal family dog with guardian instincts. Most will protect their home from uninvited visitors with a deep and robust bark. Originally a German farmdog, they adapt well to any climatic condition, including cold winters. In general, they typically are good with children and were once known in Germany as “kinderwachters”. If properly trained and socialized early to different ages, races, and temperaments of people, they can be very patient and tolerant in any situation. Like other working dogs, Standard Schnauzers require a fairly strong-willed owner that can be consistent and firm with training and commands.
Overall, the Standard Schnauzer is a very healthy breed. The 2008 health survey done by the Standard Schnauzer Club of America revealed that roughly only 1% of dogs surveyed had serious health issues. The two major hereditary within the breed are: hip dysplasia and hereditary eye disease. Both problems can be tested for and identified in breeding stock before they pass the trait onto the next generation.