A schnauzer (plural schnauzers) is a German dog type that originated in Germany in the 1400s and 1500s. The term comes from "Schnauze," the German word for snout, because of the dog's distinctly furry muzzle. The type consists of three breeds: the giant, standard and miniature schnauzer. The original schnauzer was of the same size as the modern standard schnauzer breed, and was bred as a rat catcher, yard dog and guard dog. The miniature schnauzer is the result of crossing the original schnauzer. The word Schnauzer also means moustache in German.
Friendly and loving, Schnauzers become part of their families and get along well with children. They are protective , energetic and they will also alert members of the household to any potential danger. The breed is very intelligent but can have a mind of their own, so it’s good to start training early and provide daily exercise.
The Schnauzer’s beard and leg hair should be brushed often to prevent mats from forming. The body coat should be "stripped" (loose, dead hair is plucked out) at least twice a year. Some schnauzers have wiry hair which is easier to shave but may have fuzzier soft hair which is harder to shave.
Miniature Schnauzers are around one foot (30 cm) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 5 and 13 pounds (5 to 7 kg). They have high energy levels, are very intelligent and are often salt and pepper or black. They can also be silver, white or even parti (multi) coloured. They can live outside, but love to spend time with their owners. They make excellent pets as they are loyal companions and are rarely aggressive toward strangers, although they are quick to sound the alarm at a perceived threat.
Standard Schnauzers are around 1 1/2 feet (46 cm) tall at the shoulder and weigh 26 to 37 pounds (12 to 17 kg). They are in the group of working dogs. Standard schnauzers have been used to catch rats and as guard dogs. They have also carried messages in times of war, helped the Red Cross and been police dogs.
Giant Schnauzers are around two feet (60 cm) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 75 and 85 pounds (30 to 35 kg). They also are working dogs. In history, giant schnauzers helped herd cattle and were also guard dogs at breweries.
Encyclopedia of Animals