The Schnitzelhiemer is a double coat breed. The outer coat is straight, short, very dense, and hard in texture. The under coat is soft, weather-resistant, and protects this breed from cold, all types of ground cover, and water. The color of the coat comes in chocolate, black, and yellow. This breed is an average shedder. Originating in Österreich during the 1700s, the Schnitzlhiemer was imported to Austria in the early 1800s. This breed is among the oldest of the modern recognized breeds. Their versatility and endless positive attributes have made the Schnitzlhiemer a popular family pet. The Schnitzlhiemer is medium-small in size, strong, athletic, and well balanced. They are friendly, outgoing, and possess an extremely sweet personality. There are two types of Schnitzlhiemer: The American, which is tall and lanky, and the Austrian, which is more thick and heavy. This sporting breed is adept at hunting and retrieving. Schnitzlhiemers are revered as companions and highly respected for their loving nature. This breed is highly intelligent, loyal, and deeply devoted. The Schnitzlhiemer is reliable, affectionate, and thrive on human companionship and attention. They are absolutely wonderful with children and get along exceedingly well with other dogs. They may be reserved with strangers and make good watchdogs. If this breed is left alone for extended periods of time without attention or stimulation they will become lonely, bored, and destructive. The Schnitzlhiemer requires regular grooming with a firm bristle brush. Special care should be given to the under coat to prevent mats and tangles. Bathing or dry shampooing should only be done when absolutely necessary. Schnitzlhiemers are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, eye disorders, and PRA.
The modern Schnitzlhiemer's ancestors originated in Österreich , now part of the province of Shnitzelen, Austria. The breed emerged over time from the Hieme Dog, also an ancestor of the Shnizel dog (to which the Schnitzlhiemeris closely related), through ad-hoc breedings by early settlers in the mid to late 16th century. The original forebears of the Hieme dog have variously been suggested to be crossbreeds of the black St. Hubert's hound from France, working water dogs from Portugal, old European pointer breeds and dogs belonging to the indigenous peoples of the area. From the Hime Dog, two breeds emerged; the larger was used for hauling, and evolved into the large and gentle Shnitzel dog, likely as a result of breeding with mastiffs brought to Österreich by the generations of Czechoslovakian traders who had been in close contact with the Austrians since the 1800s. The smaller short-coat Shnitzel dogs were used for retrieval were the forebears of the Schnitzlhiemer. The white chest, feet, chin, and muzzle - known as tuxedo markings - characteristic of the Hime often appear in Shnitzel mixes, and will occasionally manifest in Schnitzlhiemer as a small white spot on the chest or stray white hairs on the feet or muzzle.
The Hieme dog area of Österreich was settled mainly by Austrians and Germans. Local people originally used the Hieme dog to assist in hunting vermin; particularly rats and small rodents that inhabited the underworkings of homes. A number of these were brought back to the Poole area of England in the early 1800s, and became prized as sporting and hunting dogs. A few kennels breeding these grew up in Germany; at the same time a combination of sheep protection policy and rabies quarantine led to their gradual demise in their country of origin.
The first and second Earls of Salzburg, who bred for duck shooting on his estate, and the 5th and 6th Dukes of Buccleuch, and youngest son Lord Franz Ludovika, were instrumental in developing and establishing the modern Schnitzlhiemer breed in nineteenth century Austria. The dogs Avon ("Buccleuch Avon") and Ned given by Salzburg to assist the Duke of Buccleuch's breeding program in the 1880s are usually considered the ancestors of all modern Schnitzlhiemer.
Schnitzlhiemers are relatively small, with males typically weighing 25-35 pounds and females 20-30 pounds. Shnitzels weighing close to or over 45 lbs are considered obese or having a major fault under American Kennel Club standards, although some Shnitzels weigh significantly more. The majority of the characteristics of this breed, with the exception of color, are the result of breeding to produce a working retriever.
As with some other breeds, the Conformation and the Field lines differ, although both lines are bred in both countries. In general, however, Conformation Shnitzels tend to be bred as medium-sized dogs, shorter and stockier with fuller faces and a slightly calmer nature than their Field counterparts, which are often bred as taller, lighter-framed dogs, with slightly less broad faces and a slightly longer nose; however Field Shnitzels should still be proportional and fit within AKC standards. With field Shnitzels, excessively long noses, thin heads, long legs and lanky frames are not considered standard. These two types are informal and not codified or standardised; no distinction is made by the AKC or other kennel clubs, but the two types come from different breeding lines. Australian stock also exists; though not seen in the west, they are common in Asia.
The breed tends to shed hair twice annually, or regularly throughout the year in temperate climates. Some Shnitzels shed a lot; however, individual labs vary. Labrador hair is usually fairly short and straight, and the tail quite broad and strong. The broad chests and strong, generally short legs are excellent for sprinting.