If you like Schnauzers of any size (and I do), you have the Standard Schnauzer to thank. This breed got its start in Germany way back in the 14th or 15th century. If Shakespeare had ever met a Schnauzer, he indeed would have included more than one dog in his plays. The Bard put only one dog, a commoner (mutt) named Crab, in his plays. Can you guess which play that was? The answer is below, but no fair peeking until you read the entire article.
The Standard Schnauzer began its career as a farm dog in Germany hundreds of years ago. It is the forerunner of both the Miniature and Giant Schnauzer. It is a loyal, smart, and affectionate family pet that is great with kids and protective of its loved ones.
Standard Schnauzers Come In Different Colors
The AKC lists only two color patterns in the breed standards for show competition: salt and pepper or pure black. However, some Schnauzer not bred for the show can be all white or black and silver.
There are also some variations in how you treat their ears. They will have floppy ears unless the ears are trimmed or “cropped.” Same for the tail, which will be long without cutting or “docking.” If you want either procedure done, the breeder should dock a few days after birth, and the ears cropped at 7 to 12 weeks.
Standard Schnauzers, Cropped and Uncropped Ears
Standard Schnauzers Are Good Athletes
The medium-sized Standard Schnauzer, 30 to 50 pounds, is a robust dog that can compete in agility, obedience, and herding competition. There were bred to be versatile farm dogs and performed tasks from being ratters to sheep.
The Standard Schnauzer is adept at agility trials. Agility trials are a simple obstacle course over which the dog will run through the owner/handler’s direction. The owner/handler from touching the dog, the breed loves the challenge and stimulation and the various jumps he or she can do. It is a great exercise that provides them with both mental and physical stimulation.
Although they grew up on the farm, they do well with city life as long as they get plenty of exercise. They are smart dogs and can be are easily trained. During wartime, Schnauzers served as message dogs and medical aides. They also participate in search and rescue missions.
Standard Schnauzers Love To Play
Playing a simple game of fetch may not be challenging enough for the Standard Schnauzer. They love challenges and appreciate a game of hide and seek. The dog loves to solve problems and will enjoy a challenge.
To keep your Standard happy, he will need more than a casual stroll. The dog needs a brisk walk regularly or a nice backyard to romp in. If you need help staying fit, a Standard Schnauzer makes a great workout partner.
Standard Schnauzers Are Healthy
Standards are healthy as a rule and can live up to 16 years, although the average is between 12 to 14 years. Their teeth seem to be a bit more of a problem for them than for other breeds. Tartar builds up quickly and, if not treated, can lead to tooth loss and other serious problems. It could even shorten their life.
Standard Schnauzers can get the usual dog bacterial and viral infections such as parvo, rabies, and distemper. These infections are usually preventable through vaccination.
You must control their diet or quickly become overweight, especially if they do not get enough exercise. It sounds like that is a problem for all animals, especially me.
Where Schnauzers Came From
So, I asked my Miniature Schnauzer, “Where did you come from?” I didn’t get an answer. Then I tried, “Woher kommst du?” and she quickly answered, “Ich komme aus Las Vegas.” Apparently, she was unaware that her 100th great-grandparents were from Germany.
The Miniature Schnauzers were developed by cross-breeding the Standard with smaller breeds, including the Affenpinscher, Miniature Pinscher, and Poodle. The Giant Schnauzer development is unclear, but several larger breeds like the Great Danes, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and others were introduced into the mix. To me, it is remarkable how much the appearance is the same for the three sizes considering how many other breeds were used.
My dog, probably like yours, has a life of leisure. Not so much back in the 15th century. Dogs were not just pets but were expected to work for a living in those days. Schnauzers got their start as farm working dogs, just about everybody lived on farms, and they earned their keep by catching rodents and herding livestock. They stayed on the farm until the 1800s, when the breed became popular in German dog shows.
Black Giant Schnauzer
Schnauzers made their appearance in the United States around the turn of the century (that’s the turn from the 1800s to 1900s for the younger readers). They became a relatively popular breed and the Miniature Schnauzer and, at one time, was in the top 10 most popular breeds recorded by the AKC. Over the past decade or so, the Miniature has lost some popularity and is now listed as the 19th most popular breed. The Standard ranks quite a bit lower at 89th, and the Giant is on the list at 78.
Answer to Shakespeare dog question:
In the play “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” there is a dog named Crab. Unfortunately, Crab does not have a speaking role.