Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A Little History of the Schnauzer

Today I  thought I would tell you a bit about schnauzers as most people know about mini schnauzers or have at least seen one but not so many know there are actually 3 sizes of schnauzer: giant, standard and miniature.

Schnauzer type dogs go back to the Middle Ages but it was in the 19th century that the 3 distinct breeds of schnauzer were really developed.The original schnauzer was a German breed that was used to work with people driving cattle to market, with night watchmen patrolling the streets in the past and also to keep down vermin in homes, farms and yards. There is a statue in Stuttgart erected in 1620 of The Night Watchman with his Dog which is believed to be an early type of schnauzer. The dog is quite sturdy and would have been a bit like the middle size of schnauzer today which in the UK is just known as a 'schnauzer' but in the USA is called the 'standard schnauzer'. At shows, the standard and the miniature schnauzer in the UK are shown in the 'Utility' group which is for dogs who had a function or did a job of work in the past but now are not really used for that any more. In the USA the miniature schnauzer is in the Terrier group for showing.

This is a picture of a 'standard' schnauzer nowadays - as you can see they are much bigger and heavier than us minis! They weigh between 35-50lbs (16-23 kg) and are up to 20" in height. Most standard schnauzers are a pepper and salt colour.

The schnauzer was loved as a faithful companion in the past and peeps thought it would be useful if they could have even bigger stronger schnauzers to do guarding work and other jobs like that...and if they could have smaller friendly little schnauzers who would be happy to be companions for people who wanted a pet and who lived in apartments or small houses and did not have room or need of a big dog.

The giant schnauzer is a very big dog weighing 70lbs - 100lbs ( 32-45 kg) and standing up to 27.5" (70cm) . It is thought the black Great Dane or the Bouvier de Flandres dog may have been used to create the Giant Schnauzer and they are shown in the Working Dog group at dog shows and have been used as a herding dog in Bavaria and by the army and the police in several countries for guarding and protection work. The giant schnauzer is most commonly all black:

This is a giant schnauzer at the Fun Day the schnauzer club held last year - you can see how big he is next to our Aoife and the little white mini at the back.

It is believed that the miniature schnauzer was bred down to a smaller size using small dogs such as the affenpinscher. No wonder Crybbe and Aoife think they are so important :-) Miniature schnauzers can be seen in many colours but here in the UK the only recognised colours from the Kennel Club are pepper & salt (like me!) black; black and silver (like my boys Otto & Malfi) and just recently white has also been accepted. 

Malfi - one of my black & silver pups.

An interesting fact about our breed is that the name 'schnauzer' comes from a dog called Schnauzer who won the wire haired pinscher class at an international dog show in Hanover in 1879. Schnauz is German for muzzle (snout) and he got his name because of his lovely bearded muzzle! Some years later the schnauzer breed was born when the pinscher dogs were divided into two breeds - the smooth coated keeping the pinscher name and the rough-coated becoming Schnauzers! There are not thought to be any other breeds who are named after an actual dog :-) I hope you have enjoyed this little history of the schnauzer.


  1. Now this was interesting! I didn't know there were giant Schnauzers. Boy do they look big!

  2. Great info! Our daughter's mini is actually more of a toy size-either she was a runt or they are now breeding down the size to a smaller one-she is only ten pounds and the vet said she is so tiny compared to breed standards. I love the personalities but also realize you have to train the tendency to bark. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Very interesting. Thanks for all the information.

    We have a breed of working dogs here in Oz that all originally came from one named Kelpie. So they are known as kelpies. Didn't know that the Schnauzer originated from the name of a dog either.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

    1. That is interesting to know - maybe there are more breeds of dog in different countries that have taken the name of the original. Kelpie is a lovely name for a dog :-)

  4. do you find that any of the schnauzers you have ever had tend to have personalities more like the standard? Yuki and Rocket could not be more different in temperment. From what I've read, Yuki has the typical mini personalty. she's barky and feisty. Rocket on the other hand, only barks when he sees 'intruders' outside our home, people and birds, but for the most part he is not barky. Also he is very aloof with visitors or just people that aren't in his family. He will greet the person but then quickly take his spot next to me and just watch from a distance. When I did some reading on the standard these were two of many characteristic that Rocket had like the standard.

    1. Yes I know what you mean about the different temperaments. Ours have tended to be more like Yuki and a typical mini although Magic is less inclined to bark without a good reason. However the other thing is that the characteristics you describe with Rocket are quite like the affenpinscher too! They tend only to bark if someone is knocking on the door or they see what they think is an intruder in the garden and they are very much attached to their own family and pretty aloof with other people - not hostile but just not interested. So it could be that these genes could come from either breed. It is a fascinating subject!

  5. So much to know about Schnauzers! I have groomed a few but not spent too much time w them otherwise...though its very possible that one of my old foster dogs was part schnauzer! They seem like spirited and companionable folk!

  6. Wow your breed sure does have an intricate back story, Mum does think you have the BEST faces of any doggy (just dont tell anyone she said that!)


  7. That's a brilliant little history of our background, thanks Magic xxx

  8. Hi Magic,
    I loved your history lesson, thank-you!!! I didn't know there was 3 sizes, I thought only 2 sizes!! Thanks for your visit to my blog. I am really a dog person and have had a beautiful Weimaraner who I just lost on September the 19th!! I am still hurting big time from her lose.

  9. Hi magic!
    Wow, I did not know about such big schnauzers.
    I think I look like a mini schnauzer.

  10. Hi Magic, popped over to say Woof to ya, youz so gorgeous, Humom wantz one of you now :) Yeah a playmate. xxooxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  11. Love the info and the pictures :) Those are some big Schnauzer doggies!
    Maddy and Owen

  12. I love learning new things and didn't know there were three sizes
    of Schnauzer. I think small is beautiful and those big dogs are BIG!

  13. Very interesting post! Parental Unit's first dog when she was a child was a Mini Schnauzer she named "Benjie" - well before the movie star, Benji!

  14. When I hosted a giant one last 3 months ago I actually went searching about all of these infos at google. Also I remember you as most of your fur are same breed.
    They are lovely dogs and very sweet! I hope your fully back to normal health magic !

    All the best !


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