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Standard schnauzer standing in a recently cut field.

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Working group (American Kennel Club)
  • Height — 18.5-19.5 inches (male) 17.5-18.5 (female)
  • Weight — 35-50 pounds (male) 30-45 pounds (female)
  • Coat length & texture — Wiry and tight medium-length coat
  • Coat color — A standard schnauzer has only two colors: black or pepper and salt, with no markings
  • Exercise needs — Average
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Often
  • Life span — 13-16 years
  • Temperament — Loyal, affectionate, clever, and territorial
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — Germany

Standard schnauzer fun facts 

  • Schnauzers were once deployed as soldiers. During World War I, the Red Cross used schnauzers as dispatch carriers to deliver messages quickly.
  • They were previously known by other names. Schnauzers were originally called Wire-haired pinschers. As dog shows became popular in Europe, the breed ended up being renamed for their whiskered snout.
  • Stanley is a popular choice of schnauzer name. According to the AKC’s extensive library of dog names, Stanley takes the cake for the most popular dog names for schnauzers in the dog name finder.
Three black standard schnauzers sitting on a bale of hay

Standard schnauzer temperament and characteristics 

Standard schnauzers are incredibly versatile and adaptable pets with lots of good qualities. Their strong build and fearlessness make them the perfect hiking or camping companion. At the same time, their affectionate and loyal temperament makes them a snuggly couchside companion. Schnauzers are absolutely devoted to their families, and are known to bond with every member of their pack. Both playful and loving, they’re great with young kids. Because standard schnauzers are so adaptable, they’re well suited to a first-time dog parent.

Schnauzers need an outlet for their energy, so a house with a yard is the ideal environment. Still, schnauzers can adapt to almost any living arrangement as long as they’re given a daily opportunity for exercise.

The breed can be trained to have good canine social skills and get along well with other animals with proper dog parenting. Pup parents may run into a problem with their schnauzer’s guard-dog tendencies since they’ll be apt to protect you (even if you don’t need it). They’re known for being cat-adverse, although dedicated dog owners can certainly train their very smart schnauzer to play nice.

Common standard schnauzer health problems 

These purebred dogs are generally very healthy and don’t usually suffer from major health problems. Look for dog breeders associated with the American Kennel Club’s Merit Program to make sure your schnauzer has been properly screened. A responsible breeder will be aware of any genetic conditions and potential problems. With any dog, there are risks for developing certain conditions, and the breed does have a few things you should look out for.

  • Hypothyroidism . This condition is thought to be genetic for all sizes of schnauzer. Insufficient levels of thyroid hormone result in this condition, which is typically managed with medication. Look for signs like lethargy, heat-seeking, and hair loss.
  • Hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia in dogs is a skeletal condition that occurs when hip joints develop improperly and is not curable. There are a variety of methods to address hip dysplasia, including physical therapy, medication, and sometimes hip replacement.
  • Retinal dysplasia . This canine eye disease occurs when the retina develops abnormally. Quality breeders will screen schnauzer puppies for their condition prior to adoption. The condition eventually results in blindness and is incurable; however, it’s not painful for your dog.
  • Bladder stones. These stone-like mineral formations in the bladder cause inflammation and infection. Depending on the case, your vet may give medication, suggest diet changes, or recommend surgical removal.

Cost of caring for a standard schnauzer

Standard schnauzers are considered rare in the U.S., making them a more expensive dog to adopt. A purebred puppy can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. They’re healthy, and pup parents can expect their highest maintenance fee to be on grooming.

It’s always a good idea to have health insurance on your pup, so you’re not blindsided when surgery or medication is required. Pet owners who sign up their pets early will get the greatest benefit. Alternatives for a healthy breed like the schnauzer might be creating a budget or a pet savings account.

Standard schnauzer puppy laying in grass with their toy

History of the standard schnauzer

The standard schnauzer originated in Germany, where they were used as helping hands around the farm and at home. Schnauzers were enlisted to protect their families as they went back and forth to the markets, as well as serving as guard dogs of the home. They were also relied on to rid the farmyard of vermin. Their distinguished beard and mustache were left to tangle and mat, providing protection from being bitten by their prey.

Originally known as Wire-haired pinschers, they later became known as schnauzers as a reference to their muzzle, from the German word “schnauze.” These purebred dogs were brought to the United States in the early 1900s, and shortly thereafter, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Standard Schnauzer Club of America was formed in 1933.

Other types of schnauzers

Miniature schnauzer. A smaller version of the schnauzer that emerged later on, miniature schnauzers are much more popular dog breeds in the USA. Like their larger counterparts, they’re affectionate, loyal, and protective of their people.

Giant schnauzer. These gentle giants can get up to 85 pounds but keep the same high energy as their mini and standard-size counterparts. They’re all the best parts of the standard schnauzer in a larger package; loyal, territorial, loving, and highly intelligent.

Caring for your standard schnauzer

Adopting a new schnauzer can be overwhelming. There are plenty of things to think about when you bring a dog home. You’ll need to choose a vet and make your first trip,  as well as schedule your dog’s vaccinations. We can even help puppy-proof your home and prepare for things you might not think about (like teething). No one likes to think about losing their new dog, but FidoAlert provides a free Fido ID and tags so you’re prepared just in case..


The standard schnauzer is high-energy, and requires a moderate amount of exercise, plus a high level of mental stimulation. Unlike some high-energy breeds like the Australian shepherd, who can go all day, schnauzers are great pets for people with a moderately active lifestyle. Schnauzers require about an hour of exercise per day, although they certainly wouldn’t turn down some extra activity. Their strong build makes them excellent walking or hiking companions. Schnauzers are also low-maintenance in their environmental needs and can tolerate hot and cold climates well.

Standard schnauzer outside in the grass


The first thing many people think of when they hear “schnauzer” is the very serious eyebrows and distinguished beard and mustache. Not only will their facial hair require regular upkeep, many dog owners opt for fashionable cuts and styles. Trimming a schnauzer beard is solely a matter of preference, but keeping it tamed will help prevent matting.

Schnauzers have incredibly dense, medium-length coats with a characteristically wiry texture. Their short hair needs to be brushed several times a week at minimum. Schnauzers’ wiry coats require hand stripping to preserve the natural color and texture of the coat. Using clippers on a schnauzer can leave a soft exposed undercoat that won’t repel dirt or water as it should, so dog owners should familiarize themselves with additional resources like hand-stripping tools and techniques.

As always, if there’s any uncertainty on how to groom your Schnauzer, it’s a good idea to seek help from a professional groomer.

While a standard schnauzer is considered a better choice for those with allergies, no breed is truly hypoallergenic. Allergic reactions occur due to the protein found in a dog’s dander, hair, and saliva. Dogs that are considered hypoallergenic simply shed less and thus have a smaller effect on those with dog allergies.

Diet and nutrition

Schnauzers don’t have any special dietary requirements, although they’ll need a high-quality diet rich in lean protein to support their high energy. If you choose dog food for your adult schnauzer, look for something with 18% animal protein, as well as 5% fats from fish or chicken.

👉Puppies have different feeding requirements. Your schnauzer puppy needs about 22% of their diet to be protein and 8% to be fat. 

Refer to your vet for food portioning, but generally speaking, schnauzers need one to two cups of daily food servings.

Pup parents should know that certain foods are highly toxic to schnauzers and should be avoided at all costs. We all know not to let your dog eat chocolate, but it could be especially dangerous for your schnauzer. Also, avoid bad foods for dogs like apricots, apples, plums, cherries, and peaches because your schnauzer is unable to tolerate the cyanide contained in these foods.

Training your standard schnauzer

Good news – if you were looking for a breed that’s relatively easy to train, you’ve got the right puppy. Standard schnauzers are highly intelligent and eager to please. It’s always recommended to train dogs with a positive yet firm hand, and this dog breed will respond well to upbeat dog training.

There are a few things you should know before you begin training. First, begin as early as possible with your schnauzer puppy to prevent bad habits from forming and create the best possible dog-owning experience. Second, because schnauzers are so smart, they’ll sniff out your bluff in a heartbeat. For that reason, don’t give any commands that you don’t plan to enforce, or your schnauzer will quickly learn that obeying is an option. Lastly,  keep your commands to twice maximum so your clever pup will take you seriously. With proper training, you can have a very well-behaved schnauzer.

Standard schnauzer standing on a rock outside

Breeds similar to the standard schnauzer

Not quite sure that a standard schnauzer is the right dog for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds to determine the best match.  Keep in mind that none of the below are low-energy or low-sensitivity dogs. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Airedale terrier. Like the schnauzer, Airedale terriers were once used to hunt vermin in Europe. They are very similar to the standard schnauzer in size and bear some resemblance in appearance as well. They shed slightly more and require even more frequent grooming than the schnauzer, but otherwise share many common traits like temperament and adaptability.
  • Scottish terrier. The Scottish terrier is a small size, more comparable to the miniature schnauzer. They’re quick, alert, highly affectionate, and bark less. They’re also more well-suited to be a good apartment dog.
  • Black Russian terrier. The Black Russian terrier is a much larger dog and more comparable to a giant schnauzer in size.  Playful and loyal, they’re also guard dogs. They require more frequent bathing and are more prone to play-bite, chew, and herd than the schnauzer, but are still great with young children.

Frequently asked questions

Do schnauzers have a favorite person?

Schnauzers are highly affectionate and loving and will develop relationships with every member of their family, though it isn’t uncommon for the breed’s bond to be a little stronger with one person.

What do schnauzers like to do?

They need a lot of mental stimulation, so your schnauzer will love dog sports, games, and learning new tricks.

Do schnauzers have separation anxiety?

Schnauzers can be left alone but will get bored if they’re alone for too long. Due to their high intelligence, boredom can often lead to mischief.

Are schnauzers the smartest dogs?

Standard schnauzers are considered an intelligent breed, but aren’t often considered among other “most intelligent” breeds like the border collie or poodle.

Do schnauzers shed a lot?

Standard schnauzers don’t shed much. They’re considered hypoallergenic, meaning they’re a better choice for allergy sufferers. No dog breed is truly hypoallergenic, some just shed and drool less than others.