The dog with the eye-catching hairy beard and moustache is the Schnauzer, whose name comes from the German word for ‘snout’ or ‘moustache’. The Standard Schnauzer, the original of three breed varieties, comes from southern Germany and has been depicted in art as early as the 15th century. The Miniature and Giant Schnauzers were developed later and recognised as separate breeds around 1900.
The Standard Schnauzer is a medium-sized dog measuring 46-48 cm and weighing 16-18 kg. The Miniature Schnauzer is 33-35 cm tall and weighs 7-8 kg, while the Giant Schnauzer is 60-70 cm tall and weighs 41-46 kg.
Schnauzers are sturdy, muscular dogs whose distinctive appearance is due to the bearded, moustachioed snout and the long hair on the eyebrows and legs. The most common coat colours are salt and pepper, solid black and, occasionally, white, while the Miniature also comes in black and silver. Their harsh, wiry outercoat needs grooming at least twice a week.
The Schnauzer is a smart, reliable breed displaying great strength and endurance, but can also be stubborn. In return for your love and devotion, your Schnauzer will be loyal to you for the rest of its life. The Schnauzer likes children but may not get on well with other pets and will be suspicious of strangers, making it a good watchdog and family pet.
The Miniature is said to have the best temperament and is the most popular of the three Schnauzer breeds, while the Giant is commonly used in Europe for police and security work.
This active dog loves to play, needs a daily walk and is generally a good traveller. Miniatures only need a small outdoor space while Standard and Giant Schnauzers need a good-sized yard.
The Schnauzer is generally a healthy breed, whose most common problems are behavioural in nature. Heart failure is the most common cause of death in older Schnauzers. This dog has a long lifespan. Standards live approximately 13 years, Giants up to 12 years and Miniatures around 15 years, while healthy Schnauzers may well live up to 16-17 years.