Introduction to the Standard Schnauzer

"The dog with the human brain" is the catch-phrase of the Standard Schnauzer, and while something of an exaggeration, it does illustrate the usually remarkable mental abilities of the breed. But if it became necessary to choose a single word to describe the Standard Schnauzer, that word would have to be moderation. Words such as "balanced," "medium," "moderate," are found throughout the written standard of the breed, and describe a dog of medium size: working structure, balanced proportions and few excesses.

Temperamentally, the Standard Schnauzer is protective, not aggressive; independent, not rebellious; spirited, not flaky; friendly, not a nuisance; active, not agitated; humorous, not (usually) silly. He is versatile and capable of doing many different jobs. He has been used as a carriage dog, stable dog, dispatch carrier, ratter, retriever, herding dog, search-and-rescue dog, and is the smallest breed used as a police dog in his native Germany.

He is at his best, however, as a companion and personal protection dog. He is alert to his surroundings and aware of any change in his environment; he is a devoted family dog and prefers people to other dogs. These traits are indispensable in a guard dog. He will protect home and family with all the resources at his disposal, and for a dog of his medium size, these resources are formidable.

He is sturdy and robust, and amazingly strong for his height, yet his medium size makes him small enough to fit comfortably into most any environment. He is totally reliable even under great stress, and has an uncanny ability to differentiate between inadvertent trespasser and malevolent inturder. Introduce him to your friends and they become his friends. React to an unknown or untrusted visitor and he is immediately on "red alert." He seems to sense the attitude of his owner and react accordingly. His reaction is usually to hold rather than attack, and unless provoked, has been known to keep an intruder cornered for quite a long time. Provoke him, however, and his reaction is a force to be reckoned with.

He is good with children, usually appointing himself their protector and guardian. He is sturdy enough to indulge children in their rough and tumble games, and enjoys being in the middle of the action.

His combination of intelligence and spirit can make him a handful, and he requires training and discipline, but he has a great sense of dignity and the training must be consistent, fair and equitable. Harsh punishment or being ignored are not only cruel, they are counterproductive; the Standard Schnauzer will find ways to be stubborn or amuse himself if treated in this manner. He reacts much better to praise for positive behavior and will work readily and happily if trained in this manner. He must be made to understand, however, that it is his owner who is the pack leader" or he will claim that title for himself.

The American Kennel Club has an informative video on the standard schnauzer and the Standard Schnauzer Club of America has informative brochures as well as grooming guides and videos available for purchase.

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