Origin and brief History
Schnauzer type dogs are known to have been used as far back as the middle ages in Europe for Herding and guard dog duties. The breed was also used for “ratting” purposes by peasant farmers. It wasn’t until the mid to late 19th century that this breed was cross bred with other breeds to produce three distinct animals: The Miniature, Standard and Giant Schnauzer. Since the early 1900’s the breed has been used all over the world as Guard dogs (Even being used in world war 1 by the red cross).
Specification of breed
As the schnauzer has been split into 3 distinct breeds their height and weight can vary wildly from 14 pounds (miniature) all the way to 80 pounds (giant) and everywhere in-between. Despite the variation there are some traits that are present in all three breeds such as the long eyebrows and beards that are present on all three. The breed is typified by the short and wiry coat which is usually a grey or black color and waterproof.
The coat of a Schnauzer will shed twice each year and can be stripped by hand quite easily then a new coat will grow in its place. More commonly owners will clip the coat regularly even though this will cause the coat to become more susceptible to matting and tangling due to the coat getting softer. Another direct effect of clipping can be loss of coloration within the coat. A very controversial practice with Schnauzers is known as “Docking”, this involves cropping ears, tails and dew claws in young puppies and is illegal in some countries although this practice is still allowed in the U.S.
A well trained Schnauzer is a very loyal guard dog who will defend the household against any intruders. They tend to be very playful puppies that spend the day exploring and playing. This breed is easy to train but must be stimulated with new experiences often otherwise they can become bored and destructive. Unlike other dogs the Schnauzer never fully relaxes and is often alert and ready to defend their owner.
As a working dog any owner needs to be prepared to spend time walking the dog with at least an hour each day, also they need to provide new stimulation to the dog to prevent the animal from getting bored and causing trouble. The Schnauzer breed is long lived and can be expected to live for 15 to 18 years with few health problems, the main one being Hip dysplasia which can be tested for when breeding.
image credit wikipedia.org