The Schnauzer is a German breed, which in the 15th & 16th centuries must have been in high favor as a household companion, for his portrait appears in many paintings of the period. A portrait of a Standard Schnauzer appears several times in the works of Albrecht Durer, an artist, between the years 1492 and 1504.
As far as can be determined, the Schnauzer originated in the crossing of the black German Poodle and the gray wolf spitz upon wirehaired Pinscher stock. From the Pinscher element derives the tendency to fawn-colored undercoat, and from the wolf, spitz inherited the typical pepper and salt coat color with its harsh wire character. We do not know how many years of breeding were necessary to establish the Standard Schnauzer, but we do know at least 50 years passed before the breed was somewhat fixed. Solid black Schnauzers, although fairly common in Europe, are not as popular as the pepper and salt in the United States.
German breeders have always classified the Schnauzer as a working dog. By using the Schnauzer as a rat catcher, they were able to keep stable or farmyard clear of vermin. Before WWI, Germans used the Schnauzer to guard carts of farm produce in the marketplace while the farmers rested themselves and their teams at inns. The German tradesman particularly liked the Schnauzer because of its medium size: they wouldn’t take up much space on the wagons, and yet were strong enough to do the job of guarding. Breeders in the land of their origin hold the Schnauzer second to none for sagacity and fearlessness. Owing these characteristics, “the dog with the human brain” (as their owners proudly call them) were used by the army during the war as dispatch carriers and Red Cross aides; they were also employed in Germany in police work.
The first Standard is said to have been shown at Westminster Kennel Club in 1899 and, after WWI, the Standard Schnauzer became widely known in this country.
Once a part of the terrier group, the Standard Schnauzer was reclassified to the working group in 1945, where it remains today.
In 1925 the Schnauzer Club of America, first called the Wirehaired Pinscher Club, was formed. In 1933 the Standard Schnauzer Club of America was organized and formed.
Like other breeds, the Standard Schnauzer has its official breed standard. The Standard is judged to the standard set by the Standard Schnauzer Club of America and, is judged from “head to toe” on appearance, size, proportion, and substance.
Compiled by Judy Houskeeper