Miniature Schnauzers were originally bred to be ratters and guard dogs on farms. They were developed in the mid-to-late 19th century in Germany by crossbreeding the Standard Schnauzer with smaller breeds, such as the Miniature Pinscher, Affenpinscher, and perhaps the Poodle or Pomeranian. In Germany, he's known as the Zwergschnauzer (zwerg means "dwarf").
The earliest record of a Miniature Schnauzer was a black female named Findel, born in October 1888. In 1895, the first breed club was formed in Cologne, Germany, although it accepted several types of dogs.
The traditional colourings are pepper & salt but the breed is now found in black, black & silver and even white.
The Miniature Schnauzer is considered a Terrier by the AKC, the Standard Schnauzer is classified as a member of the Working group and we cover this further later.
Miniature Schnauzers are sturdy and don't look like toy dogs by any stretch of the imagination. They are usually 12 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder. Weight ranges from 11 to 20 pounds.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a confident and bold dog that defies it's size. There are videos on YouTube of this little dog defending families against brown bears. Like all Schnauzers they are an alpha breed and I have never seen a mini role over when greeted by another dog. They are keen to let you know when a person approaches your property but consistent early training is required to prevent this getting out of hand
Standard Schnauzers were originally bred to be ratters, guard dogs, and all-purpose dogs on German farms. Their versatility, medium size, protective nature, and love of family make them an excellent companion dog breed.
Squarely built, these dogs have stiff, wiry coats that shed little with minimal "doggy" odor. A hallmark of the breed is the face furnishings, which include arched eyebrows and a bristly mustache and beard. The high-set ears are carried erect when cropped but are otherwise V-shaped, carried forward with the inner edge of the ear close to the cheek.
Standard Schnauzers typically carry themselves with a great deal of self-importance. They are agile and athletic, and excel in performance sports such as agility, tracking and herding. Highly versatile, they're good hunters and have been used as retrievers both on land and in the water. They're also excellent herders of sheep and cattle, one of their original jobs as an all-around farm dog.
With their working dog heritage, they also make excellent watchdogs. Standard Schnauzers are territorial, quick to bark at any disturbance. They have a deep bark that sounds as though it should come from a much larger dog and are vigorous in carrying out their watchdog duties.
Their personality is sometimes mischievous, always clever, and inevitably dignified. They learn quickly and want to please, which makes them great therapy dogs. And when socialized with children, they make an excellent and affectionate companion for the younger members of the family.
The Giant Schnauzer was the last of the Schnauzer breeds to be standardized, although it was likely developed several decades before the Miniature Schnauzer. The earliest reports of dogs being described as Giant Schnauzers come from 1832 near the areas of Bavaria and Württemberg. It is unclear whether these dogs were a separate breed or just a population of very large Standard Schnauzers. These early large Schnauzers were also known as Oberlanders or Muncheners. Some say that these dogs were descendants of a breed known as the Bear Schnauzer. This may have been a distinct breed but is more likely to have been a Bavarian variant of the Old German Shepherd Dog, which was found in many local varieties throughout southern Germany before standardization.
By the turn of the century, the Giant Schnauzer was common throughout Bavaria, and Munich in particular. This breed had at that time become a highly regarded police dog. Many German authorities considered the breed superior to any other at the task, quite impressive considering the other major German police dogs were the German Shepherd Dog, Doberman Pinscher, and Boxer. Whether used as a drover, guard dog, or police dog, the Giant Schnauzer was bred almost exclusively for working ability.
The Giant Schnauzer is a massive animal. Both males and females typically stand between 23½ and 27½ inches tall at the shoulder, although most males are slightly taller than most females. Healthy breed members weigh between 75 and 100 pounds, with males tending to be slightly heavier.
We want to help
We have had many breeds over the years from small terriers to golden retrievers. We got out first standard 3 years ago after doing hours of research and visiting several breeders. We went into having a standard with our eyes wide open. We took our boy to his first puppy training class when he was very young and we were full of enthusiasm. The very experienced trainer took one look at Stanley (our standard) and said , "you will have your hands full". She was right! He is the most strong willed and intelligent dog I've ever met.
Within weeks he was rolling over, bringing toys by name, counting by barking and doing all the tricks you see dogs doing on the internet. This was impressive but once off the lead on the park I would spend hours running after him and apologising to other owners as he jumped all over their dogs. He was never aggressive but completely fearless. If a dog attacked him he would simply run in circles and then go back for more.
We kept the training going (not classes in the end) and he is now the most brilliant of dogs. He loves the children and their friends but will growl and protect on command if you need him to. He will play on the park with everyone and his Kong frisby for hours. Everyone loves him and wants to meet him. He is big for a standard and plays with my friends giant who is also very young.
He is very different to both minis and giants in temperament in my opinion. I met a lady in a nearby village with a mini, a standard and a giant all on leads together. She told me that if she had the standard first she wouldn't have had the other two. Stanley has never damaged anything and goes on holiday with us several times a year to Norfolk, The Lakes and Cornwall. He loves the beach and runs into the sea but doesn’t swim properly like our retrievers did. He doesn’t shed hair .
We were told the standard changes at three years. Our boy did and became brilliant off the lead. He now ignores most dogs or says hello and then comes straight back. Keep the training consistent, never get annoyed (its pointless) and then be patient for the puppy brain to pass.... it will. We are now looking for a mini companion but not a pup necessarily.
We will share our experience in more detail and breakdown the different techniques we have used to train our boy.