A Schnauzer (/ /, SHNOW-zər, SHNOWT-sər, German: [ˈʃnaʊtsɐ] (listen); plural Schnauzer; lit. 'snouter') is a dog breed type that originated in Germany from the 14th to 16th centuries. The term comes from the German word for "snout" and means colloquially "moustache", or "whiskered snout", because of the dog's distinctively bearded snout. Initially it was called Wire-Haired Pinscher, while Schnauzer was adopted in 1879.
There are three breeds: the Standard, the Giant, and the Miniature. Toy and teacup are not breeds of Schnauzer, but these common terms are used to market undersized or ill-bred Miniature Schnauzers. The original Schnauzer was of the same size as the modern Standard Schnauzer breed and was bred as a rat-catcher and guard dog. The Giant Schnauzer and the Miniature Schnauzer were developed from the Standard Schnauzer and are the result of outcrosses with other breeds exhibiting the desirable characteristics needed for the Schnauzer's original purpose. By the VDH and FCI Schnauzer is placed in "Group 2, Section 1: Pinschers and Schnauzers", with "Nr. 181, 182 and 183" in "Section 1.2: Schnauzer" dedicated to all three Schnauzer breeds.
In a 2004, population genetics study of 85 purebred dogs, which used cluster-based methods with four identified genetic clusters, all three Schnauzer breeds structurally mostly clustered within "recent European descent, largely terriers and hounds" cluster, with less percent within "working breeds" and "mastiff-type breeds" clusters, while the "Asian breeds/ancient hounds and spitz-type breed" cluster was present among Giant Schnauzers. In a 2007 Collie eye anomaly study of 638 dogs from 132 distinct breeds, with five specimens of each Schnauzer breed size, in the population structure of the microsatellite analysis they mostly clustered in the "hunting group" rather than the "mastiff/terrier group". In a 2010 GWAS study using more than 48,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms of 915 dogs from 85 breeds, Standard and Giant Schnauzers made a separate phylogenetic tree branch clustered among "modern" breeds (i.e. "working dogs"), and not the "small terrier"/"mastiff-terrier" cluster, sharing genetic closeness with the Doberman Pinscher, the German Shepherd Dog and the Portuguese Water Dog.
 In the most recent 2017 WGS study of 1,346 dogs from 161 breeds, Standard and Miniature Schnauzers made one separate phylogenetic clade of 23 clades and formed a unique broader clade in which they share common ancestry with spitz-type breeds such as the American Eskimo Dog, the Pomeranian and the Volpino Italiano, as well as the Schipperke, the Papillon, the Brussels Griffon and the Pug. Although the Giant Schnauzer shares a haplotype with the other two Schnauzer breeds, it made a phylogentic node in a separate clade, sharing common ancestry with the Black Russian Terrier, the Rottweiler and the Doberman Pinscher. In another 2017 WGS study researching the genetic variants for the development of short tails among dog breeds, the sampled (Miniature) Schnauzer and Rottweiler have "short tail phenotype caused by the unknown genetic factors" and "are predicted to have developed short tail independently".
The breed is of above average intelligence and can be independent minded, so early training and diverse daily exercise are recommended. Based on Stanley Coren's book The Intelligence of Dogs (2006) ranking methodology, the Miniature ranked 12th, Standard 18th, and Giant 28th out of 140 breeds within 79 ranks on the ability to learn and obey new commands i.e. working and obedience intelligence. The first two were grouped among "excellent working dogs", while the Giant among "above-average working dogs". Additionally, experts ranked the Miniature as 5th among top 15 breeds at watchdog barking ability, the Giant as 6th among top 13 breeds at effective guard ability, while in adaptive intelligence all three breeds showed good problem-solving abilities. They are protective and energetic, and will alert members of the household to any potential danger, although its watchful nature can lead to persistent barking. To avoid annoying the neighbors, dog owners should make every effort to curb excessive barking through training.
Schnauzers have distinctive beards and long, feathery eyebrows. They are generally either a salt and pepper colour, black, or white, but they can be brown also. Some owners shave their Schnauzers down the back while the hairs on their legs are kept long and curly, but this may change the coat colour, so show Schnauzers especially will have their back coat "stripped" by hand, to encourage the salt and pepper pattern to emerge. It was traditional to have the tails docked and the ears cropped to give an alert appearance but in many countries it is now illegal. For working dogs that are ratters, these procedures don't give the rat anything to grab on to when being attacked and therefore cannot fight back. Cropping and docking are now illegal in the European Union, Australia, and New Zealand, and are becoming less common elsewhere. The Schnauzer's beard and leg hair should be brushed often to prevent mats from forming.
Schnauzers have a double coat. The top or guard coat is wiry and water-resistant, while the undercoat is soft. Stripping removes the undercoat and stimulates the hard top coat to come in fuller. The undercoat may be "stripped" (loose, dead hair is plucked) at least twice a year. A stripped Schnauzer will have a hard wiry coat as described in the breed standard. A shaved pet will lose the wiry top coat and only exhibit the soft undercoat. Schnauzers shed less often than most dogs.
The breed today known as the Standard Schnauzer, one of Europe's supreme all-around farm dogs, has a lineage going back to at least the 15th century... the Miniature Schnauzer resides in the AKC Terrier Group with other diminutive rat-catcher breeds. But the Mini is unique among AKC terriers in that he has no British blood in his veins... Alone among terriers, the Miniature Schnauzer is wholly a product of Continental stock: Standard Schnauzer, Affenpinscher, and Poodle. This explains that though the Mini was born to the traditional work of small terriers, his personality is quite different. Not for him is the dour independence of the Scottish Terrier or the fiery temperament of the Irish Terrier. Rather, he is an overtly friendly dog, spirited but obedient and willing to please.
During the long centuries before mechanized agriculture, the world's farmers strove to breed versatile dogs to use as all-purpose helpers... A creation of the Middle Ages, the breed came of age in the verdant farm country of Bavaria. Like the world's other barn-and-stable breeds, multitasking Schnauzers made their bones as ratters, herders, guardians, and hunters... During the birth of Europe's organized show scene in the 1870s, the 'Wire-haired Pinscher' proved to be a dashing show dog. By the turn of the century, fanciers began exhibiting the breed as the Schnauzer ('whiskered snout').
There has never been any breed or variety of Schnauzer that was considered a Toy Schnauzer. Anyone representing their dog as a Toy Schnauzer is attempting to breed small Miniature Schnauzers which could lend itself to whelping and other problems due to their small size.
The Giant Schnauzer was once known as the Munich Schnauzer as the breed was developed around Munich by cattle farmers who wanted a strong cattle drover. Using the Standard Schnauzer as a foundation, the cattlemen added Rottweiler, Great Dane, sheepdogs and perhaps Bouvier to the mix and the result was the Giant Schnauzer
These rugged working dogs, bred up from the Standard Schnauzer, were used to drive cattle from farm to market. They also served as formidable guard dogs for farmers, merchants, and innkeepers. After railroads rendered cattle drives obsolete, Giants found work as European police and military K-9s.
It is thought that the miniaturisation was brought about by the infusion of Affenpinscher blood. The Miniature variety was first officially recorded in 1888.
Miniature Schnauzers are hardy, merry little dogs that were first bred in Germany in the late 19th century. They are descendants of Affenpinschers and Standard Schnauzers.
Most experts believe that the Miniature Schnauzer is the result of crossbreeding Poodles and Affenpinchers with smaller Standard Schnauzers. If this is correct, the addition of these other two breeds with their positive traits of vigor and intelligence certainly improved the result.
The Miniature Schnauzer is derived from the Standard Schnauzer and is said to have come from mixing of Affenpinschers and Poodles with small Standards