Standard Schnauzer Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Standard Schnauzer Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
The AKC Standard says of the Standard Schnauzer, "His nature combines high-spirited temperament with extreme reliability."
The Standard Schnauzer's keen expression is what you may notice first. Some are "harder tempered," projecting boldness, seriousness, and vigor, while others are sweeter and more mellow.
Lively indoors and out, the agile, athletic Standard Schnauzer loves to play games and needs brisk walking every day and a chance to run several times per week.
Mental exercise (such as advanced obedience or agility) will satisfy his highly developed intelligence. Without structured activities, he will find his own amusements -- and his choices may change the appearance of your house or yard.
Most Standard Schnauzers are aloof with strangers, but with proper socialization are sensible and discriminating about who is a friend and who is not. Many Standard Schnauzers are aggressive with other dogs of the same sex.
One of the smartest of all breeds, and one of the best problem-solvers, the Standard Schnauzer is clever, strong-willed, and persistent. Unless you establish yourself as the alpha (number one), he can be demanding. Yet owners who know how to lead and who use upbeat training methods will find him eminently trainable.
This sensitive dog seems always aware of your moods and likes to be physically close to you and watching you.
If you want a dog who...
- Is conveniently-sized and sturdy, yet also elegant, graceful, and light on his feet
- Has a wiry coat that doesn't shed too much, and a whiskery face with a wise expression
- Plays hard and thrives on vigorous athletic activities
- Makes a keen watchdog and an effective deterrent -- stands firmly on the ground with boldness and confidence
- Is very intelligent – can learn almost anything
A Standard Schnauzer may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
- Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough or left alone too much
- Suspiciousness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
- Aggression toward other animals
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Regular clipping and trimming of the wiry coat
A Standard Schnauzer may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Standard Schnauzers have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Standard Schnauzer to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
More traits and characteristics of the Standard Schnauzer
If I was considering a Standard Schnauzer, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Standard Schnauzers are an active breed. They want and need daily opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. Otherwise they will become bored, which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing.
- Providing enough socialization. Most Standard Schnauzers have protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be suspicious of everyone, which is difficult to live with.
- Animal aggression. Many Standard Schnauzers are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Some have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures.
- The strong temperament. The best Standard Schnauzers are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal. But they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Some Standard Schnauzers are willful and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
In other words, you must teach your Standard Schnauzer to respect you. A dog who respects you will do what you say and will stop what he's doing when you tell him "No." Read more about Standard Schnauzer Training.
- Grooming. Standard Schnauzers require clipping and trimming every few months. Breed purists may say that schnauzer coats should never be clipped because it makes the coat softer and more prone to matting. Instead they advocate hand-stripping (each dead hair pulled out so a new one can grow in its place). But in my opinion, stripping is too time-consuming and uncomfortable for the dog. Many groomers won't do it anymore. For pet dogs, I think clipping is just fine.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.