Schnauzer puppies are cute, cuddly and irresistible. But that adorable bundle of fur could grow up to be a different dog than you were expecting if you didn't know there are three types of schnauzers -- miniature, standard and giant -- all with different physical and behavioral traits.
The standard schnauzer originated in Germany and is known for its distinctive beard or moustache ("schnauze" means snout in German), with a wiry salt and pepper or black coat. The oldest of the three schnauzer breeds, this medium-sized, athletic dog is of the working class and is sweet and outgoing. However, standards require routine brushing and their coats should be stripped (removal of dead hair) at least twice a year.
The miniature schnauzer is the most popular of the three schnauzer breeds due to its smaller size, making it a perfect pet for city or country living. Minis have salt and pepper, black and silver and solid black coats and, like standards, wiry outer coats with a soft undercoat. They need to be clipped (or stripped, if shown) to stay neatly groomed, but they shed little, which makes them an ideal hypoallergenic choice.
The giant schnauzer is a larger, stronger and more rugged schnauzer, but not a giant breed. His coat is solid black or salt and pepper, and like standards and minis it too has the hallmark beard. A highly intelligent breed, giants are often used for police training. Unlike the other two breeds, giants definitely need a lot of exercise and especially thrive when they're given some task to perform. They too require regular grooming.
Always ask your breeder what breed of schnauzer you're getting. But if you don't use a breeder, you'll probably have to wait until your pup stops growing (usually between 6 months to a year) to determine your pup's breed according to its size measured at the shoulder. According to the American Kennel Club, standards measure 17 1/2 to 19 1/2 inches tall; minis, 12-14 inches; and giants 23 1/2 to 27 1/2 inches.
Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.