There's a schnauzer sized for every lifestyle. Whether you're single, married, with or without kids, and whether you live in a small apartment, a suburban house or on a farm, you can find the right type of schnauzer to suit your needs. These distinguished-looking dogs originated in Germany, where they served as vermin control.
If you live in an apartment, the miniature schnauzer is probably the best type of this breed for you. At maturity, he stands between 12 to 14 inches high at the shoulder. Mini-schnauzers' coloring ranges from solid black to silver and black to salt-and-pepper. The coarse, wiry hair requires minimal grooming. He's a smart, obedient little pet who also serves as a good watchdog. These little guys are friendly and want to please their people.
This is the original schnauzer, the ancestor of the smaller and larger versions. The adult standard schnauzer stands between 17.5 and 19.5 inches high at the shoulder. He's a great companion and family dog, known for being good with kids. He also excels as a guard dog -- no one gets near your premises without him knowing it. The standard's coat colors are solid black or salt-and-pepper. The beard on his face gives the breed its name -- in German, "schnauze" means "beard."
If you like big dogs, the giant schnauzer fills the bill. He's basically a large version of the standard schnauzer, standing 23.5 to 27.5 inches high when full-grown. Although smart and energetic, this brand of schnauzer is very territorial, so he's not a dog for the timid owner. Extremely protective, he should have obedience training so he learns right from wrong. His coat colors are the same as the standard schnauzer's. The giant requires a great deal of exercise, and it's definitely not a dog for a couch-potato owner.
Common schnauzer health issues depend on the type of dog. Giant schnauzers might suffer from hip dysplasia, an orthopedic problem found in many large breeds. Also like other large breeds, they are prone to gastric torsion, or bloat, a potentially fatal condition of the gastrointestinal system.
All types of schnauzers are prone to skin disease, including the so-called "schnauzer bumps," which is akin to canine acne. Other skin diseases include alopecia, or hair loss, and atopic dermatitis, allergic skin reactions. Miniature schnauzers, like other small dogs, might have dental issues because their 42 adult teeth are crammed into a small mouth.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.