Showsight Presents the Standard Schnauzer

Though coats, size and head types vary, the Standard Schnauzer’s structur- al ideal is closest to these breeds. Spe- cifics include: body that is well-boned and muscular without coarseness, arched neck that flows smoothly into a short back, shoulder and forearm of equal length forming a 90 degree angle, straight backline sloping slightly down- ward from the withers to the tail, pelvis set at 30 degrees, a moderately high tail set, well angulated rear in balance with the front, compact cat feet. Proportion- ately, height equals length measured from forechest to rump and depth of chest equals the distance from brisket to ground. As a working dog, it’s important to cover the maximum distance with the least output of energy, the benefit of which is good endurance. A smooth, long-strided, ground-covering trot is the gold standard in judging and the ultimate measurement of structural soundness. Viewed in profile, there should be no prance in front or exag- gerated high kick of the hocks in back. Instead the feet stay relatively close to the ground, with maximum extension front and rear. The topline remains firm at the trot with no dip, roll or roach. Viewed fore and aft, the legs maintain a straight column of support and as the speed increases, the feet converge to the centerline of gravity. Though Standard Schnauzer move- ment and body structure is similar to other square built working breeds, the Schnauzer has some unique qualities that make him distinct. Most impor- tant among these are coat, head, size, and temperament.

The hallmark of the breed is the Schnauzer’s stiff, wiry coat and his signature eyebrows, beard and mus- tache. The coat is tight, hard, wiry and thick, composed of a close undercoat and harsh outer coat, which stands up slightly off the back. Furnishings on the legs should also have a harsh texture, and though a bit longer than the jacket should not be overly profuse; no cot- ton candy on a stick looks. The jacket is hand plucked in show dogs with some trimming on the head, throat and rear and scissoring of the furnishings and brows. The two allowable colors are black with a black undercoat and pepper and salt with either a gray or tan undercoat. The unique aspect of the pepper and salt color is that most hairs of the top- coat are banded black and white. The resulting shade, dark to light, depends on the width and placement of those black color bands and in judging, one shade is not considered superior to another. The overall shade of color does not matter so long as the coat texture is wiry and the majority of the hairs are banded black and white or as we say, pepper and salt. Serious coat faults are a lack of banded hairs, soft coat texture and tan or rust color in the guard hairs. The head is another distinguishing feature of this breed. In size it should be in balance with the body, with the length about one-half the length of the back from withers to tail. Looking down on the top of the head it appears rectan- gular in shape due to the mustache and whiskers on the muzzle. Structurally it’s shaped like a blunt wedge that ends at the big black nose. The top skull is

rectangular, flat and unwrinkled and is both equal in length and parallel with the top of the muzzle. Eyes are dark brown and oval and hint at a bold, alert intelligence. Cheeks are muscular but flat, muzzle has good fill and there is a full compliment of teeth that meet in a scissors bite. Ears are set high and car- ried erect when cropped, folded for- ward at skull level and lying along the side of the cheek if not cropped. Size is important enough to rate a disqualification in this breed. The ide- al height is 17 ½ "–18 ½ " for bitches and 18 ½ ”–19 ½ ” for males. Individuals mea- suring more than ½ inch under or over that range should be disqualified. When weighing faults, tempera- ment also rates top billing: “Greatest consideration should be given to devia- tion from the desired alert, intelligent, spirited, reliable character of the Stan- dard Schnauzer.” Sound structure and breed type are important in judging this breed, but in the big picture, noth- ing trumps temperament. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Arden Holst and her husband Earl have bred, shown and loved Standard Schnauzers for forty years. Their Pep- per Tree line has produced numer- ous champions and performance titlists that include three AKC ranked #1 dogs, Specialty and Best in Show winners. Arden has served the Stan- dard Schnauzer Club of America in various positions including six terms as President, fourteen years as breed columnist for the AKC Gazette and editor of the SSCA’s Source Book III . She currently chairs the Judges Education Committee.


Powered by