Mischief and mayhem, snoozing and schmoozing---it's all in a day's work for a Schnauzer. This perky pup has been keeping things lively since the Middle Ages.
The Schnauzer's ancestors were vermin hunters, watch-dogs and all-around farm dogs in Germany. The size now known as the Standard Schnauzer was the original, but very early on crosses were made to bigger dogs to create the Giant Schnauzer. In the 1800s, crosses to smaller breeds, like the Affenpinscher, were made to create the Miniature Schnauzer.
In the early 1900s, Schnauzers were the most popular dogs for guarding farmers’ carts at market. The Miniature Schnauzer has always been the most popular size with pet owners.
True to their vermin-hunting heritage, Schnauzers love to hunt and kill toys, so be sure to get tough toys. They also are very inquisitive, and do best with regular mental challenges. Life is never boring with a Schnauzer!
Miniature and Standard Schnauzers require no special nutrition other than a good quality balanced food. Giant Schnauzers have a somewhat greater predisposition to hip dysplasia. Feeding a diet formulated for large breed puppies during the first year of life will help decrease the possibility of hip dysplasia. These diets allow the puppy to grow more slowly, while still achieving the same adult size---just a little later. Joint supplements, such as glucosamine chondroitin supplements, are also important for protecting joint health throughout life, especially in active dogs.
Home coat care consists of twice-weekly brushing, taking special care to comb through the longer furnishings of the beard and legs. Bathe as needed using a deodorizing or color-enhancing shampoo. For dogs with itchy skin, choose an avocado oil or oatmeal shampoo.
Check your Schnauzer's ears weekly. Apply an ear cleanser any time the ears start to accumulate dark secretions. Some ear wax is healthy; a lot is not. If you must apply ear medication, use the ear cleanser first to remove thick secretions that would block the medication from reaching the surface of the canal.
Brush the teeth daily.
Clip the nails every two weeks or so using a medium- or heavy-duty dog nail clipper.
Schnauzers hate to slow down for things like age-related arthritic changes, but sometimes they need some help. Besides any intervention recommended by your veterinarian, a soft cushion to lie on and glucosamine chondroitin supplements added to the diet can help soothe aching joints, and keep him as young in body as he is in spirit.