The schnauzer is a sturdy, wire-haired dog developed in S Germany. There are three separate breeds of schnauzer distinguished by their size. The standard schnauzer is a medium-sized dog whose existence in Germany dates back to the 15th cent. It stands from 17 to 20 in. (43.1?50.8 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 27 to 37 lb (12.3?16.8 kg).
The giant schnauzer, developed at the end of the 19th cent. by crossing the standard schnauzer with various native sheepherding and farm dogs and later the Great Dane, stands from 211/2 to 251/2 in. (54.6?64.8 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 65 to 78 lb (29.5?35.4 kg). The miniature schnauzer, also developed around the end of the 19th cent., resulted from the crossing of standard schnauzer to affenpinscher. It stands from 12 to 14 in. (30.5?35.6 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 13 to 15 lb (5.9?6.8 kg).
The coat of all three breeds may be pepper and salt, silver, or black in color. The standard schnauzer, listed by the American Kennel Club in the working-dog group, was originally used as a ratter, farm dog, and guardian. Later, both it and the giant schnauzer, also a working dog and bred especially for driving cattle, were used in police work. The miniature schnauzer is classified in the terrier group and has been raised primarily as a pet.