A Schnauzer is a dog breed type that originated in Germany from at least 14th to 15th centuries.The term comes from the German word for "snout" and means colloquially "moustache" or "whiskered snout" because of the dog's distinctively bearded snout. Initially it was called Wire-Haired Pinscher, while Schnauzer was adopted in 1879.
There are three breeds: the Standard, the Giant, and the Miniature. Toy and teacup are not breeds of Schnauzer, but these common terms are used to market undersized or ill-bred Miniature Schnauzers. The original Schnauzer was of the same size as the modern Standard Schnauzer breed and was bred as a rat-catcher and guard dog. The Giant Schnauzer and the Miniature Schnauzer were developed from the Standard Schnauzer and are the result of outcrosses with other breeds exhibiting the desirable characteristics needed for the Schnauzer's original purpose.
Standard Schnauzer (also known as Mittelschnauzer) are around 1.5 ft (46 cm) tall at the shoulder and weigh 30 to 45 lb (14 to 20 kg). They are in the group of working dogs, bred as multifunctional dogs to catch rats and other rodents, as livestock and guard dogs, and later they have also carried messages in times of war, helped the Red Cross and been police dogs. It is considered to have a common ancestry with German Pinscher as a wire-haired coated variant of the Pinscher breed, and was possibly crossed with black German Poodle and gray Wolf Spitz, to which influence is attributed black soft coat and salt-and-pepper wiry coat.Giant Schnauzer (Riesenschnauzer) are around 2 ft (61 cm) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 55 and 80 lb (25 and 36 kg).
They are working dogs that were developed in Swabia in the 17th century, once known as the Munich Schnauzer, originally bred to drive livestock to market and guard farms, and later used as police and military dogs. The cynologists believe that the Giant Schnauzer was developed independently through crosses of black Great Danes, Munchener German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Boxers, Bouvier des Flandres, Thuringian Shepherds, and the Standard Schnauzer.
Miniature Schnauzer (Zwergschnauzer) are around 1 ft (30 cm) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 14 and 20 lb (6.4 and 9.1 kg). They were developed since the late 19th century, and the cynologists consider that the Miniature Schnauzer is the result of crossing the original Standard Schnauzer with a smaller breed like Affenpinscher, and Miniature Poodle. The miniature schnauzer is classified as a utility (UK, Australia, New Zealand) or terrier group (USA, Canada), however, they are not related to the terrier group as do not have the typical terrier temperament, coat, shape of head and body.The American Kennel Club (AKC) approves salt and pepper, black, and black and silver as acceptable coat colors for a Miniature Schnauzer.
They are also bred in pure white or even particolored, but neither is approved by the AKC. In 2004, the Miniature Schnauzer accounted for 2.4% of proportion of purebred dogs registered by the AKC.