Schnauzer Behavior


shutterstock_448434178Thinking about adding a dog to your family but aren’t sure if you can handle one?  This article will give a basic rundown of a schnauzer’s personality to see if it is what you are looking for in your new companion.  Just like people, each schnauzer has its own personality; each of them is a unique individual.  However, there are certain traits they all tend to have, some more pronounced than others.


Some schnauzers are laid back while others are a little more high strung; some are friends to all but some do not approve of strangers.  You also have to keep in mind a lot of their personality comes from how you raise them, but for the most part, schnauzers are a well-adjusted breed.

Schnauzers think themselves big rough, tough guard dogs and do well living in a house type residence where they are able to perform their guarding duties they are so proud of.  You might assume they are good for apartment living since they are smaller, but many small dogs, including schnauzers, are actually very yappy at the slightest sound and rather annoying.  That’s not to say they won’t do well in apartment living, they are just on the protective side.

They aren’t always the friendliest to other dogs either; it all depends on how much socialization they receive throughout their lifetime.  If you keep your dog properly restrained on a leash, this should not pose an issue other than a little barking when out for a walk.

Schnauzers are considered very good family dogs.  They can handle the heavy petting of toddlers, hugs and the screaming of kiddos.  They are sturdy but gentle and make a great addition to any family.


Just like with any breed, some schnauzers can be a bit clingy.  Their neediness can range from severe–you won’t have time to yourself, even when you take a trip to the bathroom—to indifferent—they need their own space too.  If you have a very bonded dog, separation anxiety is a concern to be aware of.  They can become destructive, constantly barking, whining, and just causing chaos when left alone.  But if you are looking for that full time companion to take everywhere with you, this dog is for you.  Not all of them are so needy though, some do just fine when they are home alone; again, a lot of it has to do with how you raise them.

Temperature wise, schnauzers can tolerate hot and cold temperatures.  This is particularly nice when you plan on taking your dog traveling with you.  Their coats are usually kept fairly short or you can allow them to grow out, it is all about your preference of how you want your fur-child to look.

Trainability and Exercise Needs

Schnauzers, while adorable, can be a little head strong.  They are very intelligent creatures and while you think you are training them, they are actually training you.  For example, they may understand what ‘sit’ means and they know what they should be doing, but they just stand there locked in a stare down with you waiting to see what they get out of it.  It is amusing and frustrating all at the same time.  To help with this issue, always having a reward ready once they perform the command is a good approach.

They are considered a ‘high energy level’ breed, meaning they need a good dose of daily exercise and mental stimulation.   This also translates to them being very playful which is always fun.  They also tend to have a high prey drive since they are considered a working dog/terrier relative.  This means your dog is most likely going to chase frogs, squirrels, lizards, rabbits, and any other small creature in the vicinity.  Consider your daily exercise habits when thinking about a breed to add to your family.

While you may not walk numerous miles a day or anything close to that, just going on a normal paced walk and letting your pup sniff as he or she pleases works for mental stimulation.  While you may just want to do your walk and be done with it, if your pup stops to smell something, let them get their fill; let them make the decision to move on, do not pull them away from what they are smelling (unless it is potentially harmful).  While we just see them sniffing what appears to be grass for endless minutes, they are actually trying to figure out what or who made the intriguing smell.  There are also all different types of toys and games for dogs to keep them mentally stimulated inside the home as well.


As it was stated earlier, a lot of your dog’s personality comes from how they are raised.  When you get your new addition, socialization with other dogs and other people is a must!  Many places offer puppy classes where you bring your pet to learn how to interact with other dogs.  Take your dog on walks to crowded places, let anyone and everyone pet your pup, even keep extra treats handy you can give to the stranger to give to your dog.  Your puppy will start to associate strangers with a reward, not something they should bark at.  It is also imperative to ‘mess with’ your puppy.  Mess with their paws, their ears, roll them over, open their mouth to look at their teeth, etc.  This will help when it comes time to go to the veterinarian.  Dogs that grow up being well adjusted to being handled makes for a less stressful trip to the vet; this makes it easier for all parties involved.

Keep in mind, every dog is different.  There are spunky ones, stubborn ones, cuddly ones, needy ones, and every other type you can imagine, all of which are cute!  All that matters is that you love your new addition.  We want the best for you and your pet, so making an educated decision about if a schnauzer is right for you is the best thing you can do for the both of you.  Sooner than you think possible, their unique personalities will make their way into your heart and you won’t be able to imagine your life without them!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Terriwith2arfs

    September 20, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Yes and no! I have 2 Schnauzers. Ever since he was a tiny roly poly baby (still too young to take home) he would waddle over to everyone and try to crawl into their laps. His same litter sister (who I also got) was very stand offish and only bonded with one person (not me when I’d come to see their progress). She wanted nothing to do with anyone but the one person. My boy is very independent – he wants attention, but when he’s done, he’s done. My little girl would velcro herself to me if she could (& I would love that too). My boy is STUBBORN! I’ve never had such a stubborn little furry child! Ever! My girl is so obedient, she’ll do anything you ask. Now, I love them both SO MUCH! I don’t care what their little personalities are like & they are equally beautiful, smart and well, perfect. So I do not believe it’s all nurture. No way! I’ve seen it for myself and they were raised by me (single mother) and given the exact same lifestyle (a pretty darn good one). I think nature always overrides nurture!

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