The standard is the oldest of the three schnauzer breeds, originating in Bavaria in the 15th century. Highly intelligent, this medium-sized, sturdy dog was the working companion of the common man: a drover’s dog, a rat catcher and a guardian. They were first imported in numbers to the USA in the 1920s. Now primarily family companions, their versatility is still in evidence. In addition to agility, obedience and tracking, they excel in diverse activities such as bomb detection, search and rescue, and therapy. The breed is a capable herder of stock and is eligible to compete in AKC herding tests. They have wiry coats and are either black or salt-and-pepper in color.