The Standard Schnauzer was a German breed first imported to the United States in significant numbers after World War I. Its roots can be traced back to 15th Century Bavaria where it was primarily a farm dog and useful companion of the working classes. This hearty, medium sized dog kept the rats out of the barn, guarded the farmyard and peddlers’ wagons and helped drive livestock to market. Though in existence for hundreds of years, it was not developed as a pure breed until the mid 1800s in Germany. It was referred to simply as the Schnauzer or Wirehaired Pinscher in Germany as it was the original from which were developed the Miniature Schnauzer and later, the Giant Schnauzer. Standard Schnauzers received outside attention during World War I when they were used as guard dogs by the German Army and dispatch carriers by the Red Cross.
As Schnauzers were imported into the U.S. in the 1920s, pressure built for establishing an American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized breed club devoted to them. The Wirehaired Pinscher Club of America was founded in 1925 and included fanciers of both Standard and Miniature Schnauzers. Their first national specialty show was held in 1927, the day before the Westminster Kennel Club show. It is interesting that the winner at that first national specialty was a Standard Schnauzer from California. He was multiple Best in Show winner, Ch. Claus v Furstenwall, imported from Germany by Mrs. Nion Tucker.
An AKC ruling that clubs may represent only one breed dictated the 1933 split of the national Schnauzer club into the Standard Schnauzer Club of America (SSCA) and the American Miniature Schnauzer Club. Though the SSCA was a national club, in its early years it had few members and its activities were primarily centered in the Midwest. Nevertheless, a small, dedicated core of members wrote a new Breed Standard (1938) and pressured the AKC to move the breed from the Terrier Group to the Working Group (1945) where it remains today.
Gradually, SSCA membership increased and SSCA affiliated local Standard Schnauzer clubs formed in areas across the U. S. One of those clubs was the Standard Schnauzer Club of Southern California (SSCSC), which was organized in 1947. Its first recorded event was an AKC sanctioned match held May 16, 1948.
The Standard Schnauzer Club of Southern California is one of eight member clubs of the Standard Schnauzer Club of America. The purpose of the club is: To encourage and promote the breeding of purebred Standard Schnauzers in keeping with the standard of the breed as approved by the American Kennel Club; to popularize the Standard Schnauzer with the general public by serving as a clearinghouse for information and news concerning the breeding, raising and showing of Standard Schnauzers; to urge club members and breeders to accept the standard of the breed as approved by the AKC as the only standard of excellence by which Standard Schnauzers shall be judged; to do all in its power to protect and advance the interest of the breed by encouraging sportsman like competition at dog shows and obedience trials, to conduct sanctioned and licensed specialty shows and events under the rules of the AKC.
The SSCSC Specialty Show is one of the main club sponsored events of the year. It is a showcase for the breed that draws exhibitors from areas throughout the West. It affords an opportunity for spectators to learn about the breed and for breeders to assess the quality of their dogs. The first SSCSC Specialty was held in Santa Barbara in 1949. The annual SSCSC Specialty is currently held in conjunction with the Summerfest circuit held in Ventura in July.
The SSCSC sponsors other events too, many educational in nature. These include grooming and handling workshops, herding, agility, tracking and obedience classes, fun matches and Canine Good Citizen tests. Speakers are sometimes featured at club meetings, and, they cover topics as varied as judging dogs and canine first aid. The club also sponsors a rescue program for Standard Schnauzers and it donates to organizations, such as the Canine Health Foundation, that benefit all dogs.
Though club activities are generally geared to education and dog shows, sometimes they are designed solely for the purpose of members getting out with their Schnauzers. A morning at the beach and lunch at a dog friendly cafe are just two of the just-for-fun SSCSC sponsored activities. Though members live throughout the West, club events are held in the Greater Los Angeles area.