Lesser Known Dog Breeds - The Snorkeling Schnauzer



The Snorkeling Schnauzer is one of the most powerful swimmers on the canine world, it is also a good diver, capable of reaching  depths of 30m and able to hold its breath for up to five minutes.

This most specialized of Schnauzers was bred by the Austro-Hungarian navy to help rescue submariners in peril. The dogs were trained to work either individually or with divers, and their capacity for hard work and tireless courage were respected far beyond the reaches of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Careful selective breeding gradually extended the length of the muzzle, until the dogs were able to swim fully underwater, using their unique doggy snorkels. Due to their size, the dogs were never carried on the submarines that they helped service, but they were taken to sea onboard regular warships, as well as being kennelled in ports. The dogs skill and bravery helped many submariners and sailors, even those of rival nations, as the dogs weren't trained to differentiate between friend and foe.

With the end of the First World War and the collapse of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the Snorkeling Schnauzer breeding program came to an end and it was left to enthusiasts to maintain the breed. The end of hostilities did result in the breed extending its reach beyond the confines of Austro-Hungary, and it soon began appearing in Western Europe and then later North America


The breed later became popular with caving enthusiasts as its unique attributes lent themselves well to the subterranean world. It was because of this association with caving that the breed came to the attention of noted independent naturalist Lionel Peabody. Peabody was carrying out an expedition to see whether there was any truth to the reports of alligators in the sewer system of New York. For years there has been reports of sightings and much speculation as to what might be lurking in the tunnels beneath the streets, but no one was really sure whether there was anything to it or if it was simply an urban myth.



Peabody thought that a Snorkeling Schnauzer would be the ideal companion during his search, and so ended up borrowing Zoltan, a fine representative of the breed, from a friend of his. Peabody's pet honey badger, Reggie, initially disapproved and it was not until Reggie was rescued by Zoltan that he had cause to change his mind.


Peabody remained tight-slipped over whether he actually managed to find any alligators, rumor has it that he did indeed find some of the reptiles but as they were doing no harm, decided to leave them where they were. Zoltan, inspired by the experience went on to work with another noted naturalist, Hans Von Algae - Europe’s finest pond dipper. Zoltan accompanied Von Algae on many successful dips and was the co-discoverer of the many-legged purple swimming centipede.