harriet jan 2013HALLOWEEN


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Llamas are a lot of fun!  Here is Maria and Jen walking a few of our girls in the parade.

If you have an interest in a llama give us a call.

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This is Skye (white mini) and his best friend Hartley:  If you are interested in a white mini let us know.

Very Proud owner of her 2 boys.

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Minis For Sale





                         IVORY AND JULIA MINIS OCT 5 2013

Mini pups for sale at Skansen.  Please contact skansen for more information.

(707) 795-7070

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By Lisa Hawes, featured in Beards & Browse, 2012 Vol. III

You don’t have to own a Skansen bred Giant Schnauzer, or any Giant at all for that matter, to appreciate a visit to Skansen Kennel. With so much history, and success behind it, there is much to be learned from a large operation like this one. Most of us will remain relatively small breeders, and therefore as a result, there are simply some goals we will never be able to accomplish in a lifetime. World famous larger scaled kennels like Skansen, Gloris, Gently Bon, Stablemaster or Ingebar’s, definitely have the advantage, but I am sure all will tell you none of them, as of yet, have bred the perfect dog.

Skansen Kennel was founded in Sweden in 1950 by Sylvia Hammarstrom, and then moved to Sebastopol, California in 1964, where Sylvia has been continuously breeding top show, family, pet and companion Schnauzers for the last 48 years. The kennel is located on 100 acre ranch only hour north of San Francisco in Sonoma County. The Sonoma Valley is a very beautiful place, and I know I am going back there as soon as I can!

Skansen’s driveway is a long way off public road, you first drive up a narrow long tree lined (and bumpy) unnamed road where you will pass a small horse farm. If you are lucky you might spot some wild turkeys which were made famous in the story Sylvia told at the Nationals during a nutritional seminar she was asked to speak at. If you missed that one you really did miss out on a hilarious tale. I am sure you can find it on You Tube somewhere.

As you’re driving down the road to the kennel, and just after you pass the big sign welcoming you, the first that you see are the Llama’s, and lots of them! They are amazing looking creatures, dare I say, almost regal. I had never seen any like the fancy ones that Skansen Kennel breeds and shows.

At the fork in the road there stands a large wooden sign, a trio of Schnauzers which beckons the visitor to keep driving to the left. After that you will finally be on the kennel’s driveway. (The other way would take you to the main residence.)

The kennel’s driveway is another long road, up a windy hill. As you travel up this road, on your left, several Giant pairs greet you with enthusiastic barks. All are housed in a multitude of well treed and roomy pens. On your right, a herd of Giant youngsters greet you; their pen is about an acre or more in size! Just as your car climbs the final hill, you pass a charming old farmhouse on the left, which as it turns out is the main office. You have just arrived into the main parking area, which is right in the middle of all the action!

There were many first impressions for me when I arrived. I will list them in no particular order.

As we pulled in, the sun was just going down, a silhouette person came out of the office, with her free and easy gait, I assumed it was a young lady walking towards us. This person was wearing work clothes and had her hair pulled up, which gave the impression of someone young. She had headphones hanging loosely around her neck, work boots, and blue jeans. She looks fit, tanned and happy. I don’t know how old Sylvia Hammarstrom is now, but I know she isn’t a teenager, she looked amazing.

She greeted us, and told us to go have a look around and then we would go out for dinner. It was wonderful; we saw Giants, Standards, Mini’s and more Llamas.

There were a couple of things that surprised me, first was there was no overpowering smell of urine, which I was prepared for as I have a very keen sense of smell. I saw no poop; I can’t even say that about my own yard with two to three Giants living here. The runs were very large, with some of course bigger than others, but all had good houses, good shade from the California sun, fresh water (which is no easy feat with all those young dogs sticking their feet and heads in there) and meaty bones.

There was one roofed kennel run close to the office, which we were told was dubbed “Lucas’ run”. It was named in honor of Skansen’s famous import, and talented escape artist, Lucas de Campos de oro. That gave me a chuckle as my boy Rubin is a grandson to Lucas, and is an amazing escape artist in his own right! I guess the apple didn’t fall far from that tree!

Because we arrived a little bit late we decided to go have some dinner and finish the tour the next day.

Dinner was fun, we went to a nearby sushi place that Sylvia is fond of. Side note here, Sylvia discovered sushi a few years back when she was judging at an International show in Vancouver, Canada. She had never had sushi before that, she loved it instantly and has been eating it regularly ever since!

During the meal, Sylvia told us many stories of old times and old dogs. What a fabulous history lesson we received! Clearly well read and witty, Sylvia kept us thoroughly entertained throughout the entire meal. She reads at least one book a day, either a talking book (hence the headphones she forgot to remove before dinner) or written, she works tirelessly with the dogs and it shows, she is fit in both mind and body and an inspiration to all.

The next day we went back to the kennel where we were greeted again by friendly employees, they told us to look around and enjoy. First we went into the office and met Carrie, who seemed to be lost behind papers, books, and dogs. It was quaint and cluttered, but warm and clean. One had to be careful where you stepped as there were a few minis and one or two Giants laying under foot. There were pictures and ribbons on every inch of wall. Not wanting to distract her as she clearly was very busy we moved onto the dogs outside.

All the employees we met were very accommodating; some have been with Sylvia for a very long time. There were a couple of hard working staff members who were running with buckets of fresh raw meat, bones and hoses to get everyone fed and watered. All were friendly, which seemed to rub off on the dogs as they were all very outgoing and friendly too. The dogs were all groomed and clean; some were even a little bit chunky, which showed that everyone is well fed!

We were given permission to go into any of the runs and take out which ever dogs we wanted a better look at. Which of course we did! I think we can safely say the quality was impressive.

I should mention here that the day before, and the main reason we had made this trip to Skansen, was that we had to return Gatsby. Gatsby was the pepper/salt Giant that we had been showing in Canada and the USA for the past year and a half for Sylvia.

At first, we felt a little bad for him, as Gatsby had become a welcomed member of Janine’s and my household. How would he react to being left behind in a kennel environment, albeit an amazing one? Well, once Laina took his lead, he never looked back! He was so excited to see all the dogs and he seemed to know he was home again. Gatsby has a job to do, strengthen the P/S lines and he cannot do that while lounging on a couch in BC. Sylvia assures us that once he has completed his tasks, which he is always keen to do ;), then he will be offered for adoption, as all her retired dogs are, to a great home and get the retirement he deserves! As there is lineup of homes who want him, this is not going to be a problem.

As we walked from run to run, there were a couple of pregnant females running loose on the kennel grounds. These lovely ladies would meander with us as we walked between office and the pens. Well socialized and beautiful, it is clear that Sylvia knows exactly what she is doing with the breed. Whether you agree with everything she does or not, you have to admire her work ethic, her vision and more importantly, her great dogs.

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White Miniature Schnauzers at Skansen Kennel


The white mini’s are going forward, both in looks and acceptance by the general public. I’m sold on the breed, they stand out in good health, intelligence and trainability. You just have to get one and you will be forever grateful that I insisted on it. I am so proud of ours, they are a mixture of bloodlines from Canada, Sweden, Hungary, Spain, the USA Argentina and Brazil, so they are quite international. I was judging in Porto Alegre, Brazil last spring and had the pleasure of giving a white mini male, Mr. Magoo, reserve Best in Show. He is a great ambassador for the breed. In Stockholm, Sweden they had an entry of 34 white mini’s. It is only a matter of time until the public discovers this great variety of the miniature schnauzer. Everyone should have a big black giant and a small white mini to make their life full of love and pride. Walk them down the street together and you will see what traffic stoppers they are.

My first white mini, Gretchen is now 10 years old and doing great. The quality of our mini’s is so good they are winning Best in Shows at the international shows. To help this variety get more well-known, we offer some for half the price of the blacks. I promise you once you bring a white mini into your home, you will be hooked!

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Our white mini’s are not only loved here at Skansen but when they are retired into private homes as well. Below (left to right) is ‘Ding Dang’ with another retiree from Skansen named Bonnie (12 year old giant), Skansen’s Daydream, then we have Happy an import from Hungary whose new best friend is a cat, and  a lovely Skansen-bred mini owned by the Richey family. Last but not least is Skansen’s Bolt owned by Neal Moody & Doreen Endo. Won’t you consider adding one of these great little dogs to your pack?



bolt in action   BoltBeach_1300_2a

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Standard Schnauzer SPECIAL SALE 2012

                        Born: July 7, 2011

Sire: Skansen’s Hokus Pokus   Dam: Skansen’s Hippy

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This is a great puppy, very good looking, full of energy and playful. Only one uncropped female still available. $600


                       Born October 23, 2011

Sire: Lahoussaie Haaken Markov        Dam: Int. Ch. Skansen’s Flirt II

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Flirt is one of our best standards, she has been shown in Scandinavia and this will be her last litter. She is an excellent dam and produces beautiful pups with her sound temperament. There are two males, both black available now. One male is uncropped, the other male is cropped. These two are available now on our super sale $600.


                                    Born: November 13, 2011

Dam: Skansen’s Happy-Go-Lucky          Sire: Lahoussaie Black Boy from Canada “BC”

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We have one beautiful males available in this litter. His ears are cropped and he is show quality with plenty of furnishings. He is available now for our summer sale price of $600 + shipping if required.


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Why Not Try a Standard?

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As you may already know, the schnauzer comes in three sizes. The original schnauzer is the standard size, a breed recorded as far back as 300-400 years ago on paintings. In the latter part of the 1800th century breeders in Germany decided a larger size schnauzer would be useful so the Standard was mixed with Great Danes, Wolfhounds, Poodles and many local breeds to get the Giant Schnauzer. The Standard was also used a prototype for the miniature schnauzer, using small and toy breeds.

Today, the Miniature Schnauzer is well-established in most countries, a great little companion. The mini comes in four colors: black, pepper/salt, black/silver, and white. He usually weighs 15-20 lbs and should not exceed 14 inches in height.

The Giant Schnauzer has proven himself as a great family dog, family guardian, police dog, excellent in tracking, therapy dog, and companion to young and old. The giant comes in two colors: black and pepper/salt. Males usually weigh 85-105 lbs and females 65-85 lbs.

clip_image006 The Standard Schnauzer also comes in two colors: black and pepper/salt. He weighs 35-55 lbs depending on sex and condition but should not exceed 20 inches in height.

This breed excels in intelligence, trainability, obedience, agility, good health and longevity and of course as a great companion. His character is specifically as one man, one family dog. He is very loyal and dependable but has little interest in making friend with the whole world. In other words, he is the opposite to a Golden Retriever.

clip_image008clip_image010  You can train him to do almost anything. He is superior in competition, loves tracking and is a natural guardian. In fact, the standard schnauzer was one of the first dogs to be trained to find cancer; he was the model to extensive use of dogs worldwide now being trained for this. If you would like to see this in action you will see a retired police dog being trained to find cancer on Animal Planet. We will be happy to lend you our DVD of this show.

I’m not sure why this size schnauzer has not become better known in the USA. In Germany, the origin country of all schnauzers, they register approximately six hundred litters of standards yearly. In the US probably less than sixty litters. In Germany and many countries in Europe, you frequently see them walking with their owners. The standard is a great apartment dog and because of his smaller size he is called a big working dog in a small body.

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He does have a lot of energy and will require plenty of exercise but then I feel all dogs deserve this. He is easily trained to get exercised on your treadmill and if you have time, its lots of fun to train him to pull a cart, run next to your bike, pull you on skis or go swimming. The more you train him, the happier he is. He makes a great therapy dog, generally love other dogs and has a long life if fed correctly which in my opinion is a raw meaty bones diet.

The most popular color is pepper/salt, the black is much more rare. We specialize in the black color and we are hoping to bring this size schnauzer to the attention of Americans. Therefore at this time we have a great sale on standard schnauzer black pups. If you live in California, the standard price to crop ears for this size dog is approximately $500, we are offing our beautiful healthy pups for $1000 with the ears cropped, and all puppy vaccinations done, with the hope that you will try this breed. We also have a one hour long audio CD about the breed if you are interested.



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As you may know, the giant schnauzer comes in two different colors, black or pepper/salt, just like the standard schnauzer.

The black giant is the most popular color in the breed. The pepper/salt in contrast is almost a rare color worldwide. If you search for breeders worldwide you will only find an occasional litter regardless of which country you are in.


One of my mentors and by far one of the best breeders of pepper/salt giant schnauzers in Europe was Mr. Cyril Meulenaere of Van de Havenstadt kennel. I knew him since I was fifteen years old, so many years ago he trusted me with his superb Int. Ch. Faust Van de Havenstadt. You can read Faust’s story in a different place. I set out to breed the pepper/salt color. In order to widen the gene pool, I mixed them with the blacks. This turned out to be a huge success even if it took several generations to get it right. When you breed a black to a pepper/salt you get all blacks in the first generation. The European kennel clubs consider the two colors to be two different breeds so they cannot be bred together there.


In 2011 the top winning giant schnauzer in Canada was Skansen’s Great Gatsby with the impressive titles of Canadian Champion and winner of the Canadian National as well. Gatsby is also an American Grand Champion, International Champion and winner of twelve All Breed Best in Shows. Janine Starink in Canada groomed, conditioned and campaigned Gatsby, making him the top winning pepper/salt giant worldwide. Gatsby is the result of five generations of mixing blacks with pepper/salt giants.

The pepper/salt is now a hardy, healthy, long-lived giant. He is a little softer in personality, I believe there is some Irish Wolfhound in the background.

Once somebody shares their life with a pepper/salt, they rarely switch off this breed. They are extremely devoted to their owner, generally calm and gentle as adults, get along great with other dogs and children. The pepper/salt giants draw a lot of attention on the street as they are so rare.


We have several excellent stud dogs besides Gatsby, see attached photos. We will have pups by Gatsby, Hopkins, & Gregory Peck summer/fall of 2012. Sometimes in a litter of pepper/salt we get a black/silver pup. This color is really rare and very beautiful. They are solid black with silver on the legs and beard. This is not an approved color to show at the AKC shows.

If you would like to get a giant schnauzer, consider the pepper/salt variety, they are unique, probably no more than a couple of hundred in the US.

                                  PEPPER/SALT GIANT STUDS

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Am. Can. & Int. GRAND Ch. Skansen’s Great Gatsby–By Ch. Skansen’s American President, retired (photo above right)

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