Giant Schnauzer was developed in the German agricultural areas of Wurttemberg and Bavaria, as were the other two schnauzer breeds, the Standard Schnauzer and Miniature Schnauzer. The Giant Schnauzer was developed from the Standard Schnauzer and crossed with other drovers’ dogs and the black Great Dane. Some experts believe the Bouvier des Flandres might also have been used in the breed’s development. The Giant Schnauzer was used as a drover, helping to drive sheep and cattle to market, and as a guard dog for both farms and businesses. Rarely seen outside of agricultural districts, it wasn’t until World War I that the breed was discovered to be an excellent candidate for police and military training.
The Giant Schnauzer dog breed is the largest of the three schnauzer breeds. Standing 23.5 to 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 70 and 100 pounds, with females smaller than males, this large, sturdy dog is able to work hard. The Giant should look like a larger version of the Standard Schnauzer, with a body as long as the dog is tall, a head carried erect, and medium dark eyes. The ears can be cropped or left as natural button ears carried high on the head.
Giant Schnauzers are all black or salt and pepper. The tail is docked. The Giant Schnauzer’s coat has a hard, wiry outer coat and a soft undercoat. It needs brushing and combing two to three times a week. Dogs being shown will need to be handstripped every four to six weeks. If you desire to do this yourself, your dog’s breeder can teach you how to do it. If you’re not showing your dog, he can be trimmed with clippers; a professional groomer can groom your dog for you.
Bred to work and work hard, the Giant Schnauzer breed needs vigorous aerobic exercise every day. A long walk morning and evening is great but is not enough. The Giant Schnauzer will also need a fast game of catch, a session of flyball, or a good agility training session. The Giant Schnauzer also makes a great carting dog, and pulling a load in the wagon is good exercise.
Training is very important for all Giant Schnauzers. These dogs will get into all kinds of trouble of their own making if not provided with guidelines for their behavior in the house and out in public. Training, especially advanced training, can help provide them with a job to do—something to keep the mind challenged. Early puppy socialization is also important for this breed. Bred to be watchful and protective, Giant Schnauzers need socialization to people of all sizes, ages, and ethnic backgrounds.
A well-socialized dog is a well-balanced dog who is able to make a decision about protection without fear. Puppy socialization should include introductions to dogs of various sizes and breeds, too, as the breed has been known to be aggressive toward other dogs. Giant Schnauzers are devoted to their family, steady, and intelligent.
Giant Schnauzer puppies can be quite rambunctious and must be taught to be gentle with younger children. They are wonderful playmates and companions for older kids. Interactions with other pets should be supervised. The breed does have some health concerns, including hip and elbow dysplasia, seizure disorders, eye problems, and hypothyroidism.
One reply on “Giant Schnauzer”
The AKC Standard calls him “a bold and valiant figure of a dog — amiable in repose and a commanding figure when aroused.”
Keen expression is what you may notice first about the Giant Schnauzer. This sensitive dog seems always aware of your moods and likes to be physically close to you, watching you.
Some lines are “harder-tempered” — bold, serious, vigorous — while others are much sweeter and more mellow. But in general, when you acquire a Giant Schnauzer puppy, you would expect him to mature into an athletic, energetic dog who plays hard and needs a mile or two of walking and/or running each day. Mental exercise (advanced obedience, agility, Schutzhund) is just as important to this extremely intelligent dog.
Most Giant Schnauzers are watchful with strangers and responsible about protecting their home. However, timidity, skittishness, and sharp-shyness are seen in some lines. To promote a stable, confident temperament, Giant Schnauzers need more socialization than many other breeds.
Many individuals are too spirited for small children, and some become overprotective of their own kids when a group is engaging in rough-and-tumble play.
Strange dogs may well be challenged — Giant Schnauzer males are especially dominant and aggressive with other males. Cats may or may not be accepted.
Once you establish your leadership, the Giant Schnauzer responds very well to obedience training that is fair and consistent. But this highly intelligent, strong-minded working breed is often “too much dog” for many households.