The Giant Schnauzer is a magnificent and regal animal when properly cared for, but with improper care and neglect they can become quite aggressive. He is primarily a guard dog at heart with a very bold,protective and headstrong nature. This is a dog breed that needs an experienced owner who is willing to spend extra time on obedience and socialization. They take training well, but it must be delivered in a firm manner – “Can you sit please” does not work well with this breed. The Giant Schnauzer is a large, powerful, compact dog with bushy eyebrows, whiskers and a beard. It looks like a larger image of the Standard Schnauzer. It has a harsh, wiry outer coat and dense, soft undercoat. Ideally, the dog’s height is the same as the length, resulting in a rather square impression. The strong, arched neck should blend cleanly into the shoulders. The head is about half as long as the back from withers to tail attachment. The muzzle and top of the head should form parallel planes. The large nose is black. The eyes are dark brown and oval. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The front legs are straight and parallel. Dewclaws should be removed on the hind legs and may be removed on the front legs as well. The tail is generally docked to the second or third joint. Cropping the ears is optional. The coat comes in solid black or salt & pepper.
Giant Schnauzers are an intelligent, versatile working dog. They are very protective, bold and spirited. Calm, loyal, loving and responsible. The Giant Schnauzer is a true “Velcro” dog. It loves to be with its owner at all times. They are easy to train and respond best to firm, consistent training with a positive attitude and plentiful rewards. If the Giant Schnauzer is properly trained, it makes a fine pet. Most Giant Schnauzers have protective instincts toward strangers. Socialize well around many different people to avoid them becoming suspicious of everyone they are not familiar with. Some owners have reported their Giants to love everyone. Some have reported their Giants to have a serious, hard headed temperament, while others have reported their Giants to be sweet-natured goofballs. They do tend to be on the dominate side and need an owner who understands the breed and how to show the dog humans are boss. Through absolute consistency; you need to show them you mean what you say. They are tremendous guards and their large size alone is a deterrent to trouble. If well socialized when young a Giant can become a wonderful “people” dog. One owner states, “Our Molly is actually a therapy dog at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, but would still protect our home till the death if pushed. Our family is very active, either hubby or I do two trail runs a day with our crew and this tires them out and is also lots of fun for both them and us.” Some of the great qualities of Giants is that they can excel at obedience/agility/carting/protection work, if properly trained they are a dog that can do it all. They need an owner who displays consistent leadership, or they will feel it is their job to take over as top dog. If not given the proper amount of exercise and left to their own devices, this breed can turn very destructive, if their energy and busy minds are not channeled properly. Since they are one of the very few large breeds with a non-shed coat, they are attractive to folks but if not with an owner who knows how to display consistent leadership, they are often given up before the dog reaches age two. This breed can become dominant with other dogs and should be socialized extensively both with other dogs and people as a young puppy. It is usually good with other pets and some can be good with other dogs if properly socialized as puppies. They can be fairly reserved with strangers. Giants have been bred for generations as guard/watch dogs, they are huge and have a relentless, imposing bark when they hear/see/perceive anything out of the ordinary.
Height: Dogs 26-28 inches (66-71 cm.) Bitches 23-26 inches (58-66 cm.)
Weight: Dogs 60-80 pounds (27-36 kg.) Bitches 55-75 pounds (25-34 kg.)
Giants are more prone to cancer than most breeds, especially toe cancer which kills many Giants annually even if caught early. They are at increased risk of bloat. Epilepsy is all too common in this breed and hip dysplasia is rampant.
The Giant Schnauzer is not suited for apartment life. They are fairly active indoors and will do best with acreage.
Giants have a huge need for exercise and if not vigorously done at least twice daily they bounce off the walls and are difficult to deal with, even a very well trained one, they have to expend the excess energy they were originally bred for or they just can’t settle at night. They need to be taken on a daily, brisk, long walk, jog or run alongside you when you bicycle, at least once a day combined with an additional walk or another type of exercise. These energetic dogs will take as much exercise as they can get, and just love play sessions during which they can run free. If you get a Giant, plan on daily long walks, running, hiking, biking, swimming, or to get involved in agility (obstacle course), advanced obedience, schutzhund (protection), carting, tracking, or a similar canine activity. If you do not have time to devote to any of these, this is not the breed for you.
About 12-15 years.
The wiry coat is reasonably easy to look after, but the undercoat is dense and it will become matted unless it is combed or brushed weekly with a short wire brush. Clip out knots and brush first with the grain, then against the grain to lift the coat. The animal should be clipped all over to an even length at least four times a year and ear care continually is important. A person can easily learn how to do it. Pet dogs are generally clipped, but show dogs may be stripped. Trim around the eyes and ears with a blunt-nosed scissor and clean the whiskers after meals. They have no doggie odor and shed little to no hair.
Known over history as the Russian Bear Schnauzer, Munich Schnauzer and Riesenschnauzer, the Giant Schnauzer is thought to have come from crosses between dogs such as the black Great Dane, Bouvier des Flandres and the Standard Schnauzer. The word “Schnauze” means “muzzle” in German. The Giant Schnauzer was first used as a cattle driving dog in Bavaria, then later as a guard dog by the police and military. The Giant Schnauzer excels at schutzhund and also makes a good companion dog.
Herding, AKC Working