Strong and square, the Giant Schnauzer has an angular body shape and its long square muzzle and beard makes it a very distinctive and well-loved breed.
Medium sized, these dogs have a high, erect tail which is often docked, as well as an arched neck, and powerful legs and bite.
The male Giant Schnauzer stands between 25.5 and 27.5 inches to the shoulder when fully grown and the female 23.5 to 23.5 inches, although the breed can grow taller. The dog is classified as Working Dog due to its athletic, muscular and agile build.
The Giant Schnauzer is the largest of its breed and is considerably bigger than the Standard or Miniature Schnauzer varieties.
Giant Schnauzers have two layers to their coat; an undercoat which is dense and soft, and an outer coat which is made up of longer, thicker, wiry hairs which are weather resistant. This outer coat of the Schnauzer will need to be stripped or clipped every 8-10 weeks to prevent tangling and a bear-like appearance.
While the hair on the body is shorter, the Schnauzer’s face has longer hair, with defined eyebrows and a distinctive beard which will invariably get wet in the drinking bowl once fully grown. Longer hair also grows on their legs.
Giant Schnauzers have more limited color combinations than many breeds and their coats are either salt and pepper, black and silver, or solid black.
The Schnauzer dates back to the Middle Ages and its German name is translated as ‘small beard’ or ‘snout’.
Originally bred in Germany for hunting vermin, Schnauzers are strong and hardworking and make excellent guard dogs as they do not bark unnecessarily. This can make them a good pet as they are devoted to their owners and will protect the family home.
Since before the First World War, Giant Schnauzers have also been employed as guard dogs for the Police and in addition have the capacity to drive cattle and herd sheep.
The exact lineage of the Giant Schnauzer is unknown, although they are believed to be a mixture of the Great Dane, Bouvier des Flandres and Shepherd, as well as other Schnauzer varieties.
Nowadays, Giant Schnauzers also work as sniffer dogs, research and rescue dogs and even therapy dogs, as well as family pets.
Developed as an intelligent, versatile, composed and reliable dog, the Giant Schnauzer is an independent animal which needs obedience training, as well as undergoing a full program of socialization with humans and other animals, as they can be a little stubborn.
However, the breed is quick to learn and eager to please. The animals bond well with their owners and as long as they are kept stimulated, there should be few obedience problems.
Guard dogs by nature, Schnauzers are loyal dogs which will protect the family home and its inhabitants and they rarely bark without good reason. Good natured and intelligent, Schnauzers enjoy being with people and doing whatever the family is doing, including sitting and watching television!
Diseases in Giant Schnauzers can be triggered by trauma, infection, abnormalities in the immune system, genetic factors and degenerative conditions.
The Giant Schnauzer is as susceptible to health problems as other breeds and is highly prone to cancer and epilepsy, as well as Hip Dysplasia – the abnormal development of hip joints – and eye disease.
As with all breeds, it is important to note any changes in behavior and visit a vet as quickly as possible to ensure the best care and treatment. Providing that they are well cared for and don’t become ill, Schnauzers will normally live to between 12 and 14 years of age.
Giant Schnauzers rarely shed their hair and some don’t shed at all. This makes them great to have around the home as furniture and clothes will stay hair free.
However, Schnauzers still need to be groomed to prevent matting and should be brushed once a week. This creates a bond between owner and pet, as well as keeping the coat healthy. Coats should also be clipped every two months or so.
Grooming not only involves brushing the animal but also giving care to the eyes, teeth, ears, feet and nails. It is important to make sure that your Giant Schnauzer has clean, dry ears in order to prevent the occurrence of problems or infections. This should be done every two days or so.
Giant Schnauzers are an active breed and enjoy vigorous daily exercise. They enjoy walking, running and playing fetch, as well as longer walks. They also make a great jogging or running companion.
Regular exercise keeps all breeds healthy and happy and in the case of Giant Schnauzers, can help to prevent weight gain from inactivity, as well as keeping the dog stimulated.
As an intelligent and agile dog, the Giant Schnauzer is relatively easy to train, although this may take a little longer than some breeds as they are prone to stubbornness. Provided that they are socialized however, Schnauzers have a natural ability to guard and protect family members and the home and they enjoy doing so.
The Giant Schnauzer doesn’t like to be left outside and enjoys being part of the family. He needs plenty of attention and ‘quality time’ with his owners so that he does not to become bored and unruly.
Giant Schnauzers are so hardworking, eager to please and loving, however, that providing you put in the time, love and effort, training a Giant Schnauzer can be incredibly fun and rewarding.