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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzer

Origin: Germany

AKC Group: Working

Height: 24 - 28 inches (Male)

Weight: 70 - 95 pounds (Male)

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A Giant Schnauzer is happiest with an owner who loves the outdoors. Although Giant Schnauzers like kids, they often have too much energy for young children. They're sometimes aggressive with other dogs, and they're usually reserved with strangers. Some bloodlines are calmer than others.

Giant Schnauzers are working dogs. In general, working dogs pull sleds and carts, guard homes and serve in the military. Because these dogs are intelligent and capable of learning almost anything, they make excellent companions.

Their very size can make them difficult to control, so they must be trained by a competent professional. Most working dogs are pack dogs, so they're often aggressive with strange dogs and other pets.

Male height: 
24 - 28 inches
Male weight: 
70 - 95 pounds
Rough with bushy eyebrows and a beard. Tail is docked; ears are usually cropped.
Solid black is most common. A white spot is allowed on the chest. Less common is pepper and salt. Eyes are dark brown; nose is black.
Special considerations: 
Because Giant Schnauzers are so large and independent, professional obedience training is recommended.

The Giant Schanuzer was developed as a cattle-herding dog in southern Germany. His ancestors were most likely smoothhaired droving dogs, a variety of rough-coated shepherd dogs and possibly black Great Danes and Bouvier des Flandres. Found mostly around the Munich area, he was a farm dog from the 15th century until the arrival of railroads changed the way of life. From the farms he moved to cities, where he guarded beer halls and butcher shops during the 19th century. It is during this time that he was crossed with the Standard Schnauzer and became known as the Munich Schnauzer, and by the turn of the century, was renamed Giant Schnauzer. Today, he is used in security positions in Germany, as a police and military dog.

Giant Schnauzers are bold, spirited and protective, and they have been described as working dogs with the temperament of a terrier - meaning they take their jobs seriously and won't back down. They are boisterous and playful and can be intimidating to those who don't understand them. On the other hand, they are loyal and loving almost to a fault; they bond deeply with those closest to them and do not enjoy being separated from them. They will protect their loved ones in the face of any danger. Their large size, great intelligence and guarding/protective instincts make them a challenge for all but the experienced owner.
At home: 
The Giant Schnauzer is probably not the ideal apartment dog. Large and energetic, he needs lots of exercise - if he can't get it, he will become bored and edgy, taking out his excess energy in potentially harmful and destructive ways. He must have a fenced-in yard where he can roughhouse and stretch his legs safely. His coat is low shedding, possibly making him a good choice for some allergy sufferers.
The Giant Schnauzer is a breed that needs a lot of exercise. He must have long walks or a jog daily, some energetic play and enough activity to keep him mentally and physically stimulated.
The Giant Schnauzer requires a high-quality diet appropriate for his activity level. Some breeders recommend feeding three smaller meals a day.
The smart Giant Schnauzer figures people out fast, and if he doesn't have a firm yet utterly fair trainer, he will seek to dominate. He is a quick learner, and with the proper motivation, can be trained to do just about anything. Training and socialization from puppyhood are absolutely critical, for without them, a Giant Schnauzer can develop overly possessive or pet-aggressive behaviors.
Giant Schnauzers are very protective of "their" children, constantly watching over them to ensure their safety. But this breed probably does best with older children who understand how to handle a large, working dog. He can have dog-aggressive tendencies and may not get along with smaller pets.
The average life span of the Giant Schnauzer is 10 to 12 years. Breed health concerns may include bloat; epilepsy; hip dysplasia; hypothyroidism; and toe cancer.
Fun fact: 

The Giant Schnauzer is one of three Schnauzer breeds developed in Germany. Although the Giant, Standard and Mini Schnauzer may look like the same dog in different sizes, they are in fact three separate breeds, with the Standard helping form the basis of the others.

Grooming blurb: 
Although he has an undercoat, the Giant Schnauzer is a very low-shedding breed. However, he does require regular coat care. Giant Schnauzers who compete in the show ring must be hand-stripped by a professional groomer. A pet Giant Schnauzer is a bit easier - he needs to be brushed with a comb and slicker brush a few times a week, and his coat should be clipped several times a year. His beard, eyebrows and ears also need to be trimmed.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.