Giant Schnauzer

The Giant Schnauzer is the biggest of the three Schnauzer breeds. Read this guide and get to know all about this large canine!

Giant Schnauzer standing on grass

Height: Male 26-28 inches female 24-26 inches
Weight: Male 27-39 kilos female 25-34 kilos
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Below are the pros and cons associated with the Giant Schnauzer:

Pros:

  • Hypoallergenic, good choice for allergy sufferers
  • Hardly sheds fur
  • Fantastic watchdog
  • Intelligent and easy to train

Cons:

  • Not the friendliest of breeds
  • Aggressive if unsocialized
  • Not a great choice for first time owner
  • Needs lots of exercise and high grooming needs

Overview

The Giant Schnauzer is a canine that needs a patient owner. This pooch can be hard to handle and if they aren’t trained or socialized properly it could lead to aggression. Give this dog the love, exercise, socialization, and training they need and you will have a well-behaved pooch and forever companion.

Giant Schnauzers need gardens and won’t be suited to an apartment. This breed needs consistent, strenuous exercise and direct access to outdoor space. If not they will become bored and you really don’t want to see this pooches destructive side.

Giant schnauzer in motion

Dominant by nature, the big Schnauzer needs a firm owner that can establish their leadership. Without this, respect won’t be given. Consistency is key. Whenever your dog does something bad it must be corrected clearly at the exact time it happened. First time owners are not recommended for this dog.

You must be aware Schnauzers are naturally reserved and suspicious of those they don’t know. They’re dominant with other dogs and this could lead them down a bad road. Training a Giant Schnauzer needs to start from as early as possible. It may be worthwhile interacting and meeting others at puppy classes.

If you are interested in Giant Schnauzer puppies you should visit your local shelter first. After this check with some renowned kennels in the UK such as Ferncliffe Schnauzers who are Kennel Club accredited.

History

Giant Schnauzers originated from an area called Swabia in the State of Bavaria, Germany during the 17th century. They were bred to work on farms where they would carry out a number of different jobs. These included herding livestock, acting as a watchdog, and guarding their territory.

Being raised in the Bavarian Alps allowed this breed to develop a thick coat. It protected them from the harsh cold weather. As time went on the breed was not only being used on farms but as protection dogs for breweries. Giant Schnauzers were unknown outside of Bavaria until their use as military dogs in World War I and II.

At one stage the Giant Schnauzer dog was known as the Munich Schnauzer after they were developed for their use as cattle drivers. Cattlemen developed this pooch by crossbreeding a variety of dogs that are thought to include the Rottweiler, Great Dane, Bouvier, and other sheepdogs.

Today, the breed is still a popular working dog in Europe and even works with the police. They often compete in dog shows across the world. One popular show in particular, Crufts, saw Jafrak Phillipe Olivier a male Giant Schnauzer, win Best in Show in 2008.

Related: All you need to know about the Norwegian Elkhound is in this guide.

Personality

If you looking for a unique personality, you will certainly get one with the Giant Schnauzer! They do have a loving, affectionate side but their dominance and stubbornness can be a letdown. You must have the time to train and exercise this dog. It is so easy for a Giant Schnauzer to become fearful and aggressive without proper guidance.

Giant Schnauzers are highly protective of their family and as guard dogs, are naturally territorial. Expect an everlasting companion in this pooch, who will go to great lengths to ensure your safety!

Are Giant Schnauzers Good With Strangers?

No, this breed is not stranger friendly. Generally, they are reserved and wary of those they don’t know. If they haven’t been socialized properly their fearfulness can quickly turn into aggression. Giant Schnauzers will alert you to whoever crosses into their territory and will protect you if necessary.

Are Giant Schnauzers Good With Children?

No, Giant Schnauzers are not child-friendly dogs. If you’re thinking of getting a Giant Schnauzer puppy, you may have to find a different breed if you have kids. Older, well-behaved children are more suitable for this breed as long as the puppy is brought up around them.

Toddlers and smaller children can injure themselves due to the dog’s large size. The breed may instinctively herd the child too.

Are Giant Schnauzers Ok With Other Dogs?

Giant Schnauzers are dominant and it’s a trait that prevents them from playing nicely. A lot of effort is needed for these dogs to socialize well. Schnauzers should not be left alone with other dogs. They’re definitely not a good choice to have around cats.

black Giant Schnauzer standing

Exercise

Over 2 hours of daily exercise will be required for this dog. If not you can expect boredom to take its grip which will only lead to destructive behavior. Exercising a Giant Schnauzer is important. As working dogs, they need strenuous exercise to keep them content.

Giant Schnauzer puppies won’t need as much activity. Over-exercising a puppy could lead to joint issues. Once they reach adulthood, they’ll make the perfect jogging, hiking, or even bike riding companion! It’s a great time to spend bonding together.

Recommended: How should you take care of a Sheepadoodle? What are the important things you need to know prior to owning this breed?

close-up shot of a black Giant Schnauzer

Health

Check out the breed-related health conditions of the Giant Schnauzer below:

  • Hip Dysplasia- Poor development will lead to pain, inflammation, swelling, and lameness in the affected limb. Eventually, arthritis will occur.
  • Panosteitis- A painful condition also known as growing pains. It generally occurs in large breeds.
  • Urinary Incontinence- This health issue is most commonly seen amongst spayed females. A dog will lose control over their bladder, urinating in the home, despite being housetrained.
  • Bloat- A condition that covers both GD (Gastric Dilatation) and GDV (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus). The stomach twists, trapping the gasses and contents inside. It could be fatal and urgent veterinary attention will be needed.
  • Cardiomyopathy- A degeneration of the heart muscle causing an enlarged heart that will eventually lead to congestive heart failure or death.
  • Urolithiasis- Crystals or urinary stones form inside the urinary tract which will irritate the dog resulting in pain and a potential blockage.
  • Hypothyroidism- An underactive thyroid will cause a dog to gain weight, lose fur, reduce their exercise ability, and their tolerance to hot and cold weather.

Intelligence & Training

Training a Giant Schnauzer won’t be an easy task no matter how intelligent they are. Their stubborn, independent and dominant traits are all things owners must combat first. You must ensure your leadership is known, this will help you gain your dog’s respect.

Giant Schnauzers do best when they are working, so turn your training into just that! Show them just how proud you are when they get that command right for the first time. Encourage them with love, attention, and food treats. These dogs are intelligent so they know when it’s time to learn something new.

Establishing respect with your Giant Schnauzer puppy is most important. This method of training should be started first followed by obedience. The breed is dominant and can quickly become out of control if their owner’s leadership hasn’t been asserted.

These Schnauzers were trained to protect livestock and their human family. So, it is no surprise that this pooch can become aggressive if they feel necessary. You must socialize your Giant Schnauzer amongst a number of different environments, people, and dogs so they don’t become fearful or anxious in the future.

Training needs to begin as early as possible. The older they get the harder it is to train them. It is even more difficult to get a Schnauzer to unlearn bad behaviours. Things can go very wrong if a dog of this size hasn’t been trained correctly.

Recommended: Read our comprehensive guide on the Carpathian Shepherd dog breed next here at Woof Bark Growl.

Grooming

Giant Schnauzers don’t shed very much and will only need a brush once every week. Pin brushes, bristle brushes, and slicker brushes are the best tools to use on their wiry coat. Their legs and beard may need a little more attention every now and again. This area is also trimmed or hand-stripped every 2-3 months.

Show dogs will need daily hand stripping and brushing 8 weeks prior to their debut. Other Giant Schnauzers that don’t compete can be trimmed with clippers instead. However, this method will change the color and texture of your dog’s fur. You shouldn’t wash your dog 24 hours before you hand strip.

Domestic dog Black Giant Schnauzer breed

Generally, this breed is easy to groom, but some owners seek professional help every now and again. Giant Schnauzers need a bath every 4-8 weeks due to their wiry coat. Ears must be cleaned weekly and excess fur should always be plucked away from the canal to allow unrestricted airflow.

Don’t forget to brush your dog’s teeth! Vets recommend this is done daily. Nails should also be filed and trimmed every 6-8 weeks. Some dogs really don’t take to this method of grooming, so get them used to it from as early as possible.

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