Giant Schnauzer Guide

Working Dog Breeds

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This is a larger, more powerful version of the standard schnauzer. Its body is strong, compact and nearly square, combining great power with agility. Its stride is free and vigorous, with good reach and drive. Its double coat consists of a soft undercoat and a harsh, wiry, dense outer coat — a combination that enables it to withstand harsh, alpine conditions. Its hallmark harsh beard and eyebrows, coupled with its smart outline, make for a striking figure. The combination of rugged build, reliable temperament and weather-resistant coat make for a powerful and versatile worker.

The playful, rambunctious giant schnauzer may be too boisterous for small children, even though it is otherwise very good with children in its own family. It is bold and protective of its family and reserved with strangers. It may be aggressive toward other dogs. This intelligent and exuberant breed is a good choice for an active person wanting a partner in adventure, although at times the giant may try to be the leader.


FAMILY livestock dog, herding



ORIGINAL FUNCTION cattle herding, guardian

TODAY'S FUNCTION security, police, schutzhund

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 25.5-27.5 Weight: 65-90

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 23.5-25.5 Weight: 65-90

OTHER NAME riesenschnauzer

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs High

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Somewhat affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Shy

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Very protective

Grooming needs Moderate maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

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The giant schnauzer needs daily exercise and fun. Its exercise requirements can be met with vigorous games and long hikes or walks. It can live outside in temperate to cool climates, but it does best when allowed to divide its time between house and yard. Its harsh coat needs combing once or twice weekly, plus shaping two to four times yearly. Shaping is best done by professional scissoring and hand-stripping, but clipping is acceptable for pets.
• Major concerns: CHD
• Minor concerns: OCD, gastric torsion
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: hip
• Life span: 10 – 12 years
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The giant schnauzer originated in the countryside of Bavaria and Wurrtemburg. Impressed by the smaller standard schnauzer, cattlemen there sought to emulate the standard on a larger scale, which would make it more suitable for driving cattle. It is likely, though not documented, that they crossed the standard schnauzer with their larger smooth-coated cattle-driving dogs in an attempt to create a wire-haired drover. Later crosses with rough-coated sheepdogs and the Great Dane and bouvier des Flandres probably occurred, and even crosses with the black poodle, wolf spitz and wirehaired pinscher have been suggested. The result was a weather-resistant, smart-looking dog capable of handling cattle, then known as the Munchener. Giant schnauzers later became more popular as butcher's or stockyard dogs, and even later, as brewery guard dogs. The dogs maintained a low profile, with little exposure until just before World War I, when it was suggested that they could be trained as police dogs. They excelled at their new assignment but have not been well-accepted outside of Germany in that capacity. They have gained more headway as a pet in recent years, however, and now enjoy modest popularity in America.
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