Portrait of Giant Schnauzer
Cleo's Blog | Dog Breeds | Working

Giant Schnauzers Are More Than Just Another Big Dog

The Giant Schnauzer is a big dog standing about 23 to 28 inches tall and weighing 55 to 80 lbs.  They can be black in color or salt and pepper, although their face should always be dark.  The Giant Schnauzer is more than just another big dog.  They also participate in various dog sports and is often used in military and police work.

The name Schnauzer comes from the German word Schnauze, which means snout. Giant Schnauzers were developed from the Standard Schnauzer.  They were used for driving cattle in the Bavarian Alps.  Although the Miniature, Standard, and Giant Schnauzers were bred to look similar, they are actually separate breeds.  Unlike the Poodles, they are not different sizes of the same breed.

Although no breed standards were established until 1923, they have been known as far back as 1832. They have also been used as guard dogs by the police and military and are better known as working dogs than as pampered pets.

They are easily recognizable by the unique way their face is trimmed.  They have long eyebrows and a full beard.  They have a square appearance. Their bodies are as long as they are tall. Their eyes are small and round and set close together, and their ears are small and fold over. However, in some countries, their ears are cropped, which makes them pointy and stand upright.

They have long, thick and powerful legs, and their front legs should be straight. The Giant Schnauzer was developed by crossing the Standard Schnauzer, the Bouvier des Flandres, and the black Great Dane.

They are very affectionate dogs and are highly intelligent. However, they are prone to being dominant, so they need an experienced owner who can maintain order and discipline. They are exceptionally energetic dogs, and if not exercised enough, they can become destructive.  They have a reputation for being good with children and do well as family pets.

They need plenty of structure in their lives’ and should be socialized with both people and animals from a young age. However, if properly trained and well-exercised, they can be wonderful pets that will always protect you. They are brave, fun-loving, full of character, and will always be faithful.

By nature, they are quiet dogs but are suspicious of strangers and very territorial.  This makes them excellent guard dogs.  Some Giant Schnauzer owners believe the salt and pepper Giant is likely to be more docile than the solid black color.

The Giant Schnauzer is healthy overall but is prone to a few illnesses and diseases, including hip dysplasia, epilepsy, incontinence, bloat, and cancer. Their average life expectancy is 12-15 years, which is relatively long for a large dog breed.

Although they do not need much grooming and are relatively easy to keep, there are a few important things. Because the Giant Schnauzer doesn’t shed, it’s important to regularly brush them to remove any dead undercoat as if this is left, and it can matt.

Giant Schnauzers have dense, wiry coats that must be brushed or clipped regularly.  Most owners will find it more convenient to take their dog to a professional groomer to get a proper schnauzer cut. It’s also important to clean their faces after eating as bits of food can get caught in their mustache, causing discoloration.

The Giant Schnauzer is not suited for apartment life. They are extremely active and need plenty of space to get enough exercise. They would do best with a family with no other pets and no very young children unless the dog is well trained and properly socialized. They really cannot be given enough exercise, so an active family that can take them out cycling or running for hours would be best.