Giant Schnauzer was developed in the German agricultural areas of Wurttemberg and Bavaria, as were the other two schnauzer breeds, the Standard Schnauzer and Miniature Schnauzer. The Giant Schnauzer was developed from the Standard Schnauzer and crossed with other drovers’ dogs and the black Great Dane. Some experts believe the Bouvier des Flandres might also have been used in the breed’s development. The Giant Schnauzer was used as a drover, helping to drive sheep and cattle to market, and as a guard dog for both farms and businesses. Rarely seen outside of agricultural districts, it wasn’t until World War I that the breed was discovered to be an excellent candidate for police and military training.
The Giant Schnauzer dog breed is the largest of the three schnauzer breeds. Standing 23.5 to 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 70 and 100 pounds, with females smaller than males, this large, sturdy dog is able to work hard. The Giant should look like a larger version of the Standard Schnauzer, with a body as long as the dog is tall, a head carried erect, and medium dark eyes. The ears can be cropped or left as natural button ears carried high on the head.
Giant Schnauzers are all black or salt and pepper. The tail is docked. The Giant Schnauzer’s coat has a hard, wiry outer coat and a soft undercoat. It needs brushing and combing two to three times a week. Dogs being shown will need to be hand-stripped every four to six weeks. If you desire to do this yourself, your dog’s breeder can teach you how to do it. If you’re not showing your dog, he can be trimmed with clippers; a professional groomer can groom your dog for you.
Bred to work and work hard, the Giant Schnauzer breed needs vigorous aerobic exercise every day. A long walk morning and evening is great but is not enough. The Giant Schnauzer will also need a fast game of catch, a session of flyball, or a good agility training session. The Giant Schnauzer also makes a great carting dog, and pulling a load in the wagon is good exercise.
Training is very important for all Giant Schnauzers. These dogs will get into all kinds of trouble of their own making if not provided with guidelines for their behaviour in the house and out in public. Training, especially advanced training, can help provide them with a job to do—something to keep the mind challenged. Early puppy socialisation is also important for this breed. Bred to be watchful and protective, Giant Schnauzers need socialisation to people of all sizes, ages, and ethnic backgrounds.
A well-socialised dog is a well-balanced dog who is able to make a decision about protection without fear. Puppy socialisation should include introductions to dogs of various sizes and breeds, too, as the breed has been known to be aggressive toward other dogs. Giant Schnauzers are devoted to their family, steady, and intelligent.
Giant Schnauzer puppies can be quite rambunctious and must be taught to be gentle with younger children. They are wonderful playmates and companions for older kids. Interactions with other pets should be supervised. The breed does have some health concerns, including hip and elbow dysplasia, seizure disorders, eye problems, and hypothyroidism.