AKC Dog Breeds: Giant Schnauzer

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Working  Group
Height:23-28 inches   Weight: 60-100 pounds  Color: solid black or salt and pepper

Giant Schnauzers are the largest of the Schnauzer breed, originating from Munich, Germany. A versatile breed, they were used as cattle driving dogs in Bavaria, sheepherders, guarding, and as noble companions, but as technology progressed they almost faced extinction as they were no longer needed. Thanks to its reputation as a guardian and to dedicated breeders, the breed was kept alive. They still make great herding dogs and wonderful pets. The police and military also use them as guard dogs or police dogs to this day.  They are loyal and protective over their owners, and will show unconditional love for years to come. It is believed that the Giant Schnauzer is composed of a variety of other large breeds, including Bouviers, Great Danes and some Shepherd Breeds. When the resulting dog resembled the Standard Schnauzer, that breed was crossed in to reinforce the type and the name became Giant Schnauzer. The name Schnauzer comes from the German word "Schnauze", meaning beard or muzzle and draws attention to the distinctive mustache and beard on the muzzle created by longer hair there. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1930.

General Appearance

The Giant Schnauzer is a large, powerful, compact dog with bushy eyebrows, whiskers and a beard. It looks like a larger image of the Standard Schnauzer. It  has a harsh, wiry outer coat and dense, soft undercoat. Ideally, the dog's height is the same as the length, resulting in a rather square impression. The strong, arched neck should blend cleanly into the shoulders. The head is about half as long as the back from withers to tail attachment. The muzzle and top of the head should form parallel planes. The large nose is black. The eyes are dark brown and oval. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The front legs are straight and parallel. Dewclaws should be removed on the hind legs and may be removed on the front legs as well. The tail is generally docked to the second or third joint. Cropping the ears is optional. The coat comes in solid black or salt &  pepper.

The Giant Schnauzer is a spirited, lively, and intelligent, with plenty of stamina and a very loyal and protective streak. The protective nature of this breed means that the Giant Schnauzer makes an effective watchdog. These dogs are courageous, alert, and eager, and whilst some may be very serious others may be far more laid back. These are high energy dogs and are also very intelligent, and it is important to ensure that your Giant Schnauzer receives both physical and mental stimulation. The Giant Schnauzer is a quick learner, which aids training, but can be very determined and dominant, which makes him best suited for those with some degree of experience when it comes to dog ownership and training. The Giant Schnauzer is a large and high spirited creature, and although he gets along well with children it is best to limit this to older, more considerate children. Most Giant Schnauzers will accept other animals, but can be dominating and even aggressive with same sex dogs.  The Giant Schnauzer is a people person, and does require attention and regular exercise. They can be wary around strangers.


The Giant Schnauzer is a high maintenance dog when it comes to grooming, so potential owners should ensure that they have plenty of time to dedicate to looking after the pet. You will need to brush the coat of the Giant Schnauzer on a regular basis, and his beard will need to be cleaned daily for hygiene reasons. You should also ensure that you keep the hair around his bottom trimmed for hygiene reasons. For show dogs, the dead coat will need to be stripped every few months, and for pets clipping may be necessary every few months. This breed is a low shedder, and may therefore be suitable for allergy sufferers.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of the Giant Schnauzer is around 10-12 years. Some female Giants, if spayed too early may have inconsistency problems. This can be prevented by waiting until the dog is fully developed before spaying. Giants are prone to cancer, more than most breeds. They have a tendency for developing toe cancer, regular vet checks and proper care can help you catch the disease early. They also are at an increased risk of bloat because of their size; you can prevent this by feeding them small amounts at different times during the day. Epilepsy is another disease that is common for this breed, as well as hip dysplasia. Special care should be done to prevent joints from suffering damage in puppy hood, such as not allowing the dog to jump up, avoiding stairs and limiting running times until they are full developed.

Activity Level
Giants should be exercised daily for at least an hour. They are energetic dogs and require a lot of activity. If not properly exercised, these dogs can become destructive, bored and overweight. They love running and exploring new places and will be a great running/jogging partner as they love spending time with their owners.


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