The Giant Schnauzer is a highly intelligent, spirited and energetic dog.
He’s like Mohammed Ali in his prime – incredibly strong and full of energy. He demands your attention, loves people and has a heart of gold underneath that powerful exterior.
The Giant Schnauzer is loyal, strongly territorial and an instinctive protector of his family. His life revolves around his owners. In return for his devotion, he expects your time.
This is a high maintenance dog breed that requires a major amount of training, grooming and exercise. However, with the right people he is one of the most rewarding dogs of all to own.
The Giant - or Riesenschnauzer as he’s known in Germany - has a long history of training and working alongside humans as companion, assistant and even guardian.
He is the second most popular of the 3 schnauzer breeds, after the Miniature. In America it is the 83rd most popular dog breed.
This is a striking looking dog and an elegant mover. Once seen, never forgotten.
The breed was truly recognized in 2008 when the beautiful black Jafrak Philippe Olivier beat almost 23,000 dogs from 181 breeds to win Best in Show at Crufts - the largest dog show in the world.
His owners Kevin and Sandie Cullen of Sussex, England, have written an exclusive article for our website. Read about Philip and the Cullens winning Crufts.
In appearance The Giant Schnauzer is large and solid, but compact rather than heavy. Like an athlete, he is muscular, fit and very agile.
His shoulder height is almost the same as his body length, giving a neat, square shape. He has the bushy eyebrows, whiskers and full beard typical of the Schnauzer.
Males are 25.5 to 27.5 inches high at the shoulders and weigh anything from 60 to 90 pounds – that’s a lot of dog food! Bitches are 2 or 3 inches smaller and weigh 55 to 75 pounds.
Like the Standard Schnauzer, this athletic breed is classed in the Working Group in North America, as it is in the UK. Although the Standard and Miniature are both included in the Utility Group in the UK.
In North America the tail is docked and the ears may or may not be cropped.
Since April 2007 it has been illegal to dock any dog’s tail - except for working gundogs – in the UK. Dogs born prior to that with docked tails are accepted in the show ring. It is also illegal to crop the dog’s ears in the UK.
For a full list of breed standards, follow these links:
American Kennel Club Breed Standard
The Kennel Club (UK) Breed Standard
Solid black or pepper and salt are the only 2 colors for Giant Schnauzers. They have a harsh, wiry outer coat and dense, soft undercoat. Like all Schnauzers, they are regarded as a non shedding, hypoallergenic dog breed.
It’s a fact that no dog is totally non shedding and you’ll probably find small amounts of dog hair around the house.
Find out more by following this link - Giant Schnauzers - Hypoallergenic and Non Shedding
These dogs require regular grooming. Because they are non shedding (and hypoallergenic), they have to be stripped or clipped regularly - about every 8 to 10 weeks. This keeps them looking handsome and elegant and not scruffy and woolly!
Regular weekly brushing and combing help to prevent the legs and the beard from tangling. A word of warning, once your Giant Schnauzer has established a fully grown beard, expect it to be soaked every visit to the water dish....
They are NOT a larger version of the Miniature Schnauzer.
There are three distinctive Schnauzer breeds all with very different personalities and characteristics. Giant Schnauzers are physically very strong and have extremely high energy levels. They are loud and demanding and require a lot of daily attention and exercise.
As a guard dog they are second to none. Their natural ability to protect their owners and home makes Giant Schnauzers a valuable asset - as long as they are part of the family. They like to be involved with whatever its family is doing, even if it’s just sitting watching the TV.
If left alone the Giant becomes bored and frustrated - he may even become unruly and uncontrollable. Due to their intelligence, many have a stubborn streak and require a firm hand when training.
If you decide to get a Giant Schnauzer, you MUST be prepared to devote lots of quality time to your dog - all the way from puppyhood throughout his adult life.
Because Giants can be strong willed, it's especially important for you to start off on the right foot with your puppy or adult dog. This means proper training.
Find out if there's a local puppy or dog training class in your area. Another quick and easy way of getting yourself up to speed initially is to invest in a dog training DVD.
However you decide to train your Giant, it will be time (and maybe money) well spent. Putting in the effort at the beginning will bring rewards in the long run.
All 3 types of Schnauzer originate from the Standard Schnauzer (or just ‘Schnauzer’ as it is called in the UK) which has been around for 500 years.
However, the Giant didn’t arrive on the scene until fairly recently. In 19th century Southern Germany, cattlemen wanted a larger version of the Standard Schnauzer for herding. They created the Giant by selectively breeding the Standard with several other breeds of dog.
Read the fascinating History of the Giant Schnauzer and How it Got its Unusual Name
Although the dog has had an excellent reputation for its work with the police and military for nearly a century in Germany, it was still a rare breed in the USA and Britain in the 1960’s.
Exercise - and plenty of it
If you’re a couch potato, then the Giant Schnauzer is definitely NOT the dog for you!
If, on the other hand, you’re about to embark on a 10-year fitness program, then he could be the ideal training partner…....
Giants will take as much exercise as they can get. They are energetic dogs which love running free.
They were bred as a working dog to run and herd animals all day long. They have to get rid of this excess energy – and need at least a couple of hours’ exercise a day.
They have to be taken on long daily walks, jogs or runs. If you’re not that fit yourself, you can cycle a few miles and let the dog run alongside.
If they are not exercised at least twice daily they bounce off the walls and can be difficult to deal with - even well trained ones. The most common phrase among breeders, owners and trainers is "A tired Giant is a good Giant."
You might think about getting involved in agility classes, advanced obedience training, carting or tracking. These are all activities which this breed excels at.
In short, the Giant Schnauzer is a very rewarding dog, but only for the right owners who are prepared to devote plenty of time and energy to him.
Follow the links below to find out more about Giant Schnauzers -
History of the Giant
Top Ten Tips for Finding Good Giant Breeders
Worldbeater Philip - Supreme Champion of Crufts
Schnauzers - Hypoallergenic and Non Shedding
List of Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds.
Schnauzermania Store for gifts and pet products
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