Giant Schnauzer

Type: Herding Dog

Height: Females: 23.5 - 25.5 inches; Males: 25.5 - 27.5 inches.

Weight: 70 - 80 lbs.

Life Span: 9 - 12 years.

Litter Size: 5 - 8 puppies.

Country of Origin: Germany

Activity: High

Watch-dog: Very High

Guard-dog: Very High. Giant Schnauzers are very protective.


Description: The Schnauzer family comes in three sizes: giant, standard and miniature, but they are each considered separate breeds. The Giant Schnauzer is an unusual looking dog who has high spirits, stamina and loyalty. They are independent and intelligent and need firm and consistent training. Giant Schnauzers may be aggressive with strangers and make excellent watchdogs. They are sturdy, tough and have a wiry coat which breeders work hard to sustain. Their wiry coats are one of few aspects that make them distinct from the Bouvier des Flandres. Giant Schnauzers are excellent guardians, looking intimidating as well as acting protective. They are loyal and very playful with their family, but should be supervised with children. They are brave, intelligent and noble creatures. Giant Schnauzers even served in the first World War, from which popularity arose. Giant Schnauzers are excellent protectors and pets.

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Other Names: Riesenschnauzer, Russian Bear Schnauzer, Münchener Dog

Colors: Pure black or salt and pepper.

Coat: Harsh, hard and wiry. They have a woolly undercoat, but the bristly outer coat is highly desired among this breed. Their coat is one of the few aspects that differentiates them from Bouviers.

Temperament: Giant Schnauzers are loyal, protective and alert. They are affectionate and very playful with family, but will react if provoked and is not afraid to defend its territory. They are intelligent, brave and even tempered. They make great watchdogs and guard dogs, but should be watched with children, as this is a large breed. They are gentle with friends and family. Giant Schnauzers are reliable and good natured.

With Children: Yes, as long as they are socialized to children, but supervision is always required, as they can react if irritated.

With Pets: Yes, usually gets along with other dogs and pets, but will defend its territory.

Special Skills: Watch dog, guard dog and family pet.

Care and Training: Brush the wiry coat of the Giant Schnauzer daily with a short wire brush to prevent matting. Their coat should be stripped to prevent it from becoming soft and woolly. Pluck the coat twice a year, trim around the eyes and ears. Clean whiskers after meals. Giant Schnauzer are an energetic dog and requires daily exercise of a long, brisk walk and off the leash play sessions. Giant Schnauzers enjoy mental and physical activity and are responsive and easily trainable, but will become bored with repetitive exercises. Keep in mind that they have their own ideas and will not follow every command. Giant Schnauzers are known to do well in various sporting activities, especially defense dog trials.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - Medium/Low. Problem Solving - Very High.

Special Needs: Exercise, positive training, professional grooming and socialization.

Living Environment: A home with a fenced yard is essential as they are an active breed. To be an owner of a Giant Schnauzer you should be strong, confident, and patient. The best owner for this breed would be an active, adult family, or family with older children, living in the country or in a suburban setting.

Health Issues: Hip and elbow dysplasia and eye diseases. Giant Schnauzers may also suffer from orthopedic problems, albinism, epilepsy, hypothyroidism and renal problems.

History: Originating from an area near Munich, Germany, Giant Schnauzers originally weren't Schnauzers at all! It is believed that Giant Schnauzers originated from crosses of smooth-coated drover dogs, rough-coated shepherds, black Great Danes and the Bouvier des Flandres. They were first known as the Riesenschnauzer. Later they were known as the Münchener Dog because of their origin. Giant Schnauzers have been in use for driving livestock since the 15th century. Used to herd and drive cattle, Giant Schnauzers were useful dogs among farmers. But due to lack of cattle drives and the large stomach this Schnauzer had, the species soon worked in cities as mascots for beer halls and butcher shops in the 19th century. Eventually breeders saw a similarity among the Giant and regular Schnauzers, and this is when they decided to interbreed them, making the Giant Schnauzer what he is today. At first they were called Munich Schnauzers until the term "giant" tagged along. In 1909 the breed was first shown in Munich, and the breed was accepted by the public. A national club for the breed was formed, and they soon made their way to America as well. Although not as popular as their German counterpart, the German Shepherd, they were still used in both World Wars as police dogs. After the First World War they were primarily used as a guard dog. They almost became extinct in both wars due to so many deaths, and many thought the breed was gone for good. But thanks to a group of dedicated followers, the Giant Schnauzer was revived and thrives again. German fanciers have worked hard to secure the popularity of this breed, although it has never had a huge following in the United States.

First Registered by the AKC: 1930

AKC Group: Working

Class: Non-Sporting

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 2), KC (GB), UKC