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Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzer | Big Dog BreedsHistory

The Giant Schnauzer was developed back in the 1500s in Wurttemberg and Bavaria, where they were used to help shepherds with sheep, cattle and other livestock. Before there were railroads the Schnauzer would help guide the flocks and herds to the market. The Standard Schnauzer was originally used as a rodent controller as well as herding sheep. Cattle farmers needed a larger and stronger dog to drive herds.

The Giant Schnauzer was known for many years as a great cattle-driving dog in Southern Bavaria, but was virtually unknown elsewhere until the early 1900s with the development of the railroad. They then become popular as watchdogs and property guardians with butchers at stockyards and breweries and beer halls. They were used as police dogs in Germany, which they still excel at today, as well as serving in both world wars. German Shepherds came to the United States and quickly became popular, right before the Giant Schnauzer, which eventually gained popularity as well, but not as well as the German Shepherd. Eventually they become valued companions here and participate in agility, flyball, cart pulling, obedience, protection work and anything that keeps them physically and mentally challenged. In Germany, they continue to be used in security positions and are known for their protection, bold nature and unwillingness to back down from conflict or controversy.

Height & Weight

Males stand from 25.5 to 27.5 inches at the withers and females stand 23.5 to 25.5. The average weight for the breed ranges from 75 pounds to 95 pounds.


Giant Schnauzers are prone to animal aggression and cats and small dogs should be kept away from them, as they are prone to chase and can seriously injure them. If you have or plan on getting a Schnauzer they should be the only pet you have because of their animal aggression. They should always be kept in a fenced in yard and on a leash at all times when out walking. Even if they are generally even-tempered and properly socialized, which they should be, it is difficult to train the aggression out of them.

If you decide to adopt a Giant Schnauzer you should already have an active lifestyle, as a well-exercised Schnauzer is a reliable housemate. If they do not get enough exercise they will destroy your home.


Giant Schnauzers are like people when it comes to personality; they can vary from dog to dog. Some are high strung, some are laid back and easy going, some love everybody, others don’t like new people. Commitment to exercise and training from an early age is the key to raising a happy and well-adjusted Giant Schnauzer. A properly trained Schnauzer is a great family pet who is reliable with children, mannered with strangers and knows the boundaries. An improperly trained and exercised Schnauzer is a whole different story. Properly trained Schnauzers are loyal, loving companions who bring their families nothing but laughter and joy. They are known to be attention seekers and silly. If they get a laugh and attention from you they will continue put on a show for you. With Giant Schnauzers, you get out of them what you put into them.


Training a Schnauzer should begin as early as possible, done with firm leadership, absolute consistency and plenty of treats. If you waiver in your training they wont bother to listen to you. Once basic training has been mastered, Schnauzers should be graduated on to advanced classes and if possible, enrolled in agility activities where they almost always excel.

Schnauzers can be timid or shy around strangers, and this can often lead to snapping or biting. For this reason they need more socialization than a lot of other breeds. It is important to teach a Schnauzer early and often, that new people and situations are nothing to fear.

Exercise Requirements

The Giant Schnauzer is a dog that needs to be walked or ran for several miles every day. If you are not an active person or live in the city, this breed is not for you. They are great companions for people with active lifestyles and they will enjoy jogging, hiking and biking. Enrolling them in agility training can keep their minds sharp. Proper exercise will keep the Schnauzer healthy and maintain their steady temperament. If they start to become high strung you should assume they are not getting enough exercise.


Giant Schnauzers should be brushed at least three times a week to prevent mats from forming in their undercoat and every four to six months their coat will require hand stripping. This is only needed for show dogs, while regular family pets can be clipped instead. Regular clipping will change the texture of their coat, which will lead to more shedding and also alter the coloring of the dog as well.

Their beards should be cleaned after every meal because food, water and saliva can get caught in the facial hair. It not only makes a mess around the house, but also can cause foul odors and tangles that may be painful to comb.

Their ears should be checked on a regular basis for signs of irritation, infection or wax buildup and cleaned with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved solution. Nail trimming should be done monthly if they do not wear their nails down naturally. If the nails make a clicking sound on hard floors, it’s time for a trim. Teeth should be brushed weekly to prevent tartar buildup and keep bad breath away.

Health Issues

Giant Schnauzers live between 10 and 12 years. Potential hereditary defects and disorders more commonly found, but not necessarily found, in the Giant Schnauzer Dog are Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia, Bloat, Cataracts, Crohn’s Disease, Epilepsy, Hip Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Narcolepsy, Retinal Dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Selective Malabsorption of Cobalamin (vitamin B-12) and cancer of the digits (toes).

Recommended Reading For More Information

Giant Schnauzer (Comprehensive Owner’s Guide)

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