An adult Giant Schnauzer is one of the most regal and capable dogs around. Bred up from the Standard Schnauzer, these magnificent creatures are a whole lot of German engineering, made to be serious protectors.
It can always be a challenge to care for large breeds, but for families that are up to the challenge, these dogs can be extremely rewarding companions. Read on to learn more about the Giant Schnauzer.
Description of the Giant Schnauzer
These dogs look a bit like grumpy, regal old men with alert ears, scruffy beards, and a head held high. These are high-energy dogs that are generally very happy, love their family, and like to play.
The Giant Schnauzer was bred in the Bavarian Alps. True mountain dogs, they were created to be versatile and independently minded. They had to both guard their owners and work with the family’s cattle. Later on, these hard-workers found great success in the military.
The breed is known for its square shape. They are large and well muscled, but not gargantuan. Their similarity to Standard Schnauzers gives them a familiar look, and they inevitably show off their athletic capabilities.
They are also known for their wiry, low-shed coat. which is often left longer around the muzzle. Standard colors are salt and pepper or black varieties.
Life Expectancy and Size
The Giant Schnauzer is the biggest of the Schnauzer varieties. They stand between 23 and 28 inches at the shoulder, and weigh between 55 and 95 pounds. The males tend to be significantly larger than the females, though they all are quite sturdy.
Like many big dogs, these Schnauzers have some significant health problems. Still, they live fairly long for such a large breed. Working with a reputable breeder can help decrease the chance of genetic conditions. Life expectancies generally range between 12 and 15 years.
This breed was created to protect. Of course, they have a capable build with a well-muscled frame. They are also agile and fast. Overall, they would make extremely worthy adversaries!
Many Giant Schnauzers are protective of their family. Most are also at least somewhat territorial. It is important to socialize these powerful workers early to avoid any negative behaviors. Well-socialized dogs should not be overly aggressive, as it is important for a guard dog to know when and when not to act.
Generally, the Giant Schnauzer is quite easy to train. They are working dogs at heart, always ready for the next job. Make training sessions task oriented to keep their attention in the most challenging of circumstances. It is important to keep these sessions varied and stimulating with all dogs. It is especially important with this breed. They are quite clever and can become bored quickly.
Some Giant Schnauzers can be hotheaded, and their stubbornness is exacerbated by harsh words. Make sure to keep calm and practice consistent, reward-based methods. Explain to them (using treats, not sentences) why it is in their best interest to do what you say using treats and praise.
These dogs have a high energy level. Like most working dogs, they’re always up for a job. However, they have more endurance than many big dogs. This can make them very good companions for athletes. It can also make them quite the handful for those unprepared to deal with their exercise needs.
What Living with a Giant Schnauzer is Like
This breed is not a piece of cake. These are huge, working dogs that have a lot of energy and an equal amount of endurance. For families that cannot provide them with a challenging job, the Giant Schnauzer can easily become a handful.
That being said, they retain the happy and sweet personality for which all Schnauzers are famous. As long as they are properly socialized, they can be loving companions. Without good socialization, some Giant Schnauzers can become territorial or aggressive.
These dogs can be great sidekicks for athletes. Their endurance is not typical of most large dogs. Of course, they are also perfectly adequate guard dogs. This should never be there only job, though. They are simply too loving and intelligent to be reduced to simple protection.
Care of the Giant Schnauzer
These hardy dogs are true descendants of the mountains. Most are low shedding, happy, and easy going. However, their size does complicate things.
This breed is remarkably adaptable. They have enough hair to protect them in most situations. With their impressive size, they almost never become cold. They may overheat in extreme situations. The Giant Schnauzer does need owners that can put in the time and effort to keep them company. They do not do well alone.
It is important to commit to providing the Giant Schnauzer with enough exercise. This is probably the most difficult aspect of their care.
Most of these dogs need to walk or run at least a mile each day. This can make them good companions for runners, bikers, or hikers. They also like jobs, and many individuals excel in careers with the military or in search-and-rescue.
Many Giant Schnauzers also enjoy safely fenced yards so that they can romp and explore. Again, it is important to keep them company, or they may become sad or bored.
Maintaining their physical fitness through adequate exercise and healthy diet will help them live longer, happier lives.
Shedding and Grooming
This is a low shedding breed. Not only will this keep the house clean, but it can be good for people who suffer from allergies.
The Giant’s coat does require some regular maintenance. Although not strictly necessary, they require frequent brushing to keep their wiry coat looking shiny and healthy. They will also need to be clipped every month or two. This can be both time-consuming and expensive.
Ideal Home Environment
This breed is a whole lot of dog. Giant Schnauzers are full of energy, and can range from boisterous to aggressive if they aren’t properly trained and socialized. Frankly, most families are better equipped to deal with the smaller strains of Schnauzer.
The Giant Schnauzer belongs in a home where he can have a job. These dogs crave exercise and have incredible mental dexterity.
At the end of the day, they also thrive off of social interaction. The Giant Schnauzer’s family should be able to spend ample time with these dogs. They are simply not happy being left alone, and are not suited to kennel life.
Most Giant Schnauzers are not suited to families with children. Because of their bounciness, they can easily bowl small ones over. They may do quite well with other large dogs, though.
This breed has some specific health concerns, especially with their joints. This is a problem for many large dogs. Eye problems, like cataracts, can also develop in these dogs quite early.
Other issues may involve blood clotting disorders, allergies, and thyroid problems. Bloat is a life threatening disorder of the stomach, which may affect many large dogs. Working with a reputable breeder and keeping your dog fit and active can help mitigate these concerns.
Bred to be guard dogs, Giant Schnauzers can get a bit carried away with their responsibilities, challenging strange dogs and people if they are not properly socialized.
Their territorial nature may also be an issue, even for familiar people – it’s no fun to have your dog growling at friends when they come over. Early, consistent socialization is usually enough to combat these tendencies. However, it is important to act early, before any negative behaviors even begin.
Most other issues arise when the Schnauzer is bored. This may lead to destructive behaviors like chewing or lethargy and sadness.