- Activity Level: high
- Grooming Level: high
- Trainability: moderate
- Adaptability: moderate
- Kid/Pet Friendly: often
- Average Size: Large
- Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Prey Drive: high
- Watchdog: very alert
- Registered?: aca, akc
Giant Schnauzer Breed Profile
Did You Know?
The Giant Schnauzer originated in Germany during the 17th century, more specifically the Bavarian Alps. There are three breeds of Schnauzer – Miniature, Standard, and Giant. Naturally, the Giant Schnauzer is the largest of the three. It was bred up from the Standard Schnauzer in order to create a larger rugged working dog.
Giant Schnauzers were most commonly used as cattle drovers to move cattle from the farm to the market. In addition to driving cattle, these dogs could also be found working as guard dogs. Later, they were a popular choice for work as police dogs throughout Europe and as military dogs during World War I and World War II.
Although they came to the United States during the 1930s, they did not become popular until the 1960s. The Giant Schnauzer stood out as a show dog and could often be found winning obedience competitions. They were also popular as beloved family pets that guarded both the home and their family. The American Kennel Club recognized the Giant Schnauzer in 1930 as a member of the Working Group.
Giant Schnauzers are a generally quiet dog breed, but they are also energetic and can be high spirited. They are loyal, courageous, devoted to their families, and get along well with children. Due to their guardian background, they can be territorial and are naturally suspicious of strangers. This makes socialization and training early and often very important.
The Giant Schnauzer is a moderately adaptable dog breed. Due to their size and their high energy levels, they do not tend to do well in apartments. They are better suited to larger homes with fenced-in yards where they can run.
They do well in cold weather and can tolerate some heat. As with any dog breed, they are sensitive to the extremes and have a higher sensitivity to heat. Because they are so devoted to their families, they do not like to be left alone for long periods of time.
Overall, this is a relatively healthy dog breed. As with all dog breeds, there are some potential health conditions to be aware of. For the Giant Schnauzer, potential health issues could include eye disease, hip dysplasia, and autoimmune thyroiditis.
Responsible breeders will watch and screen their breeding stock for these issues to avoid passing them on to puppies. So, don’t be afraid to ask the breeder questions about the genetic history of the parents and to see any relevant health clearances or test results.
The Giant Schnauzer is a moderately trainable dog breed. They are highly intelligent, they learn quickly, and they are eager to please. But, they need a job to do to be happy, require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, and can have a stubborn streak.
These traits can sometimes be difficult for a first-time dog owner to navigate and handle successfully on their own. Training and obedience classes or the help of a professional trainer can help a dedicated first-time owner with this dog breed.
The Giant Schnauzer has a weather-resistant double coat. The undercoat is dense and soft while the outer coat is harsh and wiry. Their coat requires weekly brushing and regular bathing, stripping, and clipping to stay healthy. Taking your Giant Schnauzer to a professional groomer you trust can help you handle the stripping and clipping of their coat.
In addition to coat care, you will also need to care for your Giant Schnauzer’s nails, ears, and teeth. Monthly nail trimming is usually sufficient to keep them from getting too long. Checking ears weekly and carefully cleaning them as needed can help prevent ear infections.
It’s also important to practice good dental care. A dog’s teeth are often overlooked until there is a problem, which is why dental disease is one of the most common health issues in dogs. By implementing proper dental care for dogs, like brushing their teeth or using an enzyme toothpaste every day, you can help prevent the tartar and plaque buildup that leads to painful dental diseases like gum disease and tooth decay.
Although not a giant dog breed, the Giant Schnauzer is still a big dog and needs an even bigger amount of exercise to stay happy and healthy. This dog breed needs long daily walks in addition to extra activity. They are great workout companions and enjoy a wide variety of activities.
Your Giant Schnauzer may enjoy running with you, going on a hike, swimming with you, playing fetch, and more. More often than not, they will be more than happy to be doing something active with you. They also tend to be great candidates for several dog sports including obedience, agility, herding, and more.
A fully-grown Giant Schnauzer usually stands 23-28 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 55-95 pounds.
A Giant Schnauzer generally lives 12-15 years.
Although this dog breed is called the “Giant” Schnauzer, they are not a giant dog breed. They’re just larger than the Standard Schnauzer. Also, they may all be called Schnauzers, but Miniature, Standard, and Giant Schnauzers are all distinct dog breeds. They were just bred and developed to have a similar look in differently-sized packages.