The Giant Schnauzer is believed to have originated in the region of Munich, Germany from crossing the Standard Schnauzer with, among others, black Great Danes and the Bouvier des Flandres.The German breeders succeeded in breeding to type a large, outstanding cattle herding and droving dog with strong guarding instincts. Known as the Munchener Dog or Riesenschnauzer the role of the Giant Schnauzer expanded during the early 20th century to include police and military work and the breed served with honour during two world wars. Today they continue to be utilized by the police and miltary and they also function as SAR dogs, sniffer dogs, therapy dogs, as well as purely companions.
Giant Schnauzers are very versatile, powerful and intelligent dogs. They are loyal and affectionate to their family and will bond extremely closely. This love of family means that they are essentially indoor dogs and will become depressed and miserable if consigned to the backyard without the human contact that they need. It should be understood that this is a working, guarding breed, bold, with a rather dominant nature and a propensity to think independently. These traits require an owner who understands the breed and who is able to demonstrate strong leadership qualities. If the Giant Schnauzer does not have confidence that his owner is in complete control then he will take the lead himself and make his own decisions. Given the strong protection drive of the dog this may have unfortunate consequences should he judge that someone poses a threat and then proceed to act on that judgement. Enthusiastic and vigorous in all aspects of life the Giant Schnauzer works hards and plays hard and desires to be included in all family activities. Due to the Giant’s sheer size, forceful personality and assertive behaviour this is not a breed for everyone and is not recommended for families with children under the age of 12-13.
This breed needs a great deal of exercise when adult. If you are unable to provide long daily walks and the opportunity for free running and play the dog will become bored and unfit both physically and psychologically. Pent-up energy will find expression in lack of co-operation and inappropriate behaviours. Running, hiking, swimming, agility, obedience, schutzhund, herding, carting, tracking, all are activities which will provide much needed exercise and mental stimulation for the Giant. As with all large breeds care must be taken not to over-exercise the growing pup.
It is most important that Giant Schnauzers should receive, at the very least, basic obedience training. They are highly intelligent and quite easy to train, with many participating successfully at the highest levels of competition obedience. They respond best to firm, fair, and consistent training methods with plentiful food and praise rewards for a job well done. Extensive socialization from a very young age with people and other dogs is vital. Giants can be very suspicious of unknown people and, if not adequately socialized, may fail to realize that not every stranger is a threat.
- Hip dysplasia
- eye problems
- osteochondritis dissecans
- von Willebrand’s disease
- hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD)
- susceptible to bloat
Some photographs of the Giant Schnauzer...