Giant Schnauzer Club of America, Inc. Collection (1905-2009)

2008:007

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17 Cubic feet
Collection processed by Norma Rosado-Blake

PROVENANCE

A gift from the Giant Schnauzer Club of America (GSCA).

ARRANGEMENT

GSCA First National Specialty catalog, 1968

The collection is arranged into 13 series and several sub-series including: (1) Meeting minutes; (2) Correspondences, (a) dwarfs; (3) Documents, (a) Ch. Terra v. Greifensee’s pedigree; (4)  Publications, (a) Giant Steps, (b) GSCA Newsletter (c) Yearbook, (d) Stud Book record, (e) Ortho Foundation For Animals (OFA) List, (f) German Stud Book, (g) PSK Zuchtbuch Riesenschnauzer, (h) Pinscher Schnauzer Zuchtbuch, (i) GSCA Source Book, (j) Giant, (k) What You Should Know About the Giant Schnauzer, (l) catalogs; (5) Typescript;  (6) Ephemera; (7) Articles; (8) Photos, (a) Giants of Tobiah, (b) Mr. & Mrs. Sprenger’s kennels, (c) National Specialties; (9) 35 mm slides; (10) Photos and negatives; (11) Negatives and contact sheets; (12) Clippings; (13) Videos, (a) National Specialty.

HISTORY

The Club

The club was founded in 1962. They conducted their first national specialty in 1968 in Chicago. Unfortunately, during the same time, the Chicago riots broke out and kept the entry numbers very, very low; there were 12 dogs entered and eight didn’t attend. However, even with this set back, the club managed to maintain a healthy number of members in the coming decades.

By the time they conducted this first national specialty there was a growing concern among GSCA members that "backyard" breeders were exploiting the breed. In the 1968 souvenir catalog it reads, "...We believe that this dog is too noble, too wonderful and too loyal to be the victim of such practices as wholesale breeding, indiscriminant mating...pet shop...and whenever possible, we have tried to inform the public as to the worth and quality of this breed."1 The club adopted a motto that best describes the breed--Love, Valor, Intelligence. It appears on numerous club publications.

First issue of Giant Steps, 1964

The GSCA’s commitment to the breed is evidenced by the creation of numerous educational and ancillary activities such as rescue, judges’ education, and an information center among others. Additionally, they collected a comprehensive archive of publications and photographs from people like Ronnie and Bonnie Barker and Catherine H. Brown. This has enabled the club to produce publications such as The Giant Schnauzer in the United States, 1930-2005: a Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Celebration.

The Breed

By the mid-19th century, the Giant Schnauzer (GS) was a distinct breed, as reported by noted canine artist, Richard Strebel. With origins in Germany, the breed’s ancestry includes the Standard Schnauzer, the Bouvier des Flandres, a herding breed from the Flanders region of France, and the black Great Dane. Like its ancestor, the Bouvier des Flandres, the GS too worked to herd cattle mainly in Upper Bavaria. Eventually, the dog made its way into populous cities such as Munich by the 20th century. There they earned a reputation as excellent guard dogs and ratters. Their keen protective nature was so legendary that breweries used them to guard their beer wagons as they made their way into town. As the breed’s popularity gained strength, breed specific clubs such as the Pinscher Club and Bavarian Schnauzer Club were established.

A group of Krayenrain dogs
in Stuttgart, Germany

By the early 1920s Americans became familiar with the breed by way of German police forces who employed the dogs. By 1925 the first GS were imported to the United States by people such as James Mitchell Hoyt who imported Argo v. Kurhessen. With the breed’s recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1930, it was clear that the breed was well on its way to becoming a viable American prospect. As such, Mr. Hoyt exhibited several of his GS at the Westminster dog show where his Bodov Fus Fuchspark Potzhaus took Best of Breed.

A few years later, a major influx of imported stock occurred with Carlo v Saldern who was the first GS to achieve AKC champion status and sired the first American-bred champion. Despite the fact that the breed was making some head way into the dog world, it didn’t guarantee a future. In fact it wasn’t until the 1960s that the breed began to enjoy some popularity in America.

As the quintessential Giant Schnauzer, Ch. Terry Krayenrain was the model for the 1960s illustrated standard. Owned by Ernest Sprenger-Guner of France and imported by Thomas and Julia Bagley in 1964, Ch. Terry Krayenrain was an exceptional specimen. As such, many champion Giant Schnauzers and successful kennels can trace their lineage to him. He sired numerous champions including Ch. El Lobo Emo, who became the first American-bred GS to take an all-breed Best in Show, a historic feat.

Ch. Terry Krayenrain

The breed’s growing popularity during the 1960s is due, in part, to some of the great kennels that were founded at this time. One noteworthy was Skansen Kennels in California founded by Sylvia Hammarstorm.

A native Swede, Sylvia owned several breeds growing up including the Dachshund and the Standard Schnauzer. At Skansen Kennels she bred and owned several breeds, but became best known for her Giant Schnauzers. By the mid-1970s and 1980s her Giant Schnauzers dominated the confirmation and obedience rings. In fact, by 1987, 200 of her GS earned champion status and 100 earned other titles such as CD, UD, CDX.

Since 1930 there have been only two GS to take the Working Group at the Westminster dog show. The first occurred in 1990 with Ch. Skansen’s I Have A Dream, bred by Sylvia Hammarstorm and owned by Marcia Nanci. The second occurred in 2009 with a bitch named Ch. Galilee’s Pure of Spirit owned by Mary & Pete Hayes and Joe & Carla Sanchez. This extraordinary feat only describes half of what the Giant Schnauzer has accomplished in the dog world. Their achievement in the obedience and agility rings are also noteworthy.

The Giant Schnauzer began competing in obedience as far back as 1940s with Jane Haas’ Rhine Kennels. She produced several champion utility dogs including, Czar Cedric of Millermania, CD, who earned the first American champion dog degree (CD). "Alaric of the Rhine Crossing, UDT earned the first Giant Schnauzer Champion Dog Excellent degree (CDX) in 1946 and the first Giant Schnauzer Utility Dog Tracking degree (UDT)." Contemporary audiences have seen several Giant Schnauzers excel at agility and tracking events. The first GS to receive a Utility Dog Excellent title (UDX) was CT Can. OTCH Riesenrad’s Heike in Motion, VCD1, UDX, TDX, VST, NAP, NJP owned by Ingrid Hamburger. As such a versatile breed, it’s no wonder that the Giant Schnauzer’s accomplishment extends beyond the confirmation ring.

The breed’s strength and power are illustrated by their physique. They are the largest of the three schnauzer breeds with an impressive height of 23½ to 27½ inches and weighing in at 55 to 80 pounds. The breed’s temperament is best described by the late Dr. Erich Harms, a German GS breeder and author. He describes them as distrustful of strangers and watchful. The breed’s temperament as a brave, powerful, loyal and intelligent dog is indicative of their work with police forces, particularly in Europe.

Ch. Tueblu’s Chaos in Rhine --one of hundreds of photos in the collection

SCOPE AND CONTENT

This collection is dynamic and rich. It contains a wealth of photographs and written material on the history and health of the breed as well as the club.

The publication series comprises the bulk of the collection. It contains items such as What You Should Know About the Giant Schnauzer which is comprehensive in nature; it’s a great source for its history, care, exhibition, and breeding among other topics. The GSCA’s official publication Giant Steps makes up the bulk of the series. It begins with the first Giant Steps published in 1962 and continues until 2009. Each contains ubiquitous items found in a parent club publication such as event results, articles, meeting minutes, photos and other information. The club’s Yearbooks are also a valuable source, which spans from 1976 to 2001 and 2007. Interestingly, this series also contains a sizeable amount of foreign items such as the German Stud Books and Germanic books.

The document series contains a variety of items such as a survey on obedience, standing rules, a lengthy pedigree for Ch. Terra v. Greifensee and a 1966 account about how this dog was acquired.

The correspondence series include the dwarfs sub-series which is comprised of a hand-written correspondences by owners with a few photos and an accompanying study by the University of Pennsylvania Veterinarian School of Medicine.

A survey from the collection

The typescript series contains a noteworthy item-- The German Giant Schnauzer published by Dr. Erich Harms in 1949. It goes into great detail about the Giant Schnauzer’s origin and development beginning in the mid-19th century. He proviand provides personal anecdotes about his experience with the breed. The other item in this series is a transcribed interview between Klaus Anselin and H. Hoeller.

The photos, negatives and 35 mm series are extensive. It contains the GSCA’s National Specialty of 2004 that includes application forms and a summary of a study on canine epilepsy--a Canine Health Foundation grant-funded study. The folder marked Betty Blake’s dogs contain several of her titled dogs including: BJ’s Teddy O’Ber; BJ’s Shnazzy Jazz, CDX; Skansens BJ’s Snitzel Maus; Can/Am. Ch. Dragonair’s Boshja; Can. CD; BJ’s Razz Beri; Can/Am. Ch. BJ’s Ms Benji, CD, TD. The folder marked Judi Boston’s dogs contain images of several dogs including: Ch. Dolric Maritz v Gestern, CD; C. Terrestas’ Hallmark v Gesi, CD; Ch. Sonnens Chein Crusta Belle, CD; Ch. Von Gestern’s Shot in the Dark; Ch. Sonnens Chein Ezi Lady v Shot; Ch. Sonnens Chein Fultilt Boogie; Sonnens Chein Fast Lane. Folders marked various dogs contain numerous images of well-known dogs owned by Mr. & Mrs. Sprenger owners of Krayenrain and Bob & Bonnie Barker owners of Tueblu kennels; it is recommended to review by hand.

The video series include several national specialty shows including their 2007 show and an accompanying disk of still images.

1 The Giant Schnauzer Club of America, Inc., Salutes The Schnauzer Spectacular. Giant Schnauzer Club of America, 3.
2 Schilla, Yvonne. The Giant Schnauzer in the United States 1930-2005: A Seventy-fifth Anniversary Celebration, ed. Enid S. Lagree (Delaware: Dover Litho Printing Company, 2005) 21.