You know those sweet, obedient, adaptable little Miniature Schnauzers? The Giant Schnauzer is not exactly the same. Rather, he’s a large, strong dog with a natural guarding and territorial instinct. Which isn’t to say that Giants Schnauzers don’t make excellent canine companions, they do. But there are just a few things you should know about the breed before you decide to get one.
1. Giant Schnauzers are imposing dogs. They stand up to 27.5 inches at the shoulder and can weigh up to 95 pounds. They do share some physical characteristics with their smaller cousins, the Miniature and Standard Schnauzers: the harsh eyebrows and beard, as well as a keen, intelligent expression.
2. Although you may think the three types of schnauzers are the same breed in different sizes, they’re actually three distinct AKC-recognized breeds. They were developed in Germany in the agrarian kingdoms of Bavaria and Wurttemberg as working farm dogs.
3. They're extremely smart. Because he’s a working dog, the Giant Schnauzer loves having a job to do, and with his intelligence, there’s no end to the jobs he can perform. Originally bred to be an all-around worker, he helped on the farm with carting, herding, and most of all, protecting his territory and humans. You might not have any livestock to herd or hay bales to cart, but your Giant Schnauzer can put that formidable brain and strength to work in other ways. Let him carry things for you, find objects, even bring in the newspaper. He’ll also be quick to pick up tricks and games.
4. Because of his intelligence and need to work, the Giant Schnauzer is successful in many areas, including police and military work, rescue work, dog sports, and even as guide dogs. In fact, he thrives on responsibility and on the time and attention you spend on him. The breed has great success at rally, agility, obedience trials, herding, lure coursing, and carting.
5. The Giant Schnauzer is primarily a guard dog. To him, his most important job is to protect his home and family. He’s deeply loyal to his family and instinctively territorial. This isn’t one of those happy-go-lucky breeds that greets every visitor with a happy tail wag. Because he learns so quickly, you can teach him to differentiate between welcome visitors and everyone else, but the key word here is "teach."
6. This is a high-energy breed that needs lots of exercise. He’ll enjoy long walks and jogging with you, playtime in a fenced yard, and learning all of those dog sports he’s so good at.
7. Grooming your dog is considered to be a bonding experience, so prepare to bond because the Giant Schnauzer does need regular grooming. Although he doesn’t shed large tumbleweeds of hair, he does need regular brushing. It’s important to keep his head trimmed. With those pronounced eyebrows and beard, his face can virtually disappear under a tangle of hair unless kept neatly trimmed.
Does a Giant Schnauzer sound like a lot of work? It’s well worth it! He’s a smart, trainable, and loyal dog that’s deeply attached to his family. If you’re ready for the challenges of owning a Giant Schnauzer, you’ll be rewarded with his undying devotion for the entirety of his life.