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  • Temperament: Loyal, Alert, Trainable
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 79 of 194
  • Height: 25.5-27.5 inches (male), 23.5-25.5 inches (female)
  • Weight: 60-85 pounds (male), 55-75 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Group: Working Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Giant Schnauzer standing sideways facing left
Giant Schnauzer sitting facing forward, head turned left
Giant Schnauzer lying in three-quarter view facing forward
Giant Schnauzer sitting facing forward

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Giant Schnauzer should resemble, as nearly as possible, in general appearance, a larger and more powerful version of the Standard Schnauzer, on the whole a bold and valiant figure of a dog. Robust, strongly built, nearly square in proportion of body length to height at withers, active, sturdy, and well muscled. Temperament which combines spirit and alertness with intelligence and reliability. Composed, watchful, courageous, easily trained, deeply loyal to family, playful, amiable in repose, and a commanding figure when aroused. The sound, reliable temperament, rugged build, and dense weather-resistant wiry coat make for one of the most useful, powerful, and enduring working breeds.

HEAD

Strong, rectangular in appearance, and elongated; narrowing slightly from the ears to the eyes, and again from the eyes to the tip of the nose. The total length of the head is about one-half the length of the back (withers to set-on of tail). The head matches the sex and substance of the dog. The top line of the muzzle is parallel to the top line of the skull; there is a slight stop which is accentuated by the eyebrows.

BODY

Compact, substantial, short-coupled, and strong, with great power and agility. The height at the highest point of the withers equals the body length from breastbone to point of rump. The loin section is well developed, as short as possible for compact build.

FOREQUARTERS

The forequarters have flat, somewhat sloping shoulders and high withers. Forelegs are straight and vertical when viewed from all sides with strong pasterns and good bone. They are separated by a fairly deep brisket which precludes a pinched front. The elbows are set close to the body and point directly backwards. Chest – Medium in width, ribs well sprung but with no tendency toward a barrel chest; oval in cross section: deep through the brisket.

COAT

Hard, wiry, very dense; composed of a soft undercoat and a harsh outer coat which, when seen against the grain, stands slightly up off the back, lying neither smooth nor flat. Coarse hair on top of head; harsh beard and eyebrows, the Schnauzer hallmark.

HINDQUARTERS

The hindquarters are strongly muscled, in balance with the forequarters; upper thighs are slanting and well bent at the stifles, with the second thighs (tibiae) approximately parallel to an extension of the upper neckline. The legs from the hock joint to the feet are short, perpendicular to the ground while the dog is standing naturally, and from the rear parallel to each other. The hindquarters do not appear over-built or higher than the shoulders. Croup full and slightly rounded. Feet-Well-arched, compact and catlike, turning neither in nor out, with thick tough pads and dark nails. Dewclaws – Dewclaws, if any, on hind legs should be removed; on the forelegs, may be removed.

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About the Giant Schnauzer

A well-bred Giant Schnauzer closely resembles the Standard Schnauzer—only bigger. As their name suggests, Giants are imposing.

A male might stand as high as 27.5 inches at the shoulder and weigh 95 pounds. The muscular, substantial body is, as the breed’s fanciers put it, a “bold and valiant figure of a dog.” The double coat is either solid black or “pepper and salt.” Familiar characteristics of the Mini, Standard, and Giant are a harsh beard and eyebrows, accentuating a keen, sagacious expression.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Giant Schnauzer

Find a Puppy: Giant Schnauzer

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Care

NUTRITION

The Giant Schnauzer should be fed a high-quality diet appropriate for the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

GROOMING

The Giant Schnauzer has a dense, wiry, weather-resistant double coat consisting of a soft undercoat and a harsh outer coat. The Giant must be brushed weekly, and clipped or stripped regularly to maintain a healthy and attractive coat. The owner should be prepared to spend time maintaining the coat or plan to have the dog periodically groomed by the breeder or someone whom the breeder recommends. The Giant’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste formulated for dogs.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Daily Brushing

EXERCISE

More energetic and up-tempo than most big breeds, Giants need lots of exercise. Long daily walks, play sessions with another dog, or romps in the yard with their owners will do nicely. Giants are great workout companions for people who run, bicycle, hike, cross-country ski, swim, or skijor. All of these activities require a very active partnership with the owner. The Giant needs companionship either in the form of a human he can play with, or another large dog. Finding games he will enjoy, such as hide and seek or tennis-ball chase, will exercise both mind and body and help keep him fit and happy.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Needs Lots of Activity

TRAINING

Extremely intelligent and strongly territorial, the Giant Schnauzer loves his owners and feels great responsibility to protect them. He learns quickly and can distinguish between friend and foe. Giants want to be with their owners and cannot abide being ignored or left in the yard. A Giant Schnauzer needs to have a job—even something as simple as chasing a ball. The Giant is a “high-energy, protective, territorial guard dog,” says one prominent breed fancier. “The breed is not for the casual owner.” Giants do best with fenced-in running room, regular exercise, and activities that provide mental and physical exercise. They enjoy and excel in dog sports such as carting, herdingagilitycoursing ability tests, and obedience. Early socialization and puppy training classes are a must with this strong, protective breed.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Easy Training

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

 

Giant Schnauzers are healthy overall, and dedicated breeders will screen for health issues such as hip dysplasia, eye disease, and autoimmune thyroiditis. Prospective owners should select a breeder who is a member of the Giant Schnauzer Club of America. GSCA members agree to a code of ethics in breeding and will be the owner’s resource for health information as well as grooming help and tips on Giant Schnauzer care and training.

 

Recommended Health Test from the National Breed Club:

  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Hip Evaluation
Giant Schnauzer
Giant Schnauzer
Giant Schnauzer
Giant Schnauzer
Giant Schnauzer

History

The Giant Schnauzer was developed in the Bavarian Alps sometime in the mid-1800s. These rugged working dogs, bred up from the Standard Schnauzer, were used to drive cattle from farm to market.

They also served as formidable guard dogs for farmers, merchants, and innkeepers. After railroads rendered cattle drives obsolete, Giants found work as European police and military K-9s. In America, Giants gained renown as eye-catching show dogs, obedience champions, and courageous guardians of home and family.

Did You Know?

The German name of the Giant Schnauzer is Riesenschnauzer, meaning "the giant."
All Schnauzers had their origin in the neighboring kingdoms of Wurttemberg and Bavaria, agricultural sectors where dogs as farm help were in great demand.
The Giant Schnauzer is in fact not a Giant breed but simply the largest of the Schnauzers.
The Giant Schnauzer should closely resemble the other Schnauzers, but it is important to remember that the three Schnauzers - Miniature, Standard, and Giant - are all distinct breeds that have simply developed to look very similar.
Drovers, craving larger, more powerful dogs, interbred with other breeds, including the Great Dane, to achieve the Giant Schnauzer.
Not until just before World War I did the Giant Schnauzer begin to come to nationwide attention in Germany as a suitable subject to receive police training at the schools in Berlin and other principal cities.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Giant Schnauzer should resemble, as nearly as possible, in general appearance, a larger and more powerful version of the Standard Schnauzer, on the whole a bold and valiant figure of a dog. Robust, strongly built, nearly square in proportion of body length to height at withers, active, sturdy, and well muscled. Temperament which combines spirit and alertness with intelligence and reliability. Composed, watchful, courageous, easily trained, deeply loyal to family, playful, amiable in repose, and a commanding figure when aroused. The sound, reliable temperament, rugged build, and dense weather-resistant wiry coat make for one of the most useful, powerful, and enduring working breeds.

HEAD

Strong, rectangular in appearance, and elongated; narrowing slightly from the ears to the eyes, and again from the eyes to the tip of the nose. The total length of the head is about one-half the length of the back (withers to set-on of tail). The head matches the sex and substance of the dog. The top line of the muzzle is parallel to the top line of the skull; there is a slight stop which is accentuated by the eyebrows.

BODY

Compact, substantial, short-coupled, and strong, with great power and agility. The height at the highest point of the withers equals the body length from breastbone to point of rump. The loin section is well developed, as short as possible for compact build.

FOREQUARTERS

The forequarters have flat, somewhat sloping shoulders and high withers. Forelegs are straight and vertical when viewed from all sides with strong pasterns and good bone. They are separated by a fairly deep brisket which precludes a pinched front. The elbows are set close to the body and point directly backwards. Chest – Medium in width, ribs well sprung but with no tendency toward a barrel chest; oval in cross section: deep through the brisket.

COAT

Hard, wiry, very dense; composed of a soft undercoat and a harsh outer coat which, when seen against the grain, stands slightly up off the back, lying neither smooth nor flat. Coarse hair on top of head; harsh beard and eyebrows, the Schnauzer hallmark.

HINDQUARTERS

The hindquarters are strongly muscled, in balance with the forequarters; upper thighs are slanting and well bent at the stifles, with the second thighs (tibiae) approximately parallel to an extension of the upper neckline. The legs from the hock joint to the feet are short, perpendicular to the ground while the dog is standing naturally, and from the rear parallel to each other. The hindquarters do not appear over-built or higher than the shoulders. Croup full and slightly rounded. Feet-Well-arched, compact and catlike, turning neither in nor out, with thick tough pads and dark nails. Dewclaws – Dewclaws, if any, on hind legs should be removed; on the forelegs, may be removed.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BLACK Check Mark For Standard Color 007
PEPPER & SALT Check Mark For Standard Color 139
BLACK & TAN 018
FAWN 082