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You know those sweet, obedient, adaptable little Miniature Schnauzers? The Giant Schnauzer isn’t quite the same. Rather, they’re large, strong dogs with natural guarding and territorial instincts. 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 this Working Group breed before you decide to own one.

Giant Schnauzers Are Imposing Dogs

They stand up to 27.5 inches at the shoulder and can weigh up to 95 pounds. Giant Schnauzers share some physical characteristics with their smaller cousins, the Miniature and Standard Schnauzers, like the harsh eyebrows and beard, as well as a keen, intelligent expression.

Giant Schnauzer head portrait in profile outdoors.
©brusnikaphoto -

The Three Schnauzer Sizes Are Three Different Breeds

Although you may think the three types are the same breed in different sizes, they’re actually three distinct AKC-recognized breeds with independent standards. They were first developed in Germany in the agrarian kingdoms of Bavaria and Wurttemberg as working farm dogs.

The Giant Schnauzer Is a Hard Worker

With their energy and intelligence, Giant Schnauzers can perform many different jobs. Originally bred to be all-around workers, they were primarily used to drive cattle from the farm to market, for carting, and to protect the farm and family.

Giant Schnauzer sniffing a trail oudoors.
Susan H. Smith via Getty Images

They’re Often Employed in Important Jobs

Because of their intelligence and need to work, the Giant Schnauzer is successful in many areas, including as police dogs, military dogs, search and rescue dogs, and even guide dogs.

The Giant Schnauzer Excels in Dog Sports

Giants have earned many titles in Tracking, Obedience, Conformation, and more. For example, GCHG CH Ingebar’s Tynan Dances With Wildflowers (“Ty”) won the Working Group at the 2019 AKC National Championship.

Giant Schnauzers Are Loyal and Courageous Guard Dogs

To Giant Schnauzers, the most important job is to protect the home and family. Giants are deeply loyal to their families and instinctively territorial. This isn’t one of those happy-go-lucky breeds that greets every visitor with a tail wag. But because they learn easily, you can train Giant Schnauzers to differentiate between welcome visitors and everyone else.

Giant Schnauzer standing in a field of flowers.
©Karsa -

This High-Energy Breed Needs Lots of Exercise

A Giant Schnauzer will enjoy long walks and jogs, playtime in a fenced yard, and learning all of those dog sports they’re so good at. Giants are excellent companions for active owners and will join them for exercise like running, hiking, and swimming.

Giant Schnauzers Need Regular Grooming

Grooming your dog is considered to be a bonding experience, so prepare to bond because the Giant Schnauzer does need regular grooming. Although they don’t shed large tumbleweeds of hair, they do need regular brushing.

It’s important to keep the head trimmed. With those pronounced eyebrows and beard, the face can virtually disappear under a tangle of hair unless they’re kept neatly trimmed.

Giant Schnauzer head portrait outdoors.

They’re Among the Few Breeds That Sports a Beard

In fact, the pronounced beard is one of the hallmarks of the breed. But it may require some extra attention around the house. That handsome beard tends to drip water or food if you don’t wipe your Giant Schnauzer’s face after they eat or drink.

Owning a Giant Can Be Challenging and Rewarding

These are very large, powerful, and energetic dogs. But they’re also loyal, smart, and trainable. This makes them a great choice for owners who are willing to make the commitment and put in the work. If you’re ready for the challenges of owning a Giant Schnauzer, you’ll be rewarded with their undying devotion for the rest of their life.

Related article: Giant Schnauzer History: From Guarding in the Alps, to Military Dogs and Beyond
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