The Giant Schnauzer was created to be a working dog breed, so he has intelligence and drive. He can be a loyal and courageous companion for the person who can provide him with the training, exercise, and attention he needs.
The Giant Schnauzer originated in the Wurttenberg and Bavaria sections of Germany. During the years around the turn of the century, both smooth German Pinscher and coarse-haired Schnauzer pups appeared in the same litters. The German Pinscher Schnauzer Club initiated a policy requiring proof of three generations of pure coarse-haired Schnauzer coats for registration. This quickly helped set type and made them a distinct breed from the German Pinscher. These Schnauzers were given the name Standard Schnauzer. These Standard Schnauzers were crossed with the black Great Dane and the Bouvier des Flandres to form the Giant Schnauzer breed. The Schnauzer name derived from the German word “Schnauze,” which means “muzzle.” The Giant Schnauzer is called the “Riesenschnauzer” in Germany, which means “the giant.” The Giant Schnauzer was used as a cattle driving dog in Bavaria, and as a guard dog by the police and military and excels at Schutzhund.
Although the Giant Schnauzer is called ‘Giant’, this is not in comparison to other large dog breeds such as the Great Dane or the Rottweiler, but instead in comparison to the Standard and Miniature Schnauzers.
The AKC breed standard calls for males to stand from 25.5 to 27.5 inches (65 to 70 cm) at the withers, and for females to stand from 23.5 to 25.5 inches (60 to 65 cm). Giant Schnauzers are square in shape, and should resemble a larger version of the Standard Schnauzer. The tail is long and the ears are small button ears carried high on the head. Where it is legal, it is possibly docked and the ears cropped.
The head is 1/2 the length of the dog’s back, when the back is measured from the withers to the base of the tail. The cheeks are flat, but well muscled. The coat is dense, wiry, and weather resistant. The fur on the Giant Schnauzer’s face forms a distinct “beard” and eyebrows. Its stride is long and crisp.
Giant Schnauzers come in two colors: solid black, and a pattern called pepper and salt, where banded hairs of black and white hairs cover the body, giving it the appearance of having been peppered and salted.
Giant Schnauzers are usually a quiet breed. Due to its breeding, the Giant Schnauzer is inherently suspicious of strangers and can be very territorial. Once introduced, it is usually accepting of novel people or situations. It has the potential to be aggressive, but Giant Schnauzers are usually reserved – they are “amiable in repose, and a commanding figure when aroused”
Giant Schnauzers have been described as trustworthy with children. They are very intelligent, and can become bored easily. They are also very energetic and highly spirited, which, when coupled with boredom, can lead to unwanted and destructive behavior. They are easily trained, and deeply loyal to their owner.
Apartments are not the ideal dwelling for the Giant Schnauzer. They do much better if they have a large yard to play in and do their best if they have acreage. They are not outdoor dogs and need to live inside with their family.
The Giant Schnauzer has many good qualities and many challenging qualities. It’s important before choosing this breed that you understand the demands he will make upon your life. A Giant Schnauzer is not the fabled gentle giant, but a hard-working, energetic dog who will give back as much as he is given.