Adopting A Giant Schnauzer

History and origin: The Giant Schnauzer was first used in Germany in the 17th and 18th centuries as a cattle and sheep drover.  He was developed by crossing Standard Schnauzer, Great Dane, and Bouvier bloodlines.  His all weather coat was developed to help protect him from cold, wet European weather.  He has also been used as a guard dog and has worked with the military and the police.

Description: The Giant Schnauzer stands 23.5 to 27.5 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 65 and 95 pounds.  He has a large, muscular body, a docked tail, and cropped or uncropped ears.  The coat is wiry and harsh, while the undercoat is softer.  Very little shedding occurs, though he needs daily brushing with a wire brush and periodic clipping is necessary.  However, if the dog is to be shown, the coat must be hand-stripped, a time-consuming procedure in which the dead hair is plucked out by hand to preserve the color and the hard, crisp texture of the coat.  The color may be black or salt-and-pepper.

About the breed: This is a fearless, serious, active, and powerful breed that is affectionate and playful with his owners but initially reserved with strangers. Stubborn and rather single-minded, the Giant Schnauzer also has a moody, introspective side, similar to that of a Scottish Terrier.  He is a breed that needs to be constantly reminded of the rules of the house.  He can become passive-resistant if pushed or required to do something he does not care to do.  This attitude needs a firm yet precise, patient training technique that includes much positive reinforcement along with early socialization.  The females tend to be more passive-resistant than the males.  The Giant Schnauzer can be very protective, making him an excellent watchdog.  Barking and digging will result if the dog is left in a yard all day.  Regular exercise will keep him healthy and will help curb his restlessness.  The Giant Schnauzer tends to be dog-aggressive and has a high prey drive toward small animals.  Although he gets along well with children, he will not tolerate roughhousing or hectic, unpredictable activity and is therefore not recommend for families with young children.  This breed can be susceptible to bloat and hip dysplasia.

Feeding: Recommended feeding for this breed is at least 2 ½ cans (13.3oz) of high-quality meaty product with biscuit added in equal part or 5 cupfuls of a complete, dry dog food.

Ideal home: This breed requires a house with a big fenced yard.  The owner of a Giant Schnauzer should be a strong, confident leader who is firm but patient and not overbearing.  This dog is recommended for families only if the children are older, responsible, and capable of working the dog.  Spoiling, nervous, and overbearing persons should avoid this breed, as should the elderly and the disabled.  Time to train and socialize this breed must be available.