Giant schnauzers are intellectuals and workaholics who have mastered about a dozen canine professions and secured a place in the sun due to their outstanding working qualities, sharpness of mind, and almost inventiveness. However, like any service breed, these mustachioed sly ones will require a special approach. Serious and proud, they will not run wagging their tail at the first call and will definitely try to impose their rules of the game on anyone who will allow it. So if you are tired of the campaign dogs dissolving in their own owner and are in search of a serious friend with a strong, independent character, with the Giant Schnauzer you are on your way.
- Breed name: Giant Schnauzer
- Country of origin: Germany
- Time of birth of the breed: XVII century
- Weight: 35-47 kg
- Height (height at the withers): 60-70 cm
- Life span: 12-15 years
- The Giant Schnauzer is a domineering dog with a pronounced tendency to dominate. Her education and training should be dealt with by an experienced owner, and better – a professional trainer.
- The name of the breed literally translates as “giant muzzle” (from German: Riese – giant, Schnauze – muzzle).
- Adult animals do not need special complex care (with the exception of the dog’s coat), but they require regular training and long walking. In this regard, for the elderly and inactive people, such a pet will become more of a burden than a friend.
- In every stranger, Giant Schnauzers see, if not an enemy, then a very suspicious person. At the same time, they have an amazing memory for faces, thanks to which animals are able to recognize people whom they have encountered only once.
- This breed is very fond of rescuers and representatives of law enforcement agencies since it is from its representatives that the best search engines and hunters for offenders are obtained.
The ancestors of the Giant Schnauzers were typical villagers who did not have a narrow official specialization, and therefore they were used for a long time as dogs “for everything”. Gurtovka of sheep flocks, protection of farmsteads, protection of the owner, and his property – Giant Schnauzers did a good job with all these activities, which earned the respect of the German peasantry. The breed was especially widespread in the south of Germany, as well as in the border regions of Austria and Switzerland. Stingy Bavarian farmers quickly realized that such versatile pets could be loaded with any dog’s work and rushed to multiply their numbers.
As for the true origin of the “giant faces”, everything is very, very vague here. Moreover, the degree of relationship between Giant Schnauzers and Mittelschnauzers has not been fully clarified. It is only known for certain that at some point in both breeds pinscher genes joined. But when exactly this happened and with whose help it is almost impossible to establish today.
By the middle of the 19th century, large-faced dogs began to appear little by little. In particular, the first purebred Giant Schnauzers can be seen in portraits of the Bavarian princess Elizabeth, as well as in images of other important persons of that time. Animals began to appear at cynological events in 1902, but breeders’ real interest in the breed arose only in 1909 after 29 Giant Schnauzers were presented to the guests at the Munich exhibition.
At first, the dogs were dubbed the Munich schnauzers, but among the people, several alternative nicknames stuck behind them. For example, German burghers preferred to call animals beer schnauzers, since the owners of Bavarian eateries often delivered their foam products to them. The breed received its modern name only in 1923, along with the official standard of appearance.
The Giant Schnauzer is a mustachioed, robust fellow with excellently developed muscles. To date, this is the largest species of schnauzer of all existing ones (Mittel and miniature schnauzers differ in more modest dimensions). The growth of an average risen male ranges from 60-70 cm and his weight should not exceed 47 kg.
Coat and Color
The wool of the Giant Schnauzer is tough, resembling wire to the touch. The coat is of a double type, consisting of an abundant undercoat and a coarse, not very long awn. The coarsest and longest coat grows on the dog’s face, forming expressive “mustache” and “eyebrows”.
The officially recognized color types are black and the so-called “pepper and salt”.
Giant Schnauzers are hard workers, what to look for. True, here it is worth making a reservation: the prizes will work only for the benefit of the owner who has managed to prove to them their own worth. In general, leadership in the breed is in the blood, thanks to which the representatives of this canine clan enjoy the reputation of being difficult to raise. Starting from the first days of life, the Giant Schnauzer respects only himself and the one who is stronger and more cunning, therefore, acquiring a home “Bavarian”, consider whether you can maintain your own authority in the eyes of the pet 24 hours a day throughout his life. Dogs have a very warm relationship with children. Most Giant Schnauzers are not averse to running after restless kids and taking part in harmless pranks. There are also enough exceptions to the general rule, but in general, animals are not inclined to show aggression towards those who are initially considered weaker and, why should they stand on ceremony, are more stupid than themselves.
You can write endlessly about the energy of the breed. Giant Schnauzers are fast, tireless, and capable of switching from a sleeping state to a full combat readiness with lightning speed. Pissing off your dog when you’re an outsider is not that difficult. One has only to slightly raise his voice to her master or touch him not very friendly. All! Get ready to repulse the attack of a furious four-legged guard who saw you as the main criminal of all times and peoples. Yet the passion for the performance of their duties does not turn the Bavarians into boring, ferocious crackers. Quite the opposite, at home, Giant Schnauzers are quite nice and good-natured. Moreover, with the correct training methodology, they can easily curb their own impulsiveness and gambling.
By nature, Giant Schnauzers are very resourceful and cunning and enjoy using these qualities in everyday life. They will gladly circle their own owner, if he allows it, so you will have to keep your finger on the pulse with this breed all the time. Do not discount the curiosity and sociability of the Giant Schnauzers. For normal development, mustachioed “Bavarians” simply need to maximize contact with the owner, comprehending the science of conducting an adequate dialogue. If you start a Giant Schnauzer in the hope that he will just sit in the corner, guarding your wealth, you have chosen the wrong breed.
Whatever activity you attract Giant Schnauzers to, they will always demonstrate excellent results. Ride the little one on a sled, threaten a thief encroaching on the master’s good, or save a drowning man – properly trained citizens can do anything and a little more. However, almost all representatives of this glorious family can boast not only a high level of intelligence but also an outstanding degree of stubbornness, so experts attribute the Giant Schnauzer to a breed that needs early training. Moreover, according to the experienced trainer and author of the book “Riesenschnauzer”, Rudiger Dishau, “giant faces” will have to be trained throughout their lives because they are thinking and erudite animals, from which it is impossible to bring up blind executors of the master’s will.
The qualities that every owner must strive to develop in his Giant Schnauzer are restraint and obedience. Never encourage your puppy to bark at strangers. The nature of the breed is already hot-tempered, so it is better to extinguish sudden outbursts of aggression at a young age. Learning for Giant Schnauzers is easy, but animals will still try to play the leader, so take yourself seriously during classes. Lessons are best done in a playful way with mandatory encouragement at the end. But first, take your pet for a walk so that it splashes out energy and becomes more focused. Giant Schnauzers don’t like to work on a full stomach either, so don’t feed your puppy before training. If during the training the dog shows cunning, do not rush to scold him, on the contrary, try to quietly bypass the traps set by it. But if your ward stubbornly ignores commands, it is worth considering. Most likely, the Giant Schnauzer is testing your credibility. Unleash such a trick once or twice – and you can forever forget about the hope of raising a well-bred dog.
Show class pet owners will have to pay special attention to their socialization. Exhibition individuals should calmly endure the touch of other people’s hands and not growl at the approaching groomer. You can fight the breed’s caution by walking your pet in crowded places and near busy highways, as well as traveling with it on public transport. Introduce the Giant Schnauzer with the ring in advance. This type of leash is not the most dog-friendly design, so if you put it on too late, you can cause him panic and lifelong aversion to such gizmos. Walking the Giant Schnauzer in the ring should be done carefully, making sure that it does not tighten the noose around its neck. When it comes to practicing the show stand, the handler cannot do without incentive treats that will help keep the dog in the correct position.
Care and Maintenance
Despite not the smallest dimensions, the “Bavarians” do not take up much space in the house and do not turn it upside down. It is quite possible to grow an educated apartment dweller from a Giant Schnauzer, provided that you do not deny the animal long walks and active games in the fresh air. And yet a more acceptable housing option for working breed dogs is the courtyard of a private house, where the animal can move freely and contact people.
Be sure to consider a weather shelter for your yard pet. For example, an outdoor enclosure for a Giant Schnauzer should have a canopy and a plank floor on which an insulated booth with a removable roof and a snow flap is installed. If the winters in your region are harsh, you can electrically heat your pet’s dwelling, but during the period of severe frosts, it is better to take the dog into the house. The same rule applies to older animals. Riesenschnauzers, who celebrated their 8th birthday, are better off spending the night on damp, cool nights. Otherwise, get ready for cold kidneys, aching joints, and other consequences of hypothermia.
Putting a giant schnauzer on a chain is a real mockery of his pride and temperament. If there is an urgent need to temporarily limit the dog’s habitat (for example, when a large number of guests arrive), close it for several hours in an aviary or house.
The Giant Schnauzer has an amazing coat: thick, dense, repelling water and dirt, and excellently protecting the dog from minor injuries. Moreover, the well-groomed and clean wool of the “Bavarians” does not smell like a dog. It is believed that Giant Schnauzers shed differently from most other breeds and that their fur does not shed. In fact, if the pet is deliberately not looked after, then it will lose dead hair with the same intensity as mongrel dogs, so the only way to avoid scraps of wool flying around the apartment is systematic trimming (pinching). The procedure can be carried out manually, grabbing and pulling out bundles of dead hair with your fingers, or using a trimming knife. After the shedding coat is removed, it is necessary to carefully examine the dog’s skin and treat the injured areas with chlorhexidine.
Important: the first pinch of Giant Schnauzer puppies is carried out at 6 months of age.
An alternative to trimming can be the use of a roller or furminator, which will help remove excess undercoat and dead guard hair (for dogs not participating in exhibitions). Giant Schnauzers are trimmed mainly to improve the exterior. Typical trimming pattern: shortening the ear, throat, back of the thighs, and groin as much as possible. In the rest of the body, the hair is only slightly worked out with thinning scissors. Wash the dogs as needed with sulfur or tar shampoos (tar soap is suitable). But it is better to comb the “Bavarians” more often, first with a rare comb, breaking the formed mats, and then with a comb with frequent teeth.
To improve the structure of the coat of a Giant Schnauzer, burdock oil is suitable, which is rubbed into the previously washed and dried dog hair (no earlier than a week after trimming). The same effect is given by dietary supplements based on chitin and salmon oil. Be sure to wipe dry the hair on your pet’s face after eating to prevent fungus. If the Giant Schnauzer managed to hang fat on its “mustache”, wash it with soap and then dry it with a towel.
Owners of show specimens of pepper color will have a little more difficult since the beards of such animals turn yellow upon contact with food. You will have to remove unwanted fawn tone with special whitening cosmetics sold in veterinary pharmacies and groomer salons. The same problem can occur with black Giant Schnauzers, which often burn out in the sun. It is best to neutralize the resulting redness on the dog’s “fur coat” with a tinted shampoo.
With the beginning of the swimming season, the Giant Schnauzers’ coat will have to be monitored more carefully, so if your pet is accustomed to swimming in a river or pond, then firstly, give him an antifungal vaccine, and secondly, buy an anti-dandruff shampoo for him with an antifungal effect. Dog Eye and ear care are standard. Keep them clean by removing accumulated dirt with clean clothes. Additionally, you can pluck the fur inside the animal’s ear funnel. So it will better circulate air in it, and the sulfuric secretions will cling less to the hairs.
The Giant Schnauzer is taken out for a walk twice a day. The minimum duration of such trips for a puppy is 30 minutes, for adult dogs – 1 hour. They walk babies on a leash, but in calm, safe places they let them down. If the pet is overly carried away by digging holes or chasing a stray cat, which Giant Schnauzers simply adore, he should be called to him by offering a game or a treat. In the case when the reaction to the command is zero, it is better to just walk up to the puppy and fasten the leash.
For your information: adult dogs living in an apartment will not be satisfied with walking at a sluggishly relaxed pace. The best option is to combine your own sports training by walking your pet. The Giant Schnauzer will gladly rush after your bike or scooter and will be just as happy to accompany you on your morning jog. It is a little easier for the owners of dogs living in personal plots and fenced areas. Their wards are not as limited inactivity as the apartment risen.
It is a gross mistake not to take your puppy outside until he is 4 months old, although some experts recommend doing this. Animals that were locked up until adolescence are poorly socialized, fearful of people, and have toilet problems. By the way, about the toilet: young Giant Schnauzers categorically do not want to go to a diaper or a newspaper, so the sooner you teach your dog to relieve themselves on the street, the easier it is for you.
The Giant Schnauzer’s daily menu is not much different from that of other large breed dogs. Lean raw meat (except chicken and lamb), offal, sour milk are complemented by vegetables, sea fish, and cereals. Young dogs with no dental or digestive problems will benefit from nibbling on the bones of the brain, which are a source of calcium.
Natural vitamin supplements are also not worth giving up. In particular, it is useful for Giant Schnauzers to mix seasonal greens, vegetable oil (sunflower, linseed), and seaweed into food. It’s great if you managed to accustom your pet to fruit salads, as well as dried apples, pears, but do not overdo it. About ¼ of the diet of an adult dog should be meat, not fiber.
As for junk food, for the Giant Schnauzer breed, it is, first of all, food from the master’s table. Once and for all, deny your ward in spicy, salty, fatty dishes, as well as sweets and pastries. River fish, tubular bones, and cereals round out the top disadvantages.
What not to do:
- feed the Giant Schnauzer with a protein food, that is, combine meat and fish or offal and eggs in one feeding;
- boil meat and bones. Raw food is much healthier for Giant Schnauzers;
- chop food, especially meat, to the state of minced meat;
- save on vitamin and mineral supplements. Even if the menu of your Giant Schnauzer is very diverse, this will not
- insure it against vitamin deficiency;
- treating your dog to unfrozen meat that can be contaminated with toxoplasma.
A Giant Schnauzer who feeds properly and receives qualified veterinary help can live up to 10-12 years. At the same time, not a single animal is insured against a hereditary predisposition to certain types of diseases.
Typical ailments of the breed:
- dysplasia of the hip joints;
The urinary system of the representatives of this breed is also not the healthiest, therefore, in the cold season, Giant Schnauzers easily seize kidney infections.
How to Choose a Puppy
Collect as much information as possible about the parents of the puppies: whether they have show diplomas, whether they were tested for working qualities. Be sure to check how many siblings your potential pet had. Giant Schnauzer bitches can produce up to 14 puppies, but these extremes are best avoided. The optimal number of babies in a litter is 6-8. Only in this case can you be sure that the tiny Giant Schnauzers had enough breast milk and they will not have problems with immunity.
The optimal age for a little “Bavarian” to move to a new home is 1.5 months. By this time, the baby has all the incisors, which makes it possible to determine the correctness of his bite. External data is an equally important selection criterion. The Giant Schnauzer puppy should be moderately well-fed, but not fed to the state of a clumsy square, its fur should be clean and shiny, and its head should be large. It is better to make babies with rich black lip color and eye rims: in 99 cases out of 100, such animals will have a standard black coat. If you take a puppy from a breeder whose charges live in the yard, be prepared for a small number of fleas on the baby’s “fur coat”. This is a common phenomenon for yard dogs and does not affect working qualities in any way, so it is definitely not worth blaming the seller for it. It’s another matter if small Giant Schnauzers are kept in cramped, unsanitary conditions, and their fur is teeming with insects.
The most promising is the agile, cheerful puppies that have time to take the most advantageous place at the bowl of food. But too cowardly, as well as showing the initial signs of aggression, Giant Schnauzers are an unsuccessful option for a pet. By the way, if you are not skilled at training dogs of large breeds, but still dream of a Giant Schnauzer, opt for kennels specializing in show-class animals. Leave breeders that breed exclusively working animals to the pros. It is unlikely that you will cope with the risen, in which the blood of several generations of aggressive service dogs flows.