Giant Schnauzer

Country of origin: Germany
Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC
Occupation: Drover,
Size: 23.5 to 27.5 in tall; 70
to 100 lbs
Longevity: 9 to 12 years
Exercise: Vigorous daily
Training: Easy; hard to keep
Grooming: Difficult
Colors: Pepper and salt, black

Developed by increasing the size of the standard Schnauzer (see p.126), the Riesen-schnauzer, as it is also known, was once commonly found as a herding dog in southern Germany. The breed was first shown in 1909 under the name Russian Bear Schnauzer. At one time its extensive feeding habits led to a waning in popularity, but it regained some ground as a butcher’s dog. Its territorial instincts and considerable power mean that this breed is not always suitable for a household with other dogs in it, but it makes a good guard dog. Arthritis in the shoulders and hips can be a problem.

Breed name synonyms: Munich Schnauzer, Russian Bear Schnauzer


The largest of the three Schnauzer breeds, the Giant Schnauzer was developed in the agricultural areas of neighboring Wurttemberg and Bavaria in Germany. They originated as a result of crossing the Standard Schnauzer with Great Danes, Bouvier des Flandres and some rough-coated sheepdogs.

Initially Giant Schnauzers were used as drive dogs and cattle dogs, whose main purpose was driving flocks and herds to the local market. Later on, they were used as rodent-controllers and during WWI as police dogs.

Nowadays, Giant Schnauzers are considered to be exceptional companion dogs.


Giant Schnauzers are not just big in size, but in personality too. They are extremely loyal to their people and enjoy spending quality time together. Because of their courageous, territorial and alert nature and the fact that they are reserved and suspicious of strangers, Giant Schnauzers make remarkable watch and guard dog.
Since Giant Schnauzers are energetic and playful, they thrive on having a job to do. They are very intelligent, can easily differ what is right from what is not and are respectful of boundaries. They can be quite clownish and always seek for attention and sometimes tend to become show-boaters.
Giant Schnauzers are not the most tolerant breed and therefore are not the best choice for families with small children.


The Giant Schnauzer is a compact, large and powerful dog. Being almost as long, as tall, they are nearly square-shaped. The head is rectangular in shape and elongated. The dark, oval eyes are deep set. The hallmark of the breed are the typical Schnauzer’s eyebrows, whiskers and beard.
The male Giant Schnauzer’s height at withers is 25.5-27.5’’ (65-70cm), while the female’s is 23.5-25.5” (59.5-65cm). They weight approximately 70-77lb (32-35kg).

The Giant Schnauzer’s weather resistant, dense, double coat consists of soft and smooth undercoat and wiry, harsh outer coat, that stands up from the skin. Standard coat colors include either solid black or salt and pepper.


Although Giant Schnauzers are considered to be generally easy to train, even experienced owners may find a certain member of the breed to be handful. They tend to be independent and dominant. However, if properly handled, with firm consistency, they can grow to be extremely obedient and reliable. Inadequately handled Schnauzers can be fearful or even aggressive.
Raising a well-mannered Giant Schnauzer requires an abundance of physical and mental stimulation. Members of this breed need to be kept busy, by giving them a job to do. If the task is not demanding and challenging enough, they easily get bored. Bored Giant Schnauzers are destructive Giant Schnauzers. In addition, if you want your Schnauzer to be friendly with other dogs and pets, lots of socialization sessions are needed.


Giant Schnauzers are prone to a long list of medical issues such as cardiovascular conditions (patent ductus arteriosus, sick sinus syndrome), dermatological conditions (seasonal flank alopecia, vitiligo, canine subcorneal pustular dermatosis, follicular cyst, skin tumours), endocrine conditions (central diabetes insipidus, hypothyroidism), gastrointestinal conditions (congenital idiopathic megaoesophagus), haematological conditions (selective malabsorption of cobalamin – vitamin B12), musculo-skeletal conditions (hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia), neoplastic conditions (,elanoma of the digits, squamous cell carcinoma of the digit), neurological conditions (narcolepsy-cataplexy), ocular conditions (keratoconjunctivitis sicca, limbal melanoma, lens luxation, congenital hereditary cataract, multifocal retinal dysplasia, generalised progressive retinal atrophy), urinary conditions (urolithiasis), reproductive conditions (male pseudohermaphroditism, cryptorchidism).
Giant Schnauzers are known for their adverse reactions to several drugs and chemicals such as sulphonamides, gold and shampoos.

The average lifespan of the Giant Schnauzer is estimated to be 10-12 years.



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