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Giant Schnauzer

The Giant Schnauzer is a breed of uncommon power and presence.  From a coat that presents itself as elegantly as a tuxedo, to an expression that is purely royal it is easy to overlook the comical, creative and fun loving personality lurking within.  However that is the complexity of the Giant Schnauzer and as such, it is generally not a breed for those who lack time or experience to carefully rear, nurture and train this individual to reach its full potential.

By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): Working Height: 23.5-27.5 inches
Weight: Proportionate but usually 65-90 pounds Longevity: 10-12 for most
Colors: salt and pepper or solid black Coat type: Hard, wiry and dense with undercoat, does not lie completely flat or bushy.
Recognized Registries: FCI, NCA, AKC, UKC and others
Overall Appearance: Resembles the smaller Standard Schnauzer in outline and proportion but larger and more powerful.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: Moderate to high
General Nature: Intense, complex personalities that can be serious about work and play
  with Children: variable, highly dependent on experiences and socialization
  with other pets: highly variable with individuals
  with dogs: highy variable
Socialization requirements: very high; this is a powerful and intelligent dog that will learn regardless of its experience if its experience is minimal or unpleasant it will be sharp and reactive, if pleasant and broad they can be confident and very friendly
Ideal home characteristics: One that recognizes the responsibility in rearing and continuing to nurture a complex individual that is also vigilant, powerful and intelligent.
Temperament Notes: As the standard says
Training requirement: Relatively high because this is a thinking dog that requires a job. Socialization, basic manners and some ongoing project or dog sport.
Trainer notes: For those with the advantage of having known a good example of the Giant Schnauzer, few dogs can be compared.  Indeed, they have the potential of being virtually everything one could want in a dog but like most highly valuable things, they do not come without a price.  The Giant Schnauzer is an intense and complex personality that REQUIRES an experienced, fair and knowledgable owner to nurture and develop that potential.  The Giant Schnauzer will occasionally test limits and an experienced trainer will not miss the timing to address the overstep.  Hesitation at that point can quickly put the dog and relationship on a path that will result in further difficulties.  The experienced trainer will also know when to reinforce a spontaneous behavior that will help build the dog's confidence in the future.  This is not a dog for someone who will need to "learn as they go" their intensity, sensitivity and perceptiveness will be too responsive to those early mistakes that all inexperienced trainers make.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: 1600s
Country of Origin: Germany
Original Function: Guardian/Herding, by WWI they were recognized for police work
History: Developed from the Standard Schnauzer, Great Dane, Rough Coated Sheepdogs and perhaps the Bouvier as a herding/guardian dog during the 1600s.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: oversized (only poor breeders breed for size), temperament issues
Health Notes: hip dysplasia, eye issues, bloat, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, incontinence
Health Testing: CERF, OFA, Thyroid Panel
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for! 
  • How long have you had Giant Schnauzers?
  • Why do you have Giant Schnauzers(show, performance, hunting, etc.)?
  • What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of an Giant Schnauzer?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What criteria do you set for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you sent your pups to their homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Giant Schnauzer?
  • How would you describe the ideal Giant Schnauzer home?
  • Are your puppies whelped in your home?
  • What advice would you offer someone in raising and training an Giant Schnauzer?
  • How do you assist or help Giant Schnauzers in need of rescue?
  • Web Sites: Giant Schnauzer Rescue Net with FABULOUS content EVERYONE should see including articles on how to tell if your breeder is a puppy mill! Giant Schnauzer Rescue Network of the Giant Schnauzer Club of America

    Other Resources
    Breed standard: UKC Standard for the Giant Schnauzer - Giant Schnauzer Club of America Standard

    Breeder Ethics: Code of Ethics of the Giant Schnauzer Club of America

    Other: More and more people are recognizing the Giant Schnauzer as it still exists in Europe as a breed apart from the American Giant Schnauzer.  This is due to differences in breeding programs between the two countries.  While the US still values many physical "style" elements including a certain elegance, grooming and even ear cropping, Europe has placed more emphasis on temperament, working ability, health and other factors including the fact that ear cropping in outlawed in most of Europe at this point.  While it might make sense to attempt to create a separate profile for the Riesenschnauzer (its German name), the fact remains that the general information is comparable it is simply a difference in the prioritizations and sense of acceptable standards between the breeding programs of the two continents that seems to set the dogs apart.
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