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Giant Schnauzer

Nicole Cosgrove

Height: 24–28 inches
Weight: 55–80 pounds
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Colors: Black, salt & pepper (gray, silver & black)
Suitable for: Active families, experienced dog owners, those with space for a large dog
Temperament: Loyal, energetic, intelligent, territorial

The Giant Schnauzer is a highly intelligent dog with energy levels to match its giant size. The largest of the three Schnauzer breeds, they will be fiercely loyal to their family and will appreciate lots of training.

Boredom is their enemy and, if left alone too long, they will put their size to destructive use. Experienced dog owners can quite easily bring out the best in Giant Schnauzers with firm and regular training. They are a very dominant and territorial breed so they are not suited to homes with children under 12 years old.

Don’t let their giant size fool you, these dogs can move quickly and for longer than you might expect. They will happily join you for a run and still have energy left for a game of fetch.

Giant Schnauzers are reserved by nature so socialization needs to be taken very seriously from a young age.

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Giant Schnauzer Puppies – Before You Buy…

Energy:
Trainability:
Health:
Lifespan:
Sociability:

For such a large dog, the Giant Schnauzer has a fairly long lifespan. If you add this to their high levels of energy and intelligence, you can understand why these can be challenging dogs to own.

Socialization is key as they are not particularly sociable by nature but, they are eager to work and learn so training can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Naturally suspicious of newcomers, humans and animals alike, Giant Schnauzers are very dominant dogs. They do not tend to get on well with other dogs; particularly, other dogs of the same sex will bring out their territorial and dominant behavior.

If you have other animals in the house, you should be aware that Giant Schnauzers usually act in a fairly aggressive manner towards things smaller than them (which is a lot of things). They will chase cats and other dogs if they see them as potential prey animals.

Don’t let this put you off though as these dogs are loyal, extremely intelligent, and usually quiet in temperament. They will alert you to any potential threat and will protect their family at all costs.

What’s the Price of Giant Schnauzer Puppies?

Giant Schnauzers are not cheap. The average cost of a puppy is around $1,100. However, if you are looking at puppies of show quality then the price can reach as high as $5,000.

The price you ultimately pay for your puppy is dependent on factors such as the reputation of the breeder, the quality of the parents, and the size of the litter.

As these are big, intelligent, and very dominant dogs, it is well worth paying a bit more and purchasing from a reputable breeder. Health issues can also be a factor in future costs and, as these are such large dogs, any type of medical treatment will not come cheaply.

Your Giant Schnauzer puppy will grow quickly and will need a fair amount of food. You should add between $500 and $1,000 to your budget for the first year of owning a Giant Schnauzer puppy. You also need to consider the costs of flea treatment, worming treatment, and any vaccinations your new puppy will require.

You may be able to rescue a Giant Schnauzer from a local shelter. Because they are so big and take quite a lot of effort to look after, some people do find they struggle to cope and give their dog up. While caution is advised due to not necessarily knowing the full background of a shelter dog (and Giant Schnauzers being potentially aggressive), you may be able to find a suitably socialized Giant Schnauzer that will fit perfectly into your family home.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Giant Schnauzers

1. Giant Schnauzers want to be with you (all the time).

Despite their giant size, Giant Schnauzers are actually very needy when it comes to human companionship. While they may be too big to be lap dogs, they will have a habit of following you around wherever you go. Although not known for being particularly cuddly, your Giant Schnauzer will have no issue following you to the bathroom or making sure they are laying close enough to touch you when they are relaxing.

It is not uncommon for a Giant Schnauzer to choose one person in the family and stick to them as much as possible. They will become distressed quite quickly if left alone too long and will thrive in the company of their favorite human.

2. Giant Schnauzers are one of only a few breeds to have a beard.

One of the things that make Giant Schnauzers so recognizable is its beard. As they have hair and not fur, the beards make for a very wise-looking dog.

While a beard may give your dog an interesting look, it does add to hygiene and grooming requirements. Food, slobber, mud, and anything else that goes on your dog’s face will likely end up in their beard. Regular grooming will keep your Giant Schnauzer looking wise and not a hairy mess!

3. Giant Schnauzers have been used by the police and armed forces.

It has been reported that the police forces in Germany started to use Giant Schnauzers before the first world war. Police dog trainers were impressed with the high levels of intelligence displayed that they were widely trained for service use. Giant Schnauzer numbers dropped during the fighting of the first world war as they began to be used by the armed forces too.

giant schnauzer in the forest
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzers are highly intelligent and have energy levels much higher than expected for a dog their size. They are loyal and need almost constant human companionship to live a happy and healthy life.

Territorial and dominant, they are highly suspicious of strangers and will bark, growl, and act aggressively to anyone or anything they are not comfortable with.

They need a lot of exercise and will not cope with living in an apartment. Two walks of at least half an hour each day is the minimum recommended exercise for this active breed.

Giant Schnauzers are easy to train and can learn new commands quickly. They respond best to firm, consistent training and will like completing tasks for you.

A natural guard dog, they have an instinct to protect their family and their intimidating size certainly makes them very good at this role.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

With proper socialization and training, Giant Schnauzers can make good family pets. However, it is recommended that any children in the house should be over 12 years before considering bringing one of these dogs into your family.

They are usually calm dogs so can be a good addition to a family home. It cannot be stressed enough that training and socialization will be key to keep things peaceful for all members of the family though.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Giant Schnauzers have a tendency to act in a somewhat aggressive manner towards other pets. While they can get used to other animals in the house, it can take a long time to socialize them enough to do so. It is not advisable to leave these dogs alone with other pets.

Giant Schnauzer
Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock

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Things to Know When Owning a Giant Schnauzer:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Depending on the weight of your Giant Schnauzer, a good feeding guide is that they will need between 1,100 and 2,000 calories per day. This is best split between 2-3 meals to help prevent digestive issues.

Dry dog food designed for large breed dogs is best suited.

Exercise 🐕

Giant Schnauzers need plenty of exercise. Access to a yard to burn off extra energy is useful but a minimum of 2 walks per day of around 30 minutes are needed to prevent boredom and destruction.

As they are a working breed, lots of physical and mental stimulation is required so have lots of thinking toys to hand to give them both physical and mental exercise throughout the day.

Training 🎾

Giant Schnauzers are relatively easy to train. They are highly intelligent but also quite strong-minded. This means you will need to be consistent, firm, and confident in your training approach.

They need socialization from an early age to avoid any issues with aggression and territorial behavior later on in life.

All training should be fun, this is particularly important with this breed who will get bored quickly. A bored Giant Schnauzer is a destructive Giant Schnauzer so make sure you keep things exciting.

giant schnauzer running
Image Credit: Pixabay

Grooming ✂️

This breed needs quite a lot of grooming. As they do not shed too much, they are usually suitable for people with allergies, however, this should be checked prior to bringing one into your home.

Regular brushing will be required as well as some stripping. Any hair around the eyes and ears will need regular clipping and its beard will need daily washing – they are very messy eaters!

Any knots that can’t be brushed out will need to be clipped and its teeth will need cleaning at least twice per week.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Giant Schnauzers tend to be relatively healthy throughout their 10-12 years lifespan. However, they are prone to some conditions including some pretty serious ones that you need to be aware of. Minor conditions include eye and skin conditions which are usually easily treated by your veterinarian.

These large dogs are also prone to cancer which tends to be fatal in this breed.

Minor Conditions
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD)
  • Hypothyroidism
Serious Conditions
  • Gastric torsion
  • Cancer
  • Hip dysplasia

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Male vs Female

Male Giant Schnauzers tend to be a little bigger than females. Males are usually 25.5 to 27.5 inches high whereas females are 23.5 to 25.5 inches high. In terms of weight, both males and females are heavy dogs weighing between 55 to 80 pounds although some males will be closer to 100 pounds.

Males are often said to be slightly more prone to aggression and territorial behavior and females tend to be slightly calmer.

Both sexes need to be properly trained and socialized to ensure a happy, balanced dog.

divider-pawFinal Thoughts

The Giant Schnauzer can be an ideal companion. They are extremely intelligent and will have you running around in circles, both mentally and physically.

With a relatively long lifespan for a big dog, you will have a guard dog, a friend, a follower, and even sometimes a playmate.

Providing you can offer appropriate training and socialization from an early age, they can make good family pets; however, lots of hard work will be required to ensure things go smoothly.

If you are looking for a loyal friend and guard dog, the Giant Schnauzer could be the perfect dog for you.


Featured Image Credit: Eliska Zeiskova, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.