A large, imposing dog, the Giant Schnauzer is alert, powerfully built and quite square-looking in shape. Adult male dogs stand at 65-70cm and adult females at 60-65cm. Adult males weigh approximately 45kg. The harsh wire coat comes in black or pepper and salt (light and dark grey).
The Giant Schnauzer dog breed comes from a medium-sized wirehaired-Pinscher type dog found in 15th century Bavaria that was used for ratting and other general farm duties. It is from this dog that all three sizes of Schnauzer descend. In the 19th century, some of these dogs were bred with larger cattle-droving breeds and possibly the Great Dane, to produce the Giant size that we know today. This dog was used for moving cattle to market and has gone on to become a popular police and security dog.
The Giant Schnauzer looks strong and imposing, but he should be good-natured in temperament. He can get along with other dogs and with family cats, but early socialisation and careful introductions and supervisions are essential. They often get on better with a dog of the other sex. A natural watchdog, he is alert and will be vocal to alert your attention if necessary.
As with many breeds, the Giant Schnauzer can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important. Epilepsy and a particular type of cancer of the toe are also encountered relatively frequently.
More than two hours a day is needed to keep this dog content. He loves the great outdoors and is unaffected by the rain or cold, thanks to his weather-resistant coat. However, the coat will need checking after a walk, to remove any debris that has been collected.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. The Giant Schnauzer is also prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
Check the coat daily after walks, and brush through two or three times a week. Handstripping is needed every three months, to remove dead hair, though pet owners who are not exhibiting their dogs may prefer to get the coat clipped instead.