A few years ago while attending a holiday event in Atlanta, Georgia, my boyfriend and I were introduced to a gentleman whom we were assured could possibly help us further our business endeavors.
But it wasn’t this man’s work savvy that truly caught our attention. This man was, in fact, accompanied by a very large and beautiful black dog.
This man and his dog should have seemed somewhat out of place, I must admit. It was a work event, after all, and a fancy holiday event nonetheless. But this dog was standing beside his owner, his large, powerful chest, muscular legs, and imposing, dark eyes focused and alert. And somehow this dog fit in there amongst the tuxedos and ball gowns.
The dog was, in all honesty, a stunning creature. It was during this event and in the midst of this impromptu business conversation that I learned my boyfriend had a favorite dog breed. And it was this dog breed. This somewhat intimidating, clearly intelligent and highly trained canine appeared before us.
My boyfriend snapped a quick photo with this dog and then we went about our way, not discussing the dog breed or the matter again. Well, until recently that is.
“What would be the best dog breed for me?” My boyfriend asked. This was after he read a piece I had written on dog breeds and their personalities. He was hoping I would say a Giant Schnauzer but he was sadly disappointed.
“The English Bulldog.” I replied. “They’re pretty laid back and low maintenance.”
He was offended, but hey, I believe in honesty.
Look, I love my boyfriend – or man-friend, as he would probably prefer to be called – but we have been together a long time now and I know him well. This man-friend of mine can be quite the couch potato. He doesn’t have the drive or time to work with a dog who requires as much attention, training, and exercise as the devoted, intelligent, and energetic Giant Schnauzer.
That’s not to say he couldn’t learn to have the drive or time, but he would have to change a lot about his current lifestyle in order to make it work for a dog like this. And that got me thinking.
Are you considering introducing one into your home or family? If so, I highly encourage you to do some research first. This is a dog breed who, as I explained to my boyfriend, requires quite a bit of time, patience, training, exercise, and companionship.
Are you ready for that kind of commitment? Let’s find out.
1. Not Recommended For Novice Or Casual Dog Owners
Cute on the outside, but inside he is an intelligent, work-oriented dog breed who requires a lot of time and commitment.
As you may have gathered from my intro above, the Giant Schnauzer isn’t going to be an easy peazy family dog who just lounges around at the foot of the couch and watches the action around him.
This is a dog breed who also needs plenty of work and attention from his owners and will do best with owners who understand what it takes to raise intelligent, work-minded dog breeds like him.
I’ll admit that before I began my work with dogs, I used to think that the more intelligent a dog was, the easier that dog would be to train and raise. I was wrong. Now I know that brainy breeds can be more prone to stress, anxiety, depression, and destructive behaviors.
Intelligent dogs also need more time and commitment when it comes to training, and training needs to be ever changing and kept fun so as not to allow the dog to become bored.
For the novice dog owner who has never had a dog before and isn’t prepared for what they are getting into, they could be in for disaster and a dog with a number of serious behavioral problems.
On the flipside, for those who are prepared and are able and willing to commit to the dog breed, this is a dog who has the potential to make one of the best canine companions out there.
2. Not Technically Considered A Giant Dog Breed, Although He Is Big!
This is an imposing dog breed with distinctive beard and eyebrows.
The Giant Schnauzer is actually not considered a giant by breed standards.
He is, in fact, the largest dog breed of Schnauzer in comparison to the Standard Schnauzer, is big.
On average, they stand between 23.5 – 27.5 inches tall and can weigh between 55 – 90 pounds, according to the American Kennel Club.
Males are typically larger than females and they sometimes have clipped and erect, alert ears which can often make them seem just a little bit taller.
A Giant Schnauzer’s body is also lean and muscular with distinctive beard and eyebrows, adding to the large, powerful look of the dog breed. They have focused, brown eyes, boxy muzzles with large noses that fit with compact bodies and tails that may or may not be docked.
3. Bred Working Dog Who Originated In Germany
Working dogs like the Giant Schnauzer require lots of physical and mental stimulation.
Some of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world are working breeds, and the Giant Schnauzer is no exception.
He is considered one of the smartest dog breeds available, and it’s no wonder when you look into his history and origin.
Originally bred as a herding dog in Bavarian Alps during the 1800’s, the Giant Schnauzer’s job duties once included cattle droving. It was his job to herd cattle to and from the market and to protect them from predators along the way.
Due to the dog breed’s stature, incredible loyalty, and rigorous protective nature, he was also used as a guard dog for families, farmers, merchants, and the likes. He was also used to drive cattle.
Eventually, it climbed the ranks as a police and military dog in the European army, where he still works today.
In America, however, it is most preferred as a top choice for those competing in shows and dog sports.
The Giant Schnauzer is a champion at competing in dog sports like obedience and agility, and he also makes a fabulous guard dog for those looking to protect their families and their homes.
4. Incredibly Intelligent And Does Well In Shows
It is a competitive show dog and excels in obedience.
Are you looking for a dog you can groom for show and dog sports? Then look no further than the eye-catching, show-stopping, jaw-dropping Giant Schnauzer.
This is a breed favorite for those looking to win or place in categories such as obedience, carting, tracking, herding, disc dog, and flyball.
In fact, the number one dog in the country right now is a four year old Giant Schnauzer by the name of Ty, who has won Best In Show a stunning 56 times!
5. These Dogs Are Very High-Energy
Despite their large size, the Giant Schnauzers are surprisingly energetic.
Despite their very large size, they are surprisingly high energy dogs. Where many large dog breeds get bursts of energy and play and then settle down, the Giant Schnauzer has lots of stamina and energy level and requires tons of daily exercise to help keep him happy and healthy.
This is a breed who needs plenty of exercise each and every day and this exercise will go beyond long walks and jogs.
Up to two good, steady walks or jogs each day will help keep this dog breed feeling his best, but then he will need a secure, fenced in space to run and play. So, needless to say, it is probably not a great apartment dog.
Some owners opt to invest in interactive toys to help keep them occupied, but remember, this is a breed who needs companionship so he won’t do well left on his own in the backyard or in the house for long periods of time.
With that being said, at the end of the day the Giant Schnauzer should live his life indoors. This is a family-oriented dog breed who enjoys exercising and getting his physical activity with people or other pets, and if these needs are not met he can become depressed and destructive.
6. Often Used As Guard Dogs, Police Dogs, And Military Dogs
Due to their incredible intelligence and work ethic, it’s no surprise this dog breed is such a popular dog for police work.
These eager to please, agile and graceful dogs make powerful and formidable opponents, so it’s no wonder the military and law enforcement would find them very useful.
Watch this amazing video below of two Giant Schnauzer military dogs at work!
Pay close attention to the dogs’ focus and stature. They are fearless, loyal, and clearly devoted to their trainer. At the same time, their trainer treats them both with respect and kindness, which is a clear message that the bond between the dog and man is a two-way street.
7. Early Training And Socialization is A Must
Because it is highly territorial, it is imperative that he is trained and socialized early on.
A properly trained and socialized Giant Schnauzer should not be aggressive. Still, this breed is inherently territorial over his family and home and will have very strong guarding instincts.
For this reason, they will need to be trained early on in puppyhood and socialized consistently throughout their lifetime.
These dogs are quick to learn and eager to please, and they are great judges of character. If they feel there is a threat to their family or home, they will act and protect,
Most experts suggest these dogs have a strong recall and are taught proper cues and markers to release, stay, sit, and more. If there are children in the home, dogs should be raised with them from a young age and children should be taught how to appropriately and safely interact with these dogs.
8. Affectionate And Loyal
The Giant Schnauzer may be tough, but he is also kind of a softy.
This breed may be known for his large, powerful frame, his tough, no-nonsense military background, and his fierce protective instincts, but underneath all that is a loving, affectionate, and family-oriented dog breed.
This is a dog who requires constant companionship from his family and will strive to be an active member, not just a “pet” watching from the sidelines.
Giant Schnauzers love and thrive on attention, which is one of the reasons they are so easy to train. They are eager to please and so long as they have your undivided attention, they are puddy in your hands.
This is a sensitive dog breed, so remember that using harsh training methods and punishments could make the dog shut down. They want to please you and make you happy, and will work best with positive reinforcement methods, as we mentioned above.
And while this breed does enjoy working and will need jobs to do around the house to be happy and stay mentally stimulated, they will also enjoy nothing more than snuggling up next to you on a cold night and getting ear scratches by the fire.
9. Not Recommended For Families With Small Children – But There Is A Catch.
Giant Schnauzer dogs may not be recommended for novice dog owners or the typical family with children, but that is mostly because this breed requires so much time, attention, and commitment.
When properly trained and socialized by the right owner, the Giant Schnauzer can make a wonderful family companion. However, he can be forceful with children and make it his job to protect the little ones in the family, which can be difficult for some.
For children who are raised around a Giant Schnauzer, they may not find this behavior scary or frustrating. However, young children who are recently introduced to a Giant Schnauzer may find the behavior overwhelming.
The video below shows a Giant Schnauzer “protecting” a young child from the ocean waves. It is clear that this child has been raised with this dog and that they are closely bonded.
Remember to always supervise children and large dogs to ensure their interaction is safe and fun. We also suggest that parents speak with their children and help educate them on how to properly and respectfully interact with a dog.
We should also note that Giant Schnauzers get along well with other dogs. This is great news for families who want a Giant Schnauzer but won’t have as much time as they wish they had to spend with the breed.
In this case, experts suggest getting two Giant Schnauzers or a Giant Schnauzer and another large, high energy level dog breed so that the two of them can keep each other company.
Still, keep in mind that, even with another dog playmate or dog sibling, your Giant Schnauzer will need lots of time and attention from his human family in order to stay happy and healthy.
10. Giant Schnauzers Can Also Be Grey, Although Black Is Most Common
The Giant Schnauzer comes in two color varieties.
When we think of a Giant Schnauzer, most of us think of the big, sold black, imposing dogs with cropped ears and docked tails.
However, did you know that Giant Schnauzers actually come in two different colors? That’s right, this dog breed can be either salt and pepper, (grey), or solid black.
Furthermore, naturally, Giant Schnauzers have floppy ears and long tails. Many breed clubs in the past have required show Schnauzers to have docked ears and tails, although this practice is becoming less and less common.
12. Giant Schnauzers Are Healthy Dogs Overall With A Good Lifespan
The Giant Schnauzer has a decent lifespan for a larger dog breed.
As anyone who knows and loves dogs will attest to, the only bad thing about dogs is that they don’t live as long as people. And, unfortunately, they will also tell you that most large dog breeds tend to have shorter lifespans than smaller dog breeds.
This is not the case with the Giant Schnauzer! For a dog breed of his size and weight, the Giant Schnauzer actually has a decently long lifespan of 12 – 15 years!
Furthermore, the Giant Schnauzer is also a generally healthy dog breed with only a few genetic health conditions owners should be aware of.
The most common genetic health issues a Giant Schnauzer may face include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Eye disease
- And autoimmune thyroiditis
You can help reduce the chances of your Giant Schnauzer developing any serious health issues by ensuring you get him from a responsible, reputable source.
Steer clear of pet stores, backyard breeders, and online sellers and aim to get your Giant Schnauzer from a breeder you trust who has a background on the breed or a breed-specific rescue or shelter with a good reputation.
You can also keep your Giant Schnauzer healthy and happy by ensuring he has plenty of daily exercise, eating the right diet for his age, weight, and activity level, stays up to date on routine veterinary visits, and is kept properly groomed.
Helping to keep your Giant Schnauzer mentally happy is just as important as keeping up with his physical care, so we recommend investing in puzzle games, brain games, and partaking in mental stimulation exercises every day to keep your Giant Schnauzer feeling his best both mentally and physically.
13. A Giant Schnauzer Will Need A Job To Do From Day One
Starting your Giant Schnauzer off on the right paw begins in puppyhood.
This is a dog breed who, due to his intelligence and activity level, will need to be given jobs to do and trained to do them early on in order to stay mentally happy.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to train your Giant Schnauzer how to do anything as intense as some of the videos we posted above.
Your Giant Schnauzer could learn simple jobs around the house like helping the kids put their toys away in their toybox, loading the dishwasher, sorting the laundry, or even bringing in the mail.
Owners can even create jobs for their Giant Schnauzers like having them fetch a certain ball routinely or teaching them commands and having them follow those commands throughout the day.
As long as you keep the training fun and mix it up, your Giant Schnauzer will not only be happy, but he could also be a big help around the house!
What a win-win!
14. Giant Schnauzers Can Be Expensive To Buy And Expensive To Raise
A Giant Schnauzer can be expensive.
Buying and raising a Giant Schnauzer can be pricey.
Off the top, buying a Giant Schnauzer puppy from a breeder can cost owners anywhere from $2,000 – $6,000 and even more, especially if the Giant Schnauzer puppy has parent breeds who are certified show dogs.
But the expenses don’t end there. Giant Schnauzers require weekly grooming and brushing and will need to be on a high-quality dog food specified for their age, weight, and activity level.
Obedience training is also a must with this dog breed, and many owners opt to go to professional trainers in the early days to help ensure they are training their Giant Schnauzer puppies properly.
Remember, all dogs come with a cost and a commitment. The Giant Schnauzer might just cost a little more and require a little more commitment than some.
15. The Giant Schnauzer Is Hypoallergenic, So He’s A Great Dog For Allergy Sufferers!
The Giant Schnauzer is a low shedding dog and is great for those who suffer from allergies.
Are you an allergy sufferer? Don’t worry! The Giant Schnauzer has a double coat but is considered a hypoallergenic dog breed who isn’t a heavy shedder and doesn’t produce as much allergy inducing dander as many other double-coated dog breeds.
With that being said, he does require routine brushing and grooming with the proper grooming tools. Just because he is considered hypoallergenic doesn’t mean he doesn’t shed a bit, and if loose hair gets caught in his undercoat of the double coat it could lead to odar, tangles, hair loss, and even infection.
The good news is that if you have read this far and you do plan on getting a Giant Schnauzer, chances are you are ready and willing to do what it takes to commit to this dog breed.
Grooming your Giant Schnauzer does take time and must be done several times a week, but it is also a wonderful bonding experience and will help you and your Giant Schnauzer build a long lasting and trusting relationship for years to come.
So, to summarize, the Giant Schnauzer does require a lot both in time and in money. Is it worth it? Fans of Giant Schnauzers insist that, when trained and raised right, there is no better dog breed than the intelligent, loyal, and loving Giant Schnauzer dog.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.