The Giant Schnauzer is a working breed of dog that was developed in Germany in the 17th century. This is the largest of the three breeds of Schnauzers; the other two are the Standard Schnauzer, and Miniature Schnauzer. Many different breeds were used in the development of the Giant Schnauzer including the German Pinscher, the Bouvier des Flandres, and the black Great Dane. The breed was originally bred to aid on farms by guarding the farmer’s property or driving livestock to the market. Eventually the breed moved into the city where it was used to guard breweries, stockyards, factories, and butchers’ shops. Until it became popular as a military dog during WWI and WWII, it was unknown outside of Bavaria. The breed made it was to America in the 1930’s but remained rare until the 1960’s when it became popular.
The males of this breed stand from 25.5-27.5 inches at the withers and the females stand 23.5-25.5 inches. He is Robust, strongly built, and nearly square in proportion of body length to its height at the withers. The head is strong, and rectangular in appearance, is elongated, and slightly narrows from the ears to the eyes, and also from the eyes to the tip of the nose. The muzzle is strong and well filled under the eyes, and ends in a moderately blunt wedge. The eyes are of medium size, are deep-set, and dark brown. They are oval-shaped and keen in expression. His ears, when cropped, are identical in shape and length with pointed tips. When uncropped they are V-shaped button ears of medium length and thickness. The tail should be docked to the second, but not more than the third joint. The coat of the Giant Schnauzer is hard, very dense, and wiry. It is composed of a soft uundercoat and a harsh outercoat that when seen against the grain stands slightly up off the back. The colors of the coat are solid black or salt and pepper.
This is usually a quiet breed but due to its breeding, it can be suspicious of strangers and can be very territorial. However, it is usually accepting of novel people or situations once it is introduced. They are generally reserved but have the potential to be aggressive. The breed has been described as being trustworthy with children. They are intelligent, very energetic, and highly spirited, and can become bored easily. Its personality traits combine with boredom can lead to destructive behavior. They are deeply loyal to its owners and are also easily trained.
The average lifespan of the Giant Schnauzer is 10-12 years. Some health issues within the breed include; hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, skin diseases such as seasonal flank alopecia and vitiligo. Cancer diabetes, hypothyroidism, narcolepsy, cataplexy, and various seizure disorders are common as well. Bone diseases and joint problems are also common in the Giant Schnauzer.