Giant Schnauzer Dog Breed

Black Giant Schnauzer
  • Other names:
  • Riesenschnauzer
  • Munich Schnauzer

The Giant Schnauzer, or Riesenschnauzer if you are German, is one of the three sizes of Schnauzer along with the Miniature and Standard versions. This breed is easy to spot with its' prominent beard and eyebrows, which many think give it a wise, authoritative look. It is a large breed, as its name implies, with high energy requirements. They are ideal for active owners or families as well as ranches and farms. Members of this breed enjoy completing commands and tasks; with positive, consistent enforcement, training will be a breeze for this bright dog. A large yard is ideal, as it's recommended they spend equal time in and out of doors. Giant Schnauzers are naturally inclined to territoriality and aggressiveness towards unfamiliar dogs and people. With other pets and children, however, they will be a willing and affectionate playmate. Moderate to high maintenance will be needed for your pet's coat depending on whether they will be primarily a companion or show dog. Regular bathing may be necessary as drool and food may tend to get "saved for later" in their beard. Typical large dog health issues such as hip dysplasia and joint problems are common and cancer is the number one cause of death for this breed. Good health will permit this breed a 10-12 year lifespan.

Giant Schnauzer Breed Details

Breed Specs
Purebred10-12 yrs.24-28 in.55-110 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

Below are the details and facts for the Giant Schnauzer dog breed.

Giant Schnauzer Breed Description

However confusing the name may be, this is not a giant sized dog, it is still considered a large breed. Females measure 23.5-25.5 inches at the shoulders and males are slightly larger at 25.5-27.5 inches. Members of this breed have a compact yet strong and commanding figure, weighing up to 95 pounds.

Giant Schnauzers are intelligent, playful, alert and territorial. Their alertness makes for a fine watch dog and they are sometimes territorial and aggressive around strangers and other male dogs. Towards their owners and families, they are loyal and affectionate. This breed will be a watchful, playful buddy for children and if trained as a puppy should minimize the size hazard to very small kids.

This breed is considered to require moderate-high maintenance. They will need at least once or twice weekly brushing to remove mats and tangles from their dense, wiry coat. They should be professionally shaped a minimum of 4 times per year if competing or showing. Seasonal clipping will do for a personal companion. Exercise in the form of a walk, run, or ample outdoor playtime should be given daily. Ideally these dogs will spend equal time indoors and out. Positive reinforcement and consistency should make training a breeze for these intelligent and agile pets.

Giant Schnauzer Breed History

The Giant Schnauzer, although its own breed, is basically the larger version of the Standard Schnauzer; both of which were bred, along with the miniature version, in Germany. Standard Schnauzers were crossed with Great Danes and possible German Shepherd type dogs in order to improve their size for livestock management. Before World War I, during the times when agriculture was one of the most prominent industries, these dogs worked with animals such as sheep and cattle, driving and herding them. They also found work as watchdogs due to their alert, courageous and territorial nature. This breed was then moved from agricultural areas such as Bavaria and Wurttenburg to Berlin and other major cities where they gained a new purpose during the first World War as a police dog. Their loyalty and high intelligence makes them easy to train and they have excelled in every position they have taken on. In 1930 the AKC officially recognized this breed. This breed did not gain popularity until the 1960s, today remain in the top one third of most popular breeds; during this time the Giant Schnauzer Club of America was formed. They are still bred in Europe primarily to work with livestock.

Giant Schnauzer Appearance

The Giant Schnauzer should, for the most part, look like a large version of the standard Schnauzer - just a bit sturdier and impressive. The breed has a soft, dense undercoat and a harsh, wiry outer coat that does not lay flat to the body. The weather-resistant double coat is only considered standard by the AKC if it is black or salt and pepper, although it may also be black and tan or fawn. They have quite a noticeable beard and eyebrows which many say gives them a wise, knowledgeable and courageous look. The head is rectangular with typically cropped ears on the top of the skull and a black nose and lips. Giant Schnauzers have lively, alert brown eyes that shouldn't be cover by the eyebrows. The shoulders are flat with straight forelegs and slightly bent hind legs while the tail is usually docked and carried high. Overall, the compact square body of this breed looks strong and agile.

Giant Schnauzer Coloring

The double coat of this breed may be black, black and tan, salt and pepper, and fawn. The AKC only considers the black and salt and pepper coats as standard. Salt and pepper coats are clusters of black and white hairs that, given their alternating pattern, make the dog appear grey.

Giant Schnauzer Size

This is a large dog that can weigh around 95 pounds. The name Giant Schnauzer can be a bit misleading because this breed still falls into the large dog category, not giant. Females can reach 23.5-25.5 inches tall while males measure in at 25.5-27.5 inches, measured at the shoulders.

Average Adult Height

24-28 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

55-110 lbs

Giant Schnauzer Temperament

Playful, alert and intelligent, these dogs are truly multipurpose. Their alertness makes for a fine watch dog and they are sometimes territorial and aggressive around strangers and other male dogs. Towards their owners and families, they are loyal and affectionate. Active owners that enjoy running, hiking or are, in general, looking for a playmate in their pet will never be disappointed. Members of this breed were originally bred for livestock herding and driving and still are in Europe; needless to say their agility and ability to stick to a task make them a prime choice for a ranch or farm also.

Members of this breed will always have the energy for training. They respond well to a consistent and positive owner and due to their obedient, intelligent nature, will learn very easily. Whether you wish your pet to have agility training or just want a dog intelligent enough to play fetch this is a great match for you.

Giant Schnauzer and Children

This breed is great with children. They are playful, watchful and loyal. Although they are high energy, with proper training as a puppy they will not pose any danger towards children and will be a willing playmate.

Giant Schnauzer and Other Pets

Giant Schnauzers do well with other pets. They are high energy and love having other pet friends to play with, especially dogs. The only issue may arise when housing two males together as they sometimes have an above average disposition to being territorial. They have a natural inclination to play chasing games so this may annoy another small pet, but these guys mean no harm by it!

Giant Schnauzer and Strangers

Members of this breed make capable watchdogs; besides their commanding appearance, they are alert, intelligent and territorial. They will not likely be outgoing and friendly toward strangers, but if socialized at a young age can be accepting after getting used to the new person.

Giant Schnauzer Photos

Below are pictures and images of the Giant Schnauzer.

Black Giant Schnauzer
Black Giant Schnauzer
Black Giant Schnauzer Puppy
Black Giant Schnauzer Head Shot
Black Giant Schnauzer
Black Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzer Maintenance

Giant Schnauzers are considered a moderate-high maintenance breed. They will require weekly brushing to rid their wiry coat of tangles and mats and seasonal shaping or clipping is recommended.

This dog is an ideal choice for an owner with an active lifestyle or a big yard. They love to be given tasks and they consider it a bonus if this task is combined with a game. The will run, hike, play fetch with style and agility. Their intelligence and obedience makes them quite easy to train with positive reinforcement and consistency.

Grooming Requirements

This breed will require brushing at least once per week to ensure a tangle-free coat. Many owners choose to get their Giant Schnauzer's hard, wiry outer coat clipped. For those who wish to keep the dog closer to AKC standard, seasonal professional shaping is recommended. Bathing should be done as necessary especially since the beard may trap food and drool but special attention should be paid to ensure this breeds sensitive skin is not allergic to shampoo.

Exercise Requirements

Giant Schnauzers are big dogs with big exercise needs. They are playful and would enjoy yard time or a romp in the dog park with other dogs. These intelligent, obedient dogs learn very quickly so one form of exercise could be agility training. Fetch or chase would also be examples of games a Giant Schnauzer would find entertaining. These dogs require at least a walk per day.

Living Requirements

Members of this breed can be indoor dogs if given enough space to be active. They have a high energy level and will need plenty of outdoor time is not kept primarily in the yard. It is recommended to allow them half indoor and half outdoor time if possible. Outdoor Giant Schnauzers will thrive in moderate to cool temperatures but cannot easily adapt to very hot climates.

Temperature Range

This breed can adapt to a wide range of temperatures. They should not, however, be exposed to hot or extremely cold temperatures for long. Moderate to cold should be within their range of tolerance. Their dense, wiry double coat should protect them at this temperature range and during harsh weather.

Giant Schnauzer Health

Some typical health concerns for Giant Schnauzers include hip dysplasia,joint problems, and gastric torsion which are not unusual issues for most large dog breeds. Eye and skin should also be monitored during the aging process. Cancer of the liver and lymphocytes (white blood cells) as well as heart disease are the most likely agents that will end a Giant Schnauzer's life prematurely but these conditions can be detected with regular vet checkups and blood testing. Good health should ensure a 10-12 year lifespan for your pet.

  • Bloat
  • Cancer
  • Cataracts
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart Problems
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • View all 10...

Giant Schnauzer Breed Recognition

The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the Giant Schnauzer as a dog breed:

  • American Canine Registry
  • American Kennel Club
  • America's Pet Registry
  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • National Kennel Club
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • United Kennel Club
  • American Canine Association, Inc.
  • View all 14...