Keen expression is what you may notice first about the Giant Schnauzer. This sensitive dog seems always aware of your moods and likes to be physically close to you, watching you.
Some lines are "harder-tempered" -- bold, serious, vigorous -- while others are much sweeter and more mellow. But in general, when you acquire a Giant Schnauzer puppy, you would expect him to mature into an athletic, energetic dog who plays hard and needs a mile or two of walking and/or running each day. Mental exercise (advanced obedience, agility, Schutzhund) is just as important to this extremely intelligent dog.
Giant Schnauzers look athletic for a reason! They ARE athletic, which means they require plenty of exercise – not just a couple of walks around the block. If you don't take your Giant Schnauzer out to romp and play and do interesting things, he will become rambunctious and bored and then you'll see frustrated behaviors like barking and destructive chewing. Bored Giant Schnauzers can make a shambles of your house and yard.
Most Giant Schnauzers have protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be suspicious of everyone, which could lead to aggression.
You know those sweet, obedient, adaptable little Miniature Schnauzers? The Giant Schnauzer is not exactly the same. Rather, he’s a large, strong dog with a natural guarding and territorial instinct. Which isn’t to say that Giants Schnauzers don’t make excellent canine companions, they do. But there are just a few things you should know about the breed before you decide to get one.
The Giant Schnauzer is primarily a guard dog. To him, his most important job is to protect his home and family. He’s deeply loyal to his family and instinctively territorial. This isn’t one of those happy-go-lucky breeds that greets every visitor with a happy tail wag. Because he learns so quickly, you can teach him to differentiate between welcome visitors and everyone else, but the key word here is “teach.”
The Giant Schnauzer is a difficult dog to deal with for almost any owner and should be trained extremely well at a very young age. This breed does well with their family but is not good with children and can be overly protective causing them to be unfriendly with strangers. Plus, if they have little socialization, aggression will arise with other dogs, especially if the other dogs are dominant. This breed is almost too intelligent because they will often use that to get into trouble, especially if they are not receiving enough exercise. Barking is also going to happen a lot and cannot be trained out easily.
For people who aren't prepared to walk or run several miles a day, the Giant Schnauzer is not the right choice. For active people, he makes an excellent companion, as his daily activity requirements are high. Walking, jogging, hiking and biking are good ways to keep Schnauzers physically fit, and enrolling them in agility training can keep their minds sharp. Couch potatoes or city dwellers may not be the right choice for this breed, as they need lots of space, both indoors and out. Proper exercise not only keeps Giant Schnauzers physically fit, but it also helps maintain a steady temperament. High-strung Schnauzers are probably not getting enough exercise.
I wouldn’t own anything else. I love this breed. I know giants are a lot of work (have to play, train, get the energy out). If you’re willing to do that, and be patient, I think you’ll be ok. Plus don’t forget the quarterly haircuts!
I have a giant and they’re great dogs. Easy going but great home protectors. They can be quite headstrong so I recommend taking a training class with them. Earlier comments are correct in that they need a lot of room and they are working dogs with a lot of energy. Giants are also very attuned to lights and sounds so they will react to the television or just even sunlight coming through blinds (again, training will help control barking in these situations). Personality is more mellow than mini schnauzers in general.
The absolute best way to get an idea for giant schnauzers is to meet them! Find a breeder near you and go meet their adult dogs. Also know that no giant schnauzer is going to be exactly like another. Part of the process of choosing a puppy is finding the one that fits best with your lifestyle.
My first dog was a standard poodle. I love large dogs, but found the mini schnauzer to be a better fit with my lifestyle. Though I know many folks who prefer large dogs.
Ultimately size and breed are nowhere near as important as temperament. Don’t feel obligated to adopt. The whole “adopt don’t shop” gimmick is bullshit. Those people need to be going after the assholes of the world who abandon their dogs at shelters, not responsible owners like yourself who are doing their research, asking questions, and making sure the dog they will bring home is the perfect fit.
We have many giant schnauzer owners on here who will likely chime in. If not, search “giant” within our sub and shoot off some questions to members who have posted about their large furry friends.
Good luck, and welcome to the schnauzer family!
I have a standard Schnauzer, he's a little dog aggressive (definitely correctable), but otherwise he's the cuddliest, sweetest boy ever. Even at 35 pounds he's pretty high maintenance on the grooming, it takes a couple hours a month to give him a good shave, plus daily brushing so take that into account with the size. He's pretty high energy, loves to play, but I also have a chocolate lab that is his bff. Any dog is quite an undertaking, large or small, just make sure you have savings built up for emergencies (more for larger dogs) and are prepared for that food bill, especially if he has any special dietary needs. Enjoy having your new best friend, they're certainly amazing!
I should say I groom my boy myself, but have taken him to the groomers and the cheapest that's ever been is $65 per time, and they go by dog size.
We've got a male and a female Giant. The male is 8 and the female 6. They couldn't be more different. About the only common trait is stubborness.
The male (Rammstein) isn't vocal at all, but he is mouthy. When he was young he would try to nip, but we trained him out of that. Now he just likes to bump you with his open mouth all the time. He also has a very strong pulling instinct and has to be constantly reminded not to pull during walks. This is a bit of a problem for my Wife because he is very strong. He's also an object sucker... primarily blankets.
The female (Lola) is very vocal and will bark at anything and all the time. She has never once nipped at anyone, except Rammstein and isn't mouthy at all. She's the best walking dog I have ever had, a real pleasure to walk with. She suffers from incontinence, which is common for fixed females of the breed.
Both are amazingly loving and warm dogs and have been a huge contribution to our quality of life. Both have high energy levels and need to be walked and exercised. Walks and play time are enough. I hope you have a yard because sometimes they just need to go run out that energy.
As they age you need to check for signs of hip dysplasia and arthritis.
They need lots and lots of socializing, especially if they weren't socialized as puppies. They can be very protective, especially of that little girl you have. So make sure she gets comfortable of people or she may become over protective of your daughter and your home.
Good luck and I love the name!
With a giant schnauzer, you would most definitely want to go through an excellent breeder. First and foremost they are guard breed. It's what they do and those instincts usually kick in with adolescence. Giant schnauzers don't commonly come up for adoption but when they do it's usually because of aggression.
If that's a breed you want, you want to talk with the best breeders you can find extensively or even more than one breeder, some breeders like their dogs to be a little more fiery and feisty and some like them a little more mellow. It depends on what the breeder does with them.
The aggression can largely be mitigated by excellent training and socialization. You also need to be on top of your shit when the guarding starts to kick in. Nip that shit right in the bud. Examples: preventing resource guarding, not allowed on furniture, don't allow to lay in front of doors, work on solid commands so you don't get blown off, etc.
Not all giant breeds are aggressive, but guard breeds are more prone to it. But also depends on the breeder and individual puppy.
Energy and prey drive is on the moderate to high side. Not high like a border collie though.
The Giant Schnauzer is a large, powerful, compact dog. It looks like a larger version of the Standard Schnauzer. The dog’s height is the same as the length, giving it a square look. The head is strong and rectangular in appearance. The muzzle is the same length as the top of the head. The stop is slight. The large nose is black. The lips are black and do not overlap. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The oval eyes are medium-sized, deep-set and dark. The ears are set high on the head and are either cropped or kept natural. When cropped they stand erect with a pointed tip. When left natural the ears are V-shaped, carried close to the head. The back is straight. The front legs are straight when viewed from all sides. The tail is set high and is usually docked to the second or third joint. Note: docking tails and cropping ears is illegal in most parts of Europe. Dewclaws are almost always removed from the back legs, and may be removed from the front if they are present. The double coat has a wiry, dense hard, outer coat with a soft undercoat. The hair stands slightly up off the back, with coarser, longer, bushy whiskers, beard and eyebrows. Coat colors come in solid black and salt and pepper.
Early socialization and extensive training are necessary for a giant schnauzer to turn into the type of family pet that you would be proud to have. The dog's high level of intelligence can be a blessing or a curse in disguise. While your giant schnauzer learns quickly, he will also use his intelligence to figure out clever ways to avoid obeying or complying with your commands. A giant schnauzer can often be selective about who gives commands and obey only those he considers to be the dominant family member.