Hailing from Germany, the Giant Schnauzer temperament is driven and loyal.
Before you decide to bring home a Giant Schnauzer puppy you should learn about the Giant Schnauzer temperament and personality.
This will help you decide of this breed is a good fit, what kind of behaviors to expect from your puppy and how to focus your Giant Schnauzer training to reduce bad temperaments.
Read on and learn more.
What are the Giant Schnauzer Temperament and Personality Traits?
The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes the Giant Schnauzer as a “bold and valiant figure of a dog.”
The largest of the three Schnauzer breeds, the Giant Schnauzer has an authoritative appearance and rugged look. Though they look intimidating, Giant Schnauzers are actually quite playful.
This breed is definitely not dull when it comes to mental work. In fact, police often use Giant Schnauzers for search-and-rescue missions, along with other police work.
Definitely try to keep life interesting for the Giant Schnauzer by providing him with constant challenges to keep his mind sharp.
They’re Not Ideal for First-Time Dog Owners
The Giant Schnauzer is a large dog with an equally large personality.
Their lively twinkle in their eyes contradicts their stoic demeanor. The Giant Schnauzer boldly approaches life and has a dominant personality but also a spirited and independent temperament.
That said, the Giant Schnauzer dog can handful – even for experienced pet owners.
They’re Great Protectors (You Need to Socialize Them)
Thanks to their history as guard dogs, Giant Schnauzers make excellent watchdogs and are loyal family protectors. They have a natural instinct and ability to watch over their humans.
Giant Schnauzers also have a natural ability to distinguish between friends and foes – though “foes” may just be a stranger walking down the street!
However, depending on the individual dog, some Giant Schnauzers can also be timid or shy. For this reason, the Giant Schnauzer actually needs twice as much socialization as you would normally give a dog.
They’re Great Family Pets, But Not for the Younger Crowd
They are courageous and reliable, making them perfectly dependable family companions.
Giant Schnauzers are not always suitable for families with babies or toddlers due to their high energy level and playfulness.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is their overprotective nature. If they misinterpret their children playing as the neighborhood kids attacking them, the Giant Schnauzer may feel the need to intervene.
This is one of those breeds who is very in tune with your mood. If he senses you are angry or sad, he’ll cuddle up with you in an attempt to help you feel better.
They’re Iffy with Other Animals
When it comes to other dogs, the Giant Schnauzer certainly won’t back down from a challenge – and he might even initiate them himself, especially with other dogs of the same gender.
As for whether this breed accepts cats, it truly depends on the temperament of the individual dog.
Be Sure to Keep This Breed Busy
Ensure you socialize your Giant Schnauzer puppy early. A well-socialized Giant Schnauzer puppy will make for a well-mannered adult.
Don’t let a Giant Schnauzer become bored – unless you want your house destroyed!
Exercise – both physical and mental – will help combat boredom and keep your pup – and house – happy.
Click here to read our tips on how to how to keep your dog's mind active.
Due to their high energy, this breed does not do well in apartments.
Check out these large breeds that do well in apartments.
A Giant Schnauzer does better in a home with a yard to play in. But that doesn’t mean they are outdoor dogs; they adore their family.
A Brief History of the Giant Schnauzer
Bred as a working dog, the Giant Schnauzer (a.k.a. the Munich Schnauzer, Riesenschnauzer, or, more simply, Schnauzer) would help drive cattle and eventually worked in stockyards and butcher shops. Some even worked in breweries as guard dogs.
During the early 1900s, this breed began work in the police force in Berlin as well as other cities in Germany. It soon became their chief job.
Unfortunately, the German Shepherd beat the Giant Schnauzer dog as the primary police dog in the United States.
How Do You Train a Giant Schnauzer?
Training a Giant Schnauzer isn’t all it's cracked it up. Though intelligent, this breed can be very territorial. They love their humans and want to protect them.
Giant Schnauzers learn quickly – but only with consistent and firm training. They have an amazing mind that should not go to waste.
This is a breed that loves to have a job. Teach them to find things for you, do tricks, carry toys, or even partake in obedience or agility training.
Training should start early – Giant Schnauzer puppies can be headstrong. Starting early will ensure your adult Giant Schnauzer is well-mannered and disciplined.
One thing you should never shy away from is showing your dog who’s boss.
Establish your leadership with him early or live to regret it later.
Some Giant Schnauzer owners have reported this breed is a little “too much dog” for them. Avoid this by letting him know you won’t stand for his nonsense.
Mini, Standard, and Giant Schnauzers
The Schnauzer comes in three sizes: Mini, Standard, and Giant. More than just sizes, the AKC actually recognizes each of these dogs as its own separate breed!
The Mini Schnauzer lives up to his tiny name, averaging between 11 and 20 lbs., and only standing between 12 and 14 inches tall. The Standard Schnauzer is the first creation of the three. He stands between 18.5 and 19.5 inches tall and can be anywhere from 35 to 50 lbs.
And, of course, the Giant Schnauzer is the largest of the three.
Appearance: What Does the Giant Schnauzer Look Like? (Weight, Height, and Colors)
Wondering how big is a Giant Schnauzer?
The Giant Schnauzer weight is between 60-85 pounds for a male and 55-75 pounds for a female.
The Giant Schnauzer height is between 25.5-27.5 inches for a male and 23.5-25.5 inches for a female.
As for colors, you don’t have much to choose from with the Giant Schnauzer. You get either black or salt and pepper with this breed.
Caring for a Giant Schnauzer
How Do You Groom a Giant Schnauzer?
Giant Schnauzer grooming is moderate at best. They require brushing three times per week to prevent matting of their double coat; they have a wiry outer coat and soft undercoat.
Giant Schnauzers also have a distinct beard and eyebrows along with a black or salt and pepper coat.
Expect to groom your Giant Schnauzer – either by yourself or by a professional groomer – every six to eight weeks to keep their coat in tip-top shape.
You may be wondering, “do Giant Schnauzers shed?” and yes, they do. Giant Schnauzer shedding is seasonal, and they are hypoallergenic.
What is Giant Schnauzer Ear Cropping?
Those who purchase Giant Schnauzers for the purpose of showing them tend to prefer their dogs have cropped ears. It’s a purely aesthetic choice. However, the art of getting cropped ears to stand properly takes an inordinate amount of training.
Training the ears to stand properly using ear supports can take as little as one month to as long as one year. Else, if you don’t train the ears to stand properly, then the puppy has endured the process of ear-cropping for absolutely no reason.
What are the Giant Schnauzer Health Issues I Should Know About?
Although Giant Schnauzers are generally healthy, they can develop several health conditions, such as:
- Hip Dysplasia,
- Cherry Eye,
- Panosteitis (bone inflammation),
- Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD – a joint disorder),
- Autoimmune Thyroiditis(a common cause of hypothyroidism),
- Gastric Torsion (bloat),
- And Squamous Cell Carcinoma(a toe cancer found in dark-haired dogs).
Helpful Dog Health Resource:
Note: Don't let the many issues above scare you. The best way to approach health problems is to prevent them in the first place. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is a great place to start. Get a copy to keep at home. It will help you prevent the painful health issues that can plague your lovely dog from expressing his winning personality and maximizing his life expectancy.
Does the Giant Schnauzer Require Exercise?
The Giant Schnauzer is actually more energetic than most large breeds.
They require a lot of exercise in the form of long daily walks, dog park play sessions, or a long game of fetch in the backyard.
Generally, I recommend a mile or two each day of walking. Running is even better – whatever you need to do/can do to help tire him out!
Giant Schnauzers make excellent workout buddies. If you’re looking for a dog to accompany you on your runs, hikes, bike rides, or swims, the Giant Schnauzer is the perfect companion.
How Do I Find the Perfect Giant Schnauzer Puppy?
Are you ready to find your perfect Giant Schnauzer puppy? You’ve got a couple of options. One option is to find a Giant Schnauzer for sale from a breeder.
Breeders are a great option for those who looking for a purebred Giant Schnauzer or for those looking for an AKC registered Giant Schnauzer.
A second option is an adoption. Adopting a Giant Schnauzer from a rescue or shelter is a great option if you are looking for an adult dog or a Giant Schnauzer mix.
Giant Schnauzer Puppies for Sale
If you’re wondering “how much is a Giant Schnauzer?”, the answer is, Giant Schnauzer puppies for sale will cost anywhere between $1,800-$5,500.
The Giant Schnauzer price depends on where you purchase your puppy from, the availability of breeds, and the superiority of the breed lines.
If you looking to purchase a Giant Schnauzer from a top breed line, you can expect to pay upwards of $5,500.
Adoption, on the other hand, will not cost as much. The Adoption fees from private rescue organizations can range between $150-$350 while fees from local shelters are less expensive.
Adoption fees also depend on location.
Giant Schnauzer Rescue and Adoption
If you’ve decided on adopting a Giant Schnauzer, your first task should be researching local rescue organizations and shelters.
A great Giant Schnauzer rescue resource is the G.I.A.N.T. Schnauzer Rescue Network. They have a wonderful directory of Giant Schnauzer rescues categorized by state.
Keep in mind when adopting a Giant Schnauzer that you will not always have the complete history of the dog you are bringing home.
Giant Schnauzer Breeders
When purchasing a Giant Schnauzer from a reputable breeder, there are several factors to consider. A great place to start is the Giant Schnauzer Club of America. They have a list of reputable breeders as well as information on the breed itself.
Choose a breeder close to home so you physically visit their boarding facility. Make sure their kennels are clean and the dogs and puppies are well taken care of.
Giant Schnauzer breeders should be happy to answer any and every question you may have regarding the breed and their breeding protocol. For example, ask about health certificates, socialization techniques, and if you should know anything specific about their litter.
Additionally, the breeder should ask you questions to make sure you are the right fit for one of their Giant Schnauzer puppies!
Giant Schnauzer Mixed Breeds
If you find yourself falling head over heels for mixed breeds, then you’ll be happy to know you can get a Giant Schnauzer mixed breed, too!
There are many mixed breeds that include the Giant Schnauzer. For instance, there is the:
- Giant Ratzer (Rat Terrier mix)
- Giant Wauzer (West Highland White Terrier mix)
- Irish Wolf Schnauzer (Irish Wolfhound mix)
- Giant Border Schnollie (Border Collie mix)
- Giant Schnauzer Pit (Pit Bull mix)
Black Russian Terrier vs Giant Schnauzer
Folks often compare Black Russian Terriers with Giant Schnauzers. For our purposes here, let’s consider the comparison in temperaments of these two breeds. In essence, both dogs have exactly the same temperament.
For one thing, both breeds are guard dogs at heart. As such, they both tend to be suspicious of strangers. To combat this, you must put a lot of energy into socializing both breeds as early and often as possible.
Both breeds are high-energy and need an owner who can keep up with them, and both dogs are difficult to train for those who have never owned a dog before. Both dogs are great family dogs, but I don’t recommend getting either breed if you have young children, since you won’t have the time to devote to these high-maintenance breeds.
A Final Word about the Giant Schnauzer Temperament
The Giant Schnauzer temperament makes him a big dog with a big personality. Guard dogs at heart, they admire their human companions and will protect them however they see fit.
Energetic, intelligent, and playful, the Giant Schnauzer temperament is excellent for families with an active lifestyle and older children.
If you have younger children, you simply won’t have the time this dog needs from you to feel well-rounded. Plus, you should be careful having larger breed dogs around smaller children anyway to prevent potential accidents.
Giant Schnauzers have endearing and challenging qualities. If you can handle the challenging qualities, this is a breed that will provide a lifetime of laughs and happiness.