Giant Schnauzer Research & Genetics

The Giant Schnauzer Club are working in conjunction with the Kennel Club and Animal Health Trust to provide a thorough and ongoing analysis of the health status and genetic diversity of the Giant Schnauzer. Also advancements are being made to facilitate research into Hereditary Epilepsy, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Canine Melanoma.

Hereditary Epilepsy

We are currently looking for Giant Schnauzers diagnosed with Idiopathic Epilepsy i.e the type of epilepsy that is thought to be inherited.

As part of the "Give a Dog a Genome" project, the Animal Health Trust and the three breed Clubs are asking for assistance from the Giant Schnauzer community. They are looking for 2-3 Giant Schnauzers diagnosed with Idiopathic Epilepsy, whose first seizures started between 6 months and 6 years of age, to help contribute to the genome sequencing project, possibly leading to genetic research into canine Idiopathic Epilepsy. A 'qualifying dog' would simply require a cheek swab DNA collection, although full clinical history and information about which diagnostic tests have been completed will also need to be supplied in order to see which dogs may qualify for the genome sequencing. All information will be treated with the strictest of confidence. If you are the owner of a Giant that you think may be able to help with this research please email: Lesley Parker - Breed Health Co-ordinator

More information about the GDG project can be found on the AHT website:
AHT - Give A Dog A Genome

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

N.B. This is a different type of PRA to prcd-PRA for which there is already a DNA test available

PRA is a blinding disease for which there is no treatment, so developing a DNA test would enable breeders and owners to test for this disease and eventually eradicate it from the breed. The AHT are currently using a whole genome sequencing approach (reading the entire DNA from an individual) to investigate PRA in the Giant Schnauzer. Data from PRA-affected cases will be compared against older clear Giant Schnauzers to try and identify the casual mutation for PRA in these dogs.

We are currently looking for Giant Schnauzers with clear eyes certified under the BVA/KC or ECVO scheme (and of course any affected Giants also).

Is your Giant Schnauzer 6 years or over? The AHT are offering free eye examinations for the first 20 dogs over the age of 6yrs!

Download the AHT PRA information leaflet Download Giant Schnauzer PRA Flyer

If you would like to help out or for more information, please contact Rebekkah Hitti at the AHT

Canine Melanoma

Do you own a Schnauzer diagnosed with Toe Cancer, Skin or Mouth Tumours?
If so please send a cheek swab, the AHT need samples from Schnauzers affected with Toe Cancer (also known as Ungual Melanomas), Skin Tumours (Cutaneous Melanomas) and Mouth Tumours (Oral Melanomas). If your vet needs to take a biopsy of the affected area the AHT are also collecting biopsy samples which can be taken at the same time. Please inform your vet about the AHT cancer research in Schnauzers.
Download the AHT Oncology Research Group article on melanomas in Schnauzers Download Schnauzer Melanoma article


DNA Sampling & Research
To contact the Breed Health Co-ordinator:
Lesley Parker

DNA collection via cheek swab is simple and pain free. Please help if you can.

Please Help


To order a free cheek swab kit:

Contact the AHT
Cheek swabs can be obtained and returned directly to the AHT.
All enquiries are treated in confidence.
Animal Health Trust

PRA Research:

Cancer Research: