The origin of the Giant Schnauzer is to be found in Germany, where it is known as the Riesenschnauzer. The name means "snout". The Schnauzer of the early 20th century had been involved as a keen herding dog. Not until just before the First World War did the Giant begin to receive nationwide recognition in Germany as a suitable subject for police training at the schools in Berlin.
In the early 60's, the first Giant Schnauzer came to the UK, to join the Miniature Schnauzer and the Standard Schnauzer. It wasn't until the mid 70's, after much hard work and determination by the pioneers of the breed, that the Giant made its impact. The Giant Schnauzers pictured on this page are amongst those that have had a large influence on the breed in the UK. The Giant Schnauzer was developed to be an intelligent, versatile, bold, composed, reliable, good-natured dog, with its dense weather resistant wiry coat; either Black or Pepper and Salt. There is little wonder that such a dog is being used for police dogs, search and rescue dogs, sniffer dogs and also as therapy dogs.
A dog once seen, never forgotten; The Giant Schnauzer is a "groomed" breed in that it needs regular maintenance to its coat. Because the Giant Schnauzer is a low shedding breed, it has to be stripped or clipped regularly (about every 8-10 weeks). This keeps them like the distinguished Giant Schnauzer and not the woolly bear. Regular weekly brushes and combs help to prevent the legs and the beard from tangling. A word of warning, once your Giant Schnauzer has established it's fully grown beard, expect it to be soaked every visit to the water dish!! The male Giant Schnauzer can be expected to grow from 65-70cms (25.5 - 27.5ins) the females are between 60-65cms (23.5 - 25.5ins) But, some have been known to grow taller as well as smaller than the sizes above. The average weight for the Giant male can be 47kg. This provided that he has the correct rearing and upbringing.
Although the Giant is used in the title of the breed, it doesn't mean that the Dog has to be big and cumbersome, on the contrary the Giant Schnauzer must be built like an athlete, muscular, fit and very agile. As said before, the Giant Schnauzer is highly intelligent. They usually excel in many forms of discipline. They love to learn, so are great at such activities as obedience and agility. There have also been Giants that could herd sheep and work to the gun with much success. Their natural ability to guard and protect their home and people, makes the Giant Schnauzer a valuable asset to its family, as long as it is part of the family, and not left outside on its own. The Giant likes to be involved with whatever its family are doing, even if its just sitting watching the TV. If left alone with no human input, the Giant Schnauzer becomes board, unresponsive and loses respect for its owners, eventually they become unruly and uncontrollable. After 12 months of training and hard work, you now have an adolescent teenager. This is where a Giant Schnauzer can try your patience (just like the human variety).
Most Giant Schnauzers have a stubborn streak, but this is linked to their intelligence. Therefore, if you decide you would like to own a Giant Schnauzer you must be prepared to give lots of quality time to your dog from a puppy all the way through to its adult life. Rest assured the response and love you will receive are greater than any human could give.