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Life Span:~10 to 15 years
Litter Size: 5 to 8
Country of Origin: Germany
Size: The Giant Schnauzer is a large, powerful, and compact breed of dog. A male Giant Schnauzer stands 25 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weighs 60 to 80 pounds. Females on the other hand are a bit shorter standing 24 to 26 inches and lighter weighing approximately 55 to 75 pounds.
Coat: The Giant Schnauzers have double coat to better protect them from weather and any terrain conditions. Their topcoat is wiry, hard, and dense, with hairs that stand up from the skin. The undercoat is soft. The distinctive feature of the Schnauzer is its harsh beard and eyebrows.
The coat’s colors are solid black or pepper and salt. The pepper-and-salt coloring is a combination of black and white hairs, and white hairs banded with black. They may look like gray at a certain distance.
Character: The Giant Schnauzer is a powerful and large dog, but they have clam, loving temperament of a companion dog. They are also very assertive, bold, and full of energy, which makes them a good working and watch dogs. The Giants take responsibility seriously and is very protective of their home and family. They are willing to defend them with a fierceness that can be intimidating. They are a highly intelligent animal, which can be a problem for some novice trainers. Socialization helps ensure that the Giants mature to a well-rounded dog.
Appearance: The Giant Schnauzer is a large-sized, squarely-built dog. They are sturdy and muscular, and always on the alert. They have looking facial hairs on the eyebrows, moustache, which gives them a distinct look. The hairs in the legs are longer that adds to their extraordinary distinct appearance. The Giants have a rectangular-shaped head and a body length that equals the height and the withers.
History: Historically, the Schnauzer-type dog has been depicted in art and sculptures as early as the 1400s. The Giant Schnauzer evolved from the Standard Schnauzer originally bred in Germany. The Giant were used as cattle herders and pig farms in the Bavarian highlands region in the 15th century until the railroads were developed. Their popularity surged by the 19th century in the towns as guard dogs.
During both world wars, they were used as police and war dogs. This resulted in the significant reduction of numbers for the breed, causing near extinction. With the help of some kennel clubs, the breed was able to reinvigorate. The dogs began appearing in America in 1909.
Health Issues: The Giant Schnauzers are a relatively healthy breed. They have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. But some members of the breed can be subjected to health conditions such as hip dysplasia, Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) gastric dilation (bloat), retinal dysplasia, skin and digestive problems, autoimmune thyroiditis, and squamous cell carcinoma among others.
Temperament: They are a very loving, protective, and responsible. They thrive on companionship and affection. Like any other working dogs, they don’t like to be left alone or don’t do any physical and mental activities. They are highly intelligent, imposing, and territorial. They make an excellent guard dogs as well as play buddies for children.
Care: The Giants are much suited for big, open spaces, but any small, apartment-type living conditions are okay, so as long as they daily exercise regiment and care are met. They require weekly brushing and combing to keep the undercoat free of mats and tangles. They need to be professionally clipped all-over four times per year. The hair around the eyes and ears must be kept trimmed and their whiskers cleaned after meals. Bathing or dry shampooing should be done when necessary.
Training: Since this is a fairly large animal, early intense socialization and obedience training is necessary. They are a dominant breed, and they have the capacity (size) to use this to their advantage. Before they mature, they should know who the “pack leader” is.They can easily be housebroken and trained. Using positive reinforcement, they respond to respect, consistency, firmness, fairness, and reward. They excel in agility and obedience trainings.
Activity: The Giants can compete in dog agility trials, carting, obedience, flyball, Schutzhund, tracking, and herding events. Like all large breeds they require an inordinate amount of vigorous exercise. They thrive on being given something to do and enjoy with family activities. They are at their best when they are giving plenty of time and a wide open area to run freely and stretch their legs.