The Giant Schnauzer breed, also known as the Oblander, dates back to the 15th century when they were bred as worker dogs, herders and watchdogs. Today, their versatility remains. They make excellent pets, unless you are an apartment dweller, and they are fiercely protective with a sweet, albeit powerful personality.
The Giant Schnauzer is a square, powerful breed with distinctive facial hair and lustrous coat. The Giant will welcome all the exercise on offer and will hope for more, so, this is a dog for an active, outdoorsy family. Otherwise, the Giant Schnauzer has moderate needs with the noted exception of food. Like all large breeds, the Giant Schnauzer has an appetite befitting him. Intelligent and active, the Giant Schnauzer has an enormous personality and can be tons of fun.
Giant Schnauzer History
The Giant Schnauzer, like other Schnauzers finds its roots in Germany as early as the 15th century. Specifically, the Giant Schnauzer hails from the Bavarian Highlands of Germany where it was used mostly for its herding skills on cattle and pig farms. Later, the impressive size of the Giant Schnauzer, made them a popular choice for police dogs.
The Giant Schnauzer, also known as the Oblander, wasn’t fully established until 1923. A slightly varied version of the Giant Schnauzer, found mostly near Munich, was used for their power and size. Following World War I, fewer Giant Schnauzers were bred, but eventually, their numbers were re-established and spread throughout Europe and the world.
Although it is not definitively known, breeders and experts agree that the most probable ancestry of the Giant Schnauzer involves a black Great Dane, a Bouvier des Roulers and another, undetermined breed. It is speculated that once the Giant Schnauzer was established, large Standard Schnauzers may have played a role in their lineage as well.
Giant Schnauzer Appearance
The Giant Schnauzer is a powerful, long-legged dog. The overall appearance is quite similar to that of the Standard Schnauzer, with the noted exception of the Giant’s superior size. The Giant Schnauzer is square in shape, with a broad body and deep chest. The Giant Schnauzer has a thick, wiry outercoat and a softer undercoat. There are only two possible colours for the coat; pure black and a salt and pepper variety.
Perhaps the most distinguishing features on the Giant Schnauzer are the prominent beard, moustache and eyebrows. The beard is customarily 4- 5 inches in length, although owners prefer a slightly shorter, more manageable length. The eyebrows are groomed to feather over the eye and the moustache is generally trimmed. The tail is customarily docked.
Giant Schnauzer Temperament
The Giant Schnauzer is fiercely loyal and does not take kindly to strangers in their home. This, of course makes them excellent guard dogs, but problematic if your 5 year old has her friends over to play. A Giant Schnauzer could unintentionally injure (or at the very least scare nearly to death) a small child. Best to reserve this breed for family with teens or older. Because the Giant Schnauzer has such demanding exercise needs, they tend to seize any opportunity to run at high speeds with reckless abandon, regardless of the owners opinion. If a person happens to be on the Giant�s trajectory, the Giant Schnauzer has been known to simply plough through. Clearly, a strong grip on the leash is paramount.
But don�t think all Giant Schnauzers necessarily have the self control of Marmaduke. This is simply not true. The Giant Schnauzer, when properly trained can be obedient, agile and caring. The owner must consistently display leadership and a top-dog mentality.
One last tip, while the Giant Schnauzer enjoys play time outside, his patience for being left alone is limited. So, unless you would like some unplanned landscaping, try to keep your Giant occupied while he is outside.
Giant Schnauzer Exercise Info
If you are looking for a pet to help you exercise more, then the Giant Schnauzer is for you! This breed needs twice daily, vigorous exercise. Short jaunts may at times suffice, but generally 5 kilometres is the minimum daily walk. The Giant Schnauzer can easily hike 20 kilometres and happily walk again in the evening. Hunters may think this attribute is perfect for long expeditions, however the Giant Schnauzer’s wilful tendency means they can inconsistently obey commands. And, if left of the lead, the Giant Schnauzer can run heedless of the owner.
Giant Schnauzer Grooming Info
Although the Giant Schnauzer has been described as a non-shedder, this is not entirely true. Like all dogs, regular grooming at home and twice annual stripping will lessen the shed. The moustache and beard do require greater care. The Giant�s facial hair should be cleaned after meals. This has two benefits; it will prevent matting and difficult grooming, and it should also lessen the doggie odor. Some trimming of the eyebrows will be necessary. Be sure to use blunt end shears for this.
Giant Schnauzer Training Info
The monumental size alone of the Giant Schnauzer makes him a force of nature, but his tendency to be somewhat wilful can make training your Giant Schnauzer a handful. That being said, it is most easily accomplished if the training begins early and the trainer is firm, consistent and kind.
Praise and early starts are the key factors when training your Giant Schnauzer or any breed for that matter. The first time your puppy goes to the bathroom outside, or obeys a command the savvy owner will pile on the praise. The Giant Schnauzer will be delighted and will strive to recreate this positive scenario, so be consistent and immediate with the praise. Conversely, when your puppy behaves in an unacceptable manner, use a deeper voice and a short, easily understood command, like �NO!�. This should deter the puppy from repeating the action. Some trainers slap a newspaper against their own hand, (never on the puppy) creating a sharp, unpleasant sound. Either way, pick one and be sure that the whole family sticks to it. Remember, this time is not only training time with your Giant Schnauzer, it is also the time you establish your bond. So, enjoy the time you spend and your own learning curve.
Giant Schnauzer Health Info
Common health concerns with the Giant Schnauzer include Toe Cancer, epilepsy and hip dysphasia. Also of note are the autoimmune diseases hypothyroidism, haemolytic anemia, SLO, and Crohn�s Disease.
Giant Schnauzer Right Breed Info
The Giant Schnauzer is the perfect pet for an active person or family. He is fun-loving, slightly mischievous and patently lovable. He does need space and daily outdoor adventures so bear this in mind if you are considering a Giant Schnauzer. If the Giant is trained early, a sensible owner can curb the Giant Schnauzer’s destructive tendencies and harmony will ensue. But, the Giant will always be protective of your home and its occupants, others will be ‘relentlessly welcomed’. Not to worry, this too can be corrected. On the whole, the Giant Schnauzer makes an excellent pet for any family with older children and plenty of space. Do remember that when choosing a Giant Schnauzer, resist the urge to purchase a dog inexpensively from a pet store or from an advertisement in a newspaper. You may unwittingly buy a mal-adjusted, sick, puppy mill dog. This is to be avoided at all costs.