The Loyal, Alert, and Trainable Giant Schnauzer

Last Updated on April 26, 2023

We can’t get over how cute the Giant Schnauzer is, even though they’re as big as a Great Dane. Just like other Giant dogs, these pups require a lot of exercise, attention, and love.

Also known as the Riesenschnauzer, and Munchener this giant breed won the hearts of many as a working dog first, then as a winning show dog and companion. 

Giant Schnauzer dog looking afar

You’ll need a lot of experience to tackle these beasts!

The Giant Schnauzers roots in Germany

The largest and tallest of the Schnauzer breeds, the Giant Schnauzer may intimidate you with its stocky and proud appearance.

Just like the Miniature Schnauzer, the Giant Schnauzer derives from their Standard Schnauzer parents.

Without the rough-haired sheepdogs, the black Great Dane, and in some part the Bouvier des Flandres, the Standard Schnauzer would stay as a medium-sized worker.

Thanks to those other breeds, we have the muscular, large, and powerful Giant Schnauzer. 

German dogs often have literal names, and the Giant Schnauzer (or the “Riesenschnauzer”) is no exception. Riesen translated to “Giant” in English, whereas Schnauzer means “snout.”

All Schnauzers are recognizable by their beard, mustache, and whiskers.

Giant Schnauzer dog in a clover field

Similar to most mixed breeds, there aren’t many records on when the Giant Schnauzer came to be.

But, unlike mixed breeds, this giant pup is actually its own separate, distinct breed notable by its recognition by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The Giant Schnauzer likely developed in the Bavaria Alps, Germany, in the mid-1800s to drive cattle on farms and to work in stockyards and butcher shops.

Due to their size, they were also useful as guard dogs at breweries and other shops.

Giant Schnauzers are fantastic working dogs and helped as Berlin police dogs in search and rescue missions.

They were also useful in the military in World War I to deliver dispatch and are great guide dogs, watchdogs, and guard dogs.

It’s likely the Giant Schnauzer would have become the standard in police work in the United States, but the German Shepherd won out in the end. 

The Giant Schnauzer Club of America (founded in 1962) and the AKC both recognize the Giant Schnauzer in the Working Group because they are intelligent, alert, strong, and watchful.

They excel at carting, herding, guarding property, and performing water rescues.

Despite their versatility, they aren’t a popular breed and are still uncommon to this day. They rank low in breeds lists, but plenty of dog owners praise their loyalty and trainability.

Do Giant Schnauzers also have a beard and mustache?

Giant Schnauzer dog posing in the nature
Source: @giantschnauzers / IG

Giant Schnauzers are thought of as a large, more powerful version of the Standard Schnauzer with a more bold and courageous figure.

They have a strong build, a robust frame, and are nearly square in proportion to body length to height at withers, sturdy, active, and hardy muscles.

The heads of all Schnauzers are rectangular and elongated. The skull narrows from the ears to the eyes and back around the tip of their black noses.

Male skulls are often much larger than the females, but it’s a breed standard that the muzzle is parallel to the top of the skull.

Although it’s common for dog owners to crop their ears, so they sit on top of the head, they aren’t born with such high pointed tips.

Uncropped ears will hang down beside the top of the head in a V-shape, but they are always of medium thickness.

A Schnauzer’s eyes are medium-sized ovals, deep-set, dark brown, and perfect for watching you throw their favorite toy. Specific to the Giant Schnauzer, the eyes have light fitting lids.

The Schnauzer breed’s harsh and dense coat makes it possible for the eyebrows, beard, mustache, and whiskers to grow outward.

These characteristics are rare in other dog breeds but always present in Schnauzers.

Their forequarters are flat with shoulders that slope slightly with high withers while the hindquarters balance their forequarters and muscular.

The neck is strong and short, while their back is also short but intense, straight, and firm.

Tails are high, but most owners will dock the tails to the second joint. Their legs are straight and vertical and identical in height on all four sides.

Overall the body is short-coupled, substantial, compact, and robust with legs that hold great power and agility. 

Size: How big do Giant Schnauzers get?

Giant Schnauzer standing near the river bank

Male Giant Schnauzers have a height of 25.5 to 27.5 inches (65 to 70 cm) and a weight of 60 to 85 pounds (27 to 39 kg).

Females are slightly smaller, standing 23.5 to 25.5 inches (60 cm to 65 cm) tall and weighing 55 to 75 pounds (25 to 34 kg).

If you’re wondering how long until your Giant Schnauzer puppy is full-grown, it can take 12 to 24 months. Reaching their maturity can take longer depending on gender and health factors.

Despite its name, the Giant Schnauzer, which is the largest variant of this purebred, can fall somewhere between large and giant.

Still, we wouldn’t recommend them to live in small homes, like apartments. They’ll thrive in a house with a large backyard where they can exercise and play with their human or on their own.

Standard Schnauzer VS Giant Schnauzer

Purebred Standard Schnauzer dog
Meet the purebred Standard Schnauzer dog

The Standard Schnauzer is the original parent to both the Giant and Miniature Schnauzers and takes a lot of its temperament from this distinct breed.

They are medium-sized but aren’t structurally different from the Giant Schnauzer.

Standard Schnauzers are smaller by 7-10 inches (17.78-25.4 cms) and sit at 17.5-19.5 inches (44.4-49.5 cms), and weigh much less at 30-50 pounds (13.6-22.6 kgs).

A male Standard Schnauzer can weigh at least 10 pounds more than the female on average. They reach maturity around 12 – 24 months.

If the Giant Schnauzer is too big for your modest home or apartment, the Standard Schnauzer may be your answer.

They still require a fenced yard and a larger home, but a medium-size, one-floor house could work if you have a sizable yard.

Miniature Schnauzer VS Giant Schnauzer

Lovely white miniature schnauzer dog
The lovely white Miniature Schnauzer dog breed

The cute and lovable Miniature Schnauzer will look like a stuffed animal in comparison to its Giant cousin. They only fall in the small breed classification and are the smallest of the other 2 Schnauzer breeds.

Toy Schnauzers also land in Miniature territory.

Mini Schnauzer dogs are tiny at only 12-14 inches (30.4-35.5 cms) in height and weigh 11-20 pounds (4.9-9.0 kgs) on average. They’re easy to transport and are capable of storage in larger purses or bags.

Miniature Schnauzers don’t vary between weight and height between males and females, but a female Mini could weigh less by 2-3 pounds.

They mature faster than other Schnauzers at 12 months or less because they don’t have much growing to do!

This tiny breed works well in small homes or apartments, but they still need a lot of floor space to run and play.

Miniature Schnauzers will always appreciate more space, but it’s not as necessary as with the Standard and Giant Schnauzer. 

Lots of hair for a lot of dogs

Giant Schnauzer lying on the grass

Regardless of size, all purebred Schnauzers have a hard, very dense, and wiry outer coat and a fluffy, soft undercoat.

Their medium-length double coat will stand up from the skin and feel oily and slick around the tail, head, chest, ears, and tail.

Solid black Giant Schnauzers are very common, and it’s rare to find them in any other color. However, salt-and-pepper, black-and-tan, and fawn do show up from time to time.

At a short distance, the salt-and-pepper coat will look gray.

While black Giant Schnauzers will keep their dark coat most of their life, the salt-and-pepper coat color will start to grey on their topcoat.

This pigment change will appear in their eyebrows, whiskers, across the chest, legs, and under the throat.

Their signature mustache, beard, and eyebrows may not stick out as much as the other Schnauzers because their wiry coats are often much darker. You can bring more attention to these features with the right haircut.

Giant Schnauzers don’t often deviate from black, but a fawn or brown color is without a doubt striking for its rarity. Fawn Schnauzers are not able to compete in AKC conformation dog shows.

The Giant Schnauzer temperament: protective yet sweet

Don’t be fooled by the big dog exterior; these giant pups are sweethearts to their core and can be a great family pet.

They mostly have a calm and loving personality, but their boldness, energy, and assertiveness will shine through when it’s time to work.

Due to their protective and territorial qualities, Giant Schnauzers will defend you with a fierceness that will be intimidating to anyone, even strangers.

These traits make them outstanding candidates as watchdog and guard dog.

Their playful side will make it seem like they’re a completely different canine. They’re playful and high-energy with an intelligence that matches few other breeds.

Giant Schnauzers will act like the big man in the house if you let them.

Giant Schnauzers make great running partners because of their high activity level and love long walks and jogs.

Although Schnauzers aren’t known for being great at swimming, the Giant Schnauzers’ long legs will make swimming fun for them and their owner.

Giant Schnauzers are more serious than the Miniature and Standard Schnauzer and are more in tune with their working tendencies.

Unlike the other 2 Schnauzers, the Giant variety needs consistency and firm guidance at all times and absolutely requires early socialization.

Should I be scared of the Giant Schnauzer?

With any large dog, there is a concern that it will be vicious or dangerous.

Unlike the Standard and Miniature, another human may have a more challenging time controlling them because they’re indeed powerful dogs with a lot of force and might.

While it’s true that any dog can be dangerous without proper obedience training, it’s essential that large breeds like the Giant Schnauzer should not be around small children.

These large dogs are more often kind than not, but their size could hurt toddlers or babies.

Young couple with the Giant Schnauzer dog

The suggested age range is twelve and older for large or giant breeds because they’ll have the maturity and size not to get hurt while playing with big dogs.

Teach your child not to approach them while eating, sleeping, or by pulling their ears or tail.

Giant Schnauzers aren’t often happy around other dogs or cats and will bark or snarl when threatened. They are more of a companion to humans they trust and can get aggressive and bite strange humans or animals.

You really don’t want your Giant Schnauzer to bite other humans because they have one of the highest bite forces recorded in dog breed with 556 pounds per square inch.

Your pup could seriously hurt someone without proper training. 

Giant Schnauzers have a low tolerance for being alone and would rather be around their humans most of the day. Their bark can become even worse if they develop separation anxiety.

None of this information is here to scare you because Giant Schnauzers indeed are great companion animals that love humans and their company.

They can get along with anyone with the right socialization, but it’s always essential you know what you’re in for before adopting them.

As a positive, Giant Schnauzers are incredibly smart but not necessarily easy to train for first-time dog owners because of their size.

It’s essential to expose them to many different sounds, sights, people, and experiences while they’re young, so they learn to trust others.

How to care for your Giant Schnauzer dog

Giant Schnauzers require special grooming needs because their wiry double coat will need frequent attention.

This breed also has extensive exercise needs and will cost more than the average pet to stay fed and healthy long-term.

These Schnauzers will stay comfortable in most weather conditions, including rain, cold weather, and humidity. Cut their hair short in the summer if they get too hot.

Don’t buy this breed if you’re a couch potato

The Giant Schnauzer love, love, loves to exercise and is predominantly up-tempo and energetic. They are the perfect workout companion for anyone that likes to participate in dog sports, running, swimming, or hiking

If you can’t keep up with their incredible energy level, you can adopt another dog to help you out. Still, you should at least participate in some activity that gets you off the couch.

The Giant Schnauzer will not tolerate long stretches of inactivity.

If you want to learn how to exercise and train your Giant Schnauzer, watch the video below:

Giant Schnauzers are happy to exercise 3-4 hours a day, but you only need to spend 60-90 minutes of active play.

Space that out with two walks or by mixing up play with sports, tug-of-war, and Frisby. They’re smart, so make sure they don’t get bored.

This breed may love to amuse themselves with squeaky toys, so avoid them for some peace and quiet. I recommend fetching toys or rope to keep them active and running.

Are Giant Schnauzers hypoallergenic?

Giant Schnauzers have a weather-resistant, hypoallergenic coat that requires regular grooming, so they continue to look fresh and clean.

While you can learn how to take care of their coat yourself, taking your Giant Schnauzer to the groomer will save you the headache.

Shedding is minimal, but that comes with its own problem: hand stripping. To keep the Giant Schnauzer coat wiry, you must hand strip every 4 to 6 months.

The texture will change, and the coat will shed more if you clip their hair, so avoid doing this if you have allergies.

Get your Schnauzer accustomed to being brushed, touched, and having their paws handled.

Make grooming a positive experience by offering a reward for standing still while they’re a puppy. With that in mind, be sure to groom your Schnauzer every 5 to 8 weeks.

While other Schnauzers only need weekly brushing, you should brush your Giant Schnauzer daily to avoid matting near their face and legs.

Armpits will mat more often, and many pet owners will forget to target this area, so focus your attention there.

Check their ears and trim their nails weekly to keep your family friend comfortable. Ask your groomer how to cut your Giant Schnauzers nails properly, or you could cut them quick and hurt them.

This may traumatize them from allowing you to cut their nails in the future.

Due to their oily and slick upper coat, they could start to smell faster than other dogs. Bathe them once a week to keep them clean, and wash their beards after meals.

Your Giant Schnauzer may need medical shampoo if they are prone to ticks and fleas.

You need a lot of food to fuel this pup

Obesity isn’t typical for Giant Schnauzers due to their high exercise needs and love for an activity.

Still, it’s essential to always section off their food throughout the day, so they develop healthy eating habits and don’t start to beg you for more at dinner time.

On average, 3 ⅜ to 4 ¼ cups of high-quality dog food is necessary to fuel these giant dogs. It’s better to have a more accurate food intake, which your vet can administer.

Your veterinarian will recommend a diet based on your pup’s height and weight.

Black Giant Schnauzer close-up portrait
Source: @giantschnauzers / IG

Since the Giant Schnauzer varies significantly in weight, you will need to adjust as they age.

A 50-59 lbs (22.6-26.7 kgs) needs 2 ⅔ cups of an 8 OZ measuring cup per day, twice a day. Add another ⅓ cup for every 10lbs (4.5 kgs).

It’s more critical than with smaller dogs to stay on track with their calorie requirements because you could accidentally underfeed them.

A Giant Schnauzer could need as little as 1145 calories or as much as 1629 calories throughout their adulthood. 

A Giant Schnauzer puppy may weigh 22-28 pounds (10-13 kgs) at 3 months, but by a year, they will shoot up to 41-66 pounds (19-30 kgs) and still have some growing to do.

To keep their growth on track, feed them the best puppy chow available.

You can feed your Giant Schnauzer puppy or adult treats while they train, but don’t give them too many, or they’ll expect to get a reward regularly.

Keep them away from most human food unless your veterinarian states they’re healthy.

Read our guide to learn more about the best dog food for Schnauzers.

You won’t need frequent visits to the vet

Giant Schnauzers are generally healthy throughout their lives, but they suffer from a few health issues common in large dogs like the Doberman Pinscher.

These health problems will appear later on in their lifespan, but you can keep these pups healthy with frequent vet visits.

Cancer, hip dysplasia, and eye diseases are amongst their most common health issues.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy and cataracts can show in younger dogs if they have diabetes or obesity, but as mentioned, it’s uncommon to see an obese Giant Schnauzer.

Watch out for elbow and shoulder issues like Osteochondrosis Dissecan (OCD). This disease occurs by an improper growth in joint cartilage and could develop with improper diet or trauma.

OCD is more likely genetic and is noticeable in puppies aged five to seven months.

If your Giant Schnauzer is black, they could develop a rare type of cancer called Squamous Cell Carcinoma on their toes.

Your Giant Schnauzer will appear sluggish and tired often if they have this cancer. Take them to the vet to remove the affected toe before it spreads to the chest cavity.

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) could also affect your pup as they age or if they have a heart defect.

To mitigate the likelihood they’ll develop CHD, keep your dog on a healthy omnivorous diet that contains meat, grain, and vegetables.

Other health issues related to the Giant Schnauzer include:

  • Autoimmune thyroiditis
  • Gastric torsion
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Other thyroid issues
  • Bloat
  • Epilepsy

Giant Schnauzers have an average life expectancy of 12-15 years, which is rather long for such a large dog.

Black Giant Schnauzer lying on the grass

With frequent vet visits, good nutrition, and plenty of exercises, your pup could exceed its average life expectancy.

Is the Giant Schnauzer expensive?

Even though the Giant Schnauzer is a large-giant breed, they won’t cost you as much as a Miniature or Standard Schnauzer.

According to AKC, they are an unpopular breed and usually rank in the 70-80th, whereas the other Schnauzers rank much higher.

Legal Giant Schnauzer puppies will cost between $1200-$2000, but what you should focus on is their lifetime cost. They are expensive to own and can cost you thousands per year in food, toy, vet bills, and other expenses.

Large, purebred dogs are usually expensive to own because of their years of expert breeding coupled with their utility.

A Giant Schnauzer is the perfect worker, smart and loyal, so you can expect to pay for that impressive scope of skill.

Giant Schnauzers are a hit at dog shows, so you may come across a puppy bred from two show parents.

These puppies may ask for $2500 or more depending on the kennel’s popularity, litter size, and shipping fees associated with the breed.

On average, a Giant Schnauzer litter will contain 5-8 puppies, but it isn’t uncommon to see litters as high as 13 because of the dog’s massive size.

A list of Giant Schnauzer breeders

Although Giant Schnauzers aren’t as popular as Standard or Miniature Schnauzers, you won’t have a problem finding breeders in the United States.

As a positive, it makes it less likely you’ll run into puppy mills or unlawful breeding practices.

Since Giant Schnauzers require a large space and active owners, reputable breeders will have a lot of room for them.

Reputable breeders are more likely to have Giant Schnauzers that are well trained and friendly, which is a good sign they are happy and healthy.

Two Giant Schnauzer puppies
Source: @giantdodos / IG

To ensure your Giant Schnauzers don’t have rare or crippling health conditions, always ask the breeder for the parents’ information. Be suspicious if they won’t give this willingly.

You can find Giant Schnauzer puppies for sale at these locations:

  • Classic Giant Schnauzers of Easentaigh
  • Skyline Giant Schnauzers

Adopting a Dog from Giant Schnauzer Rescue or a Shelter

Giant Schnauzers are placed in shelters due to their temperament or because they weren’t expecting this breed to get so large.

Some breeders will state their puppies are Miniature but grow to sizes too large for apartments or small homes.

There are a few challenges associated with adopting Giant Schnauzers.

Their temperament and aggression will be high, and they will require a calm and patient experienced dog owner to give them the love and attention they deserve.

While you won’t be able to screen your new family member for potential health conditions, Giant Schnauzers are generally healthy and are unlikely to develop complications later in life.

Here are a few locations that will have Giant Schnauzers for sale:

  • Giant Schnauzer Club of America
  • HT-Z Giant Schnauzer Rescue

Curious about Giant Schnauzer Mixes?

Did you know there are more mixes with a Schnauzer parent? 

Meet the Giant Schnauzer and German Shepherd Mix, the Giant Schnoodle (Poodle and Giant Schnauzer mix), and the Giant Schnauzer and Lab Mix.

If the Giant Schnauzer isn’t a good match for your family, maybe these mixes will suit you better!

  • Giant Schnoodle – Giant Schnauzer Poodle mix
  • Giant Schnauzer Lab Mix
  • Giant Schnauzer German Shepherd mix
  • Provide a link to our article about “Schnauzer mixes”

Dogs similar to Giant Schnauzer

Bouvier des Flandres VS Giant Schnauzer

Bouvier des Flandres dog portrait
Bouvier des Flandres

The burly and barrel-chested, tousle-coated Flandres is a working dog capable of becoming larger than the Giant Schnauzer at 70-110 pounds (31.7-49.8 kgs).

Their seasonal shedding coat is also hypoallergenic, and their daily brushing needs are similar to the Schnauzer. Flandres are also just as energetic.

This giant breed is affectionate, courageous, strong-willed, and ready to get to work. The Bouvier des Flandres intelligence makes them easy to train.

The Bouvier des Flandres is an excellent watchdog that stays true to their family; just watch them around children because their large size may scare toddlers.

Black Russian Terrier VS Giant Schnauzer 

Black Russian Terrier dog playing in the water
Black Russian Terrier

These cuties are large and in charge, weighing even more than the Bouvier des Flandres at 80-130 pounds (36.2-58.9). They are immensely powerful workers.

Although their tousled double coat isn’t hypoallergenic, they do need a consistent grooming schedule and a lot of exercises.

These beautiful creatures are intelligent, calm, and powerful. Black Russian Terriers love their owners and are bred to protect and guard, but are aloof with strangers.

You can train the Black Russian Terrier out of most bad habits with an owner that can handle their speed and power. It’s best to keep them in a home without children or other pets.

Is the loyal guard dog right for you?

Giant Schnauzer sitting in the meadow

The Giant Schnauzer is a loyal, alert, and trainable guard dog that will keep your family safe come rain or shine.

Although they aren’t stubborn, they will catch on quickly to bad trainers and won’t adjust to strangers or children easily.

While they can become aggressive and loud, their high trainability and intelligence mean you can teach them to avoid bad habits.

I highly recommend choosing another dog to own if you aren’t an experienced trainer or pet owner. They need constant training and a firm hand for them to avoid misbehaving. 

What do you think of the Giant Schnauzer? Do you feel safe knowing this loyal and daring watchdog is there to protect you? Leave a comment below telling us about your caring companion!


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