The Giant Schnauzer is the largest of the three recognized Schnauzer breeds. He is a working dog that was bred to drive cattle as well as act as a livestock guardian dog. Many people believe that the Standard Schnauzer was cross-bred with the Great Dane and Bouvier des Flandres to produce the Giant Schnauzer. He is not the right dog for a first time dog owner because he can be very demanding and requires intense training. The Giant Schnauzer is very intelligent and is an independent thinker; this makes him sometimes difficult to keep occupied. He is also a high maintenance dog and requires specialized grooming.
There are three Schnauzer breeds. The Standard Schnauzer is the original breed and the Miniature Schnauzer and Giant Schnauzer are derivatives of the Standard Schnauzer. The exact date of origin is unknown for the Giant Schnauzer. It is known that the Standard Schnauzer was depicted in artwork that dates back to 1492 and the Giant Schnauzer was developed some time after that. He was created to be a herder and a livestock guardian dog. To develop the Giant Schnauzer, the Standard Schnauzer was cross-bred with larger dogs such as the Great Dane and the Bouvier des Flandres. The Giant Schnauzer was originally bred to drive cattle to market. By the start of the 20th century, he was no longer being used for that purpose. He was then found guarding breweries, stockyards and butcher shops. The Giant Schnauzer has been trained for police work in the United States and in Europe. Today, there are not many Giant Schnauzers used for police work due to their size and propensity toward aggression if not properly trained. The Giant Schnauzer was first recognized in the United States by the American Kennel Club in 1930 and is ranked 94th among all the dog breeds in popularity. He is a high maintenance dog that requires specialized grooming. He is also a high energy dog that does require training and plenty of exercise. The Giant Schnauzer is not the best dog for first time dog owners and not ideal for children. The Giant Schnauzer, as his name suggests, is a giant breed and he is a well muscled, working dog who thrives when he has a job to accomplish.
The Giant Schnauzer has a very dense and wiry topcoat with a soft undercoat. His coat does not lay smooth or flat on his back; instead it slightly stands up off the back. The top of his head has coarse hair and his beard and eyebrows are also wiry and coarse. His beard and eyebrows are the signature look of a Schnauzer and are also seen in the Standard and Miniature varieties. A coat that is too soft is not acceptable. The Giant Schnauzer is solid black or pepper and salt colored. Pepper and salt is when the topcoat is a combination of banded hairs that are white with black and black with white and some black and white hairs. This gives a gray appearance when viewed from a distance. The only marking allowed is a small white spot on his chest. All pepper and salt shades are acceptable from silver-gray to dark iron-gray.
This breed has a high maintenance coat that requires regular grooming and clipping to achieve the classic Schnauzer look. The distinctive look of the Giant Schnauzer does not occur naturally. The eyebrows, beard and clipped body are all done through precise grooming. Regular grooming of the Giant Schnauzer includes brushing, bathing, clipping the body, ear cleaning and nail trimming. He needs to be properly groomed every six to eight weeks. Most owners take their Giant Schnauzer to a groomer experienced in grooming the Schnauzer breeds. In between trips to the groomer, he will need to be brushed with a pin brush at least once a week. His beard will need to be combed several times a day to remove any food or debris. A clean cloth will need to be handy to dry his beard after he drinks. Water will drip off his beard, giving him the appearance of drooling excessively. A foul smell will develop around his beard if it is not properly cleaned and combed often.