The Giant Schnauzer is a beautiful dog and she makes a great watch dog and guard dog. She will protect you. On the downside, she really requires an experienced handler and early socializing of pets, other dogs and children. She is a dominant dog and will continually test the waters and push the envelope of who is in charge here anyway? She is extremely smart and a fast learner. She requires space to exercise and she is not an apartment dog. At the least, she needs a properly fenced in yard, at the best, plenty of acres to run on. Some people think that she is great with children, others do not trust her, especially with children under about 13 years old. As a reminder, never leave a child unsupervised with a puppy or dog.
*Approximate Adult Size. The approximate adult size (two years old or older) of the male Giant Schnauzer is 25 to 28 inches to the withers (highest point of the shoulder) and 60 to 80 pounds. The female ranges from 23 to 26 inches to the withers and 55 to 75 pounds.
*Special Health Considerations. Most dog breeds have certain inherited health problems associated with that specific breed and the Giant Schnauzer is no exception. Be on the look out for Canine Hip Dysplasia (genetic based looseness in the hip joint that can lead to arthritis pain and lameness), orthopedic problems, eye disease, toe cancer, epilepsy and bloat (Gastric Dilation-Volvulus, the second leading killer of dogs, can kill within the hour, this space is too limited for a complete explanation but you should read up on this). Feeding more then once a day and avoiding exercise right after meals may help guard against bloat. This disease list is an informative guideline only. Other diseases may also be significant threats, please contact your veterinarian for a complete list.
She should visit the veterinarian several times in the first year for shots, boosters and check up. Then, as an adult, she should visit the veterinarian yearly for shots and check up. As she gets older, six years and on, she should visit the veterinarian twice a year for check ups and shots. Remember; avoid feeding your dog sweets.
*Grooming. The Giant Schnauzer has a double coat consisting of a harsh, wiry, hard, very dense outer coat and a soft inner coat. They shed little but need to be brushed regularly. Brushing will help her maintain a clean and healthy coat, avoid mats and help you keep a closer eye on her health and strengthen your emotional bond with her.
She also needs to see a groomer occasionally for clipping.
Her ears should be checked once a week and be kept clean. If you have her professionally groomed, make sure ear cleaning and inspection is part of the package. No water or excess fluid should get in the dogs ears, and do not try to irrigate the ears. Ear cleaning is too complicated and critical to instruct here. Look for hair growing in the ear canal, excess wax, or moisture. If her ears have a discharge, foul odor or she seems to be in distress and you suspect an infection, or tumor, consult your veterinarian.
Her teeth should be brushed at least twice a week with toothpaste and toothbrush designed for dogs. Brushing removes the accumulation of plaque and tartar which can cause cavities (rarely) and periodontal disease. Dog periodontal disease can lead to pain, loss of teeth, bad breath and other serious disease.
Her toenails may need to be examined for growth and clipped regularly. The toenails of the rear feet grow slower than the toenails of the front feet. Generally a guillotine type trimmer is the best for this chore and competent instructions to accomplish this can be found on the net.
*Life Span. The Giant Schnauzer can live between 12 and 15 years with proper nutrition, medical care and excellent living conditions.
*History. The Giant Schnauzer comes from Bavaria, Germany where it was known as the Riesenschnauzer. They may be a cross between the Bouvier des Flandres, black Great Danes, smooth-coated drover dogs and rough-coated shepherds. They were first registered by the American Kennel Association in 1930.