Giant Schnauzer

Called the Riesenschnauzer in its homeland, or simply the Schnauzer, this breed was once known as the Munich Schnauzer, the Munchener or the Munchen Dog. It was first exhibited at a dog show in Munich in 1909. The Giant Schnauzer breed has been employed as a cattle drover in southern Germany for many years.


The original ancestor of this powerful, vigorous dog was the Standard Schnauzer which had been employed in Germany for centuries as a rodent-controller. Cattlemen from Bavaria acquired some of these dogs and used them as the basis for creating a much larger, stronger cattle drover. They crossed them with a variety of bigger breeds, including, it is said, the Great Dane, the Rottweiler, and local sheepdogs. The result was a Giant Schnauzer that was about 8 in (20 cm) taller than the Standard form, capable of dealing with even the most wayward of cattle.

The breed was developed in the region around Munich, and for many years was employed to drive the herds of cattle to market, until this activity was overtaken by the introduction of rail transport in the 19th century. Rendered obsolete as cattle-herders, these dogs then found a new role as urban property guards and later as pets, police dogs and show dogs.


With its special trim, complete with bushy eyebrows, moustache and chin whiskers, this impressive, usually black or "salt-and-pepper", wire-coated dog looks like a gigantic terrier, but it is a true drover. It used to be the custom to mutilate the ears of this breed by cropping them into an erect, pointed shape, but they are now usually left in their natural, drooped condition. The breed has a large, powerful body.


Today Schnauzers are primarily companion dogs, but temperament in all three sizes has always been important to successive generations of breeders. The breed proves to be a devoted and good-natured companion that adapts easily to its surroundings and owner’s lifestyle, as well as mixing well with other dogs and domestic animals. The Giant Schnauzers, with their larger bulk and more inbuilt protective instinct, are bolder and more assertive in their temperament.

Combining strength and agility, this tough, muscular breed is intelligent, bold, fast-acting and weather-resistant. The Giant Schnauzer has acute senses and is gentle, friendly with its family and children, and fearless.


With its sturdy body and sensible make and shape, the breed has little in the way of health problems.

Special Care and Training

Over the years the Schnauzers have done well in Obedience and Trials. The Giant Schnauzers (especially when young) do not really take kindly to being left on their own.

The Schnauzers coat requires regular grooming if it is to maintain a smart appearance. For the show ring this tends to be an ongoing process, while companion dogs can be kept looking shapely with a twice-yearly stripping session and basic daily grooming.


The Schnauzer is equally at home in town or country, but the giant size need lengthy periods of regular exercise at least twice a day. While Schnauzers will fit into most environments, it should always be remembered that their brains need to be kept occupied if boredom is not to set in.

Gallery of Giant Schnauzer