Giant Schnauzer Overview

Dog Breed:
Giant Schnauzer
Breed Group:
Intelligent, loyal, alert, bold, and energetic.
23-27 inches
55-85 pounds
Life Span:
12-15 years
Coat Colors:
Solid black or Pepper and White
Area of Origin:
Best For:
Experienced dog owners /Large living spaces/Owners with a keen interest in training
Adult Food:
Best Dog Food for Giant Schnauzers
Puppy Food:
Best Puppy Food for Giant Schnauzers

Giant Schnauzer Characteristics

Good for First-Time Owners
Good with Children
Easy to Train
Exercise Requirements
Ease of Grooming
Amount of Shedding
Amount of Drooling
Tendency to Bark

About The Giant Schnauzer

  • The largest of the three Schnauzer breeds

  • Unlikely to be suitable for a novice owner

  • Essential to meet their demanding physical and mental needs

As the largest of the three sizes of Schnauzer, the Giant Schnauzer has a commanding appearance and rugged build.

This is a breed that combines so much personality into one. They are energetic and intelligent, playful, mischievous, protective, and fun-loving. They are enough to keep an experienced owner on their toes, and so they’re rarely the right choice for a novice owner. However, for the owner with a keen interest in training, this is a real multi-purpose breed. Giant Schnauzers excel in a vast range of fields, from police and guard work through to search and rescue, the agility ring, and herding.

The key to harmonious living with a Giant Schnauzer is ensuring that their physical and mental needs are met. Then they become a well-mannered family dog who is a delight to live with. But be warned, fail to meet their needs, and you’ll have a dog who becomes destructive, difficult to manage, and a liability.

Giant Schnauzer Breed History

  • Developed in Germany for driving livestock and guarding properties

  • Became a popular breed for police work in their home country

  • Arrived in the US in the 1930s


The Giant Schnauzer, which is the largest of the three sizes of the breed, was originally developed to drive cattle to market. They also worked as guard dogs on the farm, in the butchers, and the breweries. It’s thought that the breed came about by crossing the smaller standard Schnauzer with larger dogs, including the Great Dane and the Bouvier des Flandres.

The Giant Schnauzer found their true vocation in life in the early 1900s, as that’s when they began to be trained as police dogs in Berlin and other large cities of Germany.

During the 1930s, breeders in the US imported some of the best Giant Schnauzers  in Germany. However, they still didn’t become a breed that was a popular choice for a working role. One school of thought for this is that the German Shepherd had become a hugely popular choice as a working breed and so they had simply beaten the Giant Schnauzer to it.

It was 1962 when the Giant Schnauzer Club of America was formed, and the number of dogs being bred began to quickly grow, from 23 in 1962 to over a thousand in 1987. Despite this rapid growth, the Giant Schnauzer still remains a relatively rare breed in the US.

Giant Schnauzer Size & Weight

  • The largest and most athletic version of the Schnauzers

  • Males 25.5-27.5 inches and 60-85 pounds

  • Females 23.5-25.5 inches and 55-75 pounds


Of the three Schnauzer types, the Giant Schnauzer is the largest and most powerful. They are described as being robust, strongly built, well-muscled, and active.

Males should stand between 25.5 and 2705 inches and weigh between 60 and 85 pounds. Females should be between 23.5 and 25.5 inches and weigh between 55 and 75 pounds.

Giant Schnauzer Personality & Temperament

  • Both calm and loving, and assertive and bold

  • Naturally protective of home and family

  • Unlikely to be suitable for apartment living


The Giant Schnauzer really does have two very different and contrasting sides to their personality. On the one hand, they are a calm and loving companion. Then they are the assertive, bold, and energetic working dog.

This is a breed that tends to take their responsibilities very seriously and, without any training, will naturally become very protective of their home and family. They are territorial and will be distrustful of people they don’t know, so care is needed if you have children who have friends coming in and out of the house.

Boundaries and house rules are essential, and the clarity it provides also makes life easier for the Schnauzer. The Giant Schnauzer can get on well with other dogs and cats in the home as long as there are careful introductions, preferably when they are still a young pup.

They tolerate the cold better than the sun, and care will need to be taken in the summer to ensure they get their exercise before the day becomes too warm. Taking into account their size and energetic nature, this is unlikely to be a breed that will be suitable for apartment living.

Giant Schnauzer Health & Grooming

  • Generally, a healthy breed

  • Some genetic conditions which responsible breeders will screen for

  • Weekly grooming and then professional clipping will be needed


Giant Schnauzers are generally considered to be a healthy breed. This is helped by responsible breeders screening their dogs for genetic conditions before breeding. Do ask your breeder for details and results of the following tests for their dogs:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Eye Examination
  • Thyroid Evaluation

The Giant Schnauzer has a thick wiry, weather-resistant double coat with a soft downy undercoat and a harsh outer coat. Weekly grooming will be needed, and then the coat will either need to be clipped or stripped by a professional groomer on a regular basis.

Giant Schnauzer Training

  • Training is essential for this breed

  • Extremely intelligent and quick to learn

  • An excellent choice for many performance dog sports


This is a breed that should only be considered if you have the time, resources, and interest to commit to their training. They are extremely intelligent and can also be very territorial, so it becomes particularly important that they have high levels of obedience to prevent any problems.

The Giant Schnauzer learns quickly, and while this can be to your advantage, it can also mean that they can learn the wrong thing just as quickly. Early enrolment to puppy classes is essential so that you soon have a well-mannered dog who will be a pleasure to own.

Schnauzers are an excellent choice for many performance dog sports, but they excel in those which require man work such as Mondio Ring and IPO/Schutzhund.

Giant Schnauzer Exercise Requirements

  • Training is essential for this breed

  • Extremely intelligent and quick to learn

  • An excellent choice for many performance dog sports


The Giant Schnauzer is a high energy dog who is much more energetic than many other breeds of a similar size. You should plan in at least an hour’s exercise every day, ideally more. This is a dog who will also love the opportunity to head out to the hills for a day hiking.

They need high-intensity exercise every day, which should include the opportunity to run free. When this is then combined with going jogging with their owner or trotting alongside a bike on quiet trails, then you’ll be rewarded with a Giant who is calm and settled in the home.

Many Giant Schnauzers have a high prey drive, and so care is needed to ensure that you have trained a reliable recall and exercise off-leash in a safe environment.

Giant Schnauzer Diet & Feeding

  • Feed a specially formulated puppy food to ensure nutritional needs are met

  • For adults, consider your dog's age, size and exercise intensity

  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of bloat


For personalized advice on meeting your dog’s nutritional needs, chat to your vet or pet nutritionist.

Generally, young Giant Schnauzers will be fed a specially formulated puppy food until they are around 6 months of age. This ensures that they receive all the nutrients that their growing bodies need. Once they reach 6 months, then they usually will move across to adult food, which should be selected based on the dog’s age, size, and exercise intensity.

Because of their deep chest, the Giant Schnauzer can be liable to experience bloat. This life-threatening condition is caused by a build-up of gas in the stomach, which the dog is unable to release. The exact cause of bloat is still not known, but it is thought that feeding one large meal a day and providing meals immediately before or after exercise can increase the likelihood of an attack.

You may also be interested in:

Giant Schnauzer Rescue Groups

Sadly, there are times when a Giant Schnauzer finds themselves in need of a new home. If you’re interested in offering a rescued Giant a place in your family, we recommend speaking to a breed rescue, such as those detailed below, for advice and information.

Great Lakes Giant Schnauzer Rescue –

Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas –

Valley of the Giant Sun Giant Schnauzer Rescue –

For more information on the breed, take a look at the website of the Giant Schnauzer Club of America –