Giant Schnauzer Characteristicsby Kimberly DeCosta
Fiercely loyal and dedicated to his family, the giant schnauzer is a nearly century-old breed originating in Germany. Historically bred to assist in driving cattle, he is charismatic, yet dependable in a working or companion lifestyle. Many factors were combined to create a dog that is smart and focused with a bold and intense character. With the heart of a warrior and the spirit of a champion, the giant schnauzer is a dog that is unlike any other breed.
The giant schnauzer is balanced between being a playful, affectionate dog and a dutiful, reserved watchdog. He is affable with family and those he views as friends, yet standoffish and protective of those he loves. He comes from a working origin and expects to be useful, whether he is trained for a job or maintains an active role with his family. Daily walks, playing, obedience and agility all are activities that will keep a giant schnauzer engaged and focusing on a task. Catching a ball or watching over his domain will ensure the giant schnauzer's instincts are used to his best ability.
Health and Wellness
A giant schnauzer requires routine veterinary exams and medical care, and several factors should be considered to ensure maximum wellness. Hypothyroidism is the most common disorder in giant schnauzers. A dog with this condition may show symptoms of dullness, weight gain or a low body temperature. Canine hip dysplasia is an inherited condition and relatively common in large breeds. Your veterinarian can keep these health concerns under control with regular thyroid and hip checks. In addition, many reputable breeders offer testing and certification for their dogs.
Coat and Skin
Giant schnauzers require a routine grooming schedule due to their wiry overcoat and soft but dense undercoat. Hand-stripping is a common grooming method, as well as clipping the giant schnauzer's coat several times a year or as needed. Inspect your schnauzer's skin for signs of dermatitis when he is groomed. Dermatitis can be the result of fleas or other environmental factors and the skin will appear dry or red. Your dog may scratch or chew frequently at affected areas. While the giant schnauzer is considered a hearty breed, he thrives when he spends an equal amount of time indoors and out.
A square body and short back, coupled with long and powerful legs are the standard for a giant schnauzer. He should have a long neck that blends effortlessly into the chest and abdomen, and well-muscled shoulders above legs that have strong and solid bone. The pads of a giant schnauzer's feet should be dark in color, and tough to withstand harsh conditions and footing. His gait should have a large, ground-covering stride with controlled power and a hint of excitement.
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