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The Giant Schnauzer is one of the most useful working dog breeds that was developed in the 17th century in Germany. Standing 60 to 70 centimetres and weighing 60 to 90 pounds, the Giant Schnauzer is the largest among three breeds that include the Standard Schnauzer and the Miniature Schnauzer. The Giant Schnauzer is kind and even-tempered that makes for an excellent companion dog. It is expected to live up to 12 years.
If you're ready for the challenges of owning a Giant Schnauzer, read further to know more about its characteristic and breed background.
Although the origins are unclear, records suggest that the first Giant Schnauzer hailed from Swabia in the German state of Bavaria and Wurttemberg in the 17th century. These early breeds were rough-coated to endure the harsh German winters and vermin bites. It is believed that the breeds contributing to the Giant Schnauzer's bloodline include Great Danes, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermanns, Boxers, Thuringian Shepherds, Bouvier des Flandres and Standard Schnauzers.
With all its mixed ancestry, the Giant Schnauzer is considered the most useful and powerful among the working breeds, originally bred to be a multi-purpose farm dog to guard properties and drive animals to the market. By the 20th century, its purpose was elevated to that of a watchdog to protect breweries and stockyards in Bavaria. However, it only received its well-deserved popularity when it was utilised as a military dog during World War I and World War II.
In the 1930s, the first Giant Schnauzer was imported to America, but it was only in the 1960s that it became a favourite breed.
The Giant Schnauzer has an intimidating size, weighing 60 to 90 pounds and standing 60 to 70 centimetres at the withers. It is large and compact, giving an impression of power and resilience. The breed boasts of a strong head with a slight stop emphasised by its trademark Schnauzer eyebrows. Its powerful muzzle ends in a moderate wedge that also sports its other hallmark features such as the stubbly moustache and whiskers under the chin. The Giant Schnauzer's eyes are oval-shaped, medium in size and set forward, while the ears form a neat V-shape and set high on the dog's head. Lips are black and tight while its nose is likewise black but with wide nostrils.
Adding to its powerful form is its moderately long neck that the Giant Schnauzer holds arched, supported by equally strong shoulders. Its chest is broad and deep, well-sprung ribs and back that is level and strong, slightly higher in the shoulder area than at the hindquarters. In its compact form, the Giant Schnauzer moves in vigorous free strides. The breed sports a harsh, wiry topcoat and dense, soft undercoat considered as non-shedding and hypoallergenic.
The Giant Schnauzer comes in two colours such as the black and pepper, and salt. Since it is a non-shedding dog breed, it requires regular stripping every 8 to 10 weeks to keep its elegant look. Weekly brushing will keep its coat, especially in the legs and beard from tangling or forming matts. The rest is basic care that includes trimming the nails, cleaning the ears and brushing the teeth on a regular basis.
The temperament of the Giant Schnauzer can vary, often opposite. Some may be high-strung while others can be laid back and easy-going. Some Giant Schnauzers are people-oriented while others are wary of new people. The key to making sure you have the ideal temperament of your Giant Schnauzer is socialisation and training from an early age.
In general, proper training results to an excellent family pet that is well-mannered with strangers, good around children, and most especially, loyal and loving toward its family. In fact, given the right environment, the Giant Schnauzer is a clownish and silly breed who will bring laughter and joy. This breed is also territorial and protective, making it an excellent guard dog. In short, you get what you put into its training.
The Giant Schnauzer is intelligent and often exhibit a stubborn streak, which means it is best suited to experienced owners who can handle this breed, also considering its size and the training it requires. This giant dog breed is not suitable for families with small children since its size can easily knock over any toddler when playtime gets a little rough or unruly. When it comes to other dogs, the Giant Schnauzer can be unpredictable especially around males. This dog breed is also not good around small pets such as cats, ferrets, guinea pigs, etc.
A typical serving for an adult Giant Schnauzer is 3 3/8 to 4 1/4 cups of high-quality dry dog food per day, which must be fed and divided into two feedings. If you are not confident you're giving your Giant Schnauzer the nutrition it deserves, don't hesitate to consult a veterinarian.
As a rough guide, below is the typical daily calorie needs of an adult Giant Schnauzer that weighs 75 pounds:
Large, active dogs require a balanced diet that is high in protein which must come from animal-based sources. High-quality proteins include fresh meat, fish, eggs and poultry. Feeding your Giant Schnauzer a protein-rich diet is essential for muscle growth. Make sure when you look at the ingredients list of a dog food, you see a high-quality protein at the top of the label.
The average lifespan of the Giant Schnauzer is between 10 and 12 years. Albeit generally healthy, the breed can develop potential hereditary defects and disorders more commonly found, but not necessarily found, in its breed. These health disorders and defects include Autoimmune Haemolytic Anaemia (AIHA), Bloat or Gastric Dilatation, Cataracts, Epilepsy, Hip Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Narcolepsy, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
Giant Schnauzers are active and athletic working dogs that require lots of physical and mental stimulation, at least 2 hours' worth daily. Aside from taking it to its daily walks, the breed will need more challenging activities such as canine sports including obedience, herding and agility trials. If the Giant Schnauzer lacks the exercise it needs and becomes bored, it will get into all sorts of trouble to amuse itself.
When you decided to get a dog, did you do the math? If not, then you should start calculating how much a dog such as the Giant Schnauzer will cost you over its lifetime. Let's start with the cost to buy a Giant Schnauzer puppy, which is around £700 to over £1,200. Pet insurance will set you back £35 to £115 a month. While the annual cost of regular veterinary consultations and basic procedures such as vaccinations, boosters and spaying will cost somewhere around £1,500, give or take.
Since the Giant Schnauzer is a large breed, it follows that its servings will be larger compared to other dog breeds. To feed this giant dog, you will have to buy high-quality dog food that costs around £40 to £60 a month, minus the dog treats. Overall, prepare to spend roughly about £100 to £180 a month to care for a Giant Schnauzer.
Are you sure the Giant Schnauzer is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Did you realise that the Giant Schnauzer is not the right breed for you? Find your perfect breed through our Pet Finder.
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