OVERVIEW OF THE GIANT SCHNAUZER
Beards have long been associated with wisdom, confidence and honor. Well, if that extends to canines as well, the Giant Schnauzer can very well be termed as the most venerated dog breed. Its signature beard starts just above the muzzle, where it blends with the thick eyebrows of the dog. It then grows two to four inches and hides most of the canine’s mouth.
Clasping this mouth is a pair of rough and well-muscled cheeks. This muscularity extends to the Giant’s strong head which is flanked by two button-like ears. Many owners crop these ears if it’s legal where they live. Owners also dock the fluffy tail of this doggo if the law permits it. This fluff is also found on the Giant’s legs which are just as muscular as the pooch’s torso.
Draping this strong body is a soft undercoat and layered onto it is a rough and wiry upper coat. The thick and coarse nature of this fur helped the Giant deal with the bitterly cold winters of Swabia, which is the region this breed calls its home in the German state of Bavaria.
Here, in the 17th century, local farmers cross-bred the likes of Great Danes, Dobermanns, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Bouvier des Flandres and Thuringian Shepherds. They ended up with a dog that was strong and intelligent enough to drive cattle to the market and intimidating enough to guard farmhouses.
The Giant Schnauzer lived a rather low-key life up until the first World War when it found itself on the front lines with German soldiers. The Giant was used as a military dog in the Second World War too. Soon these canines were shipped to different parts of the world, where they served as working dogs, and police dogs and even found themselves on podiums at conformation shows.
Although some Giant Schnauzers are used in search and rescue missions today, they are primarily kept as domestic pets. Homeowners prize this breed for its loving, loyal, and exceedingly helpful personality.
The Giant Schnauzer loves lending a hand in domestic tasks. Also, its highly territorial nature means this canine makes for a great guard dog. Its bark is as nasty as it gets, and its dark, muscular physique is deterrent enough to stop any potential trespasser in their tracks.
Speaking of dark outlooks, the Giant Schnauzer’s coat comes in three color variations: black and white, black and silver, and all black. The undercoat can sometimes be of a different color than the upper coat. So, you might notice your Giant’s coat color changing as you clip its fur.
Some people claim black-and-white Giant Schnauzers are more docile and easy to train than their all-black cousins. Even so, the Giant Schnauzer isn’t exactly the easiest breed to train. We’ve got its high intelligence to thank for that. With the right blend of stubbornness, consistency, and positive reinforcement, a trainer can tap into the marvelous mind of a Giant Schnauzer and end up with a life-long companion.
GIANT SCHNAUZER FOOD AND HEALTH
The Giant Schnauzer stands at 23.5 to 25.5 inches, in the case of females, and 25.5 to 27.5 inches, in the case of males, at the shoulder. This formidable height is packed with muscle. So, it’s not surprising the Giant weighs 55 to 75 pounds, in the case females, and 60 to a massive 85 pounds, in the case of males.
This muscular physique, along with the high exercise requirements of the dog, means you’ll have to feed your Giant a protein-rich diet. Think about something like the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food to fulfill their nutritional needs.
It contains 34% protein that has been sourced from real chicken meat. Further enhancing the formula is a rich blend of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to boost your furry friend’s immune system.
Be sure to keep a cleaning cloth nearby when you feed your Giant Schnauzer. This is because the dog’s beard will be lathered with drool and dry kibble once you’re done feeding them.
Three and a half to four cups of dry kibble will be ideal for your Schnauzer. Make sure you break these servings into two or three to prevent gas buildup. Speaking of gas, Giant Schnauzers are prone to gastric torsion, better known as bloat.
This is a condition where the dog’s tummy gets filled with gas, which can cause it to twist. This in turn can lead to restricted blood flow. If not treated quickly, bloat can put a dog into shock and be a cause of death. So, make sure you don’t let your dog overeat.
To get the ideal serving size for your woofer, consider bringing your vet or pet nutritionist into the loop. Under their guidance, you can curate a tailored diet for your pooch, according to its age, weight, gender, and lifestyle. Your vet will also ensure you don’t end up buying any dog food that contains potential allergens.
Other than gastric torsion and food allergies, Giant Schnauzers are also prone to bone conditions, like hip dysplasia and Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD). In hip dysplasia, your canine’s thighbone doesn’t fit into the hip bone. This causes pain when walking. If left untreated, hip dysplasia can turn into arthritis or lameness as your pup ages.
In OCD, your canine’s elbow joints go stiff and simple movements cause immense pain. While both hip dysplasia and OCD are usually hereditary, they may also be caused due to obesity and trauma. So, make sure you watch your dog’s weight and pay regular visits to the vet.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR GIANT SCHNAUZER
Giant Schnauzers are naturally aggressive towards other animals and strangers. While early socialization can help develop their openness and friendliness, it’s still best to leash them when going out.
If your Schnauzer is a puller, consider a short leash for better control. Otherwise, a medium-length dog leash should also do the trick. Just make sure it’s durable enough to survive the strong tug of a Giant. Something made out of leather would be ideal in this case.
Speaking of leather, you should also keep an eye out for this material when looking for a dog collar. Something like the Soft Touch Collar would look great on your Giant Schnauzer. It is super comfortable, thanks to the sheepskin leather padding it boasts.
You can also easily place a dog tag for identification onto the small ring that the collar incorporates right next to the buckle. Just be sure to not attach the leash to this collar. Tugging at your dog’s collar can cause neck strain and injury.
Instead, use a harness to attach your Schnauzer’s leash. This is vest-like equipment that distributes the force of the leash pull throughout the pup’s body. Harnesses are also extremely practical. You can use the handles on them to safely drag your canine or lift it, provided you’ve got the strength to do so.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR GIANT SCHNAUZERS
Possessing a highly introverted personality, Giant Schnauzers have a tendency to get tremendously attached to their owners. Long times apart can lead to loneliness and the dog may start resorting to destructive behaviors to lash out its anxiety.
So, if you do have to leave your Giant unsupervised, make sure you leave them in a crate. This crate should be spacious enough to not seem like a prison. 54 inches would be ideal in this case. If you’re looking for such a spacious crate for your Giant Schnauzer, check out the Midwest SL54DD.
It comes with double doors so your pooch won’t be too reluctant to go inside. This crate is also durable enough to withstand the canine’s strong claws. Other than confinement when unsupervised, such a dog crate will also serve as a refuge for your Giant Schnauzer; a safe space where it can fall back after a long and tiring day.
Many dog owners like building a dog house for their four-legged friends. So, if you’re planning to do the same, make sure the house is well-insulated and durable. Consider wooden materials for this reason. Also, make sure the structure is built under natural shade and is elevated for seamless airflow.
While this dog house would offer a great spot for your Giant to get a little shut-eye in between play sessions, you shouldn’t leave your furry friend out all night. Instead, get a high-quality bed for them that you can drag into your room during nighttime.
Opt for an orthopedic option, something like the Big Barker Pillow Top. This medical-grade foam will ensure your pup’s posture remains correct during sleeping time. This in turn will help prevent bone-related issues as your Giant Schnauzer grows old.
GIANT SCHNAUZER TOYS
One of your jobs as a Giant Schnauzer parent is to not let the amazing intelligence of this breed go to waste. And the perfect way to keep their brain in shape is to get them an interactive dog toy.
The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound is an option worth checking out. It is made from food-safe materials and has four difficulty combinations for added versatility. Make sure you place low-calorie dog treats in these interactive toys to prevent obesity in your pooch.
Other than mental stimulation, you should also think about burning all that Giant Schnauzer energy. A simple fetch toy would do the trick here. You can get a frisbee or ball for hours of fun.
If your arms aren’t cut out for all that chucking, consider getting an automatic dog ball launcher, like this one from IDOGMATE. You simply load a tennis ball in it and the machine will launch it at custom speeds. You can even train your dog to load the machine themselves and automate the entire playtime.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR GIANT SCHNAUZER OWNERS
A Giant Schnauzer isn’t exactly the easiest dog to care for. Meal times can get really messy — with all that drool and crumbs being stuck in the dog’s beard. So, you’ll have to wash their face after every meal.
Just like their beard, the Giant’s coat can also get dirty over time, so they’ll need the occasional bath. Some Giant Schnauzers are allergic to shampoo, though, so make sure you bring your vet into the mix before trying out a new product. Opt for homemade cleaning solutions if shampoo allergies persist across all brands.
For periodic cleaning, brushing sessions will be more than ideal. These should be done at least thrice a week. You’ll need a stiff bristle dog brush when brushing your Giant Schnauzer. Make sure you break any mats formed on the Giant’s coat and check their ears for wax buildup during these brushing sessions.
This coat will also need to be trimmed every three to four weeks for hygienic purposes. You can either turn to a professional pet groomer for this purpose or go all DIY.
Other than that, you’ll have to keep your Schnauzer’s nails trimmed. This breed can also develop bad breath and their teeth may become a home for tartar and bacteria. So, you must brush their teeth daily.
For this, you’ll have to get toothpaste that is specifically formulated for dogs. Make sure you consult your vet before getting this toothpaste. This will help you steer clear away from formulas that can trigger the canine’s allergies.
GIANT SCHNAUZER ACCESSORIES
Giant Schnauzers love an active relationship with their humans. So, whether you enjoy biking, skiing or simply hiking through the nearby trails, you can count on your Giant to tag along. But you’ll need the right dog accessories to make these trips safer and more enjoyable.
If you’re planning to take your Giant out hiking, consider getting them a pair of dog boots. This footwear will help protect your furball’s paws from sharp stones and pebbles. They will also enhance your dog’s grip and prevent slipping accidents.
If your work forces you to log late nights sometimes, think about getting an automatic pet feeder for your Giant Schnauzer. Something like the one from VOLUAS will ensure your dog never misses a meal even when you’re too overwhelmed with work and forget to feed them. This pet food dispenser also allows you to record a voice message, and the machine will then play this message during mealtimes to help mitigate separation anxiety in your four-legged companion.
Also, since these pet feeders are artificially intelligent, you can be sure to always feed your dog accurate portions. This will help you scientifically control calorie consumption and prevent overeating.