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Giant Schnauzer: The Ultimate Guide

By Kerry
Updated on

The Giant Schnauzer was originally bred as working dogs, and they still have lots of the traits that made them the right breed for the job. They have high levels of intelligence and a strong drive, and they make some of the most loyal companions that you will ever meet.

However, while there are lots of amazing things that this dog has to offer, as with any breed, there will be some things that you should consider before making your decision.

Giant schnauzer


We can understand why you might be set on getting a Giant Schnauzer, but it is really important to do your research and find out everything that there is to know about them before you commit.

To help you with this, we have done all of the research, so you don’t have to scroll through the internet for hours at a time.

For this article, we have created the ultimate guide to Giant Schnauzer dogs, which will help you to decide if this is the right breed of dog for you.

We are going to provide you with all of the information that you will need to know about the breed, and this will all help you to make a more well-informed decision. After all, a dog is for life, and it is important to know what you are getting yourself into.

Giant Schnauzer Key Facts

There is so much to tell you about Giant Schnauzer dogs, so we are going to start with some of the key things that you will need to know about them, like their lifespan, exercise needs, and more. 

Average Lifespan

Giant Schnauzers will, on average, live for between 12 and 15 years.

Minimum Exercise (Per Day)

Giant Schnauzers will need at least 45 to 60 minutes of exercise and daily activity. This should include a daily walk, purposeful activity, and strengthening exercises. Due to their high levels of intelligence, they also need plenty of mental stimulation and enrichment. 

If you do not meet the daily exercise needs of your Giant Schnauzer, they can develop behavioral issues, which can make them very difficult to handle. You will need to take them on a long daily walk, engage in playtime with them, and ensure that they are getting enough mental stimulation.

Something that is really important for you to know that Giant Schnauzers are one of the dog breeds at a higher risk of bloat or GDV (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus ). This is why you should not feed your Giant Schnauzer straight before or after exercise, to minimize this risk.

You should wait at least one hour, but preferably two hours, before or after exercise before giving them food.. The daily walk is essential for a Giant Schnauzer as it will both allow them to release some of their built up energy and allow them to stimulate the mind with the sights, sounds, and smells that they come across.

Coat Length

The Giant Schnauzer has a relatively long coat that has a dense and wiry weather-resistant double layer. Their coat consists of a soft undercoat and a harsher outer coat, and their faces have a harsh beard and eyebrows that make this breed so recognizable.

Their coats are solid black or pepper and salt, and the latter coloring combines black and white hairs. At a distance, the pepper and salt coat looks grey.

Minimum Cost (Per Month)

You can expect to pay a minimum of $90 per month on taking care of your Giant Schnauzer dog. This amount will cover things like food, treatments, insurance, and more.

This is one of the more slightly expensive dog breeds to look after, so you will need to ensure that you can afford to add their expenses into your monthly budget.


The Giant Schnauzer is the largest of the three Schnauzer breeds, and they have a commanding appearance and a rugged build. Their playful nature often comes out in their appearance sometimes.

Something that is interesting to know about these dogs is that every shade of coat will have a dark facial mask that will only emphasise their expressions. The color of the mask will compliment the shade of the body coat. Areas like the eyebrows, whiskers, cheeks, throat, chest, legs and under tail are lighter in color but include “peppering.”


As you might have already guessed from their names, Giant Schnauzers are particularly large dogs, and they will need a lot of space to roam around at home, with a good sized backyard to run around in.

Average Height

Adult male Giant Schnauzers will usually stand tall between 65 and 70 cm, but adult females are usually between 60 and 65 cm.

Average Weight

Male Giant Schnauzers are typically heavier than females, weighing between 27 and 48 kg, whereas females will usually weigh between 25 and 34 kg.


The Giant Schnauzer is typically known for their calm and loving temperament that is quite typically of a companion dog. However, they also have the assertiveness, boldness, and energy that is required of a working dog. They will take their responsibilities very seriously, and can be very protective of their home.

These dogs are willing to defend their families with a fierceness that can be quite intimidating, and they are territorial dogs that might not be the most trusting when they are around strangers. However, when they feel they are not needed as a guardian, they will be playful and affectionate companions.

They have high levels of intelligence that can be challenging to an inexperienced trainer and require constant and firm guidance throughout their training. Without this, they are more than capable of thinking for themselves and running the household as they think it should be.

Just like with any other dog, Giant Schnauzers will need early socialization, which is an exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences when they’re young. Socialization will help ensure that your Giant Schnauzer puppy grows into a well-rounded dog.

Apartment Living

Keeping a Giant Schnauzer in an apartment is not recommended as they are not well suited for living in such an environment. These are large dogs that need a lot of space, and they have high energy levels. Ideally, they need a fenced backyard where they can safely burn off some of this excess energy.

Good for Novice Owners

Giant Schnauzers can be great for novice owners that have little or no previous experience with dogs. They are family oriented and friendly dogs that can make great pets as long as they are trained well, so you will need to ensure that you do your research before you get one.

However, you should know that they can be challenging for first-time dog owners because of their size and determination, so you will need to commit to training and socializing this breed of dog.

Sensivity Level

These dogs can be sensitive at times, but not really in a bad way. They can be sensitive to your emotions, and they also don’t like to be scolded. This is why positive reinforcement training works so well for them.

Tolerates Being Alone

Giant Schnauzers tolerate being left alone well, especially in comparison to other dogs. The only times that they do not react well to being left alone is when they aren’t provided with enough exercise and stimulation. This can lead to destructive behavior when you are not around as they try to burn off excess energy.

As long as you provide your Giant Schnauzer with sufficient exercise, they will do well when left alone as they are not solely dependent on your company.

Tolerates Cold Weather

Giant Schnauzers can tolerate cold weather, but not to the extreme. They have a double coat and were originally bred to work on German farms, so they have inherited a great tolerance for cold temperatures. Although, if it is extremely cold outside, they are at risk of hypothermia and frostbite.

Tolerates Hot Weather

Giant Schnauzers are quite tolerant of hot weather, as their double coat and paws helps them to regulate their temperature better. However, they are still at risk of things like sunburn, heat stroke, and dehydration, which is why it is important to provide them with lots of water and shaded areas.

Affectionate With Family

Giant Schnauzers are very affectionate when it comes to their families, but only some of them will like to cuddle up with you, whereas others will not. They are very loving dogs that love to be in your company when you are home, and they will show their affection for you in lots of different ways.


It is not recommended to bring a Giant Schnauzer into your home if you have young children because of their size, high levels of energy, and commanding nature. The recommended minimum age for children living with a Giant Schnauzer is 12 and older.

This is because they will have the maturity and understanding to interact with such a large breed of dog properly.

You should always teach children how to approach and interact with dogs, and you should always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any unwanted behavior on both parts.

You should also teach your child that they should never approach any dog while they’re sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog’s food away. 

Dog Friendly

Giant Schnauzers don’t typically get on well with other dogs, especially if they are of the same sex. They can be quite territorial, which doesn’t work well when you bring other dogs into the mix, so they are best suited to single-dog households. You should also know that they should never be trusted alone with cats.

Friendly Toward Strangers

As well as their aversion towards other dogs, Giant Schnauzers also don’t get along well with strangers at first. It will take a while to earn their trust as they don’t trust new people very easily.

Health And Grooming

Giant schnauzer

Now that you know everything you need to know about the appearance and temperament of the Giant Schnauzer, it is time to look at some of their health traits and grooming requirements to help prepare you for the future.


Giant Schnauzers have a dense, wiry double coat that doesn’t shed very much. According to the American Kennel Club, they are a hypoallergenic breed, which is great for those who suffer from pet hair allergies. However, they are not the easiest dogs to groom, as maintaining their coat requires regular brushing and trimming.


Giant Schnauzers don’t typically drool much at all. If you find that your dog is drooling excessively, it could be a sign that they have an underlying health condition, so it is definitely worth getting them checked out by a vet.


The double coat of a Giant Schnauzer will need to be brushed at least 3 times a week to prevent mats from forming in their undercoat. You can use either a stiff bristle or slicker brush to do this. You will also need to wash their faces after every meal. Their coats will also usually need to be hand-stripped every 4 to 6 months. 

This is necessary if you show your dog or want the feel of the proper coat, but they can be clipped instead. However, you should be aware that if you do clip your Schnauzer’s coat instead of stripping it, the texture will eventually change.Clipping the coat can also lead to a pepper and salt becoming silver or solid black, depending on the color of their undercoat.

General Health

Generally, Giant Schnauzers are healthy dogs. Although, just like any other breed of dog, there are some health conditions that they are predisposed to, meaning that they are more likely to develop them. We will leave a list of the most common health issues for Giant Schnauzers below.

Common Health Problems

Some of the most common health problems when it comes to Giant Schnauzers are:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Potential For Weight Gain

Giant Schnauzers don’t gain weight too easily, but you will need to keep an eye on their weight, just to be on the safe side. You can keep them in good shape by feeding them twice a day instead of leaving food out all the time, and make sure that you are feeding them a healthy and complete diet.

Giant Schnauzer Trainability

These dogs will need someone that is able to dedicate a lot of time and effort to their training. When left unchecked, Giant Schnauzers have been known to do things their own way and not listen to a single thing that anybody else tells them. As long as you are dedicated and consistent in their training, you should have too many problems.

Easy To Train

Working with an experienced trainer when you are training your Giant Schnauzer can sometimes be helpful, but this is not essential. These dogs typically respond well to training as they love to learn new things.


Due to the fact that the Giant Schnauzer is so intelligent, they are relatively easy to train as long as you are both firm and consistent. You shouldn’t let their intelligence go to waste, and make sure that you give them tasks to do on a regular basis.

Their high intelligence also means that they can easily get bored and destructive when they don’t have anything to do to challenge themselves. This could involve letting  them find things for you, carry things, perform tricks, and show off their obedience training.

Potential to Bite

Giant Schnauzers have been known to show aggression towards people and animals they are unfamiliar with, which could lead to biting if provoked or feel threatened. This is why you should always introduce new people or animals slowly and in a calm manner. With their families, it is very unlikely that they will bite as they are very loving and affectionate once they get to know you a bit better.

Tendency To Bark Or Howl

Giant Schnauzers don’t usually bark unless bored, leading them to display frustrating behaviors. They also howl sometimes when they are excited.


The Giant Schnauzer was originally bred in Germany to drive cattle, and they later worked in butcher shops and stockyards. Some of them even served as guard dogs at breweries. In the early 1900s, Giant Schnauzers were trained for police work in Berlin and other German cities.

Giant Schnauzer Costs

Giant Schnauzers are one of the more expensive breeds, and you can expect to pay anywhere between $2100 to $5500 for a Schnauzer puppy.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.