Originally developed in the Bavarian Alps of Germany during the 17th century as the largest of the three distinct Schnauzer breeds. These were rural agricultural areas of raising sheep and livestock. This working breed, the ‘Giant Schnauzer’, were aid to the farmers and worked to drive cattle to market. Once called the ‘Munchener Dog’, named after his birthplace in Munich, today you know them as the Giant Schnauzer or their German name “Riesenschnauzer”. For many years the Giant Schnauzer duties included herding and guarding the farm. They also served as guard dogs in butcher shops, breweries and other merchant stores. After the railroad was built, cattle drives became unnecessary and they began working as Police and Military K-9’s.
The Giant Schnauzer has a great mind that should not go wasted. Stimulating the mind is just as important as exercise and it is different. Teach a new trick. Do nose work games. It’s amazing what they can do if you take the time to work with them.
Giants are not fully developed until their growth plates have closed (24 months). A puppy should not be exercised the same way or amount of time as a full grown adult Giant. They are very energetic and need a good amount of daily exercise. As puppies, they need to be able to romp, have play sessions and explore the ins and around your yard. Daily walks are also good. You should avoid high-impact exercise until they are fully grown.
As adults they can require 3-4 hours of daily exercise. After the growth plates have closed you can start high-impact exercise such as running, hiking, agility.
If you live an active lifestyle this could be the breed for you.
The Giant Schnauzer is double-coated with a soft undercoat and a dense wiry or soft outer coat. The owner should plan to spend time maintaining them by brushing at least 3 times per week and check for any matting. Regular Bathing and Grooming is necessary every 4-5 weeks. If you hand strip which is the proper care for their coat, this will be a weekly task. You can opt to clip instead, but know this can change the texture of the coat and you will see more stickle (white) hairs.
Nails should be checked every week or two and trimmed when necessary. Long nails are not only unattractive, but can split, chip and snag. Left unattended they can push back into the pad causing pain and discomfort as well as affecting your dog’s posture and walk.
Ears should be cleaned weekly and plucked every couple of weeks. Be sure to keep the ears dry after bathing or swimming. Check for oil and dirt, funny color, hair, smell, etc. Giants have hair not fur, so just like us it keeps growing (in their ears too!) and you will need to pay special attention to avoid ear infections.