Giant Schnauzer

AKC Working Group


Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Known over history as the Russian Bear Schnauzer, Munich Schnauzer, and Riesenschnauzer, the Giant Schnauzer is thought to have come from crosses between dogs, such as the black Great Dane, Bouvier des Flandres, and the Standard Schnauzer. The word “Schnauze” means “muzzle” in German. The Giant Schnauzer was first used as a cattle-driving dog in Bavaria, then during World War I as a military and police dog. They still excel at these jobs, as well as Schutzhund competition and companionship.


The Giant Schnauzer is a large, powerful, compact dog with bushy eyebrows, whiskers, and beard. He has a harsh, wiry outer coat and dense, soft undercoat. Ideally, the dog’s height is the same as his length, resulting in a rather square impression. The strong, arched neck should blend cleanly into the shoulders. The head is about half as long as the back from withers to tail attachment. The muzzle and top of the head should form parallel planes. The large nose is black. The dark brown eyes are medium-sized ovals. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The front legs are straight and parallel. Dewclaws should be removed on the hind legs and may be removed on the front legs. The tail is generally docked to the second or third joint. Cropping the ears is optional. The coat comes in solid black or salt and pepper.

Key Facts

  • Height:  25-1/2 to 27-1/2 in. (male); 23-1/2 to 25-1/2 in. (female)
  • Size:  Large
  • Weight:  75 to 95 lbs.
  • Availability:  May take some effort to find
  • Talents:  Tracking, watchdog, guarding, police work, military work, competitive obedience, agility, and Schutzhund


Good with children—very reliable. If properly trained, the Giant Schnauzer makes a fine pet. The coat needs a good brushing once a week and clipping or stripping four to six times a year. Pet dogs are generally clipped, but show dogs may be stripped. This breed is dominant with other dogs and should be socialized extensively both with other dogs and people as a young puppy. Needs a lot of exercise as a puppy to prevent restlessness. Buy only from stock with OFA, PennHIP, or another national hip dysplasia clearance.


Very protective, bold, and spirited. Calm, loyal, and responsible. Intelligent. A dominant breed that needs an experienced trainer. Responds best to firm, consistent training with a positive attitude and plentiful rewards.


  • Children:  Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Easy to train
  • Independence:  Fairly independent
  • Dominance:  High
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness:  Very dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Average barker
  • Indoors:  Fairly active indoors
  • Owner:  Not recommended for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Daily grooming is best.
  • Trimming and Stripping:  Professional trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Wiry coat
  • Shedding:  Very light
  • Docking:  The ears are customarily cropped, and the tail is customarily docked.
  • Exercise:  Vigorous daily exercise needed
  • Jogging:  An excellent jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space:  Best with acreage
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Moderately long lived (11 to 13 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Giant Schnauzer Breed Standard

Giant Schnauzer Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzer Gifts