Giant Schnauzer picture, also called Riesenschnauzer, Munich Schnauzer and Russian Bear Schnauzer
Canis lupus familiaris

The Giant Schnauzer is a great family dog and gets along well with all sorts of non-canine pets!

The Giant Schnauzer is a working breed. It was originally bred to be a skilled and imposing herder. Cattlemen, impressed with the skill of the Standard Schnauzer but not its size, began crossing it with larger dogs to create the giant breed. Though this Schnauzer can be a skilled and imposing herder, it was also often used as a guard dog, police dog and military dog.

Today the Giant Schnauzer is now more commonly found as a family pet. It is a calm yet protective companion. Its loyalty and attachment to its owner is comparable to that of a small lapdog. This breed is quite intelligent and responds well to training, and it does well at a variety of competitive activities. It also makes a great guard dog.

When selecting a Giant Schnauzer, it is important to look for signs of, and check the Schnauzers bloodlines for, hereditary health problems. Some to look for include autoimmune diseases, epilepsy, and hip dysplasia.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Canidae
  • Genus: Canis
  • Species: lupus familiaris

Common Name(s)

Giant Schnauzer, Riesenschnauzer, Munich Schnauzer, and Russian Bear Schnauzer

Breed Type

The Giant Schnauzer is a working breed. Originally bred to be a skilled and imposing herder, the Giant Schnauzer is now more commonly found as a pet and guard dog.


Giant Schnauzers came into existence toward the end of the nineteenth century in Germany. Impressed with the Standard Schnauzer’s skills but not its size, cattlemen began to cross it with larger breeds such as the Great Dane, the Bouvier des Flandres, and various sheepdogs. This created a larger dog that was suitable for herding. The breed was also often used as a guard dog, police dog and military dog.


The Giant Schnauzer is a large, square-shaped dog. It is recognizable by its bushy eyebrows, prominent whiskers and beard. The eyes are dark and oval, the nose large and black, and the ears large and sometimes cropped. The line of the muzzle should be parallel to the top of the head.
The Giant Schnauzer’s coat is wiry, with a soft undercoat. Acceptable colors include solid black and salt and pepper. Male Giant Schnauzers are 26 to 28 inches tall and weigh 60 to 80 pounds. Females are 23 to 26 inches tall and weigh 55 to 75 pounds.

Care and Feeding

Giant Schnauzers thrive on a diet that includes beef, beets, wheat and corn. They are prone to bloat, and should be fed two or three small meals per day instead of one large one.
When grooming a Giant Schnauzer, special care should be taken with the undercoat. It may become matted easily if not brushed weekly. Pets should be clipped four times a year, and show dogs are often stripped. Whiskers should be cleaned after each meal.
It is recommended to remove the Giant Schnauzer’s hind dewclaws, and the front ones may be removed if desired. The tail is usually docked to the second or third joint, and the ears may or may not be cropped. All of these procedures are best done at a few days of age.
Giant Schnauzers need annual checkups to stay healthy. Vaccinations are due on the following schedule:

  • 6-8 weeks: Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona virus (DHLPPC)
  • 10-12 weeks: Second DHLPPC
  • 14-16 weeks: Third DHLPPC and rabies
  • Annually: DHLPPC and rabies booster

The Giant Schnauzer sheds very little, and it has no odor. It requires very little added maintenance to your home when kept indoors.

Housing Your Dog

Giant Schnauzers need plenty of space, so they are not the best choice for apartment living. These Schnauzers may stay indoors if they have ample room, but they need plenty of time outdoors to keep them happy and healthy.

Social Behaviors

Giant Schnauzers are loving toward their families. They do well with non-canine pets, but may display dominance toward other dogs unless well socialized as puppies. They tend to be suspicious toward strangers, but socialization can help minimize this.

Handling and Training

Training this Schnauzer will require firmness and consistency, but it responds well to positive reinforcement. Giant Schnauzers are good at obedience, agility, guarding, and more.


Giant Schnauzers need lots and lots of exercise. In addition to a long walk or jog, this breed of Schnauzer needs plenty of opportunities to play, swim, or participate in intense training activities.


When choosing a mate for your Giant Schnauzer, check bloodlines for cancer, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and autoimmune disorders.

Common Health Problems

The Giant Schnauzer is quite prone to cancer. Toe cancer is very common in the breed, and may be deadly even if caught early. Early detection does, however, make it more likely that treatment will be effective.


Giant Schnauzers are hard to find in some areas, but breeders may be located online. Prices vary greatly, and are often in excess of $1,000.


Featured Image Credit: Frank11, Shutterstock