Despite his name, the Giant Schnauzer is not a giant breed, but simply a larger and more powerful version of the Standard Schnauzer. An active and spirited dog, his sound, reliable temperament, rugged build, and dense weather-resistant wiry coat make him one of the most useful, powerful, and enduring working breeds. His coat, including the beard and eyebrows that are the Schnauzer hallmark, is solid black or salt and pepper
An extremely intelligent, energetic, strongly territorial dog, the Giant Schnauzer loves his owners and feels a great responsibility to protect them. He learns quickly, however, and can distinguish between friend and foe. Giants need a lot of exercise, requiring daily walks, playtime with another dog or romps in the yard. They especially love having a job to do. The breed also requires regular grooming, including brushing and stripping, so owners should be prepared to spend time maintaining the breed’s coat.
The Giant Schnauzer has a hard, wiry coat which serves as a protective barrier to enable the dog to do the job for which he was bred. Regular hand-stripping strengthens the quality and texture of the coat, which, in turn, further improves the utilitarian purpose of the dog. Whether your Giant Schnauzer is hand-stripped and on a proper coat rotation or in a pet trim wielding the artful use of clippers and scissors, all terriers benefit from regular grooming rather than allowing them to regress to a state of scraggly disarray. If the Giant Schnauzer is hand stripped, it is done before the furnishings are bathed then touched up afterward. The outer layer of coat is hand-stripped, while the undercoat is systematically raked to reach optimal results. If you are artfully clippering, brush and comb the coat to remove dead coat and stimulate surface circulation to encourage new, fresh coat growth. Frequent brushing and rubbing the jacket down with a towel to remove dirt and excessive oils makes regular bathing unnecessary. When it is time to do a full bath on the Giant Schnauzer, wash the jacket gently in the direction the hair grows, and rinse the same way. Pin a towel around the jacket to help it lay flat and allow it to air dry. Despite the fact that the jacket does not need regular washing, it does not mean that the routine maintenance can be overlooked. Weekly brushing for 20-30 minutes and a rubdown with a towel each week is necessary. The leg furnishings and facial furnishings should be bathed monthly.
Finishing the Dog: Tools and Finish Grooming
This intelligent terrier should be groomed on a regular schedule. The Giant Schnauzer has a harsh, double coat with a wiry topcoat and a soft, dense undercoat. In order to keep the harsh texture and vibrant color, the topcoat is maintained by hand stripping and rolling the coat weekly. It is necessary for a dog to be hand stripped to enter the show ring. It is a difficult dog to properly groom since most of the work is done by hand. A pet trim follows the same pattern and outline, but the coat is clipped rather than hand stripped. The wiry texture will eventually disappear, but if the dog is carded with appropriate carding tools and a stone, the color should not fade as much. This is the easiest way to maintain a great looking dog without the time commitment and expense of hand stripping the coat.
General Health Care
Prep work is the foundation of all grooming. Prep work includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, trimming the pads, and proper dental hygiene. Mastering these skills sets the professional stylist apart from the rest. Prep work should be done before every grooming and bathing appointment. All dogs need to have their ears checked and cleaned. Some need to have the hair pulled from the ear canal. This allows the ear to have proper air circulation, which helps prevent bacteria and moisture in the ear canal. It is not necessary to remove all of the hair in the ear, as some serves as a barrier to foreign debris. It is imperative that you are properly trained to pull ear hair before attempting this endeavor. Proper nail care is important. Long, unsightly nails present potential health issues as well as make it more difficult to trim a neat and tidy foot. Trimming the pads of the foot helps give a pet good traction on different surfaces and can minimize the amount of dirt the dog tracks into the house. It also affords the opportunity to treat and condition the paws from cracks and abrasions. Good oral hygiene is also very important.
In order to maintain healthy skin and coat as well as overall health, it is important to provide good nutrition to your dog through diet, vitamins, and healthy treats.
Do they require a lot of grooming?
Giant Schnauzers do require regular routine grooming. If the dog is hand stripped, keeping the dog in proper coat rotation is extremely time consuming as well as expensive. Several hours a week are spent keeping the coat I proper condition. If you have chosen a clipped trim, plan on spending 20-30 minutes per week for brushing to keep the undercoat at bay and to remove dead coat.
What are common problems in this breed?
As with any breed of dog, the Giant schnauzer has some health issues to be aware of Hypothyroidism, Gastric Torsion, and Hip Dysplasia are more common in this breed than other breeds.
Do they shed or cause allergies?
Giant Schnauzers are considered more of a non-shedding breed since the coat does not drop out without provocation. The coat is either stripped or clipped. If it is clipped, the coat becomes soft with loose curls rather than falling out., hence the shedding is minimal. This is a suitable breed for someone who cannot handle the dander as long as routine maintenance is done. However, before bringing a Giant Schnauzer into your home if you have allergies, you should spend some time around the breed to make sure you do not have a reaction.
Are they good with children?
Although this a very affectionate breed, the Giant Schnauzer is not recommended for homes with young children due to their size and forceful behavior.
What if I have a show dog?
Whether you have a companion quality dog or a show dog, similar care is given in regard to socialization, nutrition, and hygiene. The difference is the method of grooming and the conditioning of the dog in order to get it ready to debut in the show ring. A Giant Schnauzer is a difficult dog to groom because most of the work is done by hand. The grooming and presentation of the Giant Schnauzer afford the stylist a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction for its achievement is not easily attained. It is always quite helpful if your breeder can help mentor you to lead you in the right direction upon entering the wonderful world of showing dogs. A great place to start is the Giant Schnauzer Club of America, www.giantschnauzerclubofamerica.com.