Known through its early history as the Russian Bear Schnauzer, Munich Schnauzer and Riesenschnauzer, the Giant Schnauzer is believed to be a cross between other farm dogs, the Great Dane, Bouvier Des Flanders, and the Standard Schnauzer. It is thought to have originated an area called the Bavarian region in southern German near Switzerland. Paintings from the 15th century show dogs that look like the Standard Schnauzer of today.
Giant Schnauzers were first in Bavaria as cattle dogs, then as guard dogs and later as police and military dogs. Now bred as a companions as well as search and rescue dogs, police dogs and guard dogs, the Giant Schnauzer is named as such because it is the largest of the three breeds of schnauzers.
Giant schnauzers are 25 1/2 to 27 1/2 inches high for males and 23 1/2 to 25 1/2 inches high for females, weighing 75 -90 pounds and can live from 12-15 years. In German, schnauzer means muzzle or snout, thought to refer to its bearded muzzle and its ability to use its highly sensitive nose as a tracking device .
Taking part in the German dog shows at the end of the 19th entury, the Giant Schnauzer started to gain some popularity. Interest in the breed started to grow overseas. In the 1930s, some of the best of the breed were exported to the U.S. However, at that time, the German Shepherd was very popular (due to Rin Tin Tin) and the Giant Schnauzer was not instantly popular. As a result, breeders in the U.S. concentrated on breeding instead of promoting. The hard work paid off when in 1947 the first Giant Schnauzer won the Eastern Dog Club trophy for obedience, but the breed was still pretty much unknown until the 1960s.
In 1962, the Giant Schnauzer Club of America was started. Since then, the popularity of the Giant Schnauzer has really taken off! But in a downward trend, since the breed has become so popular, some breeders are producing puppies In 1962, the Giant Schnauzer Club of America was started. Since then, the popularity of the Giant Schnauzer has really taken off! But in a downward trend, since the breed has become so popular, some breeders are producing puppies from bad crosses, tainting the quality of this breed. Therefore, be very careful when selecting a puppy, and make sure to check out the breeder.
By: Linda Eastabrooks
Former AKC Breeder