Kennel SCAPMAN'S : 19 years of passion for the Giant Schnauzer
Vice-Champion of Europe 1995-2009
Multiple Champion of Belgium, France, Germany, Nederlands and Luxemburg 1995-2009
The Giant Schnauzer Breed (1/2)

Note : this is a copy of an excellent article published by SchnauzerWare.

Is the Giant Schnauzer The Right Dog For You?
(by Daphne Cooke from Giant Steps)

Before you buy a Giant Schnauzer puppy, THINK: What do I want my dog to be like? How will this particular breed fit into my lifestyle? What is my living situation? Consider what your needs are as well as what the dog's needs are. Do those needs conflict? Think of the dogs you've enjoyed owning in the past. Were they easygoing or intense? Self-willed or dependent? Out-going or reserved? THINK !!!

The Giant Schnauzer is an extremely intelligent, large, energetic, strongly territorial dog whose life is oriented totally toward his owners. If he is the right dog for you, he is one of the most rewarding breeds to own, but, remember, this is also a demanding breed, and SHOULD NOT be casually added to a household. It is not the breed for everyone. It is not the right breed for every household.

Will you enjoy owning a Giant Schnauzer? If you are looking for a bright, sensitive, responsive dog with whom you will be able to spend time, whom you will enjoy grooming, whom you plan to obedience train; if you are looking for a protective, loyal dog who will be devoted to you and your family for the rest of his life -- then PERHAPS you would enjoy owning a Giant and MAYBE, the breed is right for your family. No one can describe a dog completely-in words. When you get to know a member of any breed, your personalities will either click or they won't. And, that's what you're looking for: a breed you can spontaneously enjoy. Nevertheless, a word picture can indicate whether or not the Giant-Schnauzer is a breed you would like to know more about.

The Giant Schnauzer is a guard dog. He feels that one of his jobs is to protect his family and home. You don't need to train him to do this; his guard instincts come naturally to him. He will be watchful of people on your property, expressing caution and suspicion with a low growl. Giants take life seriously. They aren't happy-go-lucky types of dogs who will go wagging up to everyone. However, a Giant quickly learns to differentiate between strangers and the friends or relatives-who visit your home frequently, greeting the latter folks graciously once in your home. As a guard dog, the Giant, has a strong sense of his territory: this means they are not usually roamers, but it does not mean, nor is it an excuse to let them run loose. And, you shouldn't expect your male Giant to get along with or even tolerate any other male dog in your house --- he has to be #1 --- and he will be #1 dog in your house.

A Giant Schnauzer is a sensitive dog who is always aware of your moods. You will sometimes find him lying quietly, just watching you. The Giant wants to be physically near you; he wants his life to be involved with yours as much as possible. Some people find this intelligent dependence oppressive, while others will find this on highly rewarding.

Giant Schnauzers need lots of exercise. Do you personally, like to go for long walks or jog daily? Do you possibly have another large dog with whom your Giant can roughhouse? In the past, have you enjoyed playing energetically with your dogs? You'll be happier, and so will your dog, if you choose a breed that fits into your present lifestyle, rather than expect to change your way of life because you've acquired a dog. You may, if you choose the wrong breed, come to resent the dog.

Also, on the subject of exercise: don't plan on shoving your Giant (or any other breed) out the door or allow him to exercise by running around the town or countryside. No dog should be allowed to run loose unsupervised, but this is specifically true for large dogs, who are intimidating to some people, who are very efficient at tearing trash bags full of garbage apart, and who can damage livestock or wildlife --- you will be held responsible for the damage your dog does. Not only this, but Giants, usually, are not afraid of cars. Just think how you would feel if he were killed. For your dogs safety and your neighbors' peace of mind, fence your yard BEFORE you bring your puppy home.

Giant Schnauzers need regular grooming, so plan to put some time aside for this. They do not shed in great tufts, but this does not mean that hairs don't loosen and if loosened, dead hairs stay in the coat too long impeding the growth of a healthy, hard new coat. The Giants that you see at the shows and in photographs just didn't come that way: hours and hours of time went into grooming and preparing them. Visually, the area most affected by grooming is the dog's head. If you don't keep your dog's head trimmed and neat, his beautifully expressive face will disappear under a mass of hair. Grooming the whole dog is important for the health of his skin, for removing burrs, and for keeping him clean. Grooming isn't an extra -- it has to be done, Whether you do it yourself or pay someone else, regular grooming is essential to your dog's health and to your enjoyment of your dog.

A surprising number of people say they're interested in Giants because some member of the family (usually a child) is "allergic to dog hair", and they've been told that "Schnauzers and Poodles don't shed, so there's no problem". Such breed promotion to the contrary, the idea that Giants never shed and therefore are non-allergenic is an unfortunate MYTH, without medical or scientific fact. While regular stripping, plucking, or clipping can reduce to a minimum hair shed by the well-groomed Giant on furniture and clothes, the honest, experienced breeder-owner will give a more forthright picture: "If Giants don't shed, where do all those little heaps of black hair come from that accumulate in all the corners of my house?" A check with an allergist confirms that the usual "allergic to dogs" reaction is not breed-specific. So, if there's an allergy problem and your kid sneezed or broke out in hives until you got rid of your gundog or German Shepherd, don't look to the Giant Schnauzer as some kind of miraculous exception to your allergy problem --- it is not!

The Giant Schnauzer is a working dog. The working dog group includes some of the most intelligent breeds of dogs. If you have never owned a Giant before, you'll be amazed at how quickly he learns, and at the number of things you can teach him. But this intelligence carries an obligation with it. A Giant won't be happy left alone in a pen or in your house all day. A working dog enjoys life most when he is given responsibility and a job to do, whether the job is herding, obedience, baby-sitting, guide-dog or rescue work. The Giant Schnauzer is a dog who must be trained and worked with regularity. He demands your attention and thrives on it, and will reward you many times over for the time you spend training him. But once again, think and look at your lifestyle. Most obedience instructors recommend in the beginning, that you work with your dog for an hour a day. Though this amount of time can be shortened once your dog is trained, no intelligent dog should be left in "cold storage" only to be worked when the owner's conscience gets the better of him. Working with your dog doesn't have to mean formal obedience work. But, he has to know basic obedience and once you get hooked in obedience, you'll probably want to go all the way, including show competition. However, teaching him tricks or games, letting him help you by carrying things or finding something for you --- these activities allow him to use his mind, and gives him a feeling of being important to you. Is your schedule loaded with a job, social commitments, club-work or numerous other hobbies? You will have to leave room for time with a Giant.

Don't buy a Giant Schnauzer because of pictures you've seen of them, or what you've read about them. Don't even base your decision on what the devotees of the breed tell you about them. MEET THE DOGS. Watch them at shows, but more important see them at home. Adult Giants will act differently toward you than they do their owners, because they are very loyal and protective, rather than extroverted, sociable types. Nevertheless, if you spend some time with a Giant Schnauzer and his owner, you'll begin to get the an idea of what a Giant is like to live with. Ask to watch as the Giant is groomed. Watch an obedience training session, either a practice session at home or a formal class. Take your time. Ask questions! Visit as many breeders as you can. THINK! Get to know the breed. It the only way to find out if a Giant Schnauzer is the right dog for you.

Source: This article originally appeared in Giant Steps (the publication of the Giant Schnauzer Club of America, Inc) and is presented here with the permission of the Giant Schnauzer Club of America, Inc.
Editor*s note: Although many Giants are somewhat reserved, it should not be used as an excuse for poor temperament. Poor nerves, fear biting, nervous barking or shrinking away from a strangers touch or loud noises should not be considered part of being reserved.

To read the rest of SchnauzerWare, please click here.

The Breed (2/2)->

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