Giant Schnauzer Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Giant Schnauzer Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
The AKC Standard calls him "a bold and valiant figure of a dog -- amiable in repose and a commanding figure when aroused."
Keen expression is what you may notice first about the Giant Schnauzer. This sensitive dog seems always aware of your moods and likes to be physically close to you, watching you.
Some lines are "harder-tempered" -- bold, serious, vigorous -- while others are much sweeter and more mellow. But in general, when you acquire a Giant Schnauzer puppy, you would expect him to mature into an athletic, energetic dog who plays hard and needs a mile or two of walking and/or running each day. Mental exercise (advanced obedience, agility, Schutzhund) is just as important to this extremely intelligent dog.
Most Giant Schnauzers are watchful with strangers and responsible about protecting their home. However, timidity, skittishness, and sharp-shyness are seen in some lines. To promote a stable, confident temperament, Giant Schnauzers need more socialization than many other breeds.
Many individuals are too spirited for small children, and some become overprotective of their own kids when a group is engaging in rough-and-tumble play.
Strange dogs may well be challenged -- Giant Schnauzer males are especially dominant and aggressive with other males. Cats may or may not be accepted.
Once you establish your leadership, the Giant Schnauzer responds very well to obedience training that is fair and consistent. But this highly intelligent, strong-minded working breed is often "too much dog" for many households.
If you want a dog who...
- Is large and strong, yet also lithe and elegant
- Has a wiry coat that doesn't shed too much and a whiskery face with a wise expression
- Plays hard and thrives on vigorous athletic activities
- Looks imposing, so makes an effective deterrent and keen watchdog
- Is intelligent and versatile -- when well-trained, can learn and do almost anything
A Giant Schnauzer may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
- Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
- Potential aggression or fearfulness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
- Potential aggression toward other animals
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Regular clipping and trimming of the wiry coat
A Giant Schnauzer may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Giant Schnauzer
If I was considering a Giant Schnauzer, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Giant Schnauzers MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Giant Schnauzers can make a shambles of your house and yard.
- Providing enough socialization. Most Giant Schnauzers have protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be suspicious of everyone, which could lead to biting. Some Giant Schnauzers go in the opposite direction -- without enough socialization, they become fearful of strangers, which can lead to defensive biting.
- Animal aggression. Many Giant Schnauzers are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Some have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures. If anything goes wrong in the breeding, socializing, training, handling, or management of this breed, it is capable of seriously injuring or killing other animals.
- The strong temperament. Giant Schnauzers are not Golden Retrievers. The best Giant Schnauzers are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Some Giant Schnauzers are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Giant to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Giant Schnauzer Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Grooming. To keep their wiry coat free of mats, Giant Schnauzers require regular brushing, and also clipping and trimming every few months.
To learn more about training Giant Schnauzers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Giant Schnauzer the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Giant Schnauzer. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Giant Schnauzer might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Giant Schnauzer home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Giant Schnauzer...
When you're acquiring a Giant Schnauzer PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Giant Schnauzers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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Copyright © 2000-2015 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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