Buying or Adopting a Giant Schnauzer
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
Is a DOG really the right pet for you?
I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.
Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?
Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:
Is a Giant Schnauzer the right breed for you?
Are YOU right for a Giant Schnauzer?
Can you provide what this breed needs?
- Someone home most of the day
- Fenced yard (6-8 feet high, not an electronic/underground fence)
- No young children in the household
- No very small dogs in the household
- No dogs of the same sex in the household
- No cats in the household
- Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), exercise restricted to multiple short (20 minute) walks, fetch games, and playing with other dogs – no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
- Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your Giant Schnauzer stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
- "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, rally obedience, musical freestyle, tracking, schutzhund, carting); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
- Brushing – moderate
- Trimming/clipping – every few months
- An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
- A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a small dog
- An owner with enough money to treat the health problems Giant Schnauzers are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
- Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your Giant Schnauzer to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior or aggression
- Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your Giant Schnauzer, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say
Should you get a male or female Giant Schnauzer?
Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?
Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?
Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new Giant Schnauzer be?
Where can you buy or adopt a Giant Schnauzer?
Giant Schnauzers are neither common nor uncommon in the United States – they're more middle-of-the-road in popularity. Out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, where 1 is most popular and 189 is least popular, Giant Schnauzers rank 79th.
Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
Giant Schnauzers are available from Dog Rescue groups. Giants may be turned over to Rescue because they need much more exercise than the owner expected. There might be barking issues, or dominance, or aggression toward other animals. Owners often give up their Giant Schnauzer when it becomes apparent that the dog is too much for them to handle. You would need to provide these dogs with the exercise, training, and socialization that they are lacking.
Other Giant Schnauzers are given up simply because of changed family circumstances, and these dogs may have no behavior problems at all.
Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
Giant Schnauzers are occasionally found htere, but Giant Schnauzer Rescue groups keep their eyes peeled on shelters and humane societies across the country. On the off chance that their breed turns up at a shelter, the rescue group typically moves in quickly to take the dog.
Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy a Giant Schnauzer from a show breeder, who breeds Giant Schnauzers to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring.
Or you can buy a Giant Schnauzer from a performance breeder, who emphasizes an energetic temperament and strong "prey (chasing) drives" for participating in protection dog sports such as schutzhund. Some breeders are a combination of show/performance, though how they prioritize those two goals can vary greatly.
You might also be able to buy a Giant Schnauzer from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.
Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of a Giant Schnauzer puppy should have:
- a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) – dated within the past year – certifying the dog to be free of eye diseases
- a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips
- a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have a normal thyroid
If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your Giant Schnauzer ends up with cataracts and hip dysplasia.
Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
Giant Schnauzers are occasionally seen in pet shops. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!
How To Choose a Good Giant Schnauzer Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of Giant Schnauzer puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.
AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you consider buying only AKC registered Giant Schnauzer puppies? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?
To help you train and care for your dog
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.