Giant Schnauzer

Lifestyle Needs

Giant Schnauzer

The Giant Schnauzer was originally a droving dog.  He is an imposing looking dog, large and square in shape.  He is strong, bold and vigorous and requires firm and experienced handling.  He has been used for police work in Europe and is a good guard dog.  As a large and energetic dog he ideally needs to live in a house with a garden.  He needs more than two hours exercise every day and should be given plenty of opportunity to run free.  His coat is harsh and wiry, needs daily grooming and professional trimming from time to time.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 3.4% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

  • As a large, deep-chested dog, the Giant Schnauzer is prone to Bloat and Stomach Torsion (twisting) – urgent veterinary treatment is needed if this happens.
  • Medial canthal pocket syndrome (upper and lower lids on inside corner of the eye roll outwards creating a ‘pocket’ where dirt and dust can collect and irritate the eye)  Due to head shape

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joints causing pain and disability): breed mean score 11.2 (parents should be lower)
  • Eye disease: Multifocal retinal dysplasia (MRD) (litter screening) (if severe, can cause visual impairment); Hereditary cataract (HC)  (annual testing); PRA

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:

DNA Tests Available

  • Cobalamin Malabsorption (causes non-regenerative anaemia)
  • Factor v11 Deficiency
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (prcd-PRA)
  • Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (NAD)
  • Hyperuricosuria (HUU)

Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes

  • Litter screening for Eye disease
  • Adult testing for Eye disease before breeding

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Hypothyroidism (low levels of the thyroid hormone, causing long term chronic health problems such as lethargy, weight gain, infections, skin disease)
  •  Mitral Valve Disease (causes heart murmur, exercise intolerance, and can lead to heart  failure)
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) (heart chambers enlarge and walls of ventricles become thin, causing heart failure)
  • Panosteitis (painful bone inflammation)
  • Urinary incontinence (more often in spayed females)
  • Onychodystrophy (claws crack and are shed, sometimes causing infection)
  • Idiopathic Epilepsy
  • Urolithiasis (stone formation in urine)
  • Pharmacogenic abnormality (adverse responses to some drugs)

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding:

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

List of Dog Breeds