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Exercise More energetic and up-tempo than most big breeds, Giants need lots of exercise. Long daily walks, play sessions with another dog, or romps in the yard with their owners will do nicely. Giants are great workout companions for people who run, bicycle, hike, cross-country ski, swim, or skijor. All of these activities require a very active partnership with the owner. The Giant needs companionship either in the form of a human he can play with, or another large dog. Finding games he will enjoy, such as hide and seek or tennis-ball chase, will exercise both mind and body and help keep him fit and happy.
Training Extremely intelligent and strongly territorial, the Giant Schnauzer loves his owners and feels great responsibility to protect them. He learns quickly and can distinguish between friend and foe. Giants want to be with their owners and cannot abide being ignored or left in the yard. A Giant Schnauzer needs to have a job—even something as simple as chasing a ball. The Giant is a “high-energy, protective, territorial guard dog,” says one prominent breed fancier. “The breed is not for the casual owner.” Giants do best with fenced-in running room, regular exercise, and activities that provide mental and physical exercise. They enjoy and excel in dog sports such as carting, herding, agility, coursing ability tests, and obedience. Early socialization and puppy training classes are a must with this strong, protective breed.
The Giant Schnauzer should be fed a high-quality diet appropriate for the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.
The Giant Schnauzer has a dense, wiry, weather-resistant double coat consisting of a soft undercoat and a harsh outer coat. The Giant must be brushed weekly, and clipped or stripped regularly to maintain a healthy and attractive coat. The owner should be prepared to spend time maintaining the coat or plan to have the dog periodically groomed by the breeder or someone whom the breeder recommends. The Giant’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste formulated for dogs.