Showsight Presents the Giant Schnauzer

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STANDARD

Let’s delve into one important aspect of our Standard; the Coat. I’m not sure why this subject seems to engender the most debate or why it seems to be hard to understand. The Standard is quite clear in its descrip- tion of the ideal Giant Schnauzer coat. Let’s go back to the origins of the Giant. This breed was developed in the Bavarian Alps to drive cattle and to protect livestock and the owners. Conditions and the elements predi- cated a serviceable coat to best protect the dogs while working. Now let’s look at this a little more closely. It is a double coat. When the coat is correct, it will consist of both the softer, insulating undercoat and the harsh, protective outer coat. Both elements are necessary in order to meet the desired effect. Generally speaking, when the dog is single-coated with only top or outer coat, it will not likely have a lot of leg furnishings. Likewise, if a dog has only undercoat, it will likely possess profuse, soft furnishings. These two likelihoods are not written in stone. The real test is whether the body coat is correct. The aforementioned two sentence sec- tion on coat says what about furnishings? It simply states that the beard and eyebrows are harsh. No mention is made of furnishings or leg hair. The judge has no guidance to penalize for either having furnishings or not having them, and should not care whether or not they are present. My personal feeling is such; if an exhibit of mine has furnishings, I would prefer they be well-trimmed so as not to interfere with the judge’s ability to see the dog’s movement. If the dog doesn’t move very well coming at you, it may make sense to use furnishings to cover. However, if it moves like a Sunbeam Mixmaster, it’s probably best not to draw undue atten- tion to this fact by having long, flowing furnishings blowing in the wind. We all have personal preferences. I’ve heard people state that a particu- lar breed, including our own, no longer performs the intended function or purpose for which it was originally bred. None of that matters when judg- ing dogs. As I’ve stated, what matters is what the standard says pertaining to the breeds. Hair may be pretty to some, but not to others. “Pretty” is a personal perception, but it is not part of our standard. To me, a pretty Giant is one that looks like a one-piece dog where all the parts fit together smoothly in a moderate, functional way. What’s important in the coat? “Hard, wiry, very dense; composed of a soft undercoat and a harsh outer coat…” Exclusion of either element is a fault. COLOR Solid black or pepper and salt. Only two colors are accepted; Black, and Pepper and Salt. Black – A truly pure black. A small white spot on the breast is per- missible; any other markings are disqualifying faults. The only marking allowed in the Black is a small spot on the chest. The Standard does not define what constitutes a small spot, so the guid- ance I offer is a spot approximately the size of a half dollar or smaller. Stray white hairs do not constitute a spot. An actual spot has white pig- mentation in the skin below. White or silver stickle hairs are common in the Giant Schnauzer. These are hairs that appear sporadically in the coat and are basically a whisker. They are not considered a fault, regardless of how many the dog possesses.

Pepper and Salt – Outer coat of a combination of banded hairs (white with black and black with white) and some black and white hairs, appearing gray from a short distance. Ideally, an intensely pigmented medium gray shade with “peppering” evenly distributed through- out the coat, and a gray undercoat. Acceptable: all shades of pepper and salt from dark iron-gray to silver-gray. Every shade of coat has a dark facial mask to emphasize the expression; the color of the mask harmonizes with the shade of the body coat. Eyebrows, whiskers, cheeks, throat, chest, legs, and under tail are lighter in color but include “peppering.” Markings are disqualifying faults. The Pepper and Salt coat is made up of banded hairs, which are black with white and white with black bands. The term for these banded hairs is “agouti.” These banded hairs are accompanied by black hairs and white hairs. This combi- nation of colors produces a gray coloration from a distance. Any shade of gray is acceptable, but all Pepper and Salt Giant Schnauzers must exhibit a darker gray mask. Although the legs, under the throat, and other points are lighter in color, markings are not allowed. These lighter areas include “pep- pering” of darker hairs and, when closely examined, are not actual markings. HEIGHT The height at the withers of the male is 25-1/2 inches to 27-1/2 inches, and of the female, 23-1/2 to 25-1/2 inches, with the mediums being desired. Size alone should never take precedence over type, balance, soundness, and tem- perament. It should be noted that too small dogs gener- ally lack the power and too large dogs, the agility and maneuverability desired in the working dog. The section concerning heights is short and simple. Bitches should be 23-1/2” to 25-1/2” at the withers while dogs should be 25-1/2” to 27-1/2” with the mediums being desired. The reason given for this average is strength, cou- pled with agility for the performance of duties. Most of our Giants are either at the top of the standard or over. Keeping in mind that we are given a two-inch variance in each sex with mediums being desired, how much over the limit would be considered a serious fault? If we stretch the limit by another two inches, wouldn’t this be a serious devia- tion? This would probably constitute a serious fault, but we have to remember that the standard says that size alone should never take precedence over type, balance, soundness, and temperament. There is no measurement because there is no disqualification for size. Size is certainly a consideration in the overall judging process, and cannot be disregarded, but we seem to get plenty of latitude in this area.

244 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, FEBRUARY 2022

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