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CLASSIC GIANT SCHNAUZERS of EASENTAIGH
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THE GIANT SCHNAUZER
By Olga Gagne
Origin & History E
arly accounts of the Giant Schnauzer state that the breed was developed in the kingdoms of Wurttemburg and Bavaria in southern Ger- many. It was a farm herding
type of dog, multi-hued, mostly black in color, but sometimes a yellow or reddish color, or pepper-salt or gray. In 1876, the “Bavarian Wolf Hund” was described as a strong, black or black-brown dog with rough or shaggy coat, strong chest, distin- guishing itself by its courage, by holding together herds of hogs and cattle and by being particularly fit for protection from hostile attacks. It was an established breed by the end of the nineteenth century, but the few breeders were extremely secretive, never revealing their breeding records, nor o ff er- ing outside stud services or selling their dogs. It is theorized that the early Giant Schnauzer was developed from crosses with smooth-coated drovers, rough-coated shepherd dogs, black Great Danes and Bouviers des Flanders. Also, it is further suggested that because the resultant dog resembled a larger edition of the already well-known and older Standard Schnau- zer, an infusion of Standard Schnauzer blood was given to reinforce type.
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Th ere was a conglomeration of types, colors, hair textures, and sizes. After this, as the type came closer to that of the Standard Schnauzer, the name Giant Schnauzer was adopted. Gradually breed- ers selected two color varieties, black and pepper/salt, with the black soon becom- ing dominant. Th e Giant Schnauzer made slow prog- ress in North America when it was first imported in the 1920s. He arrived at the time the German Shepherd Dog was at the peak of his popularity. Th e AKC gave them recognition in 1930 and the CKC had the first two Giants registered in 1934. Form & Function—Character Th e Giant Schnauzer has always been praised for his intelligence. Along with his spirit, alertness and reliability, the Giant has a robust and agile build. Although, his name is “Giant”, this is not technically a giant breed. He is simply the largest of the three Schnauzer breeds, being the giant among them. While the Standard Schnauzer has been held strictly to its original size by setting a disqualification in the standard, the size of the Giant has been allowed to increase gradually over the past thirty years, from a range of 21 ½" -25 ½" , to the present 23 ½" -25 ½" for females and 25 ½" - 27 ½" for males. For the show ring, size
might seem impressive, but few breeders and owners want to see the Giant push- ing the maximums. Th e standard clearly states mediums preferred. In his duties as police and army service, he must have the weight and strength for “man-work”. If he is too large and heavy, he would lack the required speed and agility. If too slight and light, he would lack the power. Th e primary function of a Giant Schnauzer these days is being a devoted family member, a guardian of the home and an enthusiastic performance dog. Th ese functions require a dog with a sound temperament and a reliable, responsive disposition. Giant Schnauzers are an excel- lent choice for those wanting a willing and active companion, but they are not the right choice for everyone. Th ey are a domi- nant dog and can quickly take control if given the chance. It is essential they learn basic obedience and understand their posi- tion in the household, which is their pack. Th eir legal position in this pack is below all the humans. Once the order is established, they are great family dogs and reliable, devoted companions. Although they are alert and watchful towards strangers, they are basically non-aggressive and are excel- lent natural guard dogs. Th ey are most happy when they are with you, having a willingness to please. Th ey do best with mental stimulation and lots of exercise.
In 1909, the breed was first exhibited in Munich, Germany, as Reisenschnau- zers, the name they are still given today in Europe. Th e dogs were also called Muchener, or Munich Schnauzers, because of their popularity in the town of Munich. Even at this early first show, the judge was confronted with two di ff erent types of coat. Along with the rough coat- ed dogs, there were exhibits with long, smooth hair, dubbed Russerls or Bear Schnauzers. In the end, a coarsely haired black male, was chosen as the best repre- sentative of the breed. Th e Giant Schnauzers characteristics were greatly valued by the local stock breeders, butchers, and brewery owners, his greatest asset being that of a steadfast guard. As well as being used to herd and move the livestock, his intelligence and sharpness was used to guard his master’s possessions and to accompany and pro- tect wagons in travel. With the decline of cattle driving, the Giant Schnauzer’s strong agile body, active, alert, and reliable temperament, made him noticed by the police and law enforcement services, and he soon began a new career in the field of guard and police work. In 1925, the breed received o ffi cial designation in Germany as a working dog. In 1910, called the birth year of the Giant Schnauzer, the German Stud Book entered 9 Munich Schnauzers. Four were pepper/salt, three were black, one was brown/yellow and one was grey/yellow.
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be strong, well arched, of moderate length and not directly upright of the shoulders. Fronts have always been a weakness in the breed. Th e correct shoulder angu- lation, with proper return of upper arm, broad chest and strong sternum is very much desired. Th e Giant Schnauzer is not a terrier and it should have no appearance of a terrier front. A properly built Giant Schnauzer will move smoothly, covering ground with long e ffi cient strides, dem- onstrating good reach, to balance a strong driving rear. A dog that lowers his head and turns his ears back when in full stride is “First of all, it must be understood that the Giant is a working dog. He was bred for a purpose and HIS SIZE MUST REFLECT THIS.”
Many Giant Schnauzers are still in careers of service to man. Th ey are used in police and army forces for tracking, guarding and protection. Search and res- cue Giant Schnauzers were deployed in the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City and the 911 attack in New York City. Currently, they are successful participants in every known dog activity, pet/people therapy, agility, obedience, backpacking, carting, drug and bomb detection, herding, schutz- hund, sledding, skijoring, tracking and boating—just to name a few. Th ey are a versatile, willing working dog. Judging Considerations Th e Giant Schnauzer can be a confus- ing breed to understand. Th ere are many di ff erent visual inconsistencies that meet the eye. First of all, it must be understood that the Giant is a working dog. He was bred for a purpose and his size must reflect this. He should be strongly built, sturdy and well muscled. Th e standard states, “A robust, more heavy set than a slender dog”. He should have more bone than a Dober- man and less than a Rottweiler. Th e desire for elegance and eye appeal in the show ring should not allow a build that is tall and narrow, too slight or racy or weedy. In an analogy to the horse, a Giant Schnauzer should be compact with plenty of substance for his size, like a Quarter horse or Polo pony. He should neither be like a heavy
draft horse, or like a tall, long-legged Th or- oughbred race horse. Th e Giant Schnauzer must be agile and quick on his feet, having himself all together when gaited on a loose lead, as well as when stacked or posed. In being a sturdy dog, the Giant should have a strong head. It should appear to be large and su ffi ciently wide to accommodate strong cheek muscles without being bulky. And, for this head, which is half the length of the back, the neck must be strong also. Th e tall, elegant specimen, with a narrow long head and a thin exaggerated neck is not the breed’s outline. Th e neck should
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maximizing e ffi ciency in his movement and should not be penalized. Often, show speci- mens move about the ring, head and ears at attention. Th is movement is not conducive to good reach and good driving power. Th e subject of much confusion and of the most questions asked is the one of coat. Variance in coat type has always been an issue in the breed, as read even in the early origins. Th e genetic pool already consisted of harder coated dogs and softer more profusely coated ones. A body coat that is dense, weather resistant and wiry is called for. Th e standard is not very descriptive in defining furnishings that are shaped and trimmed on the legs of the dog. Breeders dedicated to showing Giants, work hard to maintain the proper texture on the body of the dog and yet have a dog with leg fur- nishings to shape. Often two types of dogs will be seen. Th ey have been dubbed the European ‘hard-coat’, and the American ‘soft-coat’. Actually, in visual observation, one could call the European ‘hard-coat’, the ‘short coat’, and the American ‘soft-coat’, the ‘long coat’. Th e hard coat, or short coated dog, will have less length and thickness in the leg furnishings. Th e soft coat, or long coated dog, will have leg furnishings that are much longer and thicker. On these dogs, it is necessary to conduct a thorough hands on examination to determine the body under the coat. When observing these dogs in motion, be aware of how the movement and grooming of the furnishings can disguise the
actual line of the dogs’ legs. A good moving dog might not look as clean moving and a bad moving dog will look better, depending on the skill of the groomer! No matter what length of hair is seen on the legs, the body hair should be strong, hard and wiry, with a dense undercoat. It is important to remem- ber, that in evaluating Giants, they are com- posed of many parts, and the coat is just one of them. Th e animal should be judged as a whole. Coat should not be the only reason to penalize an exhibit if the dog excels in other virtues, especially when judged against inferior animals that excel only in coat. And, on the other hand, harder coated dogs must not be dismissed because they lack the fancy, profuse furnishings of the elegant dogs that are well sculpted and immaculately present- ed. A sound body and a good temperament are of utmost importance! Health Concerns Th e Giant Schnauzer has been known as a relatively healthy breed compared to some others. Th eir average life expectancy is twelve years, which is reasonably good for a large dog. Since the early imports, a major con- cern has been hip dysplasia. With concerted e ff orts on the part of all the early breeders, the breed maintains a good percentage of dysplastic free dogs. Certified hip clearanc- es still are, and always will be, a necessary requirement in breeding programs. Hypo- thyroidism, epilepsy, toe cancer and urinary incontinence are also concerns. Th ese and
other disorders are health conditions that are known to exist in many breeds and are not limited to the Giant Schnauzer alone. Breed- ers are diligent in following health tests and certifications on their dogs. Th e Giant Schnauzer is a versatile breed, making a smooth transition from the farms of Europe to the homes in North America. It has been lucky enough to be desired by people who appreciate its unique quali- ties. It has been dubbed “the dog with the human brain”. More information can be found at Giant Schnauzer Club of America’s web site, http:// www.giantschnauzerclubofamerica.com.
BIO Olga Gagne is from Canada. She has bred and shown Giants since the mid-seventies under the Bluechip prefix. Her dogs have won Multi
BISS and BIS, were top in their breed for many years and Top Working in 1988. Olga Gagne is President of Giant Schnau- zer Club of Canada and an AKC approved mentor for the breed. She served on the Giant Schnauzer Club of America’s com- mittee which compiled the breed’s I llus- trated Standard . In 1998, she began judg- ing and is currently approved to judge six groups in Canada. Olga Gagne has judged both the American and Canadian Giant Schnauzer National Specialties. 4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& " 13*- t
A Study of the GIANT SCHNAUZER
interference and quality control. 1970 started in dogs, Dober- mans and Giant Schnauzers. 1978 started showing. 1991 started judging. JAY RICHARDSON
I live in Pittsburgh, PA. I run my boarding kennel and I deal in real estate. I was a professional handler for 28 years, judging 27 years. KLAUS & JOAN ANSELM We live in Keswick, Virginia just outside of Charlottesville. We both enjoy travel and are on the road as often as possible. I am a tapestry weaver, very busy in my studio designing and weaving. My work (website: anselmtapestries.net) is in pri- vate and public collections in this country and in Europe. We both grew up with dogs and have been active in the dog show world since 1964. We have both been judging for 30 years. LINDA FOWLER
I live in Elgin, IL about 45 minutes west of O’Hare. I try and manage the kid’s schedules. I have been showing dogs since I was 10 years old, my parents raised Poodles. I have been judg- ing since 1994.
1. Describe the breed in three words. BA: Elegant, statuesque and impressive.
K&JA: Robust, robust, robust. LF: After the obviously required breed traits—strength, bal- ance, sound temperament.
I am presently retired, but see the attached bio, submitted to the GSCA prior to my judging. I obtained my first show dog—a Newfoundland— in 1976 and owner-handled him to his Championship. Several years later got my first Giant—EL LOBO UNIQUE—also owner-handled to her Championship. Since 1986 have been a Portuguese Water Dog breed- er. I have been judging since 1990.
GM: Beautiful, loyal and trustworthy. JR: Powerful, robust and intelligent.
2. What are your "must have" traits in this breed? BA: Bone, body, correct coat, correct movement. K&JA: Substance, stocky build, Schnauzer type. LF: Breed type (as per the standard, not what is "in style"), balanced effortless movement, sound temperament. GM: Wire double coat, long dry chiseled head, substance with a solid top line with slightly rounded croup. JR: Proper bone and substance, correct make and shape, cor- rect temperament and correct hair. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? BA: Too much trimming and incorrect coat. K&JA: Elegance, poor coat quality, lack of substance. LF: None specifically, but believe that the grooming is becoming over-exaggerated—dyed coats, etc. GM: Incorrect soft coats.
I reside in Edgewater, Fl and my summers in New Hamp- shire where I was born. Currently retired; principal electron- ic engineer by profession, specializing in electromagnetic
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JR: Trimming is always an issue, but in this breed it is usu- ally poor trimming and coat instead of over trimming. One sees exaggerated outlines,meaning long backs, overangulated rears, length of muzzles andback skulls have become exaggerated in length. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? BA: The breed is most definitely better today; we have so many wonderful breeders totally dedicated to the breed. K&JA: Yes, thanks due to a few dedicated breeders, although there is still a lot of room for improvement. LF: Now overall (not any specific dogs), when I first started judging, the rears were a weak point. When they improved, the fronts seemed to become very nar- row? With what I have seen recently, there has been an improvement at both "ends". I did point out at the National that although bites overall were acceptable, there is a need to keep an eye on the occlusions of side teeth, which is instrumental in maintaining the required scissor bite. GM: They have greatly improved, much better: tempera- ments, top lines, movement. JR: No, overall there are seldom more than one or two in an entry that are real quality. As I mentioned above coats are a major problem, I believe the dogs could have good coats if worked correctly. As with many terrier breeds at this time it is hard to find people willing to put that much time and effort into it. 5. Why do we see so few salt & pepper Giants in top competition? BA: I not know why not many salt peppers. K&JA: Lack of commitment by breeders, limited gene pool. LF: I have no idea, but have seen some lovely "pepper and salts" and awarded them appropriately. GM: There has only been one instance where I would have given a point to a Salt/Pepper. Their heads and eyes do not demonstrate their mental toughness. JR: That is a question for the breeders, In the past year I think I just had one. He ran around the ring as fast as could be, ears pinned back, tail completely tucked and had hair about 3-4 inches long. 6. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? BA: I think some are of the opinion that they are big Miniatures; they don’t take time to learn the purpose of the Giants—their working ability and their intended purpose.
K&JA: For anybody interested in the breed, please attend a National Specialty. LF: Coats, body proportions, the work they were bred to do. GM: Judges may fall prey to the well-furnished, soft-coated flashiness. JR: The make and shape, compactness, temperaments. “there iS nothing thAt exciteS me more thAn A LARGE 7. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. BA: I think they are beautiful—a lot of work goes into the presentation, but the breeders and exhibitors of this breed as a whole are so devoted the Giant Schnauzer. The breed is sometimes a total work of art and a truly beautiful site is to watch one move around the ring very beautiful. LF: I believe that overall the Giant breeders have done an excellent job in improving and maintaining their breed. GM: There is nothing that excites me more than a large ring full of Giants. They are just beautiful, that is why I was attracted to them years ago. JR: This is a wonderful breed that should command the ring with its style and temperament. 8. And, for a bit of humor, what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? BA: There are too many funny things, I could write a book! LF: There are many instances, but years ago when I was showing my Giant bitch against a dog, the dog proceeded to lift his leg and urinate on the judge! It was an easy win that day! GM: I asked an exhibitor to take her dog around in a small circle and to come back from where she started; she did a small pirouette and looked at me, I asked again to go further and she went around a 2 foot circle. I did not ask her again. Another instance many years ago: a person asked me to hold their Irish setter, as soon as the owner left the dog peed all over my legs. Not funny at the time. RING FULL OF GIANTS.”
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THE GIANT SCHNAUZER & STANDARD SCHNAUZER
by Sylvia HammarSTrom Skansen Kennel, AKC Breeder of Merit
T here are three varieties of the Schnauzer: The Giant, usually 25 to 28 inches over the shoulder, weighing between 65 and 120 pounds; the Stan- dard Schnauzer, a medium sized dog 18-20 inches over the shoulder, weigh- ing between 35 and 45 pounds; and the Miniature Schnauzer, usually 12-14 inches over the shoulder, weighing about 15 pounds. The Schnauzers come in solid black or pepper & salt color (a kind of silver grey). In the Giant variety one sees mostly blacks in the Standard and Miniature sized, mostly pepper &
salt. Black & silver as well as white are additional colors in the mini’s, although much more rare. Most black Giants have some grey hairs, and as they get clipped these grey hairs increase. This is per- fectly normal. If you want to avoid your dog getting grey into his coat, you must strip his coat twice a year. Or use the coat king regularly when you brush. To strip means to pull out the hair by the root. However, most dogs are clipped and the dog is black, so some grey hairs are really of no importance. At Skansen Kennel, we specialize in all three variet- ies of Schnauzer.
The Giant Schnauzer belongs to the working group and is bred for his work- ing and protective abilities. He is an excellent family watchdog, taking his work quite seriously. He becomes very protective about his car, house, and owner. Because of his size, I recommend that he gets basic obedience training as a young dog so he is well controlled. His protective work is instinctive and does not have to be trained. He has a hard, wiry coat which pro- tects him in most weather. He can live outdoors, but like most dogs, he prefers to be inside with the family. There are
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two types of coats popular in the Unit- ed States. The first is a hard, wiry coat the Germans originally intended the breed to have. This is a very easy coat to care for, as his leg furnishings are sparse, and a couple of groomings each year are all it needs. The other variety is a much softer coat, with lots of hair on the legs and a profuse beard. This kind of coat obviously requires much more care—the hair on the legs tangle easily. It is, however, quite attractive, and the coat does make one think of a furry bear, which makes some people very fond of this variety. It is definitely a matter of taste—but, if the dog is going to spend a lot of time outside where there are foxtails or it is muddy, etc., choosing the harder coat is important.
to work with. They love any kind of unrestrained work like retrieving, jumping, attack work, barking on com- mand, and tracking (they have superb noses). They are not the best precision workers, as they get impatient with too much repetition, but with a good train- er, they make excellent competition obedience dogs. Because they are highly intelligent, they are not always easy for beginners to train; they soon outsmart any inex- perienced person. If the trainer estab- lishes himself as pack leader in his dog’s life from the beginning, he is very easy to work with. In other words, he is usually a dominant animal which, of course, is one of the reasons he is an outstanding watchdog.
train. However, once they have grown up, they are happy to just sleep next to you all day. Like any big dog, they should have at least one to two hours of good exercise daily. If exercised prop- erly, they are as good an apartment dog as any smaller breed. I hope this answers your questions about the breed. If you have any more questions, please call or write. We usually have pups available and when sold, they 10 weeks old uncropped or 3-4 months old if cropped. By then, they have their tail docked and dewclaws removed. Also, one shot against distemper and parvo. They will have been wormed for round and tape worms, the two common worms in California.
“HE IS A VERY HARDY ANIMAL wHo iS noT pronE To any SpEcial dEgEnEraTivE diSEaSES, and livES a long lifE if propErly carEd for.”
Most family pets are the heavier coats. To distinguish between the two styles or amount of hair we call the original style German and the American style is the Miniature Schnauzer look-alike but of course much larger. Regardless of the variety of coat, he does not shed, which is of course very convenient for an indoor pet. Also because of his non-shedding coat, chil- dren and adults allergic to dogs can very often tolerate the Schnauzer, just like the Poodle. He is a very hardy animal who is not prone to any special degenerative diseases, and lives a long life if prop- erly cared for. Like all large breeds, hip dysplasia is always possible. However, by breeding only good stock, we have managed to breed 99% of our dogs clini- cally free of dysplasia. The one percent that do get it are replaced at no cost to the buyer. If you ask Giant owners how they are to train, you will of course, get many mixed answers. Personally, I feel they are one of the most intelligent breeds
Like most dogs, he is excellent with children if raised with them. This is very important, and I do not recom- mend a family with young children to bring in an older dog not previously raised with children. However, if they are raised with them, they make terrific playmates; they will play all day, can be trained to pull the kids in carts, and love to go swimming with them. They get along well with other dogs but, two males used for breeding will usually not tolerate each other. Spayed and castrated dogs are just as good watchdogs, and they usually do not have problems getting fat after being altered. We recommend that all pets be altered. They do require a lot of exercise and attention as pups and young adults. By exercise we mean taking your dog for a run on the beach or dog park, go hik- ing or running by a bike—all off leash. Playing in the backyard or walking on a leash up and down some blocks is not enough. If you don’t have time to exer- cise your giant pup he will be difficult to
I have raised Schnauzers for fifty years with more than 1300 homebred champions and innumerable obedience titles. Attention to proper temperament is always the Number One priority. My breeding program is based on trying to produce as beautiful a dog as pos- sible, with a temperament that makes him an excellent family pet, as well as a family guardian. Seventy-five percent of my Giants live in homes with one or more children. The Standard Schnauzer is very much like the Giant. He is, of course, smaller so easier to control by the elder- ly and children. He makes a great apart- ment dog. The standard is the oldest of the schnauzer, dating back as long as 500 years ago. He mostly comes in the German or medium length coat, never in the American, softer style as the giant and mini. He is very easy to maintain, extremely intelligent and trainable. Like the giant, he needs to run and gal- lop free as a pup. He is very much a one man, one family dog and takes it seri- ously to defend your house/home.
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