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Giant Schnauzer Dog Breed Origin and History

The Giant Schnauzer breed comes from Germany, in the region of southern Bavaria, and the breed’s origin and history date back several hundreds of years to as early as the 16th century.

The Giant Schnauzer is thought to have been formed through the crossing of the Standard Schnauzer with the Great Dane and Bouvier des Flandres (also known as the Flanders Cattle Dog), though there is likely other German drover dogs and shepherds in this varied mix.

The word Schnauze is German for muzzle or snout and the Schnauzer breed was so named due to its characteristic large and shaggy-haired snout. In Germany, the Giant Schnauzer is called the Riesenschnauzer which simply means “the giant.” Though the Giant Schnauzer shares its genes and ancestors with the Miniature and Standard Schnauzers, the Giant much more than a large variety but actually a distinct dog breed.

Giant Schnauzer Breed History Initially used as a drover to help farmers drive their cattle and sheep the Giant Schnauzer dog breed has served well in several other capacities including a guard dog as well as performing work with the military and police forces. The breed history becomes pronounced in Germany during World War I as the military used the dogs extensively due to their size, versatility, intelligence and ability to train.

The Giant Schnauzer comes to the United States following the first world war in the 1920s and 30s. In fact, the Americans used the dog in World War Two in the military as well. The American Kennel Club recognized the Giant Schnauzer in 1930 and the Giant Schnauzer Club of America was formed later in 1962. Standards for the breed were fully developed in the 1970s

The breed is relatively uncommon in the United States, but it is gaining in popularity in the last few decades. Although introduced into the United States around 1920, the breed was rarely shown until after the GSCA, the parent club for the Giant Schnauzer breed in America, formed in the 1960s and this large breed dog began to increase in overall popularity.

The American Kennel Club recently ranked the Giant Schnauzer dog as the 78th most popular breed in America. In addition to showing well at dog shows, the Giant Schnauzer excels at Schutzhound, Agility and other obedience competitions and is a member of several city police forces around the country.

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