Giant Schnauzer

The Giant Schnauzer is the largest of the Schnauzer family. They are the epitome of agility, strength and unique looks. Originally bred as cattle herding dogs, Giant Schnauzers require substantial exercise. Their wiry coat requires a lot of maintenance to keep it looking as it should. When correctly groomed the Schnauzer has a very tailored look, with a distinctive rectangular head, arched eyebrows and a full beard. There is nothing soft and fluffy about this breed.

Due to the cost and work required to keep the coarse wiry coat by hand-stripping, a lot of pet owners opt to have the coat clipped and the furnishings kept shorter.  

Clipping this coat will result in a dramatic change in texture and colour. The correct harsh wire coat needs to be encouraged by plucking the blown coat when it is ready to be removed. This stimulates the hair follicles to produce new guard hair. Without stripping, the guard coat will not grow in properly and will lose it’s brilliant colour and texture. If only the undercoat grows, the coat will develop a softer texture and muted colours.

Coat Type

Hard / Wiry

Grooming Requirement

Hand – Strip / Clipper – Trim

If you are planning on clipping the coat, it is recommended to use any blade within the range #4F – #10 for the body. The throat area, under tail and sanitary areas – under tail and tummy – should be clipped using a #10-#7F. If clipping the coat, use a coat rake after clipping, as this can help to promote correct coat growth and colour.

Grooming Notes

  • Clipping this coat type will normally destroy the correct harsh texture and brilliant colour. The coat will become soft and colours muted
  • Stripping a coat is a technique that takes time and practice to master. You should always work in the direction of growth and a light application of stripping/chalk powder can improve grip on the hair. The hair should release easily, without excessive force. Hand stripping should be rhythmic and therapeutic to both dog and groomer
  • The breed should be square in build with a strong rectangular head and the pattern lines on the body should be invisible (well blended into the furnishings), while the pattern lines on the head should be crisp and clean
Schnauzer Pattern Lines

Giant Schnauzer Pattern Lines

Grooming Guide

  • Hair can be plucked from the ear canal as necessary to promote healthy ears
  • Ears should be clipped very close using a #10 or #15 on the outside of the ear and #40 inside. Edge the ears with detailing/safety scissors
  • Use a blaster to help loosen coat and lift dirt and debris away from the skin
  • Do not wash the dog prior to stripping. It is recommended – if possible – to leave the coat after stripping for 24 hours before bathing to allow the hair follicles to close
  • Use an undercoat rake, pumice stone, slicker, shedding blade or rubber curry to remove the loose coat, the more coat you remove this way the quicker and easier your hand stripping will be
  • Hand strip the body and top of the tail so that the coat lies flat against the body
  • Prior to bathing, use a firm slicker / wide-toothed comb to ensure the coat is tangle and matt free, be cautious not to cause brush burn
  • The coat should be dry, tangle and matt free before scissoring/clipping
  • The top skull can be hand stripped for clipped close with blades ranging #4F – #10
  • The occiput is the dividing line between the neck and the head
  • Follow the eye socket to shape the arched eyebrows. The stop area should be clear, creating two separate eyebrows. The outermost point of the eyebrow is short, getting longer towards the nose. The tips of the eyebrows should reach anywhere between the tip of the nose – the halfway point of the muzzle
  • The beard should be long and full and form a rectangular head when viewed from straight on
  • The cheeks and throat are clipped smooth and clean using a #10/#15 blade, depending on skin sensitivity. The line should run from the back corner of the eye to the whisker nodule on the cheek and to the chin nodule. Use the zygomatic arch to set the line from the back corner of the eye to the ear canal. Follow the natural cowlick line to define the throat area. Create a soft upside down ‘V’ or ‘U’ shape approximately 3-4 finger widths above the breastbone, blending this down just below the turn of the muscle at the shoulder, creating a ‘W’ shape when viewed from straight on
  • The longer chest hair should be flat when viewed from a side profile
  • Use a scissoring aid such as spritzer or mousse to add body to the legs
  • The front legs should be scissored into parallel columns from the shoulder, using the shoulder muscle to set the pattern line. The furnishings can be 1/16 inch – 3 inches long depending on the size of the dog and coat density
  • The feet are small compared to the size of the dog with well-arched toes, also known as  ‘cat feet’. To showcase this feature, the feet at scissored tight and round, it is common to expose some nail. To get a nice round foot, firstly shape into a square and then remove the sharp corners of the square with curved scissors. Pads can be trimmed with safety scissors or a #15 – #40 blade
  • The undercarriage line should be shorter near the naval area and gradually get longer as you move forward towards the chest. The hair at the deepest part of the chest should reach to the elbow, creating the illusion of a deeper chest
  • The thigh muscle should be accentuated by the shorter coat covering it. The coat should start to blend from where the muscle starts to turn under to 3-4 fingers above the hock. The coat on the back legs can range from 1 inch – 3.5 inches depending on the size of the dog and coat density. The hocks are to be well let down and when viewed from behind, the legs should fall in two parallel columns
  • While the topside of the tail is stripped/clipped with the same blade as the body, the underside of the tail is clipped using a #7F – #15
  • A #7F – #15 blade should be used to tidy around the rectum, on the inner side of the cowlick lines going down the back of the thighs
  • Clip sanitary area under tummy with a #7F – #15 if necessary

Grooming Tool Recommendations

Other Health Recommendations

Clipper Blade Recommendations

Shampoo Recommendations

For everyday use mild/hypoallergenic shampoos are recommended. This coat would require two different specific shampoos. The furnishings may need volume, detangling or shine, whereas the coat itself must not be softened to maintain it’s correct texture.

 

Topcoat

Furnishings

Conditioner Recommendations

This coat type doesn’t require any conditioner on the top coat but you may want to use conditioner on the furnishings to condition and detangle.

 

Topcoat

Furnishings

Coat Care Recommendations