FBI International fans may know this remarkable canine as “Tank” or “Schutzhund,” but the truth is that it belongs to the Giant Schnauzer breed. Originally from Germany, this breed has been raised in Europe for centuries as a police dog. However, “Schutzhund” refers to a type of service dog training rather than a specific breed. Let’s delve into some fascinating facts about the Giant Schnauzer.
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The Giant Schnauzer at a Glance
Image Credit: Eliska Zeiskova, Shutterstock
Contrary to popular belief, the Giant Schnauzer is not simply a larger version of the Standard or Miniature Schnauzer. The breed was initially developed in the German Alps during the 10th century, where it excelled as a loyal guard dog and farm worker.
The original Schnauzer breed was the Standard Schnauzer, primarily utilized for guarding homes and butcher shops. However, farmers wished to employ them for herding cattle, yet their size proved slightly inadequate for the task. To address this, farmers selectively bred the Standard Schnauzer with larger driving dogs such as the Great Dane, potentially incorporating the Bouvier des Flandres.
Eventually, this breeding experiment near Munich resulted in the creation of what we now know as the Giant Schnauzer. Initially referred to as the Münchener, meaning “inhabitant of Munich” in German, the breed has been meticulously preserved by German breeders throughout the years, ensuring its distinctive size and appearance endure.
As agrarian societies transitioned to urban living, the Giant Schnauzer’s role shifted from farm work to guarding breweries, shops, and even whole towns. From the beginning of the 20th century, Germany began utilizing Giant Schnauzers as police dogs. However, they remained relatively unknown to the rest of the world until the late 1900s. Ironically, the United States government favored breeds like the German Shepherd, which required less grooming maintenance, over the German Giant Schnauzer for police and military work.
Giant Schnauzers bear a striking resemblance to their Standard and Miniature counterparts, albeit in a much larger package. Nevertheless, their personalities can vary among the different Schnauzer breeds. Typically weighing between 55 and 85 pounds, with the potential to reach 95 pounds, Giant Schnauzers boast a robust build and stand at a height of 23 to 27 inches at the shoulders. The breed’s signature mustache adds to its distinctive charm, and their fur is usually black or salt-and-pepper.
Loyalty defines the Giant Schnauzer’s character, as it remains steadfastly devoted to its owner and their family. Numerous black-and-white photographs depict these gentle giants dutifully guarding small children and accompanying their owners on Alpine adventures. Thanks to their high intelligence and energy levels, with proper training, they can excel in various dog sports.
While exercise is crucial for every breed, Giant Schnauzers require more physical activity than most. Without ample time and space to run, they may find their own means of mischief. Ideally, Giants should engage in at least 40 minutes of exercise daily.
Image Credit: Frank11, Shutterstock
In the television series FBI International, “Tank” represents the modern-day role of the Giant Schnauzer as a working police dog in Germany. In the United States, this breed is gradually adapting to its new role as a companion animal and an active participant in dog championships. Just last year, a Giant Schnauzer named Bayou won the 2021 AKC National Championship, becoming the first of its kind to achieve this prestigious award. Throughout its extensive history, the Giant Schnauzer has proven to be an incredibly versatile breed, seamlessly transitioning between various job roles while still retaining its original appearance.
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