Questions To Ask a Giant Schnauzer Breeder

The following are offered as possible questions you should ask the breeder of a Giant Schnauzer puppy you are considering acquiring.

  1. Are the parents proven to be clear of (the) known genetic problems? Have the suggested tests been performed on the parents? What is the breadth of the testing - just the parents? older siblings? grandparents? aunts & uncles? The breeder should be willing and able to produce copies of all test results, at least for the parents - if not offered - ask for them! A reputable breeder should provide the following certifications: hip and elbow certification, eye screenings, cardiac screenings, thyroid test using OFA protocol within the past year.  See the known health problems of the Giant Schnauzer provided on the GSCA website at:

    If the breeder doesn't test, ask why. Do NOT accept the answer that they don't test because they've never had a problem with something - how can they know they don't have a problem if they don't test? Do not accept their vet's opinion on hip dysplasia x-rays - a regular vet is not a trained radiologist - OFA uses three board certified radiologists to examine all x-rays.
  2. How old is the dam? How many times has she been bred? How far apart were the litters? A Giant Schnauzer bitch should not be bred before 24 months of age nor after her 7th birthday; nor should her litters, other than in exceptional cases, be closer together than 12 months.
  3. Why did they choose the stud dog they used? What physical and temperament traits were they looking for? What was the purpose of this breeding? What improvements were they after? Are the breeders planning on keeping a puppy from this litter? If not, why not? If yes, how did they pick which one? A reputable Giant Schnauzer breeder will have a good reason for every breeding, either to improve their line or solidify and continue traits they already have. A reputable breeder will NOT be breeding just to have puppies to sell.
  4. What faults do the dam and sire have? EVERY Giant Schnauzer has some faults. How has this breeding served to correct these faults? What are their good points?
  5. What clubs do the breeders belong to? At a minimum, they should belong to the GSCA and/or one other club (e.g. Working Riesenschnauzer Federation; local obedience club), thus exhibiting an interest in supporting the future and direction of the breed, as well as being willing to place themselves under the oversight of their peers through the mechanism of the club's Code of Ethics.
  6. Have the dam and sire been shown? Conformation showing is intended to identify the dogs that best fit the Giant Schnauzer standard; if the dogs haven't been shown, how do the breeders know, objectively, how well they are doing? 
  7. What are the living conditions of the breeder's dogs? Do they have adequate living space and room to exercise? Are the quarters clean and well kept? Is fresh water available?
  8. What steps have the breeders taken to socialize the pups? Are they used to children? Other dogs? Other animals? Public places with lots of people? Early socialization is extremely important for a Giant Schnauzer; the lack of adequate socialization can cause serious problems later on.
  9. Do they offer a contract?  If not, why?  What are the terms of their contract? What guarantees do they offer? What conditions do they impose on your treatment and care of the dog? What penalties are imposed if you violate the terms of the contract? See section 4 of the GSCA Code of Ethics for a list of the minimum terms a GSCA breeder should include in their contract as well as other material they should supply to a puppy buyer.
  1. What assistance does the breeder offer a puppy buyer in terms of support?  Assistance with grooming?  Assistance with posting ears after the ears have been cropped?  Assistance with common behavior issues?
  2. The Breed Standard was developed to insure efficiency in performing the job the dog was bred for, is the breeder breeding towards the Standard?  Giants should be an agile, strong, well balanced, and steady dog.  Oversized dogs are discouraged because of the potential for injury or joint, muscle, bone and heart problems. 
  3. Does the breeder specialize in “rare” coat colors, coat types, or over-sized Giants?  Why?
  4. Do they crop the ears (7-10 weeks of age), dock tails and remove the dew-claws (2-3 days after birth)? Have they explained the problems commonly encountered with taping/posting ears, both natural and cropped? 
  5. Are there signs of “kennel blindness”?  Has the breeder had an outside Giant expert rate the litter?  How are they rating the litter and what are they rating the puppies for (behavior, personality, conformation)?  “Pick of the litter” may mean that this puppy has the best potential of that litter, however this does not mean that it is show quality. 
  6. Is the puppy you are interested in being offered at a reduced price because it is the runt?  Beware of getting a bargain on the “runt” of the litter.  There may be a health concern along with future behavior problems with a puppy that fails to develop at the same rate as the rest of the litter.
  7. What is the minimum age the breeder will place the puppies?  Giants are slow to develop and mature and it is recommended that the puppies be at least 10-12 weeks old before going to their new home.    
  8. Have they started puppy vaccinations?  Were the parents vaccinated (DHL-P)?  Tested for sexually transmitted disease prior to breeding?  Tested for parasites? Tested for Heartworms?
  9. Have they microchipped or tattooed the litter?  Microchips are the best way to insure the return of a pet if it is lost or separated from the owner.  
  10. Has the breeder explained the difference between: limited registration, full registration, and co-ownership?  
  11. Are the puppies “kennel” raise or “home” raised?  It is much easier to housebreak, train, and socialize a home raise puppy.  They have already encountered the typical household environment and will adjust more easily in their new home.
  12. Has the breeder suggested or recommended any educational materials to assist with raising the puppy?  Giants are a challenging breed and are slow to mature (puppies from birth to around 9 months of age, teenagers from 9 months to 4-4.5 years, adults 4-8 years, seniors 8-12+ years).  Has the breeder discussed the various life stages of this breed with you?
  13. Has the breeder asked you about your lifestyle, family, other pets, and expectations? Are they advertising in the newspaper, on the internet, in trade magazines?  Do other Giant owners recommend them?  A high quality breeder will be as concerned about where their puppies are going to live as you are about the puppy that you are bringing home.
  14. Are the breeders willing to talk about the common problems that Giant owners face: barking, counter surfing, selective hearing, tantrums, mouthiness, prey drive and territory issues with other animals, same sex dog intolerance, destructive if raised as an outside dog, learning to tolerate grooming, inability to stay out of the bathroom when their owner is in it, furniture issues, pulling on the leash, lunging at other dogs and mail carriers, etc…?  If not, why not?