Giant Schnauzers were bred for tasks such as herding and cattle driving. The breed was created by crossing Standard Schnauzers with bigger dogs like Great Danes. This interbreeding with Great Danes who were susceptible to hip problems was responsible for introducing hip dysplasia in Giant Schnauzers.
Giant Schnauzers are bigger and braver than Standard and Miniature Schnauzers, but just as energetic and playful. They are clever and trainable pets but require a lot of attention and supervision with strict obedience exercises.
Giant Schnauzers are very attentive companions, preferring to stay very close to their owners, which can be a bit unnerving to some people when a dog this large seems intent on watching their every move.
Giant Schnauzers are superb watchdogs with their commanding presence and intense loyalty to their family. They easily distinguish between who is a friend and who is an enemy. They will bark ferociously when they sense a threat to the household, but otherwise are not known to be excessive or frequent barkers.
Giant Schnauzers need a lot of outdoor exercise, going on vigorous daily walks or long jogs to help them maintain good physical and mental health. They always need to be walked on a leash because they have strong hunting instincts, and any small creatures—whether birds or cats—easily excite them.
While the Miniature Schnauzer and Standard Schnauzer were originally bred to chase and kill rats, the Giant Schnauzer was meant for bigger tasks such as herding, and even – believe it or not –for barroom bouncing. The breed was created by crossing Standard Schnauzers with much bigger dogs like Great Danes and they do extremely well handling a wide range of tasks, including cattle driving and police work.
Giant Schnauzers are basically larger, stronger versions of the Standard Schnauzer and have large, square-built frames covered in dense, wiry coats. Their long heads sport bushy moustaches, beards and eyebrows, with deeply set eyes and V-shaped ears that point up and forward. Their colorings are solid black or salt and pepper.
A healthy Giant Schnauzer can live as long as 15 years. Common health issues include eye problems, bone disease, and hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs but can also affect medium-sized breeds and occasionally small breeds. It is primarily a disease of purebreds, although it can also occur in mixed breeds.
To understand hip dysplasia and the resulting arthritis, you need a basic understanding of how the dog’s hip joint is affected. The hip joint is comprised of a ball and socket that forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body. The ball portion is the head of the femur and the socket is located on the pelvis. In a normal hip joint the ball rotates freely within the socket. The bones are shaped to perfectly match each other with the socket surrounding the ball. To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue, circles the two bones to provide added stability.
This is an example of a normal hip joint:
Hip dysplasia is linked to abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the dog’s hip joints. As the disease progresses, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces.
This is an example of an abnormal hip joint:
Most dogs who eventually develop hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but due to their genetic make-up the soft tissues surrounding the joint develop abnormally. This leads to the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left hip.
The symptoms of hip dysplasia cause afflicted dogs to walk or run with an altered gait, similar to a bunny-hop. They begin to resist any movement that requires full extension or flexion of the rear legs. They will experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning. Climbing stairs becomes difficult if not impossible. Some dogs will limp and are less willing to participate in normal daily activities, including walks they formerly enjoyed.
It appears that the amount of calories a dog consumes, especially during its fast-growth period from three to ten months, has the biggest impact on whether or not a dog genetically prone to hip dysplasia will develop the disease.
Obesity can increase the severity of the disease in dogs that are genetically susceptible and the extra weight will intensify the degeneration of a dog’s joints and hips. Dogs who are genetically prone to hip dysplasia and also are overweight, are at a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia and eventually osteoarthritis.
Exercise can be another risk factor. Dogs genetically susceptible to hip dysplasia may have an increased incidence of the disease if they are over-exercised at a young age. Moderate exercise like running and swimming is best for exercising young dogs.
Because hip dysplasia is primarily an inherited condition, there are no products that can prevent its development. Through proper diet, exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, you can slow, and sometimes halt, the progression of these degenerative joint diseases while providing your dog with relief from its pain. Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue.
You might also want to consider providing your dog with an orthopedic bed like the Canine Cooler Bed which distributes the dog’s weight evenly and reduces pressure on its joints. The Canine Cooler Bed uses revolutionary SoothSoft Technology to give your dog the very best in comfort, and the fluid-enhanced design offers a dry, cooling effect with superior cushioning and support. It’s perfect for dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis.
There are different assumptions on how to prevent the progression of hip dysplasia in Giant Schnauzers. Poor nutrition, inadequate or improper exercise, and increased body weight may all contribute to the severity of osteoarthritis after the hip dysplasia has developed. By watching the calories your puppy or young dog consumes and preventing obesity in your dog, allowing only non-stressful types of exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, are the best things you can do for your dog.
Improve Your Dogs Health & Learn How To Help Hip Dysplasia