Author Topic: Giant Schnauzers & Agression  (Read 3671 times)

Offline GSAtlas

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Giant Schnauzers & Agression
« on: August 28, 2008, 09:44:31 am »

hi everyone,
i recently adopted a GS 7-month old puppy from a local rescue. i had done some limited research on the breed prior to adopting him, but nowhere did i see that GS are agressive, particularly with other dogs of the same sex and small animals (i.e., potential prey). I was told by a woman running a GS rescue that my dog will (WILL) get extremely agressive with other dogs, and that as he matures he will not be able to play with them. she also informed me that this is "not something you can train out of them".

i'm pretty upset by this, and just wanted to see if any GS owners out there have any info or experiences they would like to relate. i'm afraid that if what this woman is telling me is true, poor Atlas will have to go back to the shelter.

any help would be appreciated. thanks.

Offline kathryn

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Re: Giant Schnauzers & Agression
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2008, 10:23:46 am »
Hi and welcome to the board.  First let me say congrats on adopting Atlas.  While I don't have a GS, I do have working breed dogs.  Any and all dogs can display same sex dog aggression.  That is not limited to GS or any other working breed dog.  Since Atlas is all of 7 months old, I would say yes he can be trained to tolerate other dogs if he is having aggression issues.  Your best bet is to find a good trainer/behaviorist to help you sort out Atlas' issues.  They will be able to recommend a training program that suits both of you.  He may not be able to go to dog parks when he is an adult and he might not want to play with any and all dogs that he runs across as an adult.  I hope things work out for you and Atlas. 
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Offline ZooCrew

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Re: Giant Schnauzers & Agression
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2008, 02:08:51 pm »
Okay I'm sorry but that person is just plain wrong!  Perhaps all the ones she has seen are aggressive (which is maybe why they are in rescue) but I have met a number of them, none of which are aggressive towards other dogs.

First and foremost, having them spayed/neutered will def. help keep same sex aggression to a minimum.  I'm assuming since he's from a rescue he's already been neutered.

Start his socialization as quickly as you can.  Work on obdedience with him.  Believe it or not, it really helps with their social skills as well as how well they listen to you should a situation arise.

There was a young adult male GS that came to teh dog park in Ca regularly and he never showed any aggressive tendencies.  here I've seen adult GS's a few times and never had any problems with them at the park.

A friend of mine recently got a male GS puppy (he's around 8 mo old now) and she has had no problems with him around her other 2 male dogs (goldens) and he has recently learned not to bother her pet goose or chicken.

Any dog can have same sex/dog aggression and any dog may not be able to be around small animals.  I think that protective breeds like the GS actually get along better with small critters b/c their protective needs come out.  But they would have to get used to them gradually.  if they aren't used to seeing cats, they are still going to want to chase them. Doesn't make them aggressive, just means they don't know what they are and they are fun to chase.

i think that since your dog is fairly young, if you start socializing him right away and getting him used to all sorts of situations and animals that he will adjust into a relatively unflappable adult that gets along with most everything.

Good luck and congrats on your new puppy!  I would love to see some pix, the GS's are so handsome!


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Re: Giant Schnauzers & Agression
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2008, 02:15:36 pm »
I agree with everyone else...I can't speak too much about GS, but...with some training, spay/neuter...all will be well...

I have 3 male dogs (all are "dog-aggressive" breeds) and a male goat...and a MAN...lots of testosterone in my house...and everyone gets along... :)

Takes some time...and CONSISTENCY is key! Good luck! I hope you post LOTS of pics soon!

Offline maxsmom

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Re: Giant Schnauzers & Agression
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2008, 04:34:20 pm »
You've gotten some great advice.  I would simply work on socializing your dog, in every situation you can possibly imagine.  Max, my wolfhound, has a high prey drive.  He will chase anything that will run.  He has never hurt either of my cats.  When he catches them, he passes them by and just keeps running.  ChiChi also chases them, but does the exact same thing.  I feel sure either of them would hurt a strange cat, if they caught it in our yard, but so far, so good.  With my bunch, although none of them are known for being dog aggressive breeds, they are all pretty dominant breeds.  Typically, the problem with same sex "dog aggression" is simply dominance issues coming to the fore.  When you put 2 dominant dogs together, if they are opposite sexes, they will generally work it out.  If they are the same sex, one is going to have to submit to the other, in order to resolve the issue.  This can be very hard on owners and scary to watch. My guys all gave in to Cody, from the day they met him.  There have never been any physical fights between Cody and either of the boys.  He has had to literally slam ChiChi and hold her down a few times to make his point with her, before she will submit.  She is going to be my "alpha" bitch, without a doubt.  If I brought in another dominant bitch, I would most likely have my hands full.  I won't, so it isn't a problem.  I would take things with your Atlas a day at a time and not buy trouble before I had it.  I don't think you will have a problem, but it is not possible to foretell the future.  Good luck.
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Offline sc.trojans

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Re: Giant Schnauzers & Agression
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2008, 10:39:19 pm »

Oh boy - if I had a dollar for every "pushy" or aggressive GS I have met - I'd be rich.  Seriously, it is a common issue in the breed and this breed is known for not being a "dog's dog".  Even my local petstore (which I despise) separates their Schnauzers from their other puppies because they are so harassing and all the other puppies are always growling at a Schnauzer to stay away.  This is a VERY strong willed breed, with aggression toward other dogs a common fault so it is important to be aware of this potential.

With that said, I agree with most others here in that every dog should be treated as an individual - not with breed bias - and be worked with.  It is important to understand the breed standard and typical traits of your breed and be prepared to work with it - this dog should get extra, extra socialization, never be allowed to bully another dog so that it doesn't get reinforced, and trained with positive training (patricia mcconnell, jean donaldson, ian dunbar etc.)

At 7 months old, you did not indicate if you are seeing signs of anything, or if this rescue person saw signs.  He is past the critical socialization window so a lot has been determined - but this does not mean a lot of work can not still be done because it can.  I hope you can work with him, set him up for a great long life with you, and ensure he gets a ton of positive interaction with other dogs.  Barring an incident, don't give up on him yet!
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Offline Vicktory

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Re: Giant Schnauzers & Agression
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2008, 09:39:28 pm »
I have two Giant Schnauzers that we adopted from a Rescue at the age of 4 years old.  They are the best dogs ever!  See pictures and information on them at

I also highly recommend socialization.  My Giants love their new big sister, a miniature schnauzer that we have had for ten years.  They are not aggressive with her and they love our three children so much as well.  They are excellent guard dogs and have an incredible sense of when to be aggressive appropriately.  They bark when they should and not when they shouldn't.  I have nothing but great things to say about the Giant Schnauzer.  Don't give up!