My friend has a mini on her farm (I realize that's not the same) but she does very well. I like the giants, myself! ;-)
There is a store-bought standard in the puppy class I'm helping with and I am pretty unimpressed. That thing is scared of its own shadow. As in all purebreds, I would find a good breeder and try to meet the parents if you can.
Also, my brother tortured our family dog at the age of 3. He was just being a 3 year-old, but it was a huge pita trying to keep him from harrassing the dog.
You may want to check for a bit older dog, than a very young puppy. Older dogs tend to have learned the limits of chewing on people, competing for the cookies in anyone's hands. They SHOULD be somewhat obedient, follow directions, but that is the dog OWNER who needs to enforce that.
With bigger dogs, you MUST put limits on the dog, expect and reinforce PROMPT obedience to the commands. You DO NOT call or repeat the command and FINALLY go over to MAKE the dog obey. You expect dog to ignore you and correct within FRACTIONS of a second!! If you just keep repeating yourself, you TRAIN the dog that 4-5th command MEANS do it!!
Same as you train your child! Keep repeating without enforcing direction, kid and dog tune you out, because your voice is just noise.
The Standards I have met, 2, were both nice dogs. They were of a good size, well trained, from good lines and raised at home. Owners worked with them to INSURE they were good dog citizens, obedient, socialized animals.
I don't know if they had any quirks at home, "breed things" which you NEVER learn about until you OWN a dog of that breed. Amazing what I learned about Corgi dogs AFTER I bought one! I will never own another Corgi unless it is an "only" dog. The Bouvier also had some breed things, typical of all the Bouvier dogs I talked with owners about. Not bad things, just unexpected, like the paw swiping. They can and will, sweep your legs out from under you, unless trained not to! A breed thing. They are
another breed than MUST be well trained, because of size and power, endless energy, ability to make "guardian type" decisions.
Older dogs seem to accept small children well, if they are not jealous or forced to be nice at all times. Dog MUST have someplace to get away from child, be protected by the adults. We had the tension gate, to keep child from the dog! Dog's food, needs to be considered. MANY dogs are quite protective of their food, so child can be a threat to the food, may want to EAT IT! Planning dog feeding when child is not around, early or late, food in a secured location child can not access. My mother had child gates, half doors that we couldn't open or unlock, to secure us in our play room, protect the dog from (4 small children) us kids.
You will also have grooming to keep a Schnauzer looking civilized. You can do your own clipping, farm or breed cut. Or pay and send them to a groomer for baths and clips. Does add up in cost. It just is a breed that needs to have the hair taken care of.
I would pick a female as gender choice, they usually are a bit calmer, stay home better, might have a mothering thing to be protective towards the child. Not always, individuals vary, not a breed thing. Females in my experience, also are a bit easier to train, not wanting to be "Alpha Male" of your "family dog pack".
We had dogs, not puppies when the children were small. Dogs accepted the new infants arrivals, who then grew into children (lickable sources of good flavors) and considered the kids property! As property, the kids were to be protected. Dogs did find the kids interesting to follow around, watch them doing things, and kids were almost always willing to share treats and snacks, drop food from their high chairs for the dog. Fingers could be licked open for those hidden crumbs! Crying child would then be picked up by a parent.
We had very good older dogs, 3-5yrs, quite patient with small children who sat on them, tried to look under their eyebrows to see the eyes, hair pulling when child used dog for a "walker" learning to stand up. Dogs led children about with leashes, so kid thought they were "walking the dog" instead of the other way around! The puppy bouncy stuff, was mostly gone when the children arrived. Children were removed when the dog moved away for the first time, not having fun anymore, so dog was locked safely behind the gate to enjoy her peace. Ours were all bigger dogs, the one German Shepherd, the rest Bouviers. Bigger dogs usually have a much longer patience span, not so "touchy" as small dogs when pinched or hair is pulled. I think smaller dogs are just more sensitive, but that could get a kid nipped or bitten badly, if kid hurts smaller dog by accident. Dog could fear for his life, being crushed or handled roughly.
Get a dog with a good mind, train it with some classes, doing homework to insure the commands are working. Big breed puppies take a while to grow up. They obey, but I don't expect much calmness, discernment, until close to 2 yrs with my Bouviers. They are slower growing mentally and physically, but end up as nice dogs for us and our wants.
The Standards might be a very good breed for you. Try to find some owners WITH children, to ask questions. A kennel with a good reputation would be a place to start. Ask about previous puppy buyer references, so you could give them a call to talk about their puppy experience. Expect to PAY good money for a dog the breeder stands behind, even if it is "only" pet quality. Ask about dogs they have retired from showing and breeding. Dogs would be older, possibly an excellent family dog with a little training. My Aunt has had a couple dogs like that, in her breed, been quite happy with them. She doesn't have small children though.
We had good friends that owned a male Standard Schnauser. Great dog and they took it camping and hiking fairly often. They didn't have kids or property and the dog wasn't overly protective but they did say it was very hard headed and it chewed a LOT of furniture, drapes, and area rugs when it was a puppy.
They are beautiful dogs but I don't see them very often.
I don't know how they are with kids, but I've met a few and I liked them. They all seemed like big dogs temperament wise, vs a terrier type. The one that I knew well was a fun but serious dog. Reminded me alot of my Rottie at the time.
Knew a family that had 2 giants. They were obedience dogs and had their CGCs. They were protective of the household and people though. Had 3 children and was good with them but protective, one child was an infant. Babysat for them a few times and the dogs were always locked up. Lovely to meet on a walk, break into the people's home, no thanks! They were beautiful too.
Our neighbors have a giant and she is a great dog, although she is also very dominant and they have problems with her fighting with their 2 miniatures. She's big and intimidating looking, but also very friendly. They were on the verge of giving her to me due to the fighting when I got my own dog (which I did not know at the time.) I'd have taken her in a heartbeat. My dog loves to go over to their house and play with the 3 schnauzers!
I think with obedience training a giant would be a great family dog.
I have a mini and I love her dearly, she does have a few quirks. My mother has 1 (used to have 2) as well.
For the minis, they can have the stubborness of terriers, but are pretty quick to pick things up. Ours never had an issue with chewing, and the only toys that retire are just from too many squeeks over a fairly long lifespan.
The grooming for my mini costs me about $60 in my area and I do it about every 2.5-3 months. I have taken my horse clippers to her to buzz most of the coat off in the summer before.. I can to the scissor work around her face, but it takes me forever. I LOVE the fact that they don't shed, but on the flip side, you might not want the traditional cut (leaves hair on the legs and skirt) if they are going to be playing around in the dirt as it picks EVERYTHING up.
All of our minis have been very nervous around children, but I think that is a size thing, I think the bigger schauzers are better about it.
My mini is very dominant.. but my moms two are not, so I think she's just an individual in that regard.
All of ours have been very family oriented and love to spend time with us. They don't go crazy if they don't get a ton of exercise, but they will go all day until they drop if you are doing stuff with them.
Not sure about the standard/giants, but all of our minis have had bad teeth and have had to have them cleaned every few years (with special food/some brushing).
I love the minis.. and if I had the room, I might even one day have a giant!
Giant Schnauzers are used in some police forces overseas, if that tells you anything. The funny thing about Giant Schnauzers is there aren't many people stateside that fear them as much as they would fear someone with a known guardian breed like a German Shepherd or Doberman. I don't have any firsthand ownership experience with Giant Schnauzers, but I have met quite a few that others have owned. Never thought about them on a horse farm, but it would make sense.
I actually like Standard Schnauzers though am a German Shepherd person. When friends ask for a sturdy, intelligent, low-shed dog, I recomment Schnauzers
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Originally Posted by talkofthetown
As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.
If you spent time training and working the dog, a giant schnauzer would probably make a nice, naturally protective farm dog. The giants tend to have more of the "working dog" type temperament than the minis/standards- minis/standards are all terrier, but they created the giant schnauzer by mixing black great danes and other large working-type dogs with standards to get the larger type.
Most of the US giant schnauzers are bred for the show ring and tend to have less drive and working instinct than working lines in Europe, but for a farm/family dog you don't really want or need the intense working drive anyway.