Schnauzer German Shepherd Mix: The Ultimate Guide to This Unique Breed

Categorized as German Shepherd Types and Mixes
Featured image for an article about Schnauzer German Shepherd Mix: The Ultimate Guide to This Unique Breed

The Schnauzer German Shepherd mix, also known as a German Schnauzer, is a relatively new hybrid dog breed that combines the best traits of its parent breeds – the intelligent and alert Giant Schnauzer and the loyal and protective German Shepherd.

This large, energetic dog makes an excellent guardian and companion for active families who can provide proper training, exercise, and attention. Read on to learn more about this unique crossbreed.

Overview of the Schnauzer German Shepherd Mix

A Schnauzer German Shepherd mix is a cross between a purebred Giant Schnauzer and a purebred German Shepherd dog. This hybrid breed exhibits physical and behavioral traits from both parent breeds.

Some key facts about the Schnauzer German Shepherd mix:

  • Size: 22-26 inches tall, 65-90 lb
  • Lifespan: 10+ years
  • Coat: Dense, wiry or soft, colors include black, sable, black & tan, blue-gray
  • Temperament: Alert, keen, loyal, aloof with strangers, strong-willed

This breed goes by several names such as German Schnauzer, Schnauzer Shepherd, or Shnauzer. They make excellent watch dogs and will gladly protect their family and property. Proper training and socialization is critical for this hybrid.

When bred responsibly by reputable breeders, the German Schnauzer combines the best qualities of both parent breeds. Let’s take a closer look at the origins of this crossbreed’s parent breeds.

The Giant Schnauzer

The Giant Schnauzer originated as an all-purpose working dog in Germany in the mid-1800s. They were bred to be larger in size and used as cattle dogs, guard dogs, and draft dogs.

Some key traits of the Giant Schnauzer:

  • Large in size, 23-27 inches tall and 60-100 lb
  • Dense, wiry coat that is low-shedding
  • Alert, highly intelligent, and energetic
  • Strong protective and territorial instincts
  • Reserved with strangers but affectionate with family

The Giant Schnauzer is the largest of the three Schnauzer breeds. They make excellent watch dogs and working dogs due to their intelligence, strength, and natural guarding abilities.

The German Shepherd Dog

The German Shepherd Dog originated as a herding dog in Germany in the late 1800s. They were later adapted for military and police work due to their intelligence, trainability, and protective instincts.

Some key traits of the German Shepherd Dog:

  • Medium to large in size, 22-26 inches tall and 50-90 lb
  • Double coat that sheds year-round
  • Highly intelligent, eager to learn, energetic
  • Loyal, courageous, and protective of their family
  • Suspicious of strangers but not aggressive without cause

The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds worldwide thanks to their versatility, trainability, and devotion to their family. They excel at various working roles including police K9, military service, search and rescue, and assistance dogs.

Appearance of the German Schnauzer

As a cross between the German Shepherd and Giant Schnauzer, the Schnauzer German Shepherd mix can vary in its appearance. Puppies from the same litter can look quite different from each other.

In general, these designer dogs tend to be:

  • Large in size – Most German Schnauzers reach 22-26 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 65-90 lb as adults.
  • Athletic build – They have a muscular, athletic body type thanks to their working dog backgrounds.
  • Rectangular shaped head – The head is long with a square shaped muzzle, reminiscent of the Schnauzer.
  • Pointed ears – The ears stand erect like the German Shepherd parent.
  • Long legs – Their legs are straight and muscular.
  • Dense coat – The coat can be thick and soft like a German Shepherd or wiry like a Schnauzer. Common coat colors include black, sable, black and tan, blue-gray, white, or grey.

Since this is a newer hybrid breed, their appearance can vary quite a bit depending on which parent breed’s genes are more prominent. No two German Schnauzer mixes will look exactly the same.

Temperament and Personality

The temperament of a Schnauzer German Shepherd mix can be influenced by both parent breeds. They tend to be:

  • Alert and attentive
  • Sensitive and keen
  • Loyal and protective
  • Strong-willed and stubborn
  • Cautious or aloof with strangers

Proper socialization and obedience training from an early age is essential for this hybrid. When raised correctly, the German Schnauzer is an excellent watchdog and guardian.

They form strong bonds with their family and want to keep watch over their home and property. This protective nature combined with their large size and natural wariness of strangers means extensive socialization is a must.

With early socialization and training, most German Schnauzers get along well with children and other pets. However, supervision is still recommended around small children or animals due to their high prey drive.

These energetic dogs thrive when they have a job to do. Whether it’s guarding the home, accompanying you on outdoor adventures, or participating in canine sports, the German Schnauzer needs plenty of daily activity and mental stimulation. Without adequate exercise they can become bored and destructive.

Training Tips for German Schnauzer Dogs

The intelligent and strong-willed German Schnauzer needs consistent, positive reinforcement training starting from puppyhood.

Here are some important training tips for this hybrid breed:

  • Start training early – Obedience training and socialization should begin as soon as you bring home your German Schnauzer puppy. This prevents problem behaviors from developing.
  • Use positive reinforcement – This breed responds best to reward-based training methods using praise, treats, and toys to reinforce desired behaviors.
  • Establish yourself as the leader – With their tendency towards stubbornness, it’s important that you establish yourself as the consistent pack leader.
  • Socialize extensively – Properly introduce your German Schnauzer to a wide variety of people, places, animals, and experiences starting from a young age. This prevents fearfulness or aggression later on.
  • Provide mental stimulation – In addition to physical exercise, provide puzzle toys and training games to keep their active mind engaged.
  • Participate in dog sports – Agility, obedience trials, and other canine activities are a great outlet for this energetic, intelligent hybrid breed.

With proper training and socialization, the German Schnauzer can be a well-mannered companion. However, inexperienced owners may struggle with this hybrid. Seek professional training assistance if needed.

Exercise & Activity Requirements

German Schnauzers have a high exercise requirement thanks to their working dog backgrounds. Expect to provide at least 60-90 minutes of exercise per day.

As a young dog under 2 years old, stick to lower impact activities to allow their joints time to develop. Once fully grown, they excel at various vigorous activities.

Here are some great ways to exercise your German Schnauzer every day:

  • Long walks or hikes
  • Playing fetch or frisbee
  • Off-leash running in a safe area
  • Swimming – they love water!
  • Dog sports like agility, flyball, dock diving
  • Interactive toys and hide-and-seek games
  • Dog backpacks on walks to provide mental engagement

In addition to physical exercise, provide interactive playtime and mentally stimulating activities. A bored German Schnauzer can get into mischief! These dogs do best in homes with large, fenced yards where they can patrol and burn off energy.

If they don’t get enough activity each day, German Schnauzers may exhibit undesirable behaviors like excessive barking, digging, chewing, or aggression. Make sure to meet their exercise requirements.

Grooming Requirements

The grooming needs of a German Schnauzer depend on whether they inherit the German Shepherd’s softer double coat or the Schnauzer’s wiry single coat.

For a soft coat – Brush at least once per week to remove loose hair. Bathe only when needed using a mild dog shampoo. Trim nails every 2-3 weeks.

For a wiry coat – Hand strip or clip the coat every 4-8 weeks to remove dead hair. No brushing required. Bathe and trim nails as needed.

Additional grooming tips:

  • Check and clean ears weekly to prevent infections.
  • Brush teeth regularly using vet-approved dog toothpaste.
  • Provide chew toys and treats to keep teeth and gums healthy.

Most German Schnauzers are moderate shedders with seasonal shedding spikes. Their grooming needs are relatively low compared to other big breeds.

Nutrition & Feeding Tips

As a large and energetic hybrid breed, the German Schnauzer needs a high-quality diet to fuel their active lifestyle.

Daily caloric needs of adult German Schnauzers:

SizeDaily Calorie Needs
65 lb1400 calories
75 lb1600 calories
85 lb1800 calories
  • Feed a commercial or homemade diet formulated for large, active dog breeds. Avoid feeeding puppy food once mature.
  • Ensure the diet provides at least 25-30% protein and 12-15% fat. Meat should be the first ingredient.
  • 3-4 smaller meals per day prevents bloat. Do not exercise immediately before or after meals.
  • Provide access to fresh water at all times. Change water daily.
  • Limit treats to 10% of daily calories to prevent obesity.

Your dog’s exact caloric needs can vary depending on age, size, and activity level. Consult with your vet to determine the ideal diet for your German Schnauzer. Monitor their weight and adjust food amounts accordingly.

Health & Care

When properly bred, exercised, and cared for, the German Schnauzer is generally a healthy hybrid that lives 10-14 years or longer.

However, like all large breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions including:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Allergies
  • Eye problems like cataracts
  • Skin issues
  • Heart disease

Selecting a Healthy Puppy

Reputable breeders will test breeding dogs for health conditions and provide proof. When selecting a German Schnauzer puppy, look for health clearances for:

  • Hips and elbows from OFA or PennHIP
  • Eye exam by a veterinary ophthalmologist
  • Congenital heart issues

Routine Vet Visits

Take your German Schnauzer to the vet annually for exams, vaccines, heartworm tests, and preventative medication. Spay/neuter dogs not intended for breeding around 12-18 months old.

Provide excellent nutrition, regular exercise, routine grooming, and ample love and your German Schnauzer will remain your loyal companion for years to come.

Finding a German Schnauzer Puppy

Since German Schnauzers are a newer designer breed, finding puppies may require getting on a waitlist with a breeder. Plan to spend $1,000 to $2,000 for a German Schnauzer puppy.

Avoid pet stores or online sellers offering instantly available puppies, as these puppies often come from irresponsible breeders.

Here are some tips for finding a responsible German Schnauzer breeder:

  • Research breed clubs and ask for referrals to find reputable breeders.
  • Look for breeders who health test parent dogs and provide proof.
  • Breeders should ask you questions to ensure their puppies go to good homes.
  • Meet the puppies in person and evaluate health and temperament before committing.
  • Expect to be placed on a waiting list, as responsible breeders rarely have litters available immediately.

Adopting an adult German Schnauzer through a rescue group is also an option, though less common. Be patient and do your homework to find a healthy, temperamentally sound pup.

Is the German Schnauzer Right for You?

Before deciding to get a German Schnauzer, consider if this hybrid is a good match for your lifestyle.

This breed is ideal for:

  • Active singles, couples or families
  • Experienced dog owners
  • People who enjoy training dogs
  • Those looking for a protective guardian
  • Households with large, fenced yards

The German Schnauzer may not be recommended for:

  • First time or timid owners
  • People with limited time for training and activity
  • Families with very small children
  • Homes without a yard

These dogs need extensive daily exercise, training, socialization, and attention. If you can provide the proper care and environment, the loyal German Schnauzer will be your devoted companion for life.

Frequently Asked Questions about German Schnauzers

Are German Schnauzers good family dogs?

When properly trained and socialized from a young age, German Schnauzers can do well with families. However, they may be too large and energetic for homes with babies or toddlers. They are better suited for families with older, dog-savvy children.

Do German Schnauzers shed?

Their shedding level depends on their coat type. Schnauzer coats shed minimally while German Shepherd coats shed moderately year-round. Frequent brushing can reduce loose hair.

How much space does a German Schnauzer need?

These energetic dogs need room to run and play. They are best suited for homes with large, fenced yards. German Schnauzers adapt better to suburban or rural settings rather than small city apartments.

Are German Schnauzers easy to train?

They are highly intelligent and pick up on training quickly. However, their independent nature can make them stubborn. Consistent, positive training methods work best starting from puppyhood.

Do German Schnauzers bark a lot?

They have a tendency to bark more than the average dog. Without proper training and exercise, nuisance barking can become an issue. Reward quiet behavior during training.


The German Schnauzer is a versatile hybrid breed that combines the best traits of the Giant Schnauzer and German Shepherd dogs. They make loyal guardians and active companions for experienced owners who enjoy training dogs.

With their alert, intelligent nature they excel at various working, sporting, and family roles. Early socialization and obedience training is key. When provided with sufficient exercise, stimulation, and quality time with family, the German Schnauzer will thrive.

These impressive dogs are not for everyone, but can make wonderful additions to the right household. If you have the time, energy, and dog experience to give them proper care and training, you’ll find a faithful friend in the German Schnauzer.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.