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How to Groom a Giant Schnauzer

Oct 12, 2023
5 Schnauzers

Giant Schnauzers are magnificent dogs with a commanding presence and a distinct appearance. Originally from Germany, these intelligent and energetic canines have a coat that is as unique as their personality. 

Grooming a Giant Schnauzer can be challenging yet rewarding, as their coat requires special attention to maintain their impressive appearance. This guide will walk you through the correct grooming procedures, standard practices, and other essential aspects of keeping your Giant Schnauzer looking its best.

A Quick Summary of Breed Facts & Characteristics

Before diving into grooming, it's essential to understand the key characteristics of the Giant Schnauzer:

The Giant Schnauzer boasts a powerful, muscular, and square build with a rectangular head and arched eyebrows. Its defining features are its full mustache and beard, giving it a distinguished appearance. When grooming, remember that this breed has very little soft or fluffy coat; the goal is a tailored look showcasing the dog's impressive physique.

  • Country of Origin: Germany
  • Height at Shoulder: 23"-27"
  • Coat Length/Type: Hard/Wiry
  • Color: Salt and pepper or black

How Often Should You Groom a Giant Schnauzer?

Maintaining a well-groomed Giant Schnauzer requires a specific grooming schedule. Typically, you should bathe your Giant Schnauzer once a week to once every 12 weeks, depending on its activity level and lifestyle. To keep your Schnauzer's coat looking stylish, trim it every four to six weeks.

The Best Grooming Process for Giant Schnauzers

Pre-grooming Steps 

Before you start the grooming process, there are some essential pre-work tasks:

  • Nail Trimming: Trim or grind your dog's nails every four to six weeks to maintain healthy foot structure.
  • Ear Cleaning: Swab your dog's ears with a mild ear-cleaning solution to prevent infections. Only pluck ear hair as necessary for ear health.
  • Removing Serious Mats: Before bathing, carefully go over your dog's body to remove any significant mats or tangles. If a tangle can be penetrated with water, leave it and remove it after the bath.


Ensuring your Giant Schnauzer is tangle-free is crucial before any haircut. Use a firm, slicker brush or a wide-toothed comb to work through the entire body methodically. Pay close attention to areas where mats and tangles tend to hide, such as behind the ears, around the ruff, armpits, thighs, undercarriage, and tail.

Pattern Lines

The grooming pattern for a Giant Schnauzer should highlight its bone and muscle structure, with no visible lines once finished. Use the following guidelines for specific areas:


The body's pattern lines start at the turn of the shoulder, continue to just above the elbow, and then drop into the thigh region. Use typical blades ranging from #10 to #7F for pet grooming. 

Some stylists find that reversing a slightly longer blade is effective for achieving a smooth finish on the body. Feather off at transition points with clippers for a smooth and steady finish. If the pattern line is still visible, use thinning shears to blend it.


Keep the undercarriage coat short, allowing it to get longer as you move towards the brisket. This creates the illusion of a deep chest. Viewed in profile, the distance from the elbow to the foot should be equal to the distance between the withers and the brisket. The pattern line should be well-blended and invisible.

Tail & Rear

Trim the top side of the tail with the same blade used for the body. Clip the underside of the tail and the inner side of the cowlick lines on the back of the thighs. Blend the lines so they are invisible. 

Legs should be left fuller and fall into straight columns from the body to the feet, both on the front and rear legs. The hocks should be well let down, and there should be enough coat to accentuate the angles of the rear assembly.


Expose the thigh muscle with the same blade used on the body. Feather off with the blade where the muscle starts to turn under on a diagonal line from the flank region to about three or four fingers above the hock. 

The pattern line should be invisible when the trim is finished. The longest coat on the legs can range from 1 to 3.5 inches, depending on the amount of bone and coat density.

Front Legs

The coat on the front legs can range from ⅐ of an inch to 3 inches, depending on the dog's size, bone structure, and coat density. Ensure the front legs drop straight down from the body and have ample bone and muscle. 

The pattern line at the shoulder is about 1 or 2 fingers above the top of the elbow, where the muscle begins to turn under. Feather off at the blending point, either with the same blade used for the body or using an attachment comb, hand-scissoring, and thinning shears. The legs should form two parallel columns from the elbow to tight, round feet.


The feet are small and compact, with well-arched toes. Trim the feet very close to the edge, exposing some nail. Ensure that the feet point straight ahead without toeing in or out. Trim the feet round by creating a square shape while the dog stands naturally, then remove the sharp corners and round the feet.

Throat & Chest

Blades ranging from #10 to #7E are standard in the throat area, used with or against the grain, depending on the dog's skin sensitivity. Follow the natural cowlick line that forms a "V" shape from the base of the ears towards the bottom of the neck. 

The blending point begins about 3 or 4 fingers above the breastbone and drops to just below the turn of the muscle at the elbow/shoulder, creating a "W" shape when viewed straight on. Ensure that the neck, chest, and front legs drop straight when viewed in profile.

The Head

The head requires special attention when grooming a Giant Schnauzer:

Top Skull

  • The top of the head can be clipped as close as a #10 used with the grain to a #7F or #5F, used with or against the grain, depending on the coat's density and the dog's sensitivity.
  • Ears: Both cropped and uncropped ears are clipped with a close blade. Use a #10 or #15 blade on the outside of the ear leather and a #40 blade on the inside.
  • Work from the base or center of the ear toward the edge, gently bracing the ear with your fingers.
  • Finish by trimming around the outside edge of the ear leather with small finishing shears.


  • To form the arched, triangular eyebrows, follow the eye socket rim, working with or against the grain.
  • Schnauzers have a slight stop between the eyes, which acts as a natural split for the brows. You can either lightly clip this area when clipping the top skull or leave it to be done by hand with thinning shears.
  • Shape the brows into long arched triangles, with them being very short at the back corner of the eye and longer at the tips, coming almost halfway down the bridge of the nose.

Throat & Cheeks

  • The throat and cheek areas are clipped using blades ranging from #10 to #7F, with or against the grain.
  • Use the natural cowlick line of the neck to guide the creation of the "U" or "V" shape of the throat.
  • Any hair falling outside the cheekbone line needs to be removed, while hair inside the line should remain to create the correct rectangular head style.

Wrapping Up

By following these guidelines, you can groom your Giant Schnauzer to maintain its distinctive and impressive appearance. Remember that grooming is not only about aesthetics but also about your pet's health and well-being. Regular grooming sessions will help ensure your Giant Schnauzer stays healthy, comfortable, and stylish.


It's absolutely free!