The Giant Schnauzer needs to have its coat regularly maintained. If you intend to show your Giant, you will need to learn how to hand strip, clip and groom your Giant specifically for the show ring. If your Giant is going to be simply a loved family pet, it will be easier to keep their coat clipped. This needs to be done every 8 -10 weeks to keep the dog in shape. To keep the Giant Schnauzer looking in excellent condition, you need to regularly groom its coat. Regular brushing with a Slicker brush helps to remove any loose dead hair, it also helps to keep the longer leg and beard hair from matting. This is the only type of brush that will actually get through the Giants longer hair. After brushing the dog with a slicker brush, a thorough comb through is necessary to remove any smaller tangles that maybe left. Although the Giant is customarily a “stripped Breed” it still sheds its coat.
The coat needs to be regularly dragged out with a fine-toothed comb. Even those of you that intend to have your giants clipped, should do this, as the old dead coat gets trapped and all of a sudden the giants coat goes thick and dusty and who knows what is crawling around in there.
Bathing the Giant regularly, will not affect the dogs coat, on the contrary, because the skin is clean it will promote healthy hair production. There are many good shampoos on the market specifically formulated for harsh coats, but the secret is in the rinsing. Rinse well and there will be no scurf. A few drops of vinegar, added to the final rinse, will leave the coat really shiny without having to use a conditioning sheen.
For those of you that find drying your giant a pain, we recommend a “blaster” or forced air dryer. This machine can be expensive but what it will save you in time and towels its worth every penny. This type of dryer can also be used to “dry clean” your dog; it removes loose dead hair, dust etc. great for when they’ve just come in from that muddy walk!
What do you do about those matted beards? If you can keep your dogs beard washed and combed regularly it shouldn't get messy, but if you find it hard to cope with there is such a thing as a matt-breaker. Again, it’s a little expensive, but it will save hair and remove the knot, rather than having to “chop it out”. It has 5 teeth that each has tiny barbs on them and you work from the end of the mat to the root. DONT dig in and pull the mat from the root. That’s a good excuse to be bitten hard!!!
As for clippers, there isn’t one particular model that is the best. The most versatile and easy to use model has to be the Oster A5.The twin speed is better than the single speed as it doesn't seem to get as hot (as long as you remember to clean and oil your blades). Their blades are cheap enough and easy to buy, and the machine is reasonably priced too. Andis are great for puppies and nervous dogs as it is quieter but it doesn’t tolerate a thick coat.
As for stripping knives, the choice is vast, and it is a matter of personal taste. The most popular knives used by Schnauzer people are the Miki knives; blue for course, red for fine. These are not too expensive and can be bought almost everywhere. Some use Mars 99M326, some use a yellow McCellan (course). If you have large hands, a Classic course or fine is comfortable to use. If you are thinking of “hand stripping” by finger and thumb, we would suggest using finger cotts. These are made of rubber and they help to grip the hair. Also ring 5 grooming powder for harsh coats helps to make a better grip.
To help remove excess undercoat, a stripping stone is great. You just scrap over the coat and remove the dead hair. We find that the best stones are the white ones sold by DezynaDog. They don’t crumble or break as easily as the black ones.
Another gadget that some find a necessity is a nail grinder. We’re sure you could count on one hand, the amount of Giants that DON”T object to having their nails cut. But with one of these grinders, it’s quick and painless and there is no sharp edges left on the nail. The grinder is also great if you are afraid of making the black nail bleed by cutting, as you would grind little and often, to keep the nails short.
Also for plucking the hair from inside the Giants ears, we suggest that a pair of non-locking forceps is the easiest to use. They have rounded ends and grooves for a better grip. If your Giant has waxy ears, Biogroom ear powder helps to grip the hair, whilst keeping the ear dry and fresh. Great to use for dusting, once you’ve cleaned the ear with ear cleaner.
Hopefully you’ve learnt something about how to make grooming the Giant easier. Everyone grooms their dogs differently, so it would not be fair for us to say what is right or wrong, as no two dogs are the same. It is simply a case of what suits your dog and your lifestyle.