If you place a Black Russian Terrier vs. a Giant Schnauzer, some people won’t be able to tell them apart. They both look like a big, lovely black pile of fur.
But when it comes to the traits, there are some differences that might help you decide between them as pets. That’s what we’ll explore in this detailed comparison. Let’s see!
Physical Characters: Height and Weight
When it comes to physical appearance, the Giant Schnauzers are not as “giant” as the Russian Black Terriers. The males of the latter reach a height of 27-30 inches, while the females range around 26-29 inches. Both can weigh around 80-130 pounds.
As for the Giant Schnauzers, the males can reach up to 25.5-27.5 inches in height and 60-85 pounds in weight. While the females can only grow to 23.5-25.5 inches and 55-75 pounds.
Clearly, both breeds are categorized as large dogs. Take a look at our list of large dog breeds to find out who else is in this category.
Breed History: What Is Their Background?
The Giant Schnauzers trace back to the 1800s. They were bred in the Bavarian Alps as work dogs. They drove cattle and guarded properties. They were used later for military purposes by the European police.
On the other hand, the Black Russian Terriers are fairly new. They were bred by the Russians before World War II. They needed tireless dogs with high stamina and a thick coat to roam the extra cold Russian borders. And that’s exactly what they got!
The funny thing is, the Black Russian Terriers were bred from over 15 breeds, and the Giant Schnauzer is one of them. Some breeders believe that the Rottweilers and the Airedale Terriers are among the others.
The Coat: How Thick Is It?
Both breeds have a unique and stunning black double coat. But it’s not all good news, though. Their thick coat doesn’t shed as often as other breeds. That’s why they require grooming once per week and professional clipping every two months.
Otherwise, the coat will tangle and cause discomfort to your dog. Neglect it for long periods and it’ll actually develop serious skin diseases.
We suggest using the Furminator de-shedding tool for both breeds. It’s super convenient to use on any large breed weighing over 50 pounds.
Both breeds have thick hair around their mouth. This area has to be cleaned after each meal as food particles tend to get stuck there.
Do you want a black-colored dog with a low-maintenance coat? We can help! We’ve compiled a list of the best 10 big black dog breeds out there. So make sure to check it out.
Temperament: How Do They Behave Around the House?
As both breeds share a somewhat similar military history, they’re strong, alert, and intelligent. This makes them exceptionally perfect as guard dogs.
However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t be cute pets. Both breeds show high affection and loyalty toward families. They aren’t that friendly around strangers, though.
Also, Giant Schnauzers are less kid-friendly. It’s better to avoid leaving children younger than 10 years unattended with them.
Owning other pets with these breeds might not be the right thing to do. They tend to be dominant and aggressive when provoked. That’s why it’s crucial to own them as puppies. This way, you can socialize them early on to easily develop this trait.
Both breeds are relatively calm by nature. They also become obedient if you train them properly. But like all working dogs, both breeds need constant exercise and playtime. Otherwise, they’ll get bored and start to show signs of aggression and disobedience.
Health: What Are Their Common Conditions?
By default, both breeds stay relatively healthy over their lifetime. However, being large dogs exposes them to a higher risk of hip and elbow dysplasia.
Also, the thick hair around their eyes makes them prone to multiple eye infections. But the Russian Terrier has a higher genetic tendency to develop a condition known as progressive retinal atrophy. This usually leaves them with cloudy vision or even total blindness.
Unlike the Giant Schnauzers, the droopy ears of the Black Terriers occasionally cause ear infections. Therefore, you’d have to regularly clean them using Q-tips.
On the other hand, the Giant Schnauzer has a higher risk of hypothyroidism. This condition transforms this active and tireless breed into a rather lethargic one.
Training: Is It Easy?
The Russian Black Terriers are somewhat similar to Russian soldiers. Their training isn’t easy, yet they turn out loyal and obedient if you do it correctly.
As we established, it’s important to socialize and train them as puppies to get the best result. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an independent dog that does whatever he likes.
On the other hand, the Giant Schnauzer is a bit easier to train. They’re more eager to please their owner, which makes them learn faster.
However, we don’t suggest either breed for first-time owners. They need someone with enough experience to know when to be playful and when to act firmly.
Exercising: How Often Should You Do It?
As we established, both of these dogs were bred for work and military purposes. Therefore, they aren’t suitable for owners who prefer to spend their day at home.
You need to maintain 1 hour of daily exercise, to say the least. Moreover, it’s important to be creative with their workouts to fight their boredom.
Don’t settle for daily walking and running. Engage them in hiking, bicycling, swimming, or even skiing. It’s also a good idea to add some puzzle games, like the buster cube, to engage their intelligent minds.
However, it’s important to dial it down for puppies, especially in their first year. You can use the five-minute rule to easily calculate how much exercise time is needed. For every month of age, train your puppy for 5 minutes per day.
For example, a 4-month-old puppy needs 20 minutes of training per day, while a 6-month-old needs 30 minutes.
In addition to the time limit, the puppies of both breeds shouldn’t be engaged in high-impact exercises like jumping. This is crucially important for the proper growth of their bones and joints.
Barking: Which Is Louder?
As the Giant Schnauzers were bred to drive cattle, they tend to bark more than the Black Russian Terrier.
Then again, barking depends on your training to a large extent. For example, if you properly socialize them, they won’t bark on every stranger that goes by your house.
Moreover, if your dog barks excessively, he might be begging you for attention. This is especially true for those companion breeds that love to stick by their owner’s side.
Lifespan: Which Lives Longer?
The Giant Schnauzer can live around 12-15 years, slightly surpassing the 10-12 years of the Black Russian Terrier.
However, this is merely an estimate. The actual age of your dog depends on factors like diet, exercise, medical care, emotional care, etc.
Which Is Better as a House Pet?
There’s no clear winner here. This depends on your needs, lifestyle, whether you have young kids, and how much time you’re willing to spend with your dog.
To Sum Up
Blackies and Schnauzers aren’t only similar visually, but also behaviourally. Both breeds came from working and military backgrounds. That’s why they became loyal, energetic, and intelligent.
This doesn’t mean they don’t have small differences, though. For starters, Black Russian Terriers tend to be bigger and heavier than Giant Schnauzers.
If you have kids younger than 10 years, go for a Black Russian Terrier. However, they’re slightly harder to train and socialize.
We hope that we’ve answered all your questions on the debate of Black Russian Terrier vs. Giant Schnauzer. If you have any questions, leave them in a comment below. We’d be happy to help!
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.