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What Breed of Dog is Tank on FBI International? History, Appearance & More

Written by: Brooke Bundy

Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

What Breed of Dog is Tank on FBI International? History, Appearance & More

Known on FBI International as “Tank” or “Schutzhund,” this dog is actually a Giant Schnauzer. The breed is commonly raised in Europe to be used as a police dog and originated in Germany in the 10th century. Schutzhund doesn’t refer to the breed, but means “protection dog” in German, and refers to a particular type of service dog training. Here are some more facts about the Giant Schnauzer that you might like to know.

The Giant Schnauzer at a Glance

Group: Working
Weight: 55-95 lbs.
Height: 23-27 inches at the shoulder
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Color: Black or salt-and-pepper fur
Giant-Schnauzer_Shutterstock_Eliska-Zeiskova
Image By: Eliska Zeiskova, Shutterstock

History

The Giant Schnauzer is a separate breed from the Standard or Miniature Schnauzer, although they look similar. They were originally bred in the Germans Alps in the 10th century and have flourished in the region for over a millennium as a loyal guard dog and farm hand.

The Standard Schnauzer was the first Schnauzer breed, and they were often used to guard homes and butcher shops. Farmers started to notice their stately appearance and decided that they wanted to use them for cattle driving, but they were a little too small to work cattle. Over time, the farmers bred the Standard Schnauzer with driving dogs such as the Great Dane to increase its size. It’s rumored that the Bouvier des Flandres might have been in the mix.

Eventually, what’s now known as the Giant Schnauzer resulted from the breeding experiment near Munich. For years, the Giant Schnauzer was called the Münchener, which is German for “inhabitant of Munich.” The German people have been carefully breeding the Giant Schnauzer ever since to retain its unique size and shape. Considering that breed still possesses distinct characteristics, they appear largely successful in their efforts.

As the agrarian lifestyles shifted more towards urban dwellings, the Giant Schnauzer transitioned back from a farm dog to a guard dog, this time watching after breweries, shops, and even entire towns. Near the beginning of the 20th century, Germany began utilizing the Giant Schnauzer as police dogs. They were largely unknown to the rest of the world until the later 1900s, but when they came to the United States they weren’t as readily received for work. Ironically, the U.S. Government preferred dogs with lower maintenance grooming like the German Shepherd over the German Giant Schnauzer for police and military work.

Giant Schnauzer In the field
Image By: Elena Kutepova, Pixabay

Appearance

Giant Schnauzers look like massive versions of Standard and Miniature Schnauzers, although their personalities can differ according to breed. The Giant Schnauzer typically weighs 55-85 lbs., but they can reach up to 95 lbs. They’re solidly built and measure between 23-27 inches tall at the shoulders. The signature mustache is a hallmark of the breed, and they usually have black or salt-and-pepper fur.

Personality

The Giant Schnauzer is fiercely loyal to its owner and their family. Black and white pictures abound of these gentle giants protecting small children and accompanying their owners into the Alps. Due to their high intelligence and energy levels, they’re proficient at dog sports if given the proper training.

Although exercise is important for every breed, the Giant Schnauzer requires more than usual. If they’re not given the time and space to run, they’ll invent their own mischief. Ideally, the Giant needs at least 40 minutes of exercise every day.

Bored Giant Black Schnauzer dog
Image By: Frank11, Shutterstock

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03 Conclusion

Tank on FBI International represents the job of the modern Giant Schnauzer in Germany by portraying him as a working police dog. In the United States, this breed is acclimating to their new role as a pet and an active participant in dog championship. Last year, a Giant Schnauzer named Bayou won the 2021 AKC National Championship—the first of its breed to earn the award. The Giant Schnauzer is a highly adaptable breed that’s worked many different jobs over its long history, but still looks similar to when the breed began.


Featured Image Credit: Characters by  CBS Studios, Inc., property of Paramount.  All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

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