History and Origin: The breed originated in Swabia in the southern part of Bavaria, Germany. They were originally called the Müchener. The breed was probably developed by crosses with Standard Schnauzers, Bouviers, black Great Danes, German shepherds and Dobermans. Their early use was as an all purpose farm dog able to drive cattle to market, pull carts and as a guardian for home and property
General Appearance: Large, strong, powerful, robust dog, nearly squarely built. Thick wiry coat is weather resistant. Ears are cropped or uncropped. Tail docked 3-4 inches. Longish full beard and eyebrows. Very substantial dog with commanding appearance when alert. Size: males 25 ½ to 27 ½ 60-85 pounds Females: 23 ½ to 25 ½ 55-75 pounds. This breed is impressive in stature and guarding ability.
Coat and Colour: Double coated with harsh wiry outer coat and softer undercoat for protection from the elements. Hair on legs is somewhat softer and longer. Only allowable colours are solid jet black and salt and pepper (banded hairs produce the grey colour which can be light grey to steel grey with grey undercoat) Beard is thick and full and eyebrows must never be so long as to obscure the eyes and vision. Coat care for the show dog would require hand stripping to maintain harshness. Family pets may be clippered for ease of grooming. Regular brushing is recommended. Do not shed excessively.
Feeding: choose a high quality food. Feed twice daily.
Training and obedience: An intelligent dog that responds easily to fair and consistent methods of training. This breed can excel in many dog sports including obedience, carting, agility, herding, search and rescue, tracking, Schutzhund, (German word for protection training) as a police and security dog and the breed was used extensively as a military dog in both great wars.
Activity: a high energy dog that requires good daily exercise either on a walk or running safely in a fenced area or field. Dog Parks are absolutely not an option. A good breed for a jogging enthusiast and they like to hike and swim.
Temperament: bold and courageous, dependable and loyal to their family. They can be territorial and may be aggressive with strange dogs. A first time owner needs to understand the breed completely and be diligent with early training.