If you are enamored with giant dog breeds, rest assured, you are in good company. Owning bigger dog breeds has been on the rise in the past five years, according to Lisa Peterson, the American Kennel Club spokesperson. While there are no general guidelines as to what official height or weight classifies a dog under the giant dog breed category, some categorize them as dogs weighing over 100 pounds. Examples of giant dog breeds include the English mastiff, Saint Bernard, Irish wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Great Dane and many more. If you are considering a dog of this size, you may be interested in learning more about the advantages and disadvantages of owning giant dog breeds.
Advantages of Giant Dog Breeds
Giant dog breeds are not dogs for everyone. The ideal owner must be willing to invest time in socializing and training these powerful dogs. Failing to do so may result in serious behavior problems and lack of control. A poorly socialized and poorly trained big dog can turn out being a big liability, but on a brighter note, a well-socialized and well-trained one has the potential to make a wonderful companion with many perks.
As wine, giant dog breeds tend to get better as they age. While they are generally slow to mature, once they do, they bloom into relaxed, calm fellows, that, compared to smaller and medium dogs, don’t have as much demanding exercise requirements. A nice daily walk will usually do to make these dogs happy. It’s not uncommon, therefore, for these dogs to be big softies who just love to cuddle on the couch.
Giant dog breeds are wonderful deterrents for those looking for good watch dogs. Whether they’re barking to enthusiastically greet people or tell them to get off their turf, it doesn’t matter, their sheer size and booming voices are quite effective deterrents. Many giant dog breeds are very protective of their family and their turf especially when they sense a threat, yet, once you invite friends and family over, they’ll be happy to give them a warm welcome. Early socialization will help them differentiate friend from foe.
Compared to the many little, yappy ankle biters who are insecure and afraid of their own shadows, giant dog breeds with the right temperament tend to be much more confident. A well-socialized and well-trained giant dog breed has the potential to become a wonderful family dog that won’t feel intimidated by people and is adaptable to meeting friends.
Disadvantages of Giant Dog Breeds
Often, people purchase dogs without really knowing what they get into. To avoid heartaches, it’s best to research the breed and keep into account that dogs don’t remain puppies. While a giant breed puppy is clumsy and adorable, it must be remembered that they grow in size considerably and things can get a bit problematic 100 pounds later.
Bull in a China Shop
These dogs will obviously needs some space to romp around so they won’t do too well in a home full of clutter unless you don’t mind cleaning up what may look like the after math of a tornado. While you won’t need a multifamily property to house your giant dog breed, keep in mind the boisterous jumping and play when your giant breed dog is young. However, once these dogs mature and mellow down, there are chances they may even do well in smaller living quarters. Keep in mind though that many hotels, apartment complexes and rental properties may not accept dogs over a certain size and weight.
Sadly, being large comes at a price. Because these dogs are big and heavy, those extra pounds put strain on their joints, so they are quite prone to orthopedic problems. Many giant dogs are also prone to serious health conditions such as bone cancer, heart conditions and bloat. Also, it’s quite sad but many of these giant dog breeds have quite short life spans compared to other dogs.
And again, being large comes at price, but this time we’re talking dollars. Giant dogs need to eat more, so they’ll go through a bag of food in no time. You’ll also have to buy bigger bowls, bigger dog beds and when they require medications, they often need two to three times more. When you board them, the larger kennels may cost more, when you travel, they’ll have to fly as baggage, and when you groom them, you may be charged higher rates. And, last but not least, when you must pick up after them, you’ll likely need an industrial mop and carry an extra-large pooper scooper!
The Bottom Line
Whether you own a giant dog breed or are planning to get one, one thing is for sure: these dogs sure live up to their name. They are the gentle giants of the dog world and they know it, even though they may sometimes forget about it and pretend to be the sweetest lap dogs.