Living Large with Large Dog
A large dog can be a good idea for your family, since you can have a reasonably imposing guard dog, a nanny, and a pet all in one package. However, there are many considerations for large dog breeds.
For example, the cost alone of taking care of them and keeping them well-fed can take a big slice out of your home budget. Still, there is nothing like a dog that can be your literally larger than life companion. And, let’s face it, having a big dog is much more fun when you’re out taking your dog for a walk, or if you’re just having fun with your canine friend in the park.
The popularity of large dog breeds stems largely from the fact that they can perform multiple functions. Even if they aren’t really guard dogs, their size can intimidate most intruders. Many large dogs are also very caring when it comes to children. But do remember that these traits depend on the dog breed in general, and on the dog itself. The idea of having a big bundle of loyalty at your side really can be irresistible, though – and in some cases, worth all the headaches. And as long as you are fine with some of the slobber that some large dogs can generate, you’ll be fine!
Pros and cons
There are some significant issues that you have to deal with, if you’re going to own a large dog. The following are important facts to remember about these large dog breeds:
- They are perfect for suburban or countryside homes. These environments need the presence of guard dogs, and the wide spaces are necessary for them to keep their muscle toned.
- Some breeds, like the Golden and Labrador Retrievers, are very family-friendly. Depending on the breed, they can be very, very protective of children in the family, probably treating them as a separate species of “human,” or treating them as their own pups.
- Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have large dogs in an apartment setting. However, this does mean that you have to give them enough exercise, with trips to the park and a lot of walking. As long as they get their exercise, they’ll be perfectly happy to lounge around for the rest of the day.
- Larger dogs tend to be calmer inside the house (at least, once they’ve had their walk), preferring to use their energies for fun and frolic outside of it. However, they also love cushioned furniture, and will happily take over the sofa or bed.
- Larger dogs tend to be very intelligent and take to dog training better than smaller breeds. When being trained, larger dogs are often eager to learn, and will enjoy the whole process.
- However, you will need a big budget. And the larger they are, the more you have to spend, from food costs to veterinary fees.
- Traveling with large dogs will require research and considerations. You must check with your accommodations to see if they will accept them, or if you have to find separate accommodations.
- Larger dogs tend to have more health concerns, some of them brought about by their rapid growth spurts to reach their adult sizes. Do be aware of these health concerns, so you can have a happier, healthier dog.
As long as they get their daily amount of needed exercise, large dogs tend to be very relaxed inside the house, and many of the breeds, if trained right, are perfectly happy to be impromptu furniture for their human pack members. They are also very affectionate to their masters and their family, and this may mean that you have to introduce friends and visitors properly to them. Otherwise, they may scare outsiders, given that a low, rumbling growl from these large pooches is already enough to make most people think about even going near a house. As mentioned before, they are very intelligent, and can understand more about a situation than you think.
Sadly, large dog breeds tend to have shorter lifespans – and the larger the dog, the shorter the life expectancy. The average is around 10 to 12 years, but some of the larger breeds live only an average of eight. Some people attribute this to the rapid growth that some of them experience, which may put undue strain on the body, making them vulnerable to fractures, tumors and other serious health concerns.
Is this kind of dog for you?
These dogs can work for you if you’re one of two kinds of people. The first kind is if you’re the outdoorsy type, who loves to either walk or hike a lot, or simply be outside the house doing something. On the other hand, you might be an urban dweller who simply loves the idea of a “big dog” hanging around, and is willing to spend the time and money to make sure your canine companion won’t be lacking for love or attention.