Giant Dog Breeds: The Truth
I love dogs, and that includes all dog breeds. As I’ve said before here, however, I especially love giant dog breeds. I think they’re the best dogs in the world! I’ve owned, worked with, or had friends or family members with several different large dog breeds, including the Great Dane, the Akita, the Mastiff, the Great Pyrenees, the St. Bernard, the Rottweiler, the Shiloh shepherd, and the Anatolian shepherd. All these big dogs were or are amazing companions. Currently, I have two Great Danes, and I’m considering adding another to our pack of humans and big dogs. Join me in this article about the largest dog breeds!
Advantages of Giant Dog Breeds
Most really big dogs have wonderful temperaments. Think of them as big teddy bears. They’re great for snuggling, and most of them are awesome with kids. Large dogs are tougher and more durable than smaller canines, and most have a lot more patience and a higher level of tolerance. I’m sure this is a subjective assumption on my part, but big dogs just seem more affectionate and loving than their smaller counterparts. They form an amazing bond with their human families.
These breeds are also great for protection. Several large dog breeds have a natural protective instinct, and these big dogs will do whatever they need to do in order to keep you and your family safe. Even those that lack the protective instinct are wonderful at discouraging potential criminals, just because of their immense size and their deep menacing-sounding growls and barks. Few evil-doers want to tangle with a huge snarling canine that has inch-long fangs!
Most giant dog breeds were bred for some type of work, and you can use them for this purpose. For example, when my kids were small, we had a female Great Dane named Ebony. I made a harness for her and attached it to a large wagon. Ebony loved pulling the kids around in the wagon! I’m thinking of having hubby make me a dog cart that I can use with my “team” of Great Danes. Large breed dogs often serve as hunters, too. Many hog hunters are now using Great Danes for the purpose for which they were originally bred – wild boar hunting.
I really like the fact that most large breed dogs are very calm and laid back indoors. In fact, my two Danes are very lazy dogs! They’ll run and play outdoors for short periods, but they’re always ready to return to their comfy couch, their air conditioning or heat, and their television.
Disadvantages of Giant Dog Breeds
Some large breed dogs can be stubborn and strong willed. You’ll need to make sure these big dogs understand from the beginning that you’re the pack leader. Training should begin during puppyhood. Don’t wait until the dog reaches 150-200 pounds!
Of course, large breed dogs eat more than their smaller relatives. Fortunately, most of them don’t eat as much as you might think, largely due to their slower metabolisms. We don’t spend a fortune feeding our Danes. In fact, we spend less on dog food than we spend on cat food for the feral cats we take care of. That being said, you’ll spend more feeding a Great Dane than you would feeding a Chihuahua.
You’ll also spend more on dog supplies and medical treatments for big dog breeds. For example, you’ll need a larger collar, a larger leash, a larger dog crate, and a larger dog bed. Monthly heart worm preventative will cost more, and most medical treatments will be more expensive for large dogs. Most kennels also charge more for boarding large dogs.
Some owners report that their large dogs have a problem with flatulence, but I haven’t had this problem with my big dogs. Some giant dog breeds are notorious droolers, but this isn’t true of all giant dog breeds. I’ve only had one Dane that was a drooler. The other eight Great Danes I’ve owned didn’t drool at all.
In my opinion, the saddest part of owning giant dog breeds is their short life expectancy and their health problems. Most of these breeds are susceptible to hip dysplasia, and some are more prone to dog bloat, a life-threatening condition. To give you an idea of the typical life spans of these dogs, the average life span of the Irish wolfhound is 6.2 years, and the Dogue de Bordeaux’s is even shorter, at slightly less than 6 years. At the other end of the scale, you’ll find some breeds that live to be about 14 years old, like the Shiloh shepherd.
List of the Largest Dog Breeds
- African Boerboel
- Akbash dog
- Anatolian shepherd
- Black Russian terrier
- Canis panther
- Caucasian Ovcharka
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- Great Dane
- Greater Swiss Mountain dog
- Great Pyrenees
- Irish wolfhound
- Kangal dog
- Maso mastiff
- Neapolitan mastiff
- Pakistani mastiff
- Presa Canario
- Pyrenean mastiff
- Romanian mioritic
- Saint Bernard
- Scottish deerhound
- Shiloh shepherd
- Spanish mastiff
- Tibetan mastiff
Be sure Before You Fall in Love!
It’s easy to fall in love with big dogs. They’re beautiful, charming, and extremely loveable. Before you do, however, know beforehand what you’re getting into. Make sure you have the time and resources to devote to a giant canine. Adding a very large dog to your family is a lot different than bringing home a toy poodle. Most of these big dogs will absolutely adore you and the rest of their human family, and it would break their massive hearts to be separated from their beloved pack. Of course, this is true of all dog breeds, but sadly, large dog breeds end up in shelters and rescues more often.