I love my family—my sister, my mother, and two male dogs. My life is dedicated to helping animals. I love that, too.
Large Dog Breeds
I have always been a fan of big dogs. They are beautiful and can be surprisingly sweet. They usually make great companions, as they were bred to be working dogs as herders or pulling wagons.
Like big people, big dogs can suffer from some special health issues. Their joints, skeletons, and hearts take a beating carrying all that weight around. If you own a big dog, keep your eye out for any signs of wear and tear in your big, furry friend! If you're interested in getting a big dog, read on to learn more about several specific breeds:
- Great Dane
- German Shepherd
- Irish Wolfhound
- Scottish Deerhound
- Alaskan Malamute
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Doberman Pincher
- Giant Schnauzer
- Great Pyrenees
- Neopolitan Mastiff
- Saint Bernard
1. Great Dane
Great Danes appear in movies, such as 101 Dalmatians and Oliver and Company. They come in many different colors, including blue, black, black and white spotted, merle pattern, harlequin pattern, silver, fawn, brindle, and tan with black. They can stand anywhere between 30-34 inches high and weigh between 120–200 pounds.
Great Danes are known as the gentle giant of big dogs for many reasons. They are very good with children, they love to be around people, and they do not bark much. They will be aggressive, however, if they believe it is needed. They need to be trained as puppies not to jump or lean on people because they can do harm as they get older and bigger.
Surprisingly, these big dogs do okay living in apartments as long as they have plenty of space and get lots of exercise. It is not recommended to jog your puppy. Wait until they are about one year old.
Great Danes live to be only about 10 years old. But with a healthy breeder and healthy diet and lifestyle, some can live to be 12 and even 14. They are prone to hip dysplasia, bloat, tail injuries, tumors, and heart disease.
Bullmastiffs are very similar to Mastiffs, but they are also very different in many ways. The Bullmastiff is a massive, powerful dog. They have a short, dense coat that is sometimes slightly rough. They come in fawn or red with black on the face. They never have white on them, but some are brindle.
Bullmastiffs are devoted guard dogs, but will rarely attack. They like to catch an intruder, make them freeze, then hold them there. They are affectionate, docile, and almost always good-natured. They are fearless if they are provoked. At the same time, they are tolerant of children. These dogs are calm, loyal, and very trainable. The thrive on human leadership. They do need a firm master because of their physical strength. They are very bad droolers and they slobber and snore a lot.
They can live well in an apartment but must be exercised. They don't like to be active indoors, so they at least need a small yard. Bullmastiffs have an instinct to migrate, so they do need new places to go. If they have a schedule and go to the same places year after year, it will result in behavior issues.
A Bullmastiff's height can range from 25 to 27 inches. Their weight will be between 110 and 133 pounds. They do need a lot of space and a lot of food.
Like many big dogs, Bullmastiffs are prone to hip dysplasia. They may contract eyelid problems, cancer, tumors, and boils on their lips. They also are prone to bloat and gain weight really easily.
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Sadly, they live under 10 years. They can have up to 13 puppies in a litter, but average eight.
The Old English Mastiff is one of the first mastiffs bred for their size and the original dog given the name "Mastiff." Why, you ask? Look at its size! These are massive dogs. They were first used in 3000 BC as arena gladiators and for bull baiting, bear baiting, and dog-on-dog combat. They became more popular in England, where they were used as bodyguards. Caesar once said, "A lion is to a cat as a Mastiff is to a dog." Today, they are still used as working dogs for the military and police, and as watchdogs, guard dogs, rescue, and weight-pulling dogs.