Monday, August 2, 2010
By Suzanne Alicie
There are benefits to having a small “pocket dog” you can carry around everywhere, and some people prefer smaller breeds. But for some of us, there’s just nothing like a big pushy lovable dog. Think of the Saint Bernard in the Beethoven movies. Sure, he was like a bull in a china shop and drooled a lot, but that sweet face and undying loyalty made him a scene stealer.
What actually qualifies a dog as a giant breed? There is no set weight or height requirement, however most people in the dog world consider a dog that weighs more than 100 pounds to be a giant breed. Simply put, giant breeds live up to the name. They are taller, longer, and heavier than most other dog breeds.
Because of their size you can imagine that a giant breed dog probably also needs a giant food dish! You are right; one of the hardest things about having a giant breed dog is realizing how much you will have to spend on dog food. Essentially, a single Great Dane may eat as much each day as two American bulldogs.
The expense of having a giant breed dog is one reason many owners have to give them up. Larger beds, larger collars and larger toys, as well as grooming and kennel fees are all more expensive than the same thing for a smaller breed of dog. The same goes for medications – because prescription dosages are based on the weight of the dog, you will have to give a giant breed dog a lot more of the medication than you would a smaller dog.
Giant breed dogs often have a shorter life span than other dogs, many times living as few as 6 years, with an older dog being 10 years old. They are also susceptible to more health problems with joints and bone diseases. While this may sound like a lot of issues to overcome just to raise a giant breed dog, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
Giant breed dogs tend to be mellow and relaxed adult dogs, of course an extra large puppy means you will have to make sure he is trained well and allowed plenty of exercise and room to explore and grow. Once a giant breed dog is fully grown they actually require less exercise than smaller dogs and if trained well can be quite happy even in an apartment.
Surely you’ve heard of the fictional giant breed Clifford the Big Red Dog. Clifford is loyal and very protective of his human, Emily. He follows her about and keeps an eye on her. This is what you can expect from a real life giant breed dog – loyalty, love and unwavering attention.
Simply put, there are pros and cons to every breed of dog and every size of dog. If you are considering a giant breed dog, make sure you can afford the greater expense, and can spare the extra time to train and attend to your pet. Once you make the decision, use a reputable breeder or look for a giant breed rescue to obtain a wonderful, loving, and very large dog.
Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie