Large dog breeds: loving companions with high standards

 Dogs that have grown large are characterized by an imposing appearance and are ideally suited as guard or protection dogs. At the same time, almost every large breed of dog impresses with its loyal, well-balanced, and self-confident nature when kept correctly. However, there are a few things to consider before getting a large dog. Find out in our expert guide how large dogs enrich the lives of their owners and what demands they place on keeping them.

Large dog breeds: loving companions with high standards

When are dogs considered big?

Dogs are considered large if they are over 60 centimeters tall. The indication of the body size refers to the average height at the withers specified in the breeding standards. This is measured from the floor to the highest point of the shoulder blades. There are sometimes enormous differences between the individual large dog breeds with regard to the height at the withers. While the height at the withers boxer can be between 56 and 64 centimeters, the Irish wolfhound, the largest dog breed, has a height at the withers of up to 90 centimeters or even more. In terms of body weight, however, the Mastiff is considered the largest dog breed. Compared to a mastiff, which can weigh up to a hundred kilograms, the Irish wolfhound weighs only about half that. The up to 70 centimeters tall Saluki can even be described as a true flyweight with its average weight of 20 kilograms.

The characteristics of large dog breeds

Each large breed of dog has very individual characteristics. The most important factor in their development is the type of work the dogs were originally bred for. Nevertheless, the following applies to large dog breeds in general: they have an extremely loyal, mostly very loving, and self-confident character.

While many large dog breeds have a pronounced guarding and protective instinct, some are very sensitive, and calm, and therefore only partially suitable for courageously defending house and family. If you are planning to get a large dog, you should do thorough research on the individual characteristics of the specific breed of dog.

The advantages of large dog breeds

Choosing a large dog breed is largely a matter of personal preference. Owners of large dogs value their four-legged friends not only for their strength of character but also for their majestic appearance. This alone makes large dog breeds more of a deterrent to potential attackers or burglars. If you want a companion to defend you, your family, and your home and property, large dog breeds are like the German sheepdog, the Doberman, a Giant Schnauzer, or Hovawart generally recommended. People who are active in sports are generally better off with a large dog than with a small breed. Big dog breeds like that Rhodesian Ridgeback or Dalmatian can keep up much better with you if you want to run a lot and long in nature, ride a bike, or do other outdoor sports. However, you should find out more about the breed of your choice in terms of agility before you buy it. While many large dogs are very enduring, the musculoskeletal system of other large breeds is less well suited to long runs due to their physique.

Is a large dog breed suitable for a family with children?

There is no general answer to this question, although the basic characteristics of large dog breeds clearly speak in favor of keeping them in a family. Many large dog breeds are considered to be extremely fond of children, patient, and gentle. Large dogs are also much more robust than some small breeds and are therefore less sensitive to being handled roughly by a child. At the same time, however, they often have an impetuous nature and move somewhat awkwardly in some situations. Small children are at an increased risk of injury when playing with a large dog. Small breeds are therefore a better choice for families with small children. In our guide, aboutsmall dog breeds we introduce you to some particular family and child-friendly four-legged friends who are in no way inferior to their larger conspecifics in terms of liveliness, robustness, livability, and protective instinct.

Bigger children and their parents will like a family-friendly large dog breed like that boxer, theGolden retriever, or airedale Terriersbut in any case the ideal companion for active and varied leisure activities.

What special requirements do large dog breeds have?

In order for your coexistence with a large dog to be harmonious, various aspects must be considered before purchasing. The training of large dog breeds is particularly demanding. An insufficiently socialized and trained large dog can cause significant problems in everyday life for both its owners and those around them.

While this also applies to small dog breeds, they are easier to control due to their small size. In addition, a small dog with behavioral problems is perceived less as a danger by neighbors or passers-by than a large one. Due to the increased body weight, many large dog breeds often develop joint problems as they age. In the first few years of life, they should therefore climb stairs as little as possible. Keep this in mind if you live on the third floor or if your house has multiple floors. Compared to small dogs, large dog breeds usually have a much stronger urge to move and are therefore better suited to being kept in a house with a garden. With enough exercise, keeping them in an apartment is not impossible, but large dogs generally need a lot of space.

How much exercise do large dogs need?

Dogs must be exercised! If they don't, they are dissatisfied to the point of unhappiness and can even become aggressive. There are various factors that play a major role when a dog breed is released:

  1. Age. Regardless of whether the dog breed is small or large, dogs get older and therefore become sluggish. This has an effect on the declining leg muscles of dogs as they age. When they are young, dogs need a lot more exercise and exercise as they are full of energy and have the urge to explore.
  2. The dog breed. Breeds like the Siberian Husky need two to three hours of exercise a day and are not fully utilized after that. With a size of 50-60 cm, they are therefore a large breed of dog that needs a lot of exercises. The Chow-Chow, on the other hand, is rather sluggish and doesn't want to exercise much. Like the husky, it grows to a height of 50 – 60 cm. From the character and energy of a dog, you can estimate how much the dog needs to be exhausted.
Therefore, before you buy a dog, find out whether you can find the time you need alongside school, a hobby, or a job.

The limitation associated with large dog breeds

On-air travel, large dogs can only be transported in the cargo hold, which is associated with a high level of stress for the animals. Large dogs take up a lot of space in a car and hardly fit in a small car. Taking it with you to restaurants and public facilities is complicated if not impossible due to its size. It can also be more difficult to find suitable accommodation when traveling with a large dog since many hotel operators and vacation rental owners only allow small pets. Also, before you get one, keep in mind that large dogs have a shorter life expectancy than most small breeds. This aspect is particularly important from an emotional point of view. Before purchasing, also consider whether you will be able to carry your four-legged friend if he becomes ill or can no longer move due to old age. You can easily lift and carry a small dog on your own. With a body weight of 50 kilograms, on the other hand, at least two people are needed.

Are large dogs more expensive than small dogs?

Yes, large dog breeds cost significantly more than their smaller counterparts in some areas. You need considerably more feed and the basic equipment (dog basket) is also associated with higher costs in the larger version. If you own a large dog, you also have to reckon with the fact that many everyday activities come with additional costs or restrictions.

The life expectancy of large dog breeds

Unfortunately, large dog breeds usually die earlier than small breeds. But why is it like that? According to studies, this is because large dog breeds age faster than small ones. In addition, the strain on the muscles and joints of large dogs is higher because they are heavier than small ones. As they age, they become sluggish and can only move with difficulty. Small dogs, on the other hand, are much more agile and still very active when they are older. It also depends on whether your dog is a purebred or a mixed breed. Mixed breeds always live longer than pedigree dogs. In addition to nutrition, the environment you offer the animal is also important. Rural dogs often have a longer lifespan than city dogs. On the other hand, the sex of the animal is not important, because regardless of whether it is female or male,

When are large dogs fully grown?

When a dog grows, it depends on the breed of the dog. For example, small dogs mature faster than large dogs. The average of all dog breeds is 12 months. For large dog breeds, however, it can also be up to 18 months. By the time the dog is 18 months old, it has normally reached its ideal weight and maximum height. It is then in the hands of the owner to maintain that weight.

How old do big dogs get?

The average age of a large dog is ten to twelve years. In the case of particularly large breeds, it can even be as little as eight to ten years. Almost everyone knows the old rule of thumb that one dog year equals seven human years. However, this theory is outdated, since small dogs can live up to 18 years and they would then theoretically be 126 human years old.

Disease susceptibility of large dogs

Big dog breeds really don't have it easy in life getting old. They are often plagued by diseases in contrast to their smaller conspecifics. The big dog can get diseases such as panosteitis (inflammation of the skin in the bone) or osteosarcoma (bone tumor, "cancer"), and you should see the vet immediately. Dogs, in general, tend to hide their pain, making it difficult for owners to diagnose an illness. With panosteitis, dogs do not want to signal pain. However, they become more sluggish and have pain in their bones and joints. Often it also leads to them lying on the ground in the middle of running. So if you see any minor signs of increasing lethargy, it is better to visit your veterinarian so that your dog does not experience any pain.

Another disease that is often diagnosed in large dog breeds is osteosarcoma, also known as canine cancer. This disease requires immediate action. The affected limbs of the dog may need to be amputated to prevent cancer from spreading throughout the body. Your dog can continue to live a happy life despite an amputation. Large dog breeds are at high risk of torsion, especially deep-chested breeds. Gastric torsion is the turning of the stomach 180 degrees. This can be the case with frantic and wild movements and often occurs after the dog has eaten. The stomach bloats quickly and the dog's circulation is severely impaired. This is a real emergency and if left untreated can lead to the death of the animal,

Large dogs - loyal and active partners for a varied everyday life

Do you like to be out and about in the great outdoors, would you like to have an intensive relationship with your pet and are willing to take their needs into account when doing leisure activities? Then a big dog is a perfect companion for you. Thanks to their loyal nature, their pronounced talents as guard and protection dogs, and their love of exercise, large dog breeds transform their owners' everyday life into a constant adventure.
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