Caring for giant breeds.

Giant breeds of dog are the ‘XL’s’ of the canine world and common examples would be Irish Wofhounds, Great Danes and Mastiffs.  Despite their conspicuous size, these dogs are often referred to as ‘gentle giants’ but they are not the perfect dog for everyone.  Holidays4Dogs looks into the pro’s and cons of giant dog breeds and how to care for them as a family pet.

dog sitting, pet sittingAs with all pet dogs there are always positives and negatives; on the plus side;-

  • Giant breeds are often some of the gentlest of dogs.
  • Many giant breeds have less energy levels than smaller breeds of dog.
  • Giant breeds might be laid back and slower, but they are also usually fairly easy to train.

On the other hand; –

  • Giant breeds cost much more to keep in terms of food and veterinary bills.
  • Large breeds can be prone to health issues such as skeletal issues or bloat.
  • Big dogs unfortunately, don’t tend to live as long as their smaller peers – averaging around 6-10 years.
  • Many breeds have large jowls, meaning more drool!
  • Not to mention ‘deposits’ can be humungous!
  • They are less easy to travel with and anyone with a giant breed needs to consider also purchasing a large car!

That said, most people think the positives far outweigh any negatives that owning one of the giant breeds brings.

dog sitting, pet sittingGiant breed care. 

It goes without saying that generally speaking, large breeds of dog need a good deal of space, not just for themselves but for their beds and food storage as well as space to wag those massive, swishy tails!  It’s not necessary to live in a stately home with acres of land, but small spaces will make things less comfortable for the human occupants of the home, as well as the dog.  A large dog will bring more mud into the house during the winter and may make the house smell more ‘doggy’; (many large breeds such as Newfoundland’s have oily skin and this can make them a little smellier than your average dog!). Naturally, the bigger the dog, the more hair they will shed too.  Owners will need to spend more time grooming a large dog; particularly if it has a thick, double coat.

Training and socialising any of the large breeds is very important, since an un-trained giant breed that pulls on the lead is in danger of accidentally hurting his owner, or someone else.  It is vitally important they are taught to walk nicely on the lead, sit, down and stay on command.  While adult giant dogs are naturally calm by nature, it is still imperative to teach them as puppies to be calm around other people and other dogs.

Giant breeds may need a specialist diet and possibly supplements to support their joints. Careful feeding and exercising is very important while giant breed puppies are growing to ensure they do not develop orthopedic problems in later life.  For this reason, giant dogs should never be overfed, or become too fat, as this puts unnecessary strain on developing bones and muscles.

Bigger dogs give bigger hugs and who wouldn’t want to snuggle up with a huge great teddy bear in the evening?!  Large breeds of dog don’t always have any concept of their size and most will be exceedingly happy to be a lap dog!  They are stunning and imposing dogs and if you have done your research, they can make the most wonderfully loyal family companions.

Do you own a giant breed of dog?  Holidays4Dogs would love to hear from you.  We also have many Holidays4Dogs carers UK wide who are specifically experienced with giant breeds, so when you can’t take your gentle giant with you; give us a call and we can match you with the perfect doggy holiday home!