The two most popular dog breeds in America are the Labrador Retriever and the German Shepherd, according to CBS News – which is a pretty good indicator of this nation’s love for large breeds. While it is true that many smaller breeds make it into the Top 10 – French bulldogs are very well loved indeed, as are toy breeds like poodles, medium and large breeds are the choice for many families and young owners.
Ensuring your dog is the perfect fit for your home and your lifestyle involves an analysis of its needs (time- and cost-wise). If you have fallen crazy in love with a greyhound pup or you have always been attracted by the soft-as-fluff coat of the Bernese Mountain dog, there are just a few considerations you should keep in mind.
Exercise Needs of Large Breed Dogs
When it comes to the exercise needs of your new pup, breed is as important as size. The American Kennel Club reminds owners high-energy breeds – including Border Collies, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Belgian Malinois, need more exercise than low energy ones like the Basset Hound. Greyhounds, on the other hand, do not need as much exercise as many people need. Like a Ferrari, they will seemingly go from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds and they love a good run. However, the Greyhound Trust in the UK states that the majority of greyhounds are happy with two 20-minute walks daily. It is important to research on any specific breed you are interested in, since the needs of large breed dogs vary greatly in accordance.
Food for Champions
Large dogs have specific dietary needs, and this should be taken into account from the time Fido is a pup. As stated by VCA Hospitals, large breed pups grow quickly but they should not do so too fast, since healthy bone and muscle growth requires time. Although you should have a talk both with the breeder of your large dog and with your vet, in general, very large (i.e. giant) breed pups should consume diets that are a little lower in fat, and top quality calcium and protein. When it comes to protein, ensure the quality is optimal and that it makes up 30% of your dog’s caloric intake.
They say that just about the only thing that is bad about dogs is that they generally don’t live as long as their humans do. In general, large breed dogs live a little shorter than smaller ones. Smaller breeds have an average life expectancy of 12 to 14, larger ones of eight to 10, and giant breeds five to eight. From the very outset, you should know the approximate length of the commitment you will be making to being a pet owner. Of course, there are also exceptions to every rule. You can certainly increase the chances of your dog living longer by giving it an active, healthy life and by investing in good health care and food.
Deciding whether or not a big dog is right for you involves considerations of cost, time, and exercise needs. You should also think of your leisure time and holidays. Do you have a vehicle that your pooch will be comfortable in? Finally, you should be able to carry or transport your dog in times of emergency, so issues like weight and one’s own fitness levels should also be taken into account.