Big dog breeds offer owners a lot of animal—and a lot of love. Many of the largest breeds out there are affectionate canines who live to serve their family members. In fact, several are known for being calm dog breeds suitable as therapy dogs or childhood companions. Others, who were bred to be tireless guard dogs or hunters, are more reserved. Since large dogs can be intimidating, it’s important to train and socialize them when they’re very young. Even if your dog wouldn’t hurt a fly, they need to respond to commands like “down” and “drop it,” as many don’t know their own strength.
Big dogs are also, unfortunately, predisposed to certain health issues. For instance, arthritis and hip dysplasia are common joint issues that can develop in canines with gigantic frames. Since big dog breeds also have larger chest cavities, they’re more likely than smaller breeds to suffer from bloat. Bloat is a condition that can cause your dog’s stomach to twist around itself. It’s bad news and requires immediate medical attention. One way to prevent this from happening is to slow down how quickly your dog consumes food and to avoid elevated bowls.
Finally, be honest with yourself about how much space you can provide a big dog. Though they may not need a giant field right out back, many will be unhappy in cramped quarters.