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Pros and Cons of Owning Extra-Large Dog Breeds

Updated on December 4, 2009
Owning Extra Large Dogs swatcop,
Owning Extra Large Dogs swatcop,

If your love for dogs is ''big'' and you do not mind remarks such as  "do you have a saddle for that thing?'',, then very likely an extra -large dog breed might be the right breed for you. However, you must be willing to  put in some research and get ready to know what to expect in order to avoid some big delusions. There are many things you should keep into consideration, before giving in to that precious, cute puppy before you discover them 100 pounds later. Following is a general overview on the requirements and needs of extra-large dog breeds.

Overview of Extra-large Dog Breeds

Dogs are the most varied species on the planet because humans have molded them in all shapes and sizes throughout the years. It is quite interesting to note that there may be dogs ranging from just a couple of pounds to over 100. Some popular extra large dog breeds are the following: Great Dane, Mastiff, Saint Bernard, Bernese Mountain dog, Bulmastiff, Irish Wolfhound and Rottweiler.  This article will focus on these gentle giant dog breeds and on things that should be considered prior to adoption.


Of course you will not need a mansion, but it is quite obvious you will need some space in order to avoid the ''bull in the china shop''syndrome. Make sure your home is clutter free and that your dog will have ample room to turn around and stand up comfortably. A nice yard may be ideal but daily walks are a must.


You really should get a grip on your leadership skills and stop being walked by your dog each day. This can be accomplished only through obedience training. You want to start early so you can teach your large dog good leash manners when he is still a puppy and much  easier to manage. Obedience training is a must with a large and strong breed.


You must socialize your large dog well in order to prevent potential liabilities. An under-socialized extra large dog may be quite dangerous, especially if prone to aggressive behaviors. Socialization starts from when the dog is a puppy and should continue throughout its life. Most extra large dogs when well socialized will be gentle giants with calm and well mannered temperaments.


Many extra large dog breeds are working dogs that need to keep their bodies exercised and minds stimulated. Make sure to offer ample opportunites for exercise and that you provide mental stimulation as well. A bored large dog can turn out being quite destructive and often your home and furniture will take the worst toll.


When you notice your veterinarian has built a villa in L.A. and is soon planning to retire, you know that your dog's costs are skyrocketing. Owners of large breed dogs indeed will encounter significant costs. Think how many bags of dog food you will be buying and consider the fact that your vet bills may be double the price of a normal dog because large dogs require more medications, more anesthetics for surgery and their boarding spaces cost more because they are much bigger. 


A large dog means a larger mouth and stronger teeth, and therefore large breed dogs require not your ordinary dog toys. There are several large breed dog resistant toys, just custom crafted for them. These toys are deemed to be extra durable and teeth proof for some time. It is important to always monitor your dog when offered a toy. Large dogs can easily break up toys and swallow parts of them making them prone to intestinal obstructions if the piece swallowed is large enough.

~Special Diet

Extra large dog breeds require special restricted diets especially when they are puppies. It is important that growth is slowed down but  kept steady so to allow proper development of bones and joints. Over feeding or not feeding the right type of dog food, may cause the puppy to grow too fast making them prone to serious orthopedic problems. It is important as well to not supplement calcium as this is usually already included in their diet and too much may create deleterious imbalances .


Extra large dog breeds are prone to several orthopedic problems. Puppies are particularly vulnerable before their growth plates close which happens around 12 to 18 months. They should not be forced to put excessive strain on their bones and joints before this time. Other problems may be bloat, a potentially fatal condition of large deep chested dogs where the stomach may twist on itself, heart problems, bone cancer and other orthopedic problems such as hip displaysia.

Owning a dog that has people asking if you put Miracle Growth in his water each day or if you live near a nuclear power plant, may be quite challenging, but it can ultimately be quite rewarding. If you think you have what it takes for raising a gentle giant then you should go for it and enjoy all the majesty that comes along. Just don't forget to purchase dog food in bulk and a snow shovel to use as your new pooper scooper!


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      See you get that and we have to trawl through everything and I have to let my dane followers what is out there for them. Our supermarkets Walmart aka Asda here stock good quality foods now. Didn't in the past though.

      I also find that the usual sayings, that needs a saddle or what do you feed it or is that a Dalmatian. LOL!!!!!!

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      7 years ago

      No problem, I think we are ultimately on the same page. By special restricted diet I meant not any average non-premium diet you find at your local super market. Not sure how it is in the UK, but here in the US there are restricted protein dog foods under 24% protein labeled specifically for large dogs such as Innova Large breed puppy and Blue Buffalo Large breed diet.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I beg to differ on the diet by the way it does not have to be a special one just no more than 24% protein and 12% fat and most good quality dog food has that.

      A puppy needs 15 minutes on lead and 15 minutes off lead. Can be longer but at a slow rate.

      You will find if your Dane has been bred right it shouldn't need the vet very often. Unless an escape artist of course. Mine does love us though as the bills are higher I agree.

      Also they are living longer now a days averages are now 8-12 not the usual 8 as before.

      This is UK bred Danes by the way.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Black labs are the best

    • profile image

      Cecil V 

      8 years ago

      Large dogs are the best.

    • profile image

      Cecil V 

      8 years ago

      Large dogs are the best. My Boxer, Nikita, loves to eat ice cream and wear clothes!


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