Breed and personality are very important things to consider when adopting a dog, but even the most perfect choice may turn out to be problematic if the dog is the wrong size for your living situation. Here are some tips to help you decide between a large breed dog and a small one.
Home Size and Location
A large dog can live in a small place, but their temperament may be a determining factor in whether or not that will work for you. Some dogs are very high energy, and the confinement of a small home or apartment may find you tripping over each other and quickly losing patience.
If you don’t have a fenced yard where your dog can run freely, you will have to go on multiple walks every day. If you’re not willing to take a big dog out daily for a good exercise period, a large breed may not be the choice for you. A dog walker or exerciser might be an option, if your budget can accommodate the expense.
A small dog can find more running and playing space inside than a large breed can. A big dog also requires more space for sleeping arrangements, crate size, and just general moving around space in your home.
If you are located near parks, beaches, dog exercise areas or good walking places, this may help you determine what size of dog you want to get.
While there are several well known giant breeds of dog available, some folks just want a “big” dog, not necessarily a giant dog. Large dog breeds are thought of as fun and playful while also being quite capable of guarding and protecting their families. For folks like me who love big dogs, the list is quite extensive. Here are four large dog breeds that are popular in America:
For the past 22 years, the Labrador Retriever has been the #1 dog on the American Kennel Club’s Most Popular Dogs list. Labs are intelligent, friendly, loyal and playful. They are good with children and require very little grooming, which makes them an ideal large dog for families.
German Shepherds are often used as police dogs because they are very effective security animals. However, they are also very loyal and loving, playful and gentle. Some of my favorite photos on the internet are from a Facebook group called the German Shepherd Dog Community which features members’ dogs cuddling with their kids, other dogs and even kitties. If you’re looking for a large and loving dog that will protect his family, then you can’t go wrong with a German Shepherd.
There are numerous dog rescues that are worthy of mention. Today we are showing our appreciation and spreading the word about Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue. I was able to catch up with the very busy Noreen from Gentle Ben’s and ask her a few questions. The more I learned about this program, the more enamored I became of it. I love the idea of rescuing big dogs and fostering them in the home.
Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue is a non-profit 501 C (3) large breed dog rescue located in west Pennsylvania. They take in unwanted large breed dogs that may end up in shelters or are abandoned through no fault of their own. The rescue also helps families who have lost jobs, lost homes or have medical conditions which make it impossible for them to keep their beloved pet. Dogs are welcomed into Gentle Ben’s home, provided with veterinary care and given lots of love and reassurance. The families in these situations are kept up to date with emails and photos of their pet. When a dog is taken in it becomes part of the family whether it comes from a loving home or has been abandoned. Either way, the goal is to nurture and love the dog to keep him happy and healthy.
Owning a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences in life, and picking the right one is important. There are countless things to consider when finding a breed – such as size, temperament, intelligence and space available. It’s also a good idea to take your lifestyle and the dog breed’s activity requirements into consideration. All of these things are important, but one important factor often gets overlooked: how long will the dog live?
Dogs are pretty resilient. If you adopt a young dog, your pet will likely be a part of your life for many years. Still, the sad fact is that a dog will generally not live as long as we do. With that said, you might be interested in knowing that different breeds have different life expectancies.
What makes a particular breed live longer?
According to webMD, dogs that generally live longer are small dogs, and the smaller they are when fully grown, the longer they tend to live. The converse holds true as well; the bigger the breed, the shorter the lifespan. Giant breeds are the shortest lived. It appears that weight is the key factor and not height, however. Bigger, heavier dog breeds tend to die at about the eight year mark. Smaller dogs can live in excess of fifteen years.
Bear in mind that particular breeds sometimes have breed-specific health issues. For example, Cocker Spaniels often have eye and ear infections, while Labrador Retrievers are known for having a high cancer incidence. In fact, my Lab did have a cancerous lump when she was young but they removed it with plenty of healthy margin and it never came back.
There are countless other instances of breed-specific health problems but still, the number one thing to look out for is weight. Larger dogs, ones weighing over a hundred pounds, will be considered quite elderly at about seven or eight years.
Female dogs typically tend to live longer than male dogs, but the difference is negligible. Mixed breeds are usually longer living than pure bred dogs, so be sure to keep that in mind when choosing what kind of dog to get.
The sponsor of this blog, Canidae Natural Pet Foods, announced its new Large Breed formulas for adults and puppies just last month. They report that the response from both large breed pet owners and retailers across the country has been tremendous. In fact, Frank Hon, the company’s Vice President of Global Sales (and large breed dog owner) said, “It may be the most successful new formula we have ever launched!”
What is all the fuss about? Well, there are several things that make Canidae’s new large breed formulas different from anything else out there – features that really hit home for large breed dog owners. Let’s take a look.
First, the Canidae Large Breed dry formula for adults and Large Breed dry formula for puppies both feature delicious duck meal. What’s so special about that? Duck has higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids compared to chicken alone. (Chicken is the primary protein in most other large breed formulas on the market.) These high levels of Omega 3 play an important role in reducing inflammation within the body, including within the joints. Good joint health is very important when it comes to these large breeds.
These formulas also contain yummy lentils! Lentils are a great non-grain source of carbs which help satisfy the big appetites of large breeds who sometimes want to eat too much. Lentils are so satisfying because they are low-glycemic, releasing energy into your dog’s body more slowly than some other ingredients. This “slower release” helps to satiate big appetites and provide healthy all-day energy.
Hip dysplasia is a common problem among large breed dogs; however, the diagnosis is no longer something to fear or shy away from. With the proper medication, weight control and exercise your dog can lead a normal and fun-filled life. I know because I have an 11-1/2 year old yellow lab that swims, runs, and enjoys life while living with hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that affects a dog’s hip joints. Obese dogs are more prone to hip dysplasia. Pet owners need to make sure they feed their dogs a high-quality food and treats to ensure proper nutrition and weight. It is common to find hip dysplasia in large dogs such as Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.
The hip joints, known as ball and socket joints, are what attach the dog’s hind legs to its body. Those joints need to rotate freely in order for the dog to walk normally. A dog’s hip joints are similar to those in humans. The most common way hip dysplasia is diagnosed is when the dog has a noticeable limp and is taken to the vet.
My lab, Abby, was diagnosed quite accidentally with severe hip dysplasia in 2001, when she was just shy of two years old. She had winced in pain while running through the woods. She hit the ground and stayed there for a while. When she stood up we knew she was in pain, as she was limping and whimpering. We took her to the vet, who told us she had ruptured the cruciate ligament in the left knee, which is a common knee injury. She was overweight by about 20 pounds at that time. The vet said to schedule surgery in a week and told us to put her on a diet. He wanted her to lose weight to help take some pressure off of her knee and help in her recovery.
We put her on a diet and a week later took her in for surgery. The vet told us they would take x-rays, operate on the knee and call us when she was in recovery. The doctor called me within an hour to tell me that the x-ray showed she also had extreme hip dysplasia in both hips and would probably not live to be 5 years old. This was not at all what I had expected to hear. Needless to say I was at my wits end. I don’t know how I got through until the next day when we picked her up.
Her recuperation from the knee surgery was excellent. I was told she would not put weight on the knee for a week. He didn’t know Abby very well, as she put weight on it two days later and was walking with just a slight limp after a few weeks. We also learned when a dog blows out one knee the second knee will follow suit.
A few months after the knee surgery we moved 700 miles to Tennessee. Three months later she blew out the other knee. We took her to a vet who was recommended as an expert in knee injuries. At least by then she had lost over 20 pounds and was in much better condition. I told the new vet about her previous knee surgery and also about the hip dysplasia. He said he would take x-rays and review her hips.
When we picked her up after surgery the vet said she did very well. We could see that, as she was walking out with him using all four legs! His procedure was much different from the first vet. Her scar is half the size and she was able to walk without a limp within a week. He also gave us the good news that her hips were not as bad as we had been told and we should just take it day by day.
Five years later she when she was about 7, the hip dysplasia started to rear its ugly head. She refused to get in the back of our SUV, which was the first clue. We took immediate action and drove her directly to the vet. We were living in a different area of Tennessee, therefore, a different vet yet again. This time we had a female vet and she said x-rays were needed but she was sure it was the hips giving her problems. We left her there for the x-rays, and when we picked her up later that day the vet showed us the film. We could clearly see how different her hip joints looked compared to what a normal joint looks like.
I was prepared for the worst, but the good news was that she did not need hip surgery. We discussed two medications and chose the one that fit her needs better. She gets 50 mgs once a day in a chewable tablet. Does she still have problems? Yes, and she always will. Her big problem areas are steep steps, sitting down and getting up. She walks fine and she runs like the wind. She can run around the pool at full speed, jump in for her Frisbee, swim to the steps and climb out. She can do that for hours on end. Without her meds she would not be able to be that active without a noticeable limp.
In 2001 we were told she would not be with us longer than 5 more years. Well, it’s 8 plus years later and she is living proof that with the right vet and the right medications, hip dysplasia is not the end of the world. The bottom line is this: get a second opinion or a third if necessary. Do your own research and then find a vet you can trust with your dog’s life. Don’t panic when you hear the diagnosis of hip dysplasia. With love, proper nutrition and medication, your dog can live a long and active life!
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.