So you want to own a giant!
Dog lovers come in all shapes and sizes, and lucky for us, so do dogs! If you are someone like me who LOVES the idea of having a dog the size of a miniature pony running around your house, I would like to offer you some insight into owning a beautiful, elegant, gangly, goofy giant!
The first thing I am going to scare you with is the cost of owning a giant (just kidding, kind of - I’m just testing you to see if you’re ready). Owning a giant breed dog can be more than doubly as expensive as owning a small breed dog. The more your dog weighs, the more it costs - in terms of food, prescriptions, some grooming, and (sorry in advance) cremation. For example, a larger dog could be on the same food as a medium or small breed dog (although that is not recommended), but would require a lot more food to get the nutrients required for its size. A better example would be in terms of prescriptions - a larger dog would need a larger dose of medication for it to have an effect on them, whereas a smaller dog would not require nearly as much medication. Taking on a larger dog will cost more to take care of at the groomer, some boarding facilities, dog walking businesses, apartment rentals that allow pets, and so much more. But it is not just because of some conspiracy against big dogs: have you ever tried to restrain a Great Dane who doesn’t want to have his nails trimmed? That should be all the explanation you will need!
The second point I am going to make relates somewhat to the cost factor: there are some common injuries and health problems that occur in large dogs more often than small dogs. Some of the most common injuries and illnesses you may see are: hip and/or elbow dysplasia, arthritis, spinal problems, heart problems and gastric torsion. Their size causes more strain on their hearts and joints. They can eat faster and larger amounts of food, which can cause gastric torsion (bloated stomach, which turns on its axis and cuts off blood supply). Although all you amazing pet owners out there love your fur babies unconditionally, and may not want the cost it may take to fix them should they fall ill to factor into your decision to have a certain breed, it is important to be aware of what you are walking into with a giant breed dog.
The third (and definitely most sad) thing I want to tell you about large dogs is their often shorter lifespan. It is a terrible and sad fact that not all dogs live the 15-year plus lifespan that we all want to see. Large dogs are not only highly prone to injury, but also as previously mentioned, they are prone to heart failure and weakness due to the strain it takes to pump blood throughout their bodies. The general rule of thumb is the larger the dog, the shorter its lifespan. There are those crazy stories you hear about of 11-year-old Great Danes and 10-year-old Irish Wolfhounds, but unfortunately this is not the common situation for these breeds.
Now all that being said, its time to talk about how INCREDIBLE these giant beauties are. I have been obsessed with the idea of having my own little herd of deer running through my house since I can remember. Giants are generally easy going, so sweet, give the best kisses and are great when you don’t have a pillow and need a comfy cuddler. They have hearts twice the size and love twice as much. They are inquisitive, and lets face it those giant mugs can make anyone melt. If owning a giant is on your list of things to do, I can guarantee it will be one of the greatest things in your life. However: if you are thinking of taking on a giant dog, please take into consideration the strain on, not only your heart, but also your wallet. Every dog deserves the best, and making an informed decision is the best way to insure that is what they get!
Tell us about, and show us, your love affair with your beautiful giant breed dog in the comments!