Misconceptions About Big Dog Breeds - Hobbster Life Blog

Misconceptions About Big Dog Breeds


Hobbster owner and dogIt's estimated that there are approx. 11 million pet dogs in the UK, with medium to large breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers consistently ranking among the top 10 most popular breeds.
But some people are intimidated or even scared by larger dogs. Here, we look at some of the top misconceptions about larger dog breeds.
1. They are inherently aggressive: One of the most prevalent misconceptions about large dogs is that they are inherently aggressive or dangerous. While certain breeds may have traits that require responsible handling and socialization, most large dogs are gentle, loyal, and friendly when properly trained and cared for.

The truth is many large breeds are renowned for their gentle and loving temperaments. Giant breeds like Great Danes, Newfoundlands, and Mastiffs are often called "gentle giants" for a reason. They are known for their calmness, loyalty, and affection, making them wonderful companions for families with children.

However, temperament in any dog, regardless of size, is shaped by training and socialization. Large breeds require proper training and early socialization to ensure they grow into well-adjusted and confident canine companions. A large, untrained dog can be overwhelming or even dangerous, but a well-trained large dog can be a source of joy and security.

2. They require a lot of space: Having a large garden or house might seem like a necessity for large dogs, and whilst they may enjoy having room to move around and play, many large dog breeds can adapt well to living in smaller spaces if they receive sufficient exercise and mental stimulation.
Giant breeds like Great Danes or Greyhounds, despite their size, are surprisingly low-energy dogs. Regular walks, playtime indoors, and mental stimulation can keep them happy and healthy in a flat or smaller house setting.

3. High cost of ownership: The cost of owning a large dog is often inflated by misconception. While they may require slightly food, the focus should be on high-quality ingredients, not necessarily quantity.
Large dog beds, toys, and collars will also be a bit bigger, but these are one-time purchases.

Regular preventative care is crucial for all dogs, and responsible breeding practices by reputable breeders can minimize potential health risks, potentially saving money on treatment down the line.

The potential for higher veterinary bills is a consideration. However, responsible breeding and preventative care are crucial for all dogs, and regular checkups can help identify potential health concerns early. Large breeds might also have a slightly higher risk of certain health problems, but responsible breeders work to minimize these risks.

4. They're Not Suitable for Families: Large dogs are sometimes thought to be unsuitable for families, particularly those with young children.Young girl with large dogs
This stereotype often paints a picture of large dogs being too clumsy, rambunctious, or even aggressive around children.
However, many large breeds are known for their gentle and patient nature, making them excellent companions for families of all sizes. Some large dog breeds are particularly renowned for being good around children are:
• Labrador Retrievers: Affectionate, playful, and eager to please, Labs are a classic family dog. Their gentle nature and trainability make them excellent companions for children of all ages.
• Newfoundlands: Nicknamed "nanny dogs" for their patient and protective nature, Newfoundlands are known for their love of children.
• Saint Bernards: Despite their size, Saint Bernards are known for their calm and loving temperament. They are quite tolerant of children's antics.
• Great Danes: Often referred to as "gentle giants," Great Danes are surprisingly docile and affectionate. Their large size requires supervision, but their temperament makes them good companions for families.
• Golden Retrievers: Like Labs, Golden Retrievers are friendly, intelligent, and eager to please. Their playful personalities make them great for active families with children.
• Bernese Mountain Dogs: Gentle and loyal, Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their love of children. They are also quite trainable and eager to please.
• Irish Wolfhounds: These gentle giants are known for their calm demeanour and love of children. However, their size requires supervision with smaller children.
• Collies: Intelligent and playful, Collies are great companions for children who enjoy being active. They are known for their loyalty and protective nature.
Important Considerations:

Early Socialization: Regardless of breed, socializing any dog from a young age with children and other pets is crucial for a harmonious relationship.
Training: Proper training goes a long way in ensuring a well-behaved dog, especially with a large breed.
Supervision: No matter how well-trained, supervision is always recommended when children and dogs interact.

Choosing the right dog breed for your family depends on your lifestyle and living situation. Researching different breeds and their needs will help you find the perfect furry friend for your family.

5. They're difficult to train: Another misconception is that large dogs are more difficult to train than smaller breeds due to their size and strength. While it's important to establish leadership and boundaries with any dog regardless of size many large breeds are highly intelligent and eager to please, making them responsive to training when approached with positive reinforcement techniques and consistency.

Trainability between large and small dog breeds isn't necessarily based on size. Some factors to consider when training a large dog are:
Positive reinforcement: Rewarding good behaviour with treats, praise, or playtime is the most effective training method for all dogs, regardless of size.
Consistency is key: Regular training sessions with clear commands and consistent expectations are crucial for success with any dog.
• Patience is essential: Learning takes time, so be patient with your dog, large or small, as they grasp new concepts.
• Eager to please: Some large breeds, like Labrador Retrievers, are known for their eagerness to please, which can make them receptive to training.
• Focus and attentiveness: Giant breeds like Great Danes can be surprisingly focused, allowing them to concentrate on training commands.

Trainability depends more on the individual dog's personality and breed characteristics than just size. Some large breeds are naturally eager to please and learn, the key is to find a training method that works for your dog and remain patient and consistent in your approach. Both large and small dogs can be successfully trained with positive reinforcement and dedication.

6. Their high energy levels require a lot of exercise: Large dogs are often assumed to have high energy levels that require extensive exercise. In general, large dogs tend to need more exercise than smaller dogs due to a few factors:

• Body size: Larger bodies burn more calories at rest, so they need more activity to maintain a healthy weight.
Energy levels: Some large breeds, like Labrador Retrievers, were bred for working activities and naturally have higher energy levels that need to be expended through exercise.
• Joint health: Regular exercise helps maintain strong muscles and joints, which is especially important for larger dogs who are more prone to joint problems later in life.

However, it's important to consider that exercise needs can vary within large breeds, but in general aim for at least one to two hours of exercise per day, with a mix of walks, playtime, and mental stimulation. It's better to break up exercise into smaller sessions throughout the day rather than one long walk for some dogs, especially larger breeds.

However, there are some exceptions:
Breed: Some large breeds, like Great Danes, can be surprisingly low-energy and content with moderate walks and playtime. Conversely, some medium-sized breeds, like Border Collies, have boundless energy and require significant exercise.
Age: Puppies of all sizes need playtime and exercise to burn off energy and develop properly. Senior dogs, large or small, might have lower activity levels.
Overall health: Dogs with certain health conditions might require restricted exercise or specific types of exercise that are gentler on their bodies.

7. Large breeds make the best guard dogs: Large dogs can make good guard dogs, but it depends on several factors, such as:
Size and Deterrence: Their intimidating size can deter potential intruders.
• Strength and Power: Large dogs can physically overpower a threat in some situations.
Loyalty and Protectiveness: Many large breeds are known for their loyalty and willingness to protect their families.
Training is required: Effective guard dog training requires dedication, consistency, and professional guidance in some cases. An untrained large dog might become a liability.
Natural temperament: Not all large breeds are naturally suited for guard work. Some, like Great Danes, are known for their gentle nature and might not be effective deterrents.
Socialization is crucial: Guard dogs need proper socialization to differentiate between threats and friendly visitors. Overly aggressive behaviour can be a problem.

Some dog breeds renowned for their guarding qualities:
1. German Shepherd: Renowned for their intelligence, trainability, and loyalty, German Shepherds are a popular choice for guard work. They were originally bred for herding sheep but excel in various roles, including police work, military service, and personal protection.
2. Doberman Pinscher: Known for their alertness, strength, and unwavering loyalty, Doberman Pinschers are another popular guard dog breed. Developed in the late 19th century, they were originally bred as personal protection dogs and excel in tasks requiring obedience and courage.
3. Giant Schnauzer: These powerful and intelligent dogs were originally bred for herding cattle and guarding property. Their imposing size, alertness, and protective nature make them well-suited for guard duty.
4. Rottweiler: These strong and confident dogs were originally bred for herding livestock and pulling carts. Their loyalty, protectiveness, and deep bark make them effective deterrents against potential threat
5. Tibetan Mastiff: An ancient breed with a powerful presence, the Tibetan Mastiff was developed to guard livestock and property in the harsh Himalayan mountains. Their size, strength, and territorial nature make them effective guardian
6. Anatolian Shepherd Dog: This ancient breed originated in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) and was developed to guard livestock against predators. They are alert, intelligent, and fiercely protective of their territory.

Owning a Large Dog: Beyond the Stereotypes
Large dog breeds offer a unique companionship experience. Their gentle nature, playful spirit, and unwavering loyalty make them cherished members of the family. By dispelling these misconceptions, we can appreciate them for the wonderful companions they truly are. So, next time you see a large dog, don't be intimidated! They might just surprise you with their gentle souls and playful spirit.
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1 comment

It’s always the same with dogs – nature versus nurture determines the temperament. I’ve met some lovely dogs of all shapes and sizes. And also some horrible ones…..

For non-dog owners a big dog can be intimidating – and of course if a big dog jumps up, the literal impact is worse than if it’s a small breed. However over the years, it’s generally been small dogs that have given me the most trouble by being more aggressive towards my own dogs.

Stephen Bennett

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