If you have the room for them, a large or giant breed dog can be a ton of fun as a family pet. Many larger breeds of dogs have been bred specifically as sporting or hunting dogs and as such require walks and playtime every day to keep them healthy. If you have the energy to keep up with them, the room to keep them and the cash to sustain them large dogs can bring joy and security to your family.
Year after year one of the larger and by far the most popular dog available is the Labrador Retriever. More commonly known as the Lab, this dog makes an excellent family pet as they are very gentle with children. The earliest descriptions of this dog are from the 1800’s, when they were called the St. John’s Water Dog. The Labrador Retriever has been used for retrieving game from the water for hundreds of years, hence the original name. They are friendly, have a very even temperament, and are easily trainable.
The Alano Español or Spanish Bulldog is a large dog that was once used for bullfighting in Spain. The nomadic peoples who came to Spain in the 5th century brought this breed with them for use a guard dogs for livestock and pursuing game. At one point in the 1800’s a breeder brought one of these dogs to England so he could breed it to produce larger English Bulldogs. This dog was bred to be a pack hunter so it gets along well with other dogs as long as it is socialized as a puppy.
Have you ever had the need to hunt otters? If so, the Otterhound is the dog for you. The Otterhound is a scent hound which originated in Britain and is an ancestor of the Airedale Terrier. They are a very strong breed with a double coat and webbed feet, a common characteristic of water dogs. The breed has been around so long that mentions of it can be found in literature dating back to the mid 1300’s. They are an endangered breed, with only 1,000 of them counted around the world.
The Siberian Husky is considered a medium to large dog and as the name implies the breed originated in north-eastern Siberia. They are an absolutely beautiful dog whose coat colors come in both black and white and red and white. The color of their eyes can be either brown or an intense icy-blue color. They are one of the oldest breeds of dogs and can be found in cold, snowy climates pulling sleds with people or goods attached. They are extremely energetic and need lots of room to run; if they don’t get the exercise they need they will be prone to jumping fences (or even tunneling under them), and running away. This is one breed that should be micro-chipped as soon as they can learn to walk!
Care must be taken when a family decides to adopt a large breed puppy. Larger dogs can be susceptible to bone disorders such as hip dysplasia, so their diet must be regulated as a puppy to ensure they do not become obese. Large breeds of dogs should be fed a special diet formulated for their particular needs, with the vitamins and minerals required for healthy bone and joint development.