Dogs are family members, friends and co-workers as well as assistants to the blind and handicapped. Large dogs are social, playful and full of life, but even dog lovers will admit that not everyone is suited for a large breed. Large dogs need room to run, require ample time and exercise and are often prone to breaking household items due to happy tails and indoor play; they also need owners who are understanding and forgiving of ups and downs of owning a large breed.
Large breeds are actually divided into two categories; large and giant. In order for a breed to be listed in either category requires a minimum height of 25 inches from the floor to the top of the shoulder.
Large dogs require abundant space for healthy exercise. People who choose large breeds should be willing and able to devote a fair amount of time to the animal for affection, play and care. Most large dogs thrive in family households due to being highly social and even tempered. They are a source of security, if trained properly, as well as a deterrent to intruders.
Giant breeds truly live up to the classification and are the largest in any breed line. More commonly known giant breeds are the Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Akita, Mastiff, Great Pyrenees, St. Bernard and Newfoundland. More exotic members of this classification are the Kuvasz, Scottish Deerhound, Caucasian Mountain Dog, Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff) and Anatolian Sheppard.
Giant breeds are known to consume massive quantities of food and require regular exercise. Some giant breeds are atypical compared with most large dogs in general; for example, the Great Dane is a terrific apartment dog despite its size. The Great Dane has spurts of energy and will fit into specific routines if trained to do so, leaving the owner with a calm, polite pet that can be trusted when left alone. Other giant breeds that do well in apartments and condos are the Akita and French Mastiffs.
Large breeds require the same space and maintenance as giant breeds; they are simply a little smaller than giant breeds. Large breed dogs include common varieties such as the Bloodhound, Afghan Hound, Coonhound, Collie, German Sheppard, Foxhound, Boxer, English Setter, Labrador, Irish Setter, Golden Retriever, Sheepdogs, Doberman, a variety of Terriers, Rottweiler and Huskies. More exotic of large breeds include the Tosa, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Spinone Italiano, Saluki and Portuguese Water Hound. The majorities of large breeds are exceptionally active and need active owners.
Potential owners of any pet should always research the breed they are considering to ensure a good fit into their lifestyle. When selecting a dog consider a few thoughts in the process: the size of the living space, the maintenance costs, is the home a rental and, if so, are pets allowed. Too many animals end up on the streets or in shelters because they were obtained without considering more than their cuteness. Responsibility is key when choosing dog that will become a part of the household for the next eight to 15 years.