Is A Large Breed Dog Right For You?
Some of the most popular breeds of dogs in the United States are large dogs — Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, Boxers, Rottweilers among them. But large dogs aren’t for everyone. There are some pros and cons to owning a large dog. Is a large dog right for you?
Many large breed dogs are great family dogs. Because of their size they can rough house and play without getting hurt easily. Of course, children should never be left unattended with dogs, especially when playing. Rough play can quickly escalate and someone can get hurt. Large dogs that play with children who know how to play with dogs can be great playmates. Many times Toy dogs and small breeds are not a good choice to play with children because kids can unintentionally hurt them.
A large breed dog can be a great watch dog and protector. Most dogs of all sizes will give an alert if someone comes to your door or if there is an intruder, but, realistically, people take a Doberman Pinscher more seriously than a Maltese.
Many large dogs have very gentle, laid back personalities. Contrary to popular belief, large dogs can make excellent companions for people even if they don’t have a large yard. Many large dogs are quite happy to nap all day. Depending on the breed, they don’t all require enormous amounts of exercise. In fact, many small breeds require more exercise than some of the larger breeds.
On the down side, there are drawbacks to owning a large dog. You will spend more money on both dog food and routine veterinary care. Monthly heartworm medication will cost more, flea prevention will cost more; even your dog’s shots and tests at the vet will cost more if you have a large dog. Whenever you are charged for something based on size, you will pay more.
Dog crates cost more for large dogs. If you fly your dog anywhere then you won’t be able to take your dog on board with you. The cost of flying a dog as baggage or sending him as cargo skyrockets for a large dog, not to mention potential safety risks if your dog must ride in the cargo area.
If you are a renter, many apartment complexes have size and weight restrictions for pets, which may limit your potential housing options.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of owning a large dog is their shorter lifespan. A Toy breed or small dog may live up to 15 years or longer. Large breed dogs have a typical lifespan of 10-14 years, depending on the breed.
Of course, it really comes down to what kind of dog you prefer. If you like a large dog there are many excellent reasons to get one. The most important thing is to consider individual breeds and choose the right one for you.