Large Dog Breeds – Does size matter?

Large dog breeds

In America we have always been known for our obsession for size. Everything is larger in America. We build bigger homes, drive bigger cars, and eat larger meals. We take pride in the size of just about everything. Our dogs are no different and throughout history we have been awed by the sheer size of animals. Breeds that were bred to already be large, are often praised in most circles for primarily being the largest of it’s breed. Is size everything, and can size ever be a bad thing?

Breed standards are what describes a breed and what they should be. The size of a breed is generally directly correlated to what the breed is intended to do. For instance if a dog was created to exterminate rodents in old barnyards, it may be at a disadvantage if it’s over one hundred pounds and stands almost four feet at the shoulder!

large dog breeds
The Rottweiler pictured here is one of the large dog breeds and can weigh as much as 200 lbs.

Sneaking up on vermin, may be slightly challenging! Now if the breed was bred to take down full grown human intruders, that size will be a benefit in a number of ways. The first being that if intruders, or thieves, see a home guarded by four large dogs they may choose a different score.

The sheer size of a Mastiff is enough to have this effect on individuals with bad intentions. However, if they didn’t notice the size of the animals and enter, well the size of the animal will definitely show them the error of their ways! So dogs bred to be one of the large dog breeds to perform a task will naturally be big, but it can be a detriment if that size begins to prohibit it’s ability to perform the task.

Now take that same Mastiff at the same height, but add an additional fifty pounds to it’s frame and immediately the athleticism and agility will be effected. Now the same thieves may be able to outrun the Mastiff, or tire the large dog out, before it has an opportunity to protect it’s territory. This example is where the size of the animal is now a negative. This is also why height and weight restrictions are implemented in written breed descriptions and standards.

The other reason about large dog breed is size is a problem is due to health. The fact that your Rottweiler is two hundred pounds may be impressive physically, but what about internally? The facts are many large breed dogs have shortened life spans, studies of internal organs often show in necropsy reports that the size of the dogs directly correlated with their deaths, or poor health.

The fact people own large dog breeds is often not the issue, the issue as in it’s human owners, which often stems from the animal being obese. The size and weight of the oversized Rottweiler can affect it’s ability to actually be active. Running, jumping and playing can be limited due to the size of the animal and can result in issues throughout the animals shortened life.

Joints are often effected by size as well in large dog breeds, heavy boned dogs often suffer from hip dysphasia as a result of their size being too much for their individual structure. Healthy large dogs are not immune due to often stemming from poorly matched breeding pairs, but by being healthy they can often live more comfortably than their obese counterparts.

Large dog breeds have food specially formulated to best help their growing bodies and bones. Supplements for joints, like provided here by BullyMax, also go a long way in trying to prevent early onset joint issues. Not all large dogs are unhealthy, and by doing diligent research you can pick a healthy large breed from a line of healthy dogs.

This does not eliminate the need of owners to keep their large dog breeds at a healthy manageable weight throughout it’s life. Weight management is crucial for any dog! Identifying weight gain in your pet is important, the nutritional label is a great guide in determining the appropriate amount of food to feed your large breed. It is often found that switching off of puppy formula earlier is often beneficial for many large breeds as well.

Another issue that many large dog breeds face, is the impatience of an owner that wants their new American Bully puppy to be the largest in the neighborhood. They often do this by over feeding, over supplementing young puppies to put on extreme mass and weight before their bodies are able to handle that amount of mass.

Americans often associate fat, or big, with cute and healthy when it comes to babies and puppies. In all actuality the leaner puppy is often healthier! Especially in large breeds where puppies can suffer from growth plate issues! Growing too fast can have a negative effect on bone growth and bone development. The bones are just not strong enough to hold a lot of excess weight and when having to, you often will see bows and bends in bones that should be straight.

The desire to have full grown dogs at six months is the common thinking in most circles and is why so many young large breeds are unhealthy. As mentioned earlier keeping large breeds on a puppy formulated food too long can be detrimental to the overall health of the dog. Growing fast is not always a good sign, growing right is the best sign!

Large dog breeds are impressive and fun, but the key for any owner of these breeds is to practice patience! Let the dogs go through the appropriate maturation process. Watch their feeding regiment, their activity level and have annual health visits. Focus on health and hearts and be aware of what predisposed health issues face your breed of choice! Remember your breed standard, and understand why your breed was intended to be a certain size. Check with the breeders about health issues found in your puppies pedigree. Ask about hereditary health tests that have been performed on any ancestors. There is nothing wrong with big breeds, as long as the owners recognize the large responsibility!

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