Strong and confident, big dogs often get a bad reputation. People assume they’re hard to handle. Some believe big dogs are naturally more aggressive. But you should never judge a book by its cover.
Most big dogs are really just big teddy bears and goofballs. Here are ten reasons big dogs make great pets.
1. They’re Great Adventure Buddies
Big dogs love going on adventures. They will happily join you on a five-mile hike or go for a swim in the lake. If you just want to go for a walk around the neighborhood, he’ll be just as excited to join you – especially if he gets to say “hi” to a few friends along the way.
Unlike small dogs, big dogs are hard to lose track of on a hike. And they’re up for just about anything.
Going for a bike ride? He’ll follow along. He’ll run beside you on the trail, too. Try that with a small dog. He’ll poop out after a few miles. Or you’ll need to help him get over a boulder.
2. They’re Big Softies
Some people are afraid of big dogs, and it’s true that not all big dogs are sweethearts. But I’ve had more bad experiences with small dogs than with big dogs.
Spend some time with a Newfoundland or a Bernese Mountain Dog and you’ll quickly realize that big dogs are just big softies. Great Danes – which can be over 100 pounds – are known for being sweethearts. Incredibly social and friendly, these dogs are known for being friends with other animals – including cats.
In fact, the top two meanest dog breeds are chihuahua and dachshund, two very small dogs.
Speaking of softies – big dogs are great for cuddling. And they love every minute of it. Have you ever tried snuggling with a Bernese Mountain Dog? It’s like hugging a giant teddy bear.
3. They’re Loyal and Loving
Large dogs are known for being loyal to their humans. But loyalty doesn’t mean being aggressive – unless needed.
Mastiffs are huge dogs (some can weigh 200 pounds), but they have been bred for centuries to love women and children. Many will respond to the sound of a distressed child even if the sound is coming from the TV.
Newfoundlands were originally bred to rescue drowning humans, so they’re both tolerant and loving of humans.
4. They’re Confident
Have you ever heard the phrase “big dog syndrome”? Me either. That’s because big dogs have nothing to prove.
Small dogs need to make up for their tiny stature by barking and standing on their hind legs. They’re just trying to make themselves look and sound bigger.
Big dogs know they’re size. They’re usually the quietest in the room. That’s because confidence is silent and insecurities (sorry, small dogs) are loud.
Ask any dog walker and they’ll tell you that the loudest dog in the bunch isn’t the Mastiff or Leonberger – it’s the chihuahua or the Yorkie.
5. They’re Adaptable
Have you ever seen a big dog tuck tail and run the other way because of a little rain? Okay, some large breeds are big babies when it comes to wet weather, but most could care less.
They’ll run through the mud and then back into the kitchen without a second thought. In fact, they love running through mud puddles.
Smaller breeds tend to be more cautious when it comes to rain, mud, snow – anything other than sunshine and dry grass.
Large dogs are surprisingly adaptable. Most breeds are comfortable in just about any environment.
They can stand in puddles without drowning. They can run through the snow without getting buried and having to call a rescue team.
Hot, cold, wet, dry – it doesn’t matter. Big dogs are just happy to be in your company.
Sure, there are some breeds that are better suited for certain climates, but even these guys are pretty adaptable. My pure-bred Siberian Husky was just as happy in the Texas heat as she was in the snowy northeast where she was born.
Small dogs aren’t as adaptable. Tiny dogs have to wear jackets in the winter because they can’t take the cold.
Most tiny dogs wouldn’t survive a day in the wild. Big dogs may at least last a few days.
6. They’re Protectors and Heroes
Big dogs are usually big softies, but they can be great protectors when they need to be. The bigger the dog, the bigger the bark. They’re great burglar deterrents.
It doesn’t matter that if they managed to get inside, they would be more likely to show them to the treat cabinet than maul them to death.
While most large breeds are gentle giants, they will protect their human families in times of danger.
Big dogs are also the heroes of our society. They work with law enforcement, the military and search and rescue teams. They can pick up on scents and follow a trail for miles.
Large breeds are also heroes in other ways. Many of these gentle giants serve as therapy or service dogs. Sure, you’ll find small dogs filling these roles, but you’re far more likely to find a Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever acting as a service dog simply because their large size allows them to tackle more tasks.
Many service dogs are trained to fetch items for their humans – including items from the refrigerator. Imagine a small dog trying to take on this task. They couldn’t even reach the bottom shelf of the fridge.
7. They’re the Best Lap Dogs
It doesn’t matter that an Irish Wolfhound weighs 120 pounds. He still wants to sit in your lap.
Big dogs are quite happy to be your personal lap dog. You’ll never need a blanket because you’ll always have a living heater laying across your lap.
Many big breeds don’t need as much exercise as you think. A long walk or a good romp around the yard is usually more than enough to keep your dog calm and happy. Most large breeds are calm in the house.
They’re more likely to nap on the sofa or by the fire than run around the living room in circles like many small dogs.
Big dogs save their energy for the outdoors.
That doesn’t mean that you can keep a big dog cooped up in the house all day. But many breeds are perfectly fine living in an apartment so long as you make sure they get a good walk each day.
8. They’re Not Picky with Food
Small dogs have a reputation for being picky – with everything. Just when you think you’ve found a food they love, they change their minds and turn their noses up at it.
Big dogs aren’t quite as picky. They’re happy to eat anything – and I do mean anything. This trait is a bit of a double-edged sword. He’ll be happy to eat any kind of kibble you put in his bowl. But he’s just as likely to eat rocks or mulch or the kids’ Lego blocks.
A dog’s easygoing appetite can make your life easier, but if he has a tendency to get into everything – edible and non-edible – you may have to deal with a few expensive vet visits.
9. They’re Smart and Easy to Train
Some of the most intelligent dog breeds are large or extra-large in size. Large dogs are usually very easy to train.
Poodles, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers – all large breeds – are among the most intelligent in the dog world.
Are some big dogs stubborn? Sure. Siberian Huskies are notorious for being stubborn. But more often than not, large dogs just want to please their humans.
Some experts also point out that humans feel more of a responsibility to train large dogs, which makes them more likely to commit to and maintain training throughout the dog’s life.
An out-of-control big dog is hard to handle. An out-of-control teacup chihuahua is easy to manhandle. That’s why big-dog owners usually take training pretty seriously.
10. They’re Just Plain Fun
Let’s face it – big dogs are just plain fun. They’re indestructible. You don’t have to worry about them getting hurt (not easily) when you’re playing, hiking, running or going for a swim.
They’re happy to come along for the ride, and they’ll act like goofballs the entire time.
Many large breeds have calm and gentle temperaments, which makes them easygoing and down for just about anything.
They don’t take themselves too seriously.
About The Author:
David Rowe is the lead writer at World Of Puppies. He has a keen interest in dog health, training and nutrition. He also owns a French Bulldog named Max.