My family has historically owned Great Danes, there are sepia-toned photographs of my mother as a child dwarfed by the gentle giants that were her best friends. My sister currently owns a Great Dane rescued from a neighbor who could not care for such a large puppy. Giant dogs do have giant needs! (You can find Great Dane puppies and adult Great Danes for adoption here.) I was reminded of this after reading an article about how living with such a large dog – or two or three – does have its special  challenges and rewards. “What does it say about you if you choose to live with a giant breed dog? It certainly seems to say that you’re willing to share! Giant breed dogs need more of everything, period. They require more food and a bigger dog bed. And good training is really important – they can, after all, easily reach the food on the counter, or knock a person down with an overly-friendly greeting!”

How big is a giant breed? Here are just a few examples. The Giant Schnauzer (yes, he even has “giant” in his name), weighs in from 55 to 80 pounds. The Bernese Mountain Dog can weigh up to 110 pounds. The Newfoundland can reach 150 pounds. And the Saint Bernard? Up to 200 pounds! Since it’s very possible that these dogs will weigh more than their owners, training is very important — especially walking nicely on a leash. Most giant dogs are described as calm, agreeable and pleasant. It’s almost as if they have no idea how big they are.

Since every dog is an individual, and every breed and breed mix has individual traits you’ll want to consider if you’re looking at adopting a giant breed dog, we recommend talking to an expert before adopting a giant breed dog. That expert could be a volunteer at a breed-specific rescue, or staff at a local spca or animal shelter who knows the dogs in their care. Big dogs offer a lot to learn, and a lot to love!

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