Giant dog breeds have a height of about 28 inches (70cm) at the withers and a weight starting at 110 pounds (50 kg) for the males, except for the sighthounds, which can have a weight unproportioned to their giant height. Their long and intense growth should be closely monitored to prevent the occurence of bone and other disorders.
These dogs with an above-standard stature include more than 30 breeds.
Giant breeds grow rapidly and therefore great care should be taken in the way giant breed puppies are being fed. The amount fed as well as the method of feeding and the calorie intake play a major role in the incidence of bone disease in young large and giant breed puppies. Contrary to popular belief giant puppies should not be fed 'more' to ensure their growth. Actually, overfeeding puppies is detrimental to their health, especially in the first stage of growth from 2 to 8 months of age, and it is even more so in giant breeds than it is in smaller dogs. Large amounts of food and high-calorie diets increase the rate of growth, which in turn increases the stress on the bones and encourages developmental bone disease to occur. Any excess weight gain in this critical period should therefore be prevented.
Pups fed free choice or ad lib also have a far greater incidence of disease. However, protein-rich diets, which were once thought to play a major role in the incidence of developmental bone diseases in large and giant dogs, have been proven to have no effect on the incidence of disease. On the contrary, low protein levels hamper the maximum developmental potential of these puppies. Large and giant breed dogs also need comparatively less calcium than small and medium breed dogs. Their diet should be adapted to these specific requirements while taking into account their low digestive tolerance.
Giant breeds are not necessarily high-energy dogs, whole the contrary. Many of them have a rather laid-back temperament, especially indoors. However, sufficient exercise is important to encourage their proper development. These breeds also need a larger sleeping area with plenty of room to stretch their limbs. Overall the costs involved in keeping a giant dog breed are higher than with a medium or small sized dog.
Their life span is generally shorter than that of smaller dogs, often living only 6 to 10 years.
A very ancient sighthound dog breed, distinguished by its upright tail with curled end and thick, fine, silky coat. Their unique tail served as a marker in the heavier underbrush when hunting wolves, foxes and gazelles.
American Blue Gascon Hound:
An aristocratic, powerful hunting-working dog breed of the old Gascon type combining great scenting ability, stamina, agility, ruggedness, perservence, and long deep bawl or bugle voice in the hunting of larger types of tree-bay game.
A hunting and guard dog bred by the nomadic Tuareg tribes of the southern Sahara. It is untiring and courageous enough to ward off big predactors such as jackals, hyenas and wild dogs.
Bloodhound, see also: St Hubert dog
Bouvier de l'Alentejo
Caucasian Shepherd Dog (see also: Flock guard dogs)
Estrela Mountain Dog
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Portugese Mountain dog
Pyrenean Mastiff (Matin de Navarre, Matin de Leon)
Spanish Mastiff (Matin d'Estremadura, Matin de la Manche)
Little girl playing with her Leonbergers
Photo: Kais Tolmats
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