Some of the dogs that fit the giant category are:
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
The lifespan of the giant breeds is often
very short. There is no one pinpointed reason
why larger dogs live shortened lives but the
fact that their body carries around so much and
functions harder just on a regular basis is
commonly the sad truth. Their bodies suffer
from far more wear and tear than the smaller
versions. Their organs must work harder to keep
them going and thus wear out earlier.
The tallest dog at the moment is
Giant George, a 43" blue male Great Dane.
The heaviest dog which was last recorded as
Kell, but before her was Hercules, both are
English Mastiffs. Sadly this record can be
altered simply by over feeding a dog so I
believe it should only be done on dogs that are
deemed fit. But the fact remains, the larger
the dog the shorter the lifespan, sad. Of
course this is not an absolute, there are many
big whoppers who are well into their teens, it
is just the general average.
I have worked with Great Danes much smaller than
the giant versions who were 10-12 years of age
and doing wonderfully. Breeding for bigger and
bigger sized dogs only harms the dogs we love as
does breeding tiny little tea cup sized dogs. I
think if people who breed these dogs focused on
health and longevity more than height the dogs
could have their life expectancy extended, which
would be a great thing. Of course not everyone
is breeding for size, those are few and far
between thankfully and many giant breeds are
living much longer than they ever use to.
Most of the real giant breeds have wonderful
temperaments, this has be accomplished by years
of dedicated work on improving temperament. No
one wants to deal with a 250 lb aggressive dog
right? And many of the giant breeds
from fighting dogs used as guards or hunting.
So cleaning up the temperament was imperative to
live in today's society and they have
Feeding giant breeds has changed as well. Way
back people simply pumped extra calcium and
protein into these guys as they were growing.
People figured that they had so much growing to
do that they best supply them with lots of stuff
to grow on. This caused much damage as they
grew at disproportionate stages. There is much
information about feeding giant breeds now and
this is one source I have found.
The Great Dane Lady.
Each giant breed has their own list of
genetic problems which can typically be found on
the National Breed site club pages.
It is worth while to do some research so that
you know what type of issues may arise down the
road. I love giant breeds, they stand
statuesque and regal, canine art. But like
other breeds, they have their own set of issues
that you should know about.
If you are considering a giant breed, educate
yourself on the size specific issues.
Just Dogs with Sherri