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May 26, 2023

What to Expect: Owning a Large Dog

  • What to Expect
  • Large Breed
Large breed dog running on beach

Owning a large breed dog can be a unique experience depending on your companion's breed and size. From Golden Retrievers to Russian Wolfhounds or Neapolitan Mastiffs, the size and breed of your canine companion bring their own set of considerations. Here's what you need to know before welcoming a large dog into your home:

Big dog, big voice

One advantage of having a large dog is the sense of security they provide. Their size and commanding presence naturally deter potential troublemakers, instilling caution in others. With their big voices, large dogs can be a powerful deterrent against unwanted visitors.

Outdoor adventures

If you love outdoor activities like hiking and camping, a larger dog can be a fantastic companion. They're always eager to join you on prolonged excursions, keeping you company while potentially deterring wildlife. However, fitting them in a canoe or kayak might be a challenge!

Two large breed dogs sitting on forest path

Space requirements

It's important to consider that larger dogs require more space. From a bigger bed to a spacious and sturdy crate, accommodating their needs means dedicating more room in your home. Additionally, if you plan on traveling with your furry friend, a larger vehicle will be necessary. While toy dog owners can manage with a compact car, squeezing a St. Bernard into one is quite unlikely. Oh, and if your large dog enjoys the furniture, be prepared to invest in more seating options!

Securing your yard

With bigger dogs, you'll need higher and more secure fencing to keep them safe at home.

Depending on the height and weight of your canine companion you should consider a minimum of five to six feet in height for any fencing in areas where he will be allowed on your property.
Shirley Culpin with her two dogs
Shirley CulpinDog Owner, Sitter + Trainer

And while a simple enclosure of chicken wire will suffice to contain a small dog, a large dog can easily barge through something so flimsy. Solid wood or sturdy no-climb wire fencing is ideal for the containment of larger dogs.

Obedience is key

Establishing early and consistent obedience training is essential for a harmonious relationship with your large dog. offers a wealth of recommendations for dog training books that can assist you in this endeavor.

Avoid the embarrassment of being dragged around by your enthusiastic pup or struggling to control their strength. Remember, big dogs have power that shouldn't be underestimated.

Grooming costs and pet hair

The amount of dog hair in your home and closets will vary depending on your large dog's coat type and grooming frequency. Professional grooming services can become a regular expense if you choose that route. Be prepared for more warm water, shampoo, and drying time. Regular grooming will keep your pup looking and feeling their best.

Samoyed dog getting bathed by owner

Feeding and cleanup

Owners of larger dogs should anticipate higher food expenses and, of course, larger quantities of doggy waste to clean up. Some large breeds are known for slobbering, so finding a suitable spot for water bowls or buckets becomes important to prevent floor damage and accidents.

Large breed senior dog laying down beside bag of NOW FRESH kibble

Our Recommendation

Delicious recipes for larger-than-life dogs

We all know that with larger dogs, come larger appetites. That’s why these recipes are crafted to provide perfectly balanced and minimally processed nutrition to help your large breed dog maintain a healthy weight and a happy life.

Lifespan considerations

One aspect to bear in mind is that large breeds generally have shorter lifespans compared to smaller breeds. While smaller dogs can live well into their late teens, some larger breeds may have a lifespan as short as seven or eight years. Treasure each year you have with your beloved companion and make the most of your time together.

In Conclusion

In the end, large dogs possess immense love and adoration for their families. They have big hearts that envelop you with affection and make the best bed-warmers—although a king-sized bed may be necessary to accommodate both of you!


Shirley Culpin with her two dogs

Shirley Culpin

Dog Owner, Sitter + Trainer

Shirley has been involved with the purebred dog world for 45 years. Her Irish Setters have won many Best in Show awards, top obedience accolades, and advanced agility titles. She remains active in dog volunteer work and with her dog sitting service.