Does anyone here own giant breeds?

(63 Posts)
Poniesandgin Sat 02-May-20 06:09:58

If so please tell me all about them and living with them grin

I’ve thought of the usual expense, space issues but what’s the reality like?

Also what car do you have to fit them in?!

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FortunesFave Sat 02-May-20 06:14:39

Not giant I suppose but we do have a Marrema. He's pretty big.

We live in Oz on a large property. I wouldn't have a dog that size in a normal house.

Our garden's very large. House quite big....he lives outside mainly...his choice. When he does come in he's very....apparent.

This isn't mine but he's bigger than that.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Sat 02-May-20 08:58:36

@wolfiefan has Irish wolfhounds

Wolfiefan Sat 02-May-20 11:31:35

Thanks for the tag @AvocadosBeforeMortgages!
I most certainly do. We got our second at the end of last year.
They change everything. We have our garage converted into a dog room, a single mattress makes a bed, holidays aren’t easy and I drive a minibus with a pile of seats removed. They are bloody expensive. Not just to buy. But to feed and insure. And do insure! One ear infection ended in an ear flush. £800.
As puppies they need VERY careful training so you don’t end up with a huge hooligan. Their growth plates are very prone to damage so exercise needs to be limited as a puppy. They mustn’t do stairs or jump in and out of high vehicles until they are grown.
They don’t have long life spans. That’s the worst of it.
I adore them.

Poniesandgin Sat 02-May-20 11:41:31

Thanks Wolfie!
I’ve been looking at some of the giants, newfies Bernese and leonbergers mainly because I prefer the fluff grin

I would need a new car but my house is pretty large, we have a spare living room but I presume it would want to be with us anyway!

How do you find walking them, can you manage both at once?
Also do you get stopped by lots of people, does it get annoying?!
My other dog is well trained but only 25kg so if she did pull or lunge I wouldn’t go flying like I would with a giant breed.
Do you have to buy giant dog type food or will a normal dog diet be okay in a larger quantity?

I would 100% be insuring. I can afford to feed and care for one and also purchase so that’s not so much of a concern!

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Carolduckingbaskin Sat 02-May-20 12:04:28

I adore giant breed dogs, but for practical reasons don’t have one. A couple of things I’ve noticed for those who do have them - yes they get stopped a lot. Also- other dogs can react quite badly to them (fear of their size I assume) which is always a bit heartbreaking as they seem so gentle.

Wolfiefan Sat 02-May-20 12:55:20

At the moment I don’t walk them together. Pup isn’t 7 months yet and can’t do long walks.
They need training to walk to heel but I also use a dogmatic just in case! Big girl doesn’t pull but pup is still learning.
We get stopped all the time. “You could put a saddle on that!” Is the normal comment. But I love wolfhounds and if someone wants to ask about the breed then I would happily talk about them.
Food I would speak to breeder. We feed raw.
Do your research! Contact the breed clubs. Look up health issues and be careful about breeders. Someone near us picked up one of those breeds as a “surprise” for the family. The puppy died soon after. All breeds have crappy breeders.


TheSandgroper Sat 02-May-20 12:56:58

A mate had a gorgeous St Bernard. Gorgeous. However, on occasion, he would lie down, look at you and say “make me do it “. And you either waited it out or changed your mind.

DoneAdulting Sat 02-May-20 13:01:21

We have a Newf, he's 10 months old and a clown. He's our 7 year old sons best friend.

He's very strong and powerful on the lead, and he's still a bit bouncy, though he's very very gentle with children.

We live in an ordinary 3 bed house. He doesn't go upstairs yet as we don't want him damaging his joints.

We have a hybrid 4x4 but looking at changing to an estate when lockdowns over as we can't lift him into the boot anymore. He's about 9 stone now.

Carolduckingbaskin Sat 02-May-20 13:26:07

@DoneAdulting oh he’s gorgeous. I would love to have a Newfoundland- I think they are beautiful and so gentle.

Wolfiefan Sat 02-May-20 13:35:06

@DoneAdulting I used a Solvit ramp I bought on Amazon before we got the van.

Poniesandgin Sat 02-May-20 14:26:59

Thanks all of you. Such gorgeous dogs!!!

I don’t know why I want a giant, I just adore them all. I also love that every one I’ve met has been so gentle despite the size.
I’m used to herding breeds so have always had collies and getman shepherds. I wouldn’t mind a high energy dog as that’s what I’m used to but I presume that it would be lower energy than what I’m used to.
I think out of the 3 I would prefer a leonberger most as I’ve read they don’t drool as much but I also love the look of newfies.
I think I will ring some breeders to find out more.

Being stopped wouldn’t bother me so much.

I would end up doing a walk with current dog and then puppy walks if it couldn’t walk properly for a year or so. Is pottering around okay? We have a large garden and are often outside so it would be able to run around a fair bit if it wanted to, is it best to restrict this?
At the moment my current dog goes upstairs or downstairs, how long until they are allowed to climb stairs or will I be carrying it up for a while grin

I don’t tend to allow my dogs to play with strangers and prefer them to walk past anyway but I am only 5foot tall so would need to make sure it’s well trained enough not to take off after someone else.
My current dog is well behaved now at 3 but was evil as a puppy so I know a bit about difficult to train dogs blush

We have a small hatchback at the moment but I am happy to swap for a 4x4 or estate.

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Wolfiefan Sat 02-May-20 15:34:17

If you know what breed you want then go to the breed club. You need to consider things like grooming and health issues.
I wouldn’t have a giant dog upstairs. You can’t carry it up when it’s a big puppy and wouldn’t be able to when it’s a veteran who couldn’t do the stairs.

Witchgonebad Tue 05-May-20 23:24:54

I have a Leonberger.
Wonderful dogs, can be quite athletic for a giant breed, don’t tend to drool.
Very sensitive dogs and very loving.
You have to be happy to live with dog hair and being stopped everywhere you go!

Some dogs, particularly small dogs can get arsey with them due to their size.
Our boy is only a year old and 65kg.

Expensive to feed, insure and house! Everything has to be bigger...crates, beds, toys etc.
We drive a 4x4 as we need the headroom for him!

The best place to start your research is with The Leonberger Club of Great Britain.

Witchgonebad Tue 05-May-20 23:38:27

They also love water A LOT!
They’ll happily jump in any pond, stream, ditch or bog and as puppies often sleep with their heads in their water bowls.

Yesbutisittouching Wed 06-May-20 00:29:17

I have a Leo too. 75kg at 3years. They are lovely dogs but need a massive amount of input to avoid them being adult hooligans. If they ‘go rogue’ it is very hard to bring them back. They are also extremely stubborn so training is intensive and repetitive. It is not like owing a more compliant breed like a lab. Mine is not allowed to go upstairs and isn’t that bothered about it. Definitely can’t jump and we have a telescopic ramp for him to get into the boot of a discovery. They do however like to be outside. A lot. Which is fine in summer but a massive pain in the arse when it is muddy, wet or cold and they want the door open too 🤣They hate being hot so don’t waste your money on fancy beds or crates like I did 🙄. Mine wouldn’t get into a crate from day one and has never used a bed. He likes the cold stone floor in the porch. Mine is raw fed but as an adult that is over 3kgs of meat every day. They drink a lot of water every day. They need a lot of space to prevent boredom (we are rural and have land so not an issue but this is not a dog that would be happy in a 50ft garden) Things I wish I’d known - you can’t go 10 yards on a walk without being stopped so get used to that! they really smell if you don’t keep on top of their coat. Mine is a particularly big-coated one and I have him washed and blow dried every two weeks in winter and every 4 weeks in summer (You never cut a Leo’s coat only trim their paws). He takes two hours to wash and dry properly. I am the groomers best customer so we have a deal on the cost but I spent significantly more on his hair than my own!! They are a massive Velcro so bear that in mind when they venture into a muddy woodland! Removal of ‘dead’ coat hair twice a year in the coat change is unbelievable. You could build a new dog with the hair. Everything is more expensive - insurance, medication (they’ll be prescribed twice the amount of an average dog) and good. Consider if you can physically cope with a 65/70kg dog pulling in the opposite direction to the one you want to go in. I met a couple in their 70’s on a walk before lockdown recently and they’d just replaced their last Leo with a new one but it was 10 years since the last and they admitted they were finding it hard to cope with their girl who was much smaller than mine (around 45kgs). They are pack animals and like human company. They are also natural hunters so generally not good with cats or small furries but also they are natural guardians for their families So great for security . They are also exceptionally fast.

On the upside, I wouldn’t be without ours. They are not ‘needy’ dogs and love a quick fuss but then bugger off if they know you are happy. They are extremely easy to toilet train. They definitely put off anyone fancying a trip across your property ! They are not greedy dogs and ours doesn’t steal food or raid a bin. The best Breeders tend to want a recommendation or at least happy you understand what is involved before accepting you as a potential owner so don’t expect them to be desperate to sell you a puppy. There is a rescue centre as part of the GB club but I think they prefer experienced Leo owners as they are dogs that have already left one home. I do wish you all the best. Great dogs, but go into ownership with your eyes wide open.

tonto2012 Wed 06-May-20 00:55:32

How giant? Mine is a cane corso, so he's not as big as some of the others on here, but big enough! (8.5 stone)
I'm 5'2" and I can handle him fine, he is strong though. We do get people pulling their dogs/kids away from him.
I did have to get a bigger car! grin
He's a terrible sofa/bed hogger, and he eats a lot. He's nearly 4 now and a pretty chilled out guy.
I wouldn't change him for the world.

Poniesandgin Wed 06-May-20 06:08:54

Thanks everyone!

@Witchgonebad and @Yesbutisittouching I love the sound of them!!
We are about to move to a large house with plenty of space. We will have a large garden on a dog walking trail so plenty of space for it to wander around.

Do they all smell? I don’t mind grooming, I currently have a long coated GSD however she does not smell at all unless she’s been pond dipping grin

I will need a bigger car too @tonto2012 grin
DH is quite happy to get a 4x4 but I won’t be able to lift it in so I’ll need a ramp.

They sound like a lifestyle rather than a dog! This is fine with me though, I’m happy to change my life to accommodate to be honest as long as the dog is a good fit for us. I have small children, another dog and a cat so I don’t want a huge aggressive beast. Defo more research to be done!
I’ve emailed a few breeders, a couple have got back to me and said it would be 2021 due to corona but this is fine with me smile

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Witchgonebad Wed 06-May-20 08:39:25

They are definitely a lifestyle choice.

You’ll need a ramp whichever car you have, as they can’t jump in and out of the car whilst young and growing and you won’t be able to lift them for long!

As for I mentioned earlier, they love to be wet and mine have all been drawn to water. I use a blaster in winter to really dry the coat to the skin and brush throughly at least once a week. Daily when they’re blowing their coat, which takes about 2 weeks every 6 months.

In my experience, they don’t smell as much as Newfies (sorry Newfie owners) as their coat isn’t as thick and oily.

They can be clumsy around very small children. Only because they have no idea how massive their arses are and when a 70kg dog accidentally treads on your foot you tend to notice! Having said that my youngest was 5 when we got our first Leo and they grew up together fine.

They need careful socialisation, as although they can be calm as adults they are often boisterous as youngsters.

Please be careful choosing a breeder. We were warned of one particular breeder by several people. If you get it wrong you could end up with a dog with major health issues and that would be heartbreaking.

Yesbutisittouching Wed 06-May-20 08:42:21

Yes they smell. They are double coated so when the coat change happens the dead hair has to come out or you’ll never stop hoovering or wonder what ‘that smell’ is. The double coat also makes a perfect conditions for serious matting hence the need to keep on top of the grooming. Also if you don’t keep on top of their feet they will slip over constantly as they cannot get a grip on a smooth surface. That said, mine has a very big coat mainly because he spends so much time outdoors (his choice) and different breeders have a different perspective on coats, size of dog and colouring. Some breeders produce litters that are more akin to an Estrella imo. Mine is from a really lion/bear line. I can’t imagine the mess if you kept one in a carpeted house..! If you have a long hair GSD it is a good start but this is hair shedding and maintenance on a different level . Definitely invest in a good blaster and start grooming from day one. Make friends with a really good dog groomer as there will come a point when you physically cannot bath them in a standard bathroom. Mine is a similar size to next door’s Shetland pony. He doesn’t need to jump to get anything off the kitchen island 🤣

Yesbutisittouching Wed 06-May-20 08:53:10

Also second the ramp. I went through several iterations of ramps he refused to use until I hit on the landrover one (it was a gazillion quid though). Also consider where you might put the ramp if you want to take the children out too... 😩 be warned if you don’t use it from day one, you’re unlikely to ever get a Leo to use one. They are extremely stubborn, and will cut their nose off to spite their face if they don’t want to do something you’d like them to do. 🤣 also second about breeders.ours was very reputable and breeds carefully. There is a high risk of bone carcinoma and that would be heart-breaking. Not all breeders are equal and as there are not many to choose from you’d be better to wait for a litter from the right one than one from one with known breeding issues. If you ever watched the series ‘10 puppies’ on BBC2 you’ll witness a breeder handing over a puppy to a stupid woman that has given more thought to the shoes she has worn to collect the dog than the obvious requirement of a lead, carrier, food, water etc. And she lived in a one bedroom flat. And immediately took the dog on a long train journey. Our breeder would have sent her away with A very large flea in her ear...

Wolfiefan Wed 06-May-20 09:09:53

I saw that programme and wondered just how awful a breeder had to be to think she had a suitable set up for a Leonberger. shock

Poniesandgin Wed 06-May-20 09:11:45

@Witchgonebad can you pm me the name of the breeder to avoid?
On the face lots of them look great but I would rather find one from personal recomendation!

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Yesbutisittouching Wed 06-May-20 09:20:07

@Wolfiefan heartbreaking I agree. Sadly I get stopped by lots of people who ‘wanna really big dog like yours’ I think idiots like this consider big dogs as if they are trophies rather than massive mildly domesticated animals. This is in part why Leo rescue centres contain mainly male unsocialised dogs who cannot mix with kids or other dogs. They are very rewarding but very hard work initially.

Poniesandgin Wed 06-May-20 10:23:25

If I was to get one I really need it to be social and friendly to people. It doesn’t have to run up for a cuddle but be comfortable and happy around strangers would be a real positive for me.
My GSD aren’t Labrador friendly, but they aren’t aggressive either and I couldn’t cope with something I couldn’t 100% trust.
I would always go to training classes etc as much as possible and also train and home until I was blue in the face!

What about castration? I presume that’s something best left until late but are they a breed that can be left entire longer or do they get a bit much?

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