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You know what they say about giant breeds. There’s more of them to love. At least, that’s what I say about them. I love greeting an Irish Wolfhound or Mastiff with a big thump or two on the side and having him lean into me or respond with a massive hug or gigantic slurpy kiss.
Giant dogs typically have that amazing sense of calmness and grandeur that just puts you in awe of their size and power, often combined with the gentleness we so often see in enormous animals, such as whales or elephants. Giant breeds can have the drawbacks of shorter life spans and greater care expenses, but for many of their owners, the dogs’ sweet but vigilant nature outweighs those disadvantages. I love all the dogs I see, but I have to admit I sure wouldn’t mind seeing a few more of these immense canines once in a while.
Here’s my list of five giant dog breeds I’d enjoy seeing more often.
1. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. You’d think I’d see more of these dogs here in Idaho. Farmers used to keep them to pull carts and guard property. Generally sociable and calm, they typically like to do whatever their people want to do and usually adapt to their activity level, but their occasional bursts of high energy can send them barreling through the house and yard. Swissies can be great family dogs and their short, tricolored coats are easy to groom.
2. Mastiff. He might not be as tall as a Great Dane or Irish Wolfhound, but the Mastiff has them beat in terms of mass. Few intruders would be crazy enough to take one on, but with family members, the Mastiff is usually loving and gentle. Just be sure you carry around a hand towel to wipe off the drool from clothing and furniture, and be prepared for really smelly farts.
3. Great Pyrenees. Born to be flock guardians, these gorgeous dogs also tend to make faithful companions and excellent family dogs who are often quite affectionate with children. The Great Pyrenees can be strong willed, so he needs plenty of socialization and training, but when he’s in the right home, this “animated snowdrift” is often gentle, alert and protective. But beware of all the falling hair!
4. Borzoi. A little on the laid-back and aloof side, this elegant sighthound always thrills me with his beauty. The Borzoi — you might also know him as the Russian Wolfhound — is typically quiet and well mannered, but he can often have a silly side as well. You can’t count on him obeying your every command (or any of them, for that matter), but he can be trained with patience and positive reinforcement. This is a great dog to take for a quick walk and then relax with — he would love to curl up on the sofa and watch Doctor Zhivago with you.
5. Great Dane. When you hear that a dog has been named “tallest in the world,” you often find that he’s a Great Dane. Despite their huge size, Great Danes seem to believe they are puppies and will do their best to sit in your lap whenever possible. Typically goofy and affectionate, Great Danes can be super family dogs if they learn early on not to jump on people!
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