There’s no doubt about it, the differences between small and large breed dogs is not just the size. Over the past few years there has been an uptick in owners of small dogs, partially due to the housing crash. Many homeowners who owned larger dogs are finding themselves not just downgrading the size of their home, but also the size of their dog. This has lead to an unfortunate rise of large breed dogs entering the shelter system.
There are several things to consider when deciding to bring a large dog into the family. One is the room that a large dog will need; they love to run and play so apartment life is not the ideal situation for them. A large dog will need to have a large yard where they will have room to run, or you may find yourself chasing after the dog as it constantly jumps or crawls under a fence. Owing a large dog will require more money to maintain as they need more food than a smaller dog will; the veterinarian bills can be higher and even dog toys can cost more. It is also harder to travel with a larger dog as some locations will not accept dogs over a certain weight.
That being said, owning a large dog can be a ton of fun, especially if there are children in the family. Most large breed dogs are patient and gentle with children, which is why the Labrador Retriever consistently ranks as the most popular dog. They make great watch dogs and are extremely protective of children. As with any pet, it is best to do your research to determine which the best pet for your family is. For example, many children will see the movie 101 Dalmatians and decide that’s the dog they want. The Dalmatian is a very high energy breed of dog and will only do well in a family that loves to be outdoors. If your family is more of the indoors type this may not be the breed for you.
Many areas of law enforcement use larger dogs for their public order enforcement needs, as dogs such as German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers can be quite intimidating. Dogs such as the Bloodhound, Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever are used for their cadaver sniffing abilities. The nose of a Bloodhound is so sensitive that the tracking results can be entered into evidence in a court of law.
Homeland security has introduced dogs into their force; who can forget the (incorrect) story of the dogs with titanium teeth? There was in fact one dog that had two lower teeth made from titanium but only because his natural teeth had broken and he needed a root canal. Homeland Security will use their dogs for Border and Customs work, for FEMA after natural disasters, and the TSA to help detect bombs. In fact, dogs have been used in times of war since ancient civilizations have existed. Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Britons and Persians have all used dogs, usually as sentries or as patrol companions.