Pros and Cons of Owning a Big Dog
Collin and I don't have any children yet but we do have a very large dog. We aren't really the type of couple that treat their dog like a child but currently she is our only little one roaming around the house. Now, as many of you may have read my past post about our dog, you will have seen that she is quite large.
Many male Neapolitan Mastiffs can grow to be upwards of 155 pounds. Lucky for us we have a female and she is only about 120 pounds. She's just a little thing. When Collin and I were searching for our first dog to get together there were quite a few stipulations that the breed had to meet. We needed a lazy dog that didn't require too much exercise as we were still in college at the time and didn't have a lot of time during the day for walks/runs. We wanted a large breed and also a dog that is considered to be a 'power breed.' Collin loves power breed dogs. Neapolitan Mastiffs actually were bred as fighting dogs in Roman times. They have an immense amount of excess skin because of that. She kind of looks like a puddle when she lays down.
As Collin searched for a breed to match all our needs he came across Neapolitan Mastiffs. She is really the perfect mixture of what we needed and wanted in a dog. She is lazy, sweet, gentle, but when she growls it is quite ferocious. It is a comfort having her around if Collin is traveling for work.
I wanted to list a few pros and cons about having a big dog for those of you that may be looking for your next canine companion.
Pro: Big dogs are fun. Gwen is massive. We get stopped anywhere we take her by people wanting to know what breed she is. They always want to pet her and look at her massive paws. We call her our 'little' celebrity. When I am around friends with little dogs I feel like I am going to hurt them just by petting them. When you pet Gwen she sometimes doesn't even notice. Collin and her wrestle and 'fight' and simply because she is so massive we never are worried that she will get hurt. Collin always wins the wrestling matches but Gwen puts up a good fight.
Pro/Con: It's like having a small horse. Now this could be a good or bad thing depending on your own thoughts but Gwen is the size of a person. Collin and I have lived in many a small space with Gwen around and she takes up quite a bit of room. Each time she steps on my foot I just know that a bruise will pop up there in a couple of days. Her paws are the size of Collin's palm and 120 pounds of dog weighing your foot down isn't the best feeling in the world. Gwen also likes to be around us a lot so her girth gets in the way sometimes.
She's staring at me while I type this and I feel like she is asking "what are you saying about me?"
Pro: Most large dogs have great temperaments. Gwen has a great personality. She was very easy to train and is extremely laid back. Many large breeds have similar traits. Large breeds are known for wanting to please their owner. Gwen is definitely a 'daddy's girl' and she loves to be around Collin. On the other hand I think she could take me or leave me. Although she can come off as quite menacing just by looking at her, she is a gentle giant.
Con: The slobber, oh the slobber. I could definitely do without the large amounts of slobber that she produces. Mastiffs have these massive jowls that hang down below their mouths. This is the breeding ground for Gwen's 'presents' as Collin likes to call them. Collin and I are constantly ducking and taking cover when Gwen shakes her head. I have had far too much slobber on me in my lifetime from this dog. And, yes, we do have to clean the walls due to these wonderful little gifts she bestows upon us.
Con: Not everyone will love them as much as you do. Now I think this probably comes down to the drool but having a big dog kind of limits the amount of people that will watch your dog while you are away - although we have some fantastic friends that have recently taken up the reigns of watching her (thank you!). Also, if you choose to board your large dog the price is quite high due to their size. These 'large breed' prices are not solely for boarding but also medication, apartment fees, and more. Some apartments won't allow breeds over a certain size. This baffles me as most large breeds are calmer than their smaller breed companions.
Pro: They make you smile. As a puppy she was hilarious. She was still trying to figure out walking with her long legs and she was quite awkward. Now she is much more graceful but she still makes us laugh. Because of her jowls and droopy eyes she looks sad and sometimes a bit pitiful (especially when her tongue is unknowingly sticking out). Even though some people might think she looks sad Collin and I know she is a very happy dog and we are so glad she is a part of our little family.
My one piece of advice for people looking into buying a dog is to research. Collin researched for a good long while before he found Gwen. She is a perfect addition to our family.