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Really big dog, anyone?
Old 03-31-2008, 10:37 AM   #1
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Really big dog, anyone?

We're planning on adding a dog to our family in 3 years or so, when our kids are a little bigger. While we like retrievers, I'm completely sold on getting a Newfoundland, mostly because they're legendarily good with kids and are calm. But, I have no experience with life with a giant-sized house dog. Can anyone here share experience or ideas? We can afford the dog, It'll be trained well, and we won't have a huge house -- probably somewhere around 1700 sq feet with a fenced yard.
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:55 AM   #2
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i totally love big dogs and barely tolerate dog-wannabes. wolf-puppy was big but not huge, a buff 100 lbs and standing tall so i could pet him during walks without leaning over. love the really big dogs too. newfoundland, st bernards, great danes, irish wolfhounds et al.

my problem with big big dogs is they don't last as long as the smaller varieties. i've heard that often danes only go 7 years though they can go longer. i had wolf puppy for 11 and that wasn't enough. the other problem is the size of the doggie door. i had a doggie door which wolfpuppy could walk through and so could strangers but i figured if anyone saw a doggie door that big they'd think twice before entering. your newfoundland is gonna need like it's own automatic garage door. maybe you could hook a location-sensitive remote control on its collar as i believe they have doggie door locks which work similarly.

my other issues with very large dogs is of course the clean up but likely less considered is how do you get the pup to the vet were it to collapse. even if i wasn't a single person, i'd only want to have a dog i could pick up by myself and rush to the vet if required.
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Urchina View Post
We're planning on adding a dog to our family in 3 years or so, when our kids are a little bigger. While we like retrievers, I'm completely sold on getting a Newfoundland, mostly because they're legendarily good with kids and are calm. But, I have no experience with life with a giant-sized house dog. Can anyone here share experience or ideas? We can afford the dog, It'll be trained well, and we won't have a huge house -- probably somewhere around 1700 sq feet with a fenced yard.

If you can really exercise the big dog then go ahead. Trouble is with such big animals they need real exercise, lots of running and walking. Leaving a big animal in a fenced yard and then understanding the breed they do slobber much meaning messy in the house. Read everything there is about newfees, friend had one, looked like a big black bear in his yard!! Sweet big guy though!
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:02 AM   #4
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Newfies are bred for water work so some place to swim would be great fun. Unfortunately big breeds do seem to have shorter life spans. My Rotts have never made it past 10. I'd find out what problems they are prone to (like dysplasia) and make sure the breeder has sound stock.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:03 AM   #5
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Yeah, I was worried about the exercise bit, but then spent 1/2 hour with a Chuckit and wore my SIL's active retriever out, so felt more optimistic about that.

Also, we live in an area with off-leash parks, and beaches, so we can do outside running/ swimming a couple of times a week, easy. Also, weather's good, so daily walks are not daunting.

As for the drool -- well, ick. but the dogs are so cool, we'll probably just figure out a way to deal with it.

And since I'm home most of the day, a doggie door may not be a big problem for us.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:07 AM   #6
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Bum -- hadn't thought about the transportation issue. I'd probably use a blanket to get the dog to the car, then the Fireman's Carry to get it up into the van. (I can drag a 200-lb man this way, could probably get a 150-lb dog moving using the same method).
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:19 AM   #7
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that's a lot of doggy food and doggy doo doo! might affect your FIRE! hee hee
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:24 AM   #8
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Can't offer much in suggestions on a big dog (mine are 25# beagles), but please consider talking to a breed rescue when you are ready to get a dog. There are lots of really nice purebreds looking for homes, and a Newfie breed-specific rescue organization could supply a dog plus lots of tips on how to deal with such a biggie.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:37 AM   #9
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I would have to agree with Brewer on checking into rescues for your dog. My Ex lived in a nice Town home (~2,500 sq ft) and had a 210 lb St. Bernard. When she divorced her husband, she moved to a smaller Condo (~900 sq ft.) and had to give it up to the Saint Bernard Rescue. She paid close to $1,500 for it because of its lineage (Father competed and won some low level dog competitions). She visited 5 Homes before deciding to give it to a family on a BIG farm. She did this with the help of the Saint Bernard Rescue.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:46 AM   #10
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She visited 5 Homes before deciding to give it to a family on a BIG farm.
Gee, that's what dad told me he did with Sparky when I was seven.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:54 AM   #11
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Yeah, the transportation part can be tricky. It's so much safer having a carrier to put the dog in while in transit. You might also want to check with your local vet and make sure they can board your dog.

I have pet sitters for my cats, and I know they will not tackle large dogs.

By the way, I love large dogs. Wish I had one.
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:15 PM   #12
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We have a great dane, about 155 pounds. We got him at 6 weeks or so old, now he's 5 years.... initially I weighed him every week and he gained 4 pounds per week ! Anyway here's my observations:

1. Exercise - nearly none required. Content to go outside, walk around for a bit, then wants to come back in and resume sleeping.
2. Kids - you could saw this guys leg off and he wouldn't harm you. My youngest was 2 when we got the dog, climbed on him and what not, no issues. very, very docile
3. Size - you get used to it quickly and he seems 'normal' sized after a while; you don't even think of him as big. Transport is an issue, although he fits in the back of our Jeep grand cherokee fine.
4. House size - People always bring this up with dogs, but I don't get it. It isn't like the dog is doing laps around the house and needs a large area. Most of the time our beast is curled up on the couch sleeping.
5. Lifespan - yeah, much shorter, 7 years typical for great dane.
6. Bark - seldom, but when they do it is LOUD.
7. Drool - yeah you get some. you don't want to be in the same plane as his snout if he shakes his head after getting a drink of water. Overall though not bad.

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Old 03-31-2008, 12:17 PM   #13
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Oh yeah, forgot with a dane you might have to deal with taping the ears in the early stages, if the ears are cropped. A pain-in-the-butt, but then down the road they look very nice and don't have issues with ear mites since they are so well ventilated.
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:57 PM   #14
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You mentioned that it would be about three years before getting a dog. That gives you plenty of time to do research on different breeds(if you haven't already). There are plenty of books with info on various breeds. Also some good websites like dogbreedinfo & yourpurebredpuppy.

If you have a chance, go to some dog shows and talk to the breeders/exhibitors about various breeds. They can give you good ideas on whether their breed is right for you. A good breeder will want to make sure their dogs are going to the right family.

I'll second the idea of rescue. Some breeders will also have adults they need to find good homes for. Good luck in your search.
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Old 03-31-2008, 01:05 PM   #15
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Be sure to watch Cesar Millan in "The Dog Whisperer" on National Geographic TV.
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Newfies......
Old 03-31-2008, 01:16 PM   #16
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Newfies......

Had a Newfie for 13 years, starting when my youngest was 2. So even big dogs can live a long time. Newies have a wonderful disposition....the two year old would pull on, climb on, tug the ears of, and otherwise try to annoy the Newfie who would quietly put up with it until, finally, he'd just walk away....

Biggest problems are size and drool related. Newfies are PROLIFIC droolers. And they are large (our female was 135 pounds). Can be a problem fitting them into vehicles and (as our dog got older he needed to be lifted)

Otherwise wonderful animals!!!
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:07 PM   #17
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Met one last week at a downtown shop. The owners brought it to work each day. Their only issue was the dog would bark at some customers. Loved my bearded husband.

Beautiful but very hairy dog. I forsee lots of brushing but he was gorgeous.

They are not hyperactive, do not require a huge house or yard. Eat a lot.
Not as bad a drooler as a mastiff or such. Make sure if you get one that the hips are ok. Poorly bred dogs can have hip issues. Dont use a pet store as the puppies are most often from large puppy mills or backyard breeders and quality is not what is important.
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:25 PM   #18
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Place I used to go fishing at as a kid the people had a Bull Mastiff. Talk about a teddy bear loving dog. His name was Cassius. But drool lol did he ever drool and when they pass gas they can clear a room.
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Old 03-31-2008, 03:48 PM   #19
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Actually, lots of the giant breeds require very little exercise compared to some smaller more energetic breeds. I have known some Giant Breeds that make excellent apartment dogs as they were content with a leisurely 30 minute walk a day and otherwise were content to lay about the home. Please be very careful of excessive running or jumping with the large breeds until the growth plates close at around 18 months. NO JOGGING!
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Old 03-31-2008, 03:57 PM   #20
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Here's the list I look at whenever I start thinking about getting a dog:

  1. Gets up at 5:15 AM and needs to go out.
  2. Trouble getting the dog back when he goes out at 5:15 AM
  3. Loud barking (Just when you are falling asleep)
  4. Pee on the rug
  5. Vomit on the rug
  6. Can't go to the county fair and stay for the fireworks
  7. Can't go to parks or beaches where dogs are not allowed (most)
  8. Scratches when playing
  9. Dog slobber
  10. Diarrhea on the rug
  11. Run out of carpet cleaner while cleaning up the diarrhea
  12. Dog hairs in car
  13. Dog hairs in house
  14. Car smells like dog
  15. House smells like dog
  16. Barking alienates neighbors
  17. Tie him up outside and rope gets wrapped around things, tangled up
  18. Muddy paws which must be cleaned or which make marks on the carpet
  19. Food attracts ants
  20. Step on water bowl, spill water on floor
  21. Average annual costs $600 to $1,500
  22. Have to find something to do with him when you go on plane trip
  23. Have to take him for a walk even if you don't feel like it
  24. You'll be very sad when he dies
  25. He could have a disease or injury that is very expensive to treat
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