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Big dogs - the ideal breeds

Big dogs are very popular and you might be looking for a large dog if you have the space in your home. The Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever are among the most popular large dogs in the UK, while the Bernese Mountain dog and Akitu Inu are less well known. Read here what you can expect as the owner of one of these four big dog breeds.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the UK for many years. Although they are big dogs, Labs have a sweet character and are very affectionate, making them the perfect family pet. While they might not always give this impression, Labrador Retrievers are also highly intelligent. This is why they are used extensively as guide dogs for the blind.

Male Labradors measure between 55 and 60 centimetres at the shoulder compared to between 50 and 55 centimetres for females. Males weigh between 30 and 35 kilograms when fully grown, and females between 25 and 30 kilograms.

When it comes to taking care of your Labrador, keep in mind that these big dogs are prone to putting on too much weight. So make sure that your dog stays healthy with the right nutrition and enough exercise.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are also popular big dogs in the UK. Although they were originally bred for hunting, they are very calm and friendly indoors. Training a Golden Retriever is usually easy, making them ideal first dogs. They are good family dogs as they get along well with children and other pets and they are normally neutral or even friendly towards visitors.

As with the Labrador Retriever, males grow to between 55 and 60 centimetres in height at the shoulder and females between 50 and 55 centimetres. Healthy adult Golden Retrievers weigh between 30 and 35 kilograms. Keep in mind that this is a long haired breed, so regular grooming is essential.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Do you enjoy the outdoors? Then the Bernese Mountain Dog is one of the big dog breeds that could be ideal for you. They need a lot of exercise, otherwise they become lethargic and risk gaining too much weight.

These large dogs also fit well into a family with children, as they are intelligent, obedient and very friendly. Bernese Mountain Dogs have a stubborn streak which might sometimes surprise you. However, they will always do what is needed to earn your love.

Adult males measure between 65 and 70 centimetres at the shoulder, while females grow to between 55 and 65 centimetres. Bernese Mountain Dogs weigh between 40 and 60 kilograms. On average, a Bernese Mountain Dog only lives for 7 years. This is a very short lifespan, even when compared to other big dog breeds.

These big dogs are very susceptible to various cancers, so even with good care you still run the risk of your dog not living out the normal lifespan. This is one factor to consider if you are thinking of getting a Bernese Mountain puppy. The loss of a dog is heartbreaking and a serious illness can also lead to high veterinary expenses.

Akita Inu

The Akita Inu became popular amongst big dog breeds after the 2009 drama film Hachi: A Dog's Tale, starring Richard Gere. It tells the true story of the dog Hachi, who had a very special bond with his owner.

These big dogs originated in Japan where the word "Inu'' can be translated to "domestic dog." Akitas’ have a strong urge to protect their family, but they are not very obedient. They are known for being quite independent and will not go to great lengths to please you. For example, an Akita will barely return a ball when you throw it. Your relationship with an Akita should be built on mutual respect.

Fully grown males measure between 65 and 70 centimetres at the shoulder while females grow to between 60 and 65 centimetres. The average weight of Akitas is between 35 and 40 kilograms. Your Akita’s thick coat will need to be brushed once a week to remove loose hair. You also need to brush their teeth regularly as this breed is genetically prone to dental disease.

The right food for big dog breeds

As we have seen above, big dogs are prone to obesityThis can cause joint problems which are painful and limit their mobility. Most dogs tend to eat whatever you feed them - not because they are hungry, but simply because they love food. If your dog begs for food all the time, consider spreading out their daily food allowance by feeding them smaller portions several times a day.

On each product page on the Yarrah website you can find out how many grams of dog food you should feed your dog daily. All you have to do is enter your dog’s weight and how active they are. For example, active big dogs weighing around 50 kilograms should be fed around 819 grams of organic adult dog food with chicken. If you choose to also give your dog the organic vegan dog biscuits for large dogs, you must deduct the snack’s calories from their total food intake for the day.

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