The only real dogs are big dogs. Perhaps only a large dog could have made the incredible journey from Scotland to Yorkshire Lassie undertook in “Lassie Come Home.” The original Lassie movie was not only the best Lassie film, but one of the greatest children’s films ever made. It starred a very young Elizabeth Taylor and Roddy McDowall. The faithful and determined Lassie was played by a Rough Collie named Pal. If you are considering buying or adopting a large dog, it is important to research the different dog breeds beforehand. Each dog breed has different characteristics and only the right ones will be the right fit for your family and home.
Labrador Retriever- These wonderful family and sporting dogs can be yellow, black or chocolate in color. Labs are intelligent, versatile and friendly dogs. They are good around children and other dogs. Their coat is not long, but it is a double coat so they require regular grooming. Labs are large and active dogs, so having a yard would be preferable.
German Shepherd- The famous Rin Tin Tin was rescued from WWI France and brought to the US where he starred in many movies. Rin Tin Tin IV later starred in the 1950’s TV series “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin.” Today this breed is often employed as police, guard and service dogs, though they can also be loyal family dogs. These dogs are big and strong and possess a herding instinct, so good training is essential. This highly trainable and dependable breed requires regular grooming and exercise.
Collie- Rough Collies and Smooth Collies are considered varieties of the same breed in the US and Canada, while in the UK they are considered separate breeds. Other breeds of collie include the medium sized Border Collie, and the Bearded Collie (15th breed below). Smooth Collies have short hair while Rough Collies have a gorgeous, full coat. Today, Rough and Smooth Collies are primarily family and show dogs, unlike their herding ancestors. With training, they can be great with children and other pets. These gentle and intelligent dogs require regular exercise and grooming. The Smooth Collie actually requires more grooming even though it has shorter hair.
Golden Retriever- Like Labs, Goldens are great family dogs, hunting retrievers, and versatile service dogs. Goldens have longer hair, having a beautiful double coat that can be various shades of gold. They require more regular grooming. Highly intelligent, gentle and friendly, this breed is an ideal family pet. These dogs are very good with children and other dogs and pets. This is an active breed that likes companionship and regular exercise. Having a yard is preferable.
Rottweiler- When you hear a ‘ruff’ or ‘bark’ from behind you, be assured it is not a Rottweiler; this breed is only capable of saying ‘woof.’ The thick Rottweiler is not the biggest breed, but it may be the most powerful. These dogs are versatile working dogs and excellent guard dogs. However, this breed has a much calmer demeanor than the Doberman Pinscher. Rottweilers can be family dogs, but good training is essential. These protective dogs require regular exercise, but grooming requirements are minimal.
Doberman Pinscher- Like the Rottweiler, the Doberman usually has a black coat with tan markings. Dobermans also are excellent guard dogs. The muscular Doberman is smaller than the Rottweiler, but is faster and more active. Doberman Pinschers are a very aggressive breed, so being experienced at handling dogs is very important when acquiring one. They are not good around small children and other pets. They are an active breed needing regular exercise and have a high capacity for training. Grooming requirements are minimal.
Boxer- The square-faced Boxer is a solid service and working dog. These dogs are loyal companions and protective, making them good guard dogs. With training, they are good around children and other pets. They like companionship and regular exercise. Only minimal grooming is required. Like all of the previous breeds, having a fenced yard would be preferable. An apartment is possible with daily walks or outdoor exercise.
Saint Bernard- The famous rescue dog of the Swiss Alps, the St. Bernard is one of the biggest breeds by weight. These big dogs are intelligent, loyal and protective, making great family dogs. They are good around children and other pets. Putting up with some drool and regular grooming are downsides. These dogs should be regularly exercised, and having a yard is preferable. St. Bernards should not be placed in hot climates.
Siberian Husky- Siberians are the most popular breed of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. They have great endurance and like to work. These dogs are good around children and large dogs, but not around smaller pets. Siberians need to be in a cool climate and can tolerate extremely cold temperatures. These dogs require regular grooming and exercise. They are not apartment dogs.
Great Dane- The gentle giant is one of the world’s tallest dogs and the world record for dog height belongs to a Great Dane named Gibson. These dogs are often guard dogs, but also make good family pets. With training, these amiable dogs are good around children and other dogs. They need regular exercise and having a yard is essential. Grooming requirements are minimal.
German Shorthaired Pointer- This intelligent and active breed has a coat of liver (brown), or liver and white. These dogs are tireless, versatile gun and hunting dogs. They are good for an active family and do well around children. With training, they can get along with other dogs. The GSP is a loyal watchdog who needs regular exercise and minimal grooming. This is not an apartment dog.
Greyhound- The distinctively shaped Greyhound is the world’s fastest dog breed. These dogs can have coats of almost any color. They are versatile hunting dogs that make good family pets. With training, they do well around children and other dogs. Smaller pets are a bad idea and a fenced yard is a necessity. Greyhounds need regular exercise, but only minimal grooming.
Mastiff- One of the largest dog breeds in the world is the Mastiff. There are many types of Mastiff such as the English Mastiff, Bullmastiff and Tibetan Mastiff. This loyal and protective breed is often used as a guard dog. Despite their massive appearance these dogs are known to be gentle family companions. They are not recommended around small children and other pets. Regular exercise is a good idea, while only minimal grooming is necessary.
English Setter, Irish Setter, Gordon Setter- These handsome and elegant breeds of dog were originally hunting companions. The English and Irish Setters were bird dogs that developed into pointers. The Gordon Setter can be used as a personal bird dog. Today, these dogs make wonderful family pets. The setters require a lot of exercise and attention. They require regular grooming and having a yard is recommended.
Bearded Collie- This long haired, shaggy dog is almost a medium sized dog. This herding breed is related to the Old English Sheepdog. These active and playful dogs make good family pets. They are good around children and other pets. These dogs require regular exercise and grooming. A yard is recommended.