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Best Large Dog Breeds and Why We Love Them

top large dog breeds we love

There’s always more to love with a large dog. While they won’t fit in a designer purse or easily tuck in a backpack, many large breeds insist they’d make good lap dogs. 

Big dogs are often considered the hardest-working group of dog breeds and some of the gentlest giants. If you’re looking to welcome a large dog into your family, you probably have questions. Do they bark a lot? How difficult are big dogs to train? Are they hard to groom? Here’s a glimpse at the wonderful world of large dog breeds.

What are Large Dog Breeds?

Determining what breed classifies as large isn’t clear-cut. You might find a breed categorized as both a medium-size and large breed because of the height and weight variances. In general, you can expect a large dog to weigh from 50-70 pounds to over 100 pounds. Bred for a purpose or function, large breeds excel at jobs such as hunting companions and guard dogs. Although their size is enough to intimidate most people, they tend to get along well with humans of all ages. 

Before you decide to adopt a large dog, it’s important you research the breed to ensure he’s the right dog for your lifestyle, home size, and family (with young children). Here are 20 of the most popular large dog breeds starting with the shortest (height, weight range):

  1. Siberian husky – 20-23.5 inches, 35-60 pounds
  2. American bulldog – 20-25 inches, 60-100 pounds
  3. Old English sheepdog – 21-22 inches, 60-100 pounds
  4. Golden retriever – 21.5-24 inches, 55-75 pounds
  5. Labrador retriever – 21.5-24.5 inches, 55-80 pounds
  6. Boxer – 21.5-25 inches, 65-80 pounds
  7. Chinook – 22-26 inches, 50-90 pounds
  8. German shepherd dog – 22-26 inches, 50-90 pounds
  9. Rottweiler – 22-27 inches, 80-135 pounds
  10. Alaskan malamute – 23-25 inches, 75-85 pounds
  11. Weimaraner – 23-27 inches, 55-90 pounds
  12. Curly-coated retriever – 23-27 inches, 60-95 pounds
  13. Bloodhound – 23-27 inches, 80-110 pounds
  14. Pointer – 23-28 inches, 45-75 pounds
  15. Giant Schnauzer – 23.5-27.5 inches, 55-85 pounds
  16. Rhodesian ridgeback – 24-27 inches, 70-85 pounds
  17. Doberman pinscher – 24-28 inches, 60-100 pounds
  18. Afghan hound – 25-27 inches, 50-60 pounds
  19. Irish setter – 25-27 inches, 60-70 pounds
  20. Greyhound – 27-30 inches, 60-70 pounds

Do Large Dogs Bark a Lot?

There’s no getting around it, dogs bark, and you’ll have no problem hearing when a large breed barks. For this reason, you need to consider whether barking is an issue with the breed you’re interested in adopting. The good news is many large dog breeds, such as the Labrador retriever and Alaskan Malamute, aren’t barky breeds. On the other hand, Irish setters can bark incessantly if left alone for too long, and the German shepherd dog, known as a superior guard dog, barks more than most. 

Even if you choose to adopt a highly vocal canine, there are a few tips that can reduce or eliminate nuisance barking. What’s nuisance barking? It’s when your pet barks to merely bark. He’s not hurt, fearful, or warning you of imminent danger. Early socialization and training are essential. If your pet is older or had early training and is still a barker is time to invest in some training. With plenty of treats, praise, and the proper tools like the BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool, you can help eliminate or reduce your dog’s incessant barking.

Are Large Dog Breeds Difficult to Train?

So, how difficult are large dog breeds to train? It depends. Breeds like the golden retriever and rottweiler are among the easiest to train dog breeds, whereas an Afghan hound and a bloodhound, with their independence and stubbornness, make training a challenge. Here are a some tips for training a large dog:

  • Use a firm tone and never yell at your pet.
  • Be consistent in your commands.
  • Practice patience (dog training will take time).
  • Use positive reinforcement, aka offer treats and praise immediately following your dog’s successful completion of whatever task.
  • Be sure your dog gets plenty of exercise.

Interested in learning more? Check out the BarxBuddy train, treat, and repeat training method

Are Large Dog Breeds Hard to Groom?

A bigger dog means more hair, larger teeth, and nails. Some large breeds like the Weimaraner are generally easy to groom outside of keeping their nails trimmed with the appropriate equipment like the BarxBuddy nail clippers. Others like the Afghan hound and their long, silky coats require hours of grooming per week and require brushing with a brush like the BarxBuddy self-cleaning brush and regular bathing to prevent mats and tangles. While dogs of all sizes require some form of grooming, you might need to make a few adjustments for a larger breed, like bathing outside if possible (avoid picking up your large dog into a bathtub).

BarxBuddy.com is your resource center for more grooming tips for large dogs and other dog-related issues.

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Congrats on Your New Dog! Here’s Your Shopping List and Puppy Supplies Checklist

Shopping list for new dog or puppy

Are you adopting a puppy, or an adult or senior dog? Congrats! In all the excitement of welcoming a new pet into your life, it’s easy to overlook a few details. What are the essentials? What do you need to protect your home and keep your dog healthy and happy? That depends on your pet’s age. Like humans, dogs have different needs based on where they are in their lifespan. An item that may be perfect for a pup may be a no-go for a senior (geriatric) dog. So, to prepare your home for your new pet, we’ve put together this checklist based on three stages of a dog’s life.

Items You Need for Adopted Dogs of All Ages

  • Crate or kennel – Dogs are den animals, and as such, they need to feel protected and secure when they’re confined. The crate doesn’t have to be extravagant, just roomy enough for your pet to move around easily. The crate or kennel should be large enough so your dog can stand up and turn around easily.
  • Baby or pet gate – Use a baby or pet gate to block off areas you don’t want your new dog exploring. He’ll learn where he can go and where is a no-no. 
  • House-training pads – Just in case! Dogs are creatures of habit. So, when they move from one living space to another, it takes a bit of adjustment. It doesn’t matter if your adopted pet has been house trained, the stress of new surroundings can cause “accidents.” Buy enzymatic cleaner or white vinegar to spray on soiled areas. This will clean the area and deter your dog from urinating in the same spot.
  • Grooming tools – All dogs require some degree of grooming, whether it’s brushing their coat, bathing, cleaning their ears and teeth, or trimming their nails. For details on how to groom your pet, check out BarxBuddy grooming tips.
  • Leash – Start with a basic leash to get a feel for how your dog will behave. If you’ve got one that pulls, you might look for a second leash that absorbs shocks or one you can use to correct the pulling behavior — without hurting your dog. Or, if you have a dog that chews, look for a leash that withstands those chewing teeth. For those of you who walk at night, look for a leash and collar that reflect; additionally, you should wear colors that naturally reflect, rather than absorb light (whites, yellows, and other bright colors that reflect vehicle lights). 
  • Collar – A collar should display your pet’s name and your contact information in case he gets lost. Depending on your local ordinances, you might also need to include health tags. You can also opt to have your dog microchipped if he goes missing and is without his collar. This allows any shelter to track down who he belongs to. 
  • Poop bags – Whether you use a plastic bag from your last grocery store visit or a scented poop bag, cleaning up after your dog is the right thing to do.
  • Dog food – You can’t merely switch a dog’s food to a different brand or texture without risking intestinal distress. The best way to change your pet’s food is to feed him his current diet and slowly transition him to another type based on your vet’s advice. Dogs require unique nutrients based on their age, so what might be ideal for the puppy stage isn’t suitable for older dogs and vice versa. Speak with your vet about their recommendations based on your pet’s health and age.
  • Food and water bowls – Keeping a dog’s food and water in appropriate sized containers can minimize messes unless they are sloppy eaters and drinkers. A pet mat under your dog’s eating/drinking area can protect your floor from any water damage. Be sure to offer clean water every day and regularly wash out bowls to prevent any bacterial growth. 
  • Dog treats – Nothing says love like heaps of praise and yummy dog treats. They can be useful in positive reinforcement training, or any time you want to show your pet he’s special.
  • Dog bed – All dogs deserve a comfy, cozy place to catch some zzz’s. Look for dog beds that are machine washable and dryer-safe.
  • Toys – The Humane Society offers tips for choosing the right dog toys:
    • Never offer a toy that can easily fit into the back of your dog’s mouth.
    • Do not offer a toy with small parts, like strings and plastic eyes that can be chewed off and swallowed.
    • Don’t give your pet a toy stuffed with polystyrene beads or nutshell.
    • Use squeaker toys with caution. They can pose choking hazards.

New Puppy Shopping Checklist

  • Chew toys  – Puppies chew on pretty much everything; it’s instinctive. Chewing on objects helps them explore their environment, provides them entertainment, and helps relieve pain during teething. Chew toys offer a safe material your puppy can chew on without destroying your home.
  • Puzzle and treat-dispensing toys – Mentally stimulating toys can keep your puppy amused and out of trouble. Puzzle toys occupy dogs that need to work — you hide treats inside, and they have to work to free the treat.
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste – Early dental care is essential for your dog’s overall health and well-being. A toothbrush and toothpaste made for puppies will help get them accustomed to having their teeth cleaned.
  • Puppy shampoo. It’s never a good thing to use human shampoo on a dog. Their skin, especially as a puppy, is sensitive and can be harmed by chemicals, dyes, and perfumes. Instead, look for a puppy shampoo that is mild and tearless. Talk to your veterinarian or groomer for recommendations.
  • Calming aids. Whether you choose apparel that applies constant pressure, a pheromone-infused dog collar or spray, or supplements, calming aids can prove beneficial during stressful times like storms and transitioning into a new home.

Items You Need for Adult Dogs

  • Chew toy – They may be older, but adult dogs still like to enjoy pull and chew toys.
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste – Depending on your dog’s breed, the time to upgrade his toothbrush and toothpaste can vary. Typically it’s between 8-24 months. Speak with your vet about when you should switch over to adult dog dental products. And remember, your dental products are not intended for your pets.
  • Dog shampoo – Once your dog has matured, you can also upgrade his shampoo to an adult dog formula. Look for natural ingredients such as honey and vitamin E, or whatever your veterinarian or groomer recommend.
  • Dog cleaning wipes – To help between baths, dog cleaning wipes help remove dirt from your dog’s coat.
  • Training tools – Dog training tools can help reduce or eliminate negative behaviors, such as barking, in adult dogs.

Items You Need for Senior (Geriatric) Dogs

  • Pet steps or ramps – Pet steps or ramps can help senior dogs get up into your car or onto your couch and bed. 
  • Orthopedic dog bed – Arthritis is a common issue for aging dogs. An orthopedic dog bed can comfort and support your senior dog’s joints.
  • Lift harness – If your senior dog is a large breed, a lift harness can help you pick up your pet when needed.
  • Pet stroller – As your dog ages, going for long walks may be a thing of the past, unless you have a stroller.
  • Doggy diapers – If your senior dog suffers from incontinence, doggy diapers can help prevent messes. 
  • Dog sweaters – Similar to humans, as we age, it’s harder to regulate body temperature. A dog sweater can make it easier to stay warm during chilly days.
  • Dog blankets – A few dog blankets can ensure your dog stays warm.
  • Dog brush – If your pet suffers from discomfort due to age or illness, seek the help of a grooming professional or advice from your veterinarian for the best dog brush for older dogs.
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste – Dental disease is common in older dogs, so you must continue to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. 
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How to Control Dog Shedding (Yes! You Can!)

How to control dog shedding

How to Control Dog Shedding

Shed much? If your dog loses a sweater’s worth of hair every time you turn around, you have two options, either take up knitting or focus on how you can control his shedding. Even if your pet sheds a smaller amount but still leaves a trail of fur, regular grooming could reduce or eliminate this mess.

Of course, how often and the amount your dog sheds is dependent on many factors including his breed, water intake, and diet. However, if he routinely sees the vet, drinks at least an ounce of water per pound of his body weight a day and eats a healthy, well-balanced diet, your dog’s shedding is a natural process that can be controlled with a bit of attention. 

Here’s how you can clean up this hairy situation.

Best Deshedding Tools for Long-Haired Dogs

For long-haired, double-coated dogs, especially breeds that are more likely to shed, such as Labrador retriever, Siberian husky, and Pomeranian, use a tool such as a slicker brush that can reach under the outer coat and remove dead hairs. Taken across the outer coat a few times in both directions, a self-cleaning slicker brush is effective at removing tangles and mats.

For periods of increased shedding be sure to use a coat rake. This tool is useful at helping you de-shed or thin out hairs. Pull the rake in the direction of the hair growth, then pull the tool up and away.

Other deshedding tools that are good to use on long-haired dogs include a bristle brush and a wire-pin brush. The bristle brush, which is acceptable for use on all coat types, is best for long-hair dogs because the brush bristles are long and widely spaced. For curly or wooly medium to long length hair a wire-pin brush is ideal.

Best Deshedding Tools for Short-Hair Dogs

Although short-hair dogs don’t have much issue with tangles or matting, they still require regular grooming if you want to rid your home of your dog’s shedded hairs. Because the length of the hair is considerably shorter, the recommended types of deshedding tools vary. 

When looking for a proper deshedding tool, select one that is soft and won’t cause irritation like a slicker brush or coat rake. You can use the BarxBuddy self-cleaning dog brush on all types of coats including short hair. Its soft wire bristles gently collect the hair while distributing your dog’s natural oils, producing a shiner and healthier coat.

Another option for deshedding your short-hair dog is a pet grooming glove. This hair remover mitt is made from soft rubber that helps prevent scratching of the skin and gently massages as the loose hair is removed. This tool is often used when shampooing dogs. 

Deshedding Shampoo vs Brush

When your dog leaves hair all over your floor, furniture, and favorite outfit you’ll try anything to stop the shedding. Some pet owners look to deshedding shampoo as a possible solution instead of a brush. Is one better than the other? Do they work well together?

Deshedding shampoo uses natural ingredients and omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids (which can help reduce shedding in canines) that provide a certain degree of relief. However, even with regular treatment, your dog will still shed. Maybe not as much, but he will continue to lose hair.

The use of deshedding shampoo and regular brushing can improve the situation. You might find over time the price of a good deshedding shampoo too expensive. A cheaper and equally effective alternative is to serve your dog high-quality foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids and continue deshedding your pet with the proper tool. 

If you choose to use the deshedding shampoo, watch for skin irritation or allergic reaction. You may want to discuss the best brands with your veterinarian. You should talk with your vet and address your concerns with your dog’s shedding before making any changes to his diet.

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Help! My Dog Hates to be Brushed

My dog hates to be brushed

Are your dog grooming sessions more like a battle of wills? You, the responsible pet owner, have brush in hand ready to work the gnarly tangles out of her coat, while your dog stands defiant and would just assume to bite your face off than endure a grooming session? Or, maybe she sees the brush as an invitation to play which leads to her biting at the brush and acting all kinds of crazy. Either scenario leads to nothing but you both being frustrated.

Before you throw in the brush (see what we did there?), there are a few things you can do to ensure your dog’s grooming sessions don’t play out like an epic fight scene from the big screen. You can take her to the groomer’s regularly, or you can take a few steps and groom your dog yourself, which is the perfect opportunity to save money and build a stronger bond between you both. 

Here’s how you can win the brush battle.

Dog Snaps When Brushed? Be Patient

If your dog snaps or bites when you brush her, you have to let her know immediately that this is a no-no. Be patient. You never know what triggered the aggression. It could be that she had a bad grooming experience before she came to live with you. 

As with everything else about caring for dogs, to successfully teach your dog to like or at least tolerate brushing her coat requires patience and time. Taking the process one step at a time will teach her some self-control and reassure her that the brush is not something to fear.

  • Don’t yell at her. Walk away, take a few deep breaths and try again when you both are calm.
  • Let her sniff the brush. Offer a distraction, such as a treat or toy or treat-toy combination.
  • Give her short breaks. During that time, pet her, scratch her favorite spot, and tell her she’s a good dog.

Ensure You Are Using the Right Brush for Your Dog’s Coat

It’s essential that your dog is groomed regularly. No matter the length of her coat, brushing will keep her coat looking its best by increasing blood circulation and distributing her skin’s natural oils throughout. Plus, the more you do it, the more she’ll get used to it, and the less you’ll battle.

However, there’s a big difference between grooming tools designed for long-hair versus those for short-hair dogs. Using the improper brush could cause injury to your pet so you must understand which is best for her coat. Look for a brush specific to your dog’s length of hair or one like the BarxBuddy self-cleaning brush that works well for all coats.

Introduce the Brush in Short Grooming Sessions

To reduce hesitations from your dog, it’s best to start with short grooming sessions in an area with no distractions. With one hand offer treats or a toy to keep her attention off the brush as you gently touch and brush her coat with the other. 

Although it’s typical to start at the head and brush toward the tail, brushing her tail first may help calm your pet if she’s a nervous dog. No matter how short the session, praise her for allowing you to brush her, using a soft, positive tone.

Sessions in the beginning may only last a minute, and that’s okay, because the more you practice this process the more it will become routine and your pet will grow to understand that brushing isn’t a danger or playtime. Over time, you’ll want to increase the length of the grooming sessions. Note that if your dog has had any bad experiences with grooming, it can take longer for her to trust you and enjoy being groomed.

How to Improve Your Dog’s Coat

Once your dog allows you to brush her entire coat without issue, you must maintain it so she doesn’t experience any tangles or matting (especially for long-haired breeds) as these can be painful to remove and cause her to once again fear the brush, putting you back to square one.

If your dog is short or medium-haired, expect to brush her once a week, if she’s long-haired she will need brushed daily. Start at your dog’s head and work your way down to the tail. For short-haired dogs, use firm, gentle strokes to brush the coat in the direction the hair grows. Use firm, gentle long brush strokes, for wiry or long-haired dogs use long strokes. If your pet has a thick coat, start brushing from the skin outward, then start over by brushing the coat in the same direction as the hair growth.Brush her coat the same way every time to make your pet comfortable. 

Spray with a coat conditioner or a pet- and environmentally friendly detangler if your dog has trouble with tangles or her hair is prone to matting. This spray will help loosen the tangles and any knots, making it easier to brush and less painful for your dog.

Don’t forget to brush your dog’s entire coat including underbelly, legs, feet, and ears!

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10 Tips for Grooming Your Own Dog … So She Doesn’t Hate You

Woman washes her large dog outside

Outside of licking themselves, your dog pretty much relies on you for her hygienic needs. Luckily there are plenty of grooming services available, whether at your vet’s office, pet supply store or your local doggie spa-salon. Even so, sometimes you need to perform a dog grooming session at home. While grooming requires some patience and caution on your part, you can transform your dog from Tramp back to Lady, at least until she gets back outside to play.

1. Choose the Right Tools for Grooming Your Dog

What tools may be right for human use may not be so good for your dog. If you intend on trimming your pet’s nails, you should have the proper dog nail clippers or nail grinder, and styptic powder (for accidental nail bleeding). If you’ve never trimmed a dog’s nails before, we recommend having your vet or groomer show you how to make sure you don’t cut them too short into the “quick,” which is the fleshy part of your dog’s nail.   

For bath time, grab the dog shampoo, towels, a hairbrush, comb, and toothbrush.

2. Grab Treats to Reinforce Good Behavior While Grooming

Make sure you have plenty of treats on hand for encouragement, and in the case of a freakout moment, you can redirect your dog. 

3. Ask for Help: Two DIY Groomers Are Better Than One

If you have experience grooming your dog and she’s not a big fan and puts up a fuss, ask for some help from someone. That person could help keep the dog’s attention while you are bathing or grooming her.

4. How Prep Your Dog Grooming Workspace

Whether you intend to trim nails in the living room or bathe your dog in the bathroom, the standing space for your dog should be non-slip and free of all obstacles. You can invest in a slip-proof mat to lay down when it’s nail or bath time to prevent both of you from injuries. For bathing, a mat or towel on the bottom of the tub might help keep your dog from slipping. 

5. Brush Your Dog Often 

Brushing your dog regularly with the right brush can go a long way to keeping her clean. Check with your groomer or vet on which type of brush or deshedding tool is appropriate for your dog’s coat. Brushing your dog several times a week, even before bath time can help to remove dirt and debris, control shedding, prevent matting, and it allows you to check for fleas or ticks and gives your dog a shiny coat.

6.  Sprinkle Baby Powder on Tangles

If your dog is long-haired, you may find some places in her coat that are tangled. Don’t bother pulling and tugging on tangled hair with a dog brush or comb. Instead, sprinkle some talcum powder on the tangles to loosen the strands and make brushing easier. 

7.  Shampooing and Rinsing Your Dog’s Hair

After bathing your dog, you must rinse off all the shampoo from your dog’s fur. Shampoo residue can cause skin irritation and itching.

8. Give Grooming Wipes a Try

If you’re unable to fully groom your dog, give grooming wipes a try. They can work in a pinch and keep her clean between baths. Although it’s tempting to use baby wipes, there is a difference between those and wipes formulated specifically for dogs.

You might find two kinds of dog wipe: antibacterial and grooming. Both are great to have on hand, as they both can soothe your dog’s skin and address her odors. Antibacterial wipes are best for situations where your dog needs a bit of disinfecting like potty-related issues. Grooming wipes, on the other hand, are ideal for a quick clean. Be sure to buy wipes that are alcohol and propylene glycol free.

9. Pamper Your Dog’s Paws

Consider any grooming session a great bonding moment and the ideal time to apply some paw balm. Harsh weather, tough walking surfaces, and a ton of running and playing around the house and yard can take its toll on your dog’s paws. A quick massage with some paw balm will protect pads from becoming dry and cracking. 

10. Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth

Cleaning your dog’s teeth and gums is essential to her hygiene, health, and well-being. To help prevent gum disease, tooth loss,  or chronic pain, take care of her chompers. The best time to do teeth cleaning is during a grooming session. 

If you’ve never cleaned a dog’s teeth, ask your vet for best practices. If your dog won’t tolerate a doggie toothbrush, try quickly wiping her gums once a day with a clean towel; even this minor tooth cleaning done on a regular basis can reduce buildup.