Sitters & Giant Breeds

Hi there
I have a St Berdoodle (a St Bernard cross with a Standard Poodle). He is a giant dog with a giant heart and so much love to give. However, I think sometimes his size puts some sitters off and I feel that they miss out on a lovely dogsit time with a beautiful boy. Are there any other owners of giant breeds out there and do you get a sense that sitters may be put off by the size.

I must add that the absolutely lovely sitters that we have had have been excellent and Twix (our giant boy) couldn’t have hoped for better friends
Sally

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Hi @Sally1! I can’t imagine being put off by this beauty! He is gorgeous and I feel sometimes the bigger the furbaby the gentler the “giant”. I love big dogs, but I am sure there are some who are intimated. One thing though…you know they won’t apply so you won’t have to worry about him not being taken care of properly. There are plenty of us out there, as you have already seen, who absolutely love the snuggles and sloppy kisses they give us!

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Hi @Sally1 we have a blog post about Giant Breeds, your dog’s size would not be the only consideration, although there will be those and not just sitters, who find large breeds a little daunting.

What is more important is a sitter’s knowledge, comfort level, experience and the owner’s clear communication giving potential sitters accurate information about the pet (and that applies to all pets not just large ones) so they are fully informed and can make a educated decision on whether or not the pet and the sit is right for everyone involved … The size is only one part of the equation, there is much more besides including the pet’s needs and your expectations.

My experience of looking after many dogs over the years is that many of the large breeds are gentle giants, some total couch potatoes needing little exercise but like humans they are all different with different personalities, habits, routines and needs … size doesn’t necessarily matter :dog: :wink: :dog:

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Very useful blog post, thank you Angela

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How utterly lovely- thank you x

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We have had several very large dogs so far! 1x Boxer, 3x Great Dane, 1x Newfoundland dog, 5x Ridgebacks etc., all 40-50+ kg and such loving companions. We would ask, though, about leash training, reactivity etc. and might be put off if there were several large dogs (instead of just one). We have had both total couch potatoes as well as some pretty crazy behavior ;).

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And there’s a wonderful THS write up about St Berdoodles too- thanks THS

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Sitter here. I’ve been a pet parent to and caregiver for many a very large dog. I’m sure there are many sitters out there with large breed experience and a good comfort level. May you and your gentle giant connect with them!

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I think you’ll only get people applying that are comfortable with the larger breeds. I have seen a few listings where the owner specifically states that they want someone that has experience with the giant breeds, and we didn’t apply because our experience ends at owning a 95 lb ball of love and her 70 lb sister, but they weren’t technically giant, just large. It is my goal to sit for a Dane or a Newfie someday though…beautiful pups and temperaments. You’ll find just the right sitter!

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Our first sit was for a Mastiff, 150 lbs of love! I think you should make sure to describe your dogs temperment and what level of strength you may need, how much exercise does he need. Sometimes the large dogs don’t need as much exercise and can be big cough potatoes, which might appeal to some sitters. Also, do you have a fenced in backyard or does he need to be walked for each potty break. With a big dog, some sitters might feel better about a large dog if there is an enclosed yard vs walking frequently. Also, does he respond to commands, like ‘come’. This dog we sat for was sweet but stubborn and moved only when he wanted to move, lol! Good luck!

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@Sally1 - I have a real sweet spot for the giants - I had an Irish Wolfhound of my own for about 8 years - Sam was 180 lbs and a ‘rescue’ - I happened on him at the Minneapolis Humane Society the day he was surrendered because he was ‘too’ big for his owners. He was about a year old when I adopted him and he was with me for about 7 years before bone cancer took him.
I look for giant sits - haven’t had any true giants with TH but have had
a trio including a flat coat and 2 bernedoodles - probably about 200 lbs total;
a flat coat in Edinburgh-


a big yellow lab on an island in Long Beach, Ca

a trio of -oodle crosses in Austin

and the biggest GSD I’ve ever seen near Birmingham, UK

I really appreciate the big ones and will watch for your sits!
Tom

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Hey Tom, thank you for your wonderful email. I hope some day we get to meet you. Twix would surely fall in love with you.

What a wonderful array of dogs you have sat for- my favourite by far are the doodles. I love them. I have a giant St Berdoodle and a toy poodle. Little and large- guess who’s the boss? Yes, Liquorice the toy poodle!!!

Nice to hear from you
Sally

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Gorgeous bunch of pups!

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This love bug was one of the gentle giants we sat with.

And then there were these two lovies

The big breeds can be great!

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Karen

They are true beauties. What lovely pics.thanks x

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We recently sat for a Black Russian Terrier. I’d always thought of terriers as small breed and had never heard there were large versions too! He was a huge boy! 75kg and like a small pony!! We were rather shocked when we first saw him in the flesh as he didn’t look so big in the pics! But he was a gorgeous gentle giant! He was great friends with his two little brothers- a cheeky Cockapoo and a ginger cat!

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I often find the bigger a dog is, the more gentle the dog is likely to be. I’m far less frightened of a big softie than I am of a little toughie, although I’ve been bitten by both!

One bite was a misunderstanding. The dog (not mine) was lying on a sitting room chair. He was glaring at me, but I didn’t read the signal correctly. Reaching out to pet him, I was snapped at by the dog, who drew blood from my hand because he mistakenly thought I was about to remove him from the chair. My bad!!

The other time I was bitten, it was by my favorite young Dalmatian who just happens to be (not noticeably, thank goodness) megaesophagus. I was escorting a bird, in my hand, out of the room. I lost my balance and began to fall. The dog, in his excitement over the possibility of snapping up the bird, snapped my upper arm instead.

Never mind–I recovered nicely from both incidents, thank you!

This all goes to show, though, that it’s not the size of the dog that matters. It has to do with temperament, and that often has to do with how the animal has been treated in the past. It also depends on our understanding of doggie behaviour. Starting with Cesar Millan, there is plenty of information out there about how to approach and handle dogs safely. Good idea for us all to “bone” up–pardon the pun!! :grinning:

Dena

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175kg :flushed:. That is unbelievable- this makes our pup at 50kg seem like a lightweight. I would love to soo a photo- I have a real soft spot for gentle giants

Sally

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Dena- so sorry about your two doggie bites. Most of the time dogs manage to read our signal spot on but the odd time we have to read theirs- and sometimes this goes wrong.
Good advice about watching Cesar Milan- I spent a whole two months addicted to his advice and use many of his teachings in my doggy relationships.

I find that we have to train ourselves rather than the dogs. The dogs will just follow us if we know what we’re doing.
Sally

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Hello @Sally1
I totally found in love of giant breeds !

Next week we are going back to 2 Bernese Mountain dogs that we love.
We took care of 1 Great dane, 2 german shepherds, 3 Pyrenees Mountains : all of them were so lovely (mainly males) !
And now my target would be a Braque de Weimar / Weimaraner !!

I think what is important to write in your listing is their ability of walking on the lead. Or the possibility to walk them on a safe place where they can be left off the lead - they need a good recall. Or maybe they have a garden big enough and can play without being walked ? This was the case with the german shepherds that we only had to play balls and sticks throwing to make them run for hours !

So I would advise you to be very precise about your Berdoodle behavior an abilities so that dog-sitters would feel confortable to apply (And I really wonder what does a Berdoodle looks like - I love both theses breeds !!!)…

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