Posted 2 months ago ago
Ian Hill with his Great Dane named Potter (Images: Ian Hill)
by Caroline Abbott
On Channel 4’s Big Dog Britain documentary tonight, we’ll hear how abandonment is a huge issue for dogs, even in the UK – and perhaps it’s more acute for the bigger breeds.
“People start with a lovely, tiny puppy, but they aren’t prepared for how big they become,” we’re told.
The programme features some of the biggest dog breeds – Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, St Bernards, Newfoundlands, English Mastiffs and Pyrenean Sheepdogs – and explores the question of why sales of big dogs are in decline and people are choosing smaller breeds instead.
Minnie the St Bernard was a lapdog aged nine weeks but not any more (Images: Ian Hill)
Ian Hill, from Northern Ireland, has owned large breeds for the last 14 years – and he also rescues and rehomes them. He agrees many people don’t realise what they’re letting themselves in for when they take on a small puppy.
He has shared some photos of his St Bernard pup Minnie at the age of nine weeks and now, aged just over 10 months, to show how much she’s grown.
Minnie then and now (Images: Ian Hill)
And he has also shared photos of his Great Dane, named Potter, aged around 12 weeks and then around three years.
He told TeamDogs: “I’ve found throughout the years in my experience that a lot of these breeds can display certain behaviours if not properly socialised and trained from an early stage. These issues can vary from poor lead work and control to separation anxiety or fear aggression, however these behaviours can be corrected with the proper training.
Potter then and now (Images: Ian Hill)
“I fell in love with both Danes and Saints as they are unique and not as common as other breeds but like any dog, would recommend people do their homework in terms of care and if it suits their lifestyle.
“I do believe if socialised from an early age with children, despite their size they are amazing family members. These breeds are the most loving and affectionate in my opinion. They draw you in and once you have one in your life you will never be without one ever again.”
Big Dog Britain is on Channel 4 on Thursday, July 1, at 9pm.