Biggest Dog Breeds: An Introduction to the Giants of the Canine World

Giant dog breeds have long captivated our fascination with their impressive size and gentle nature. These massive canines, such as the towering Great Danes and majestic Saint Bernards, hold a significant place in history and are beloved by many dog enthusiasts. Despite their intimidating appearance, these giants often possess a heart as big as their bodies. Join us on an exploration of the world of the largest dog breeds to uncover what makes them so special. From their historical significance to their endearing characteristics, we’ll delve into why these colossal companions continue to hold a special place in our hearts.

Largest Dog Breeds Overview

Immense Size and Strength

The biggest dog breeds are truly impressive in their sheer size and strength. These dogs often stand head and shoulders above other breeds, making them a sight to behold. Some of these colossal canines can weigh well over 100 pounds, with some even tipping the scales at a whopping 200 pounds or more. Their immense stature sets them apart from most other dogs, making them an awe-inspiring presence.

These giant breeds are not just large but also possess remarkable strength that matches their size. Their powerful build and muscular physique make them formidable animals capable of performing various tasks requiring significant physical prowess. For example, Mastiffs were originally bred as guard dogs due to their imposing appearance and ability to protect property.

Despite their intimidating size, many of these giants have hearts of gold. Great Danes, for instance, are known for being affectionate and friendly companions despite towering over most humans when they stand on their hind legs.

Well-Known Giant Breeds

Some of the most famous giant dog breeds include the regal Great Dane, the massive Mastiff, the gentle Irish Wolfhound, the lovable Saint Bernard, and the majestic Newfoundland. Each breed has its own unique characteristics that contribute to its popularity among dog enthusiasts worldwide.

Great Danes are renowned for their elegance and friendly nature; Mastiffs impress with their protective instincts; Irish Wolfhounds captivate with their gracefulness; Saint Bernards charm with their loyalty; while Newfoundlands endear themselves with their sweet temperament.

Unique Challenges & Rewarding Experiences

Owning a large breed comes with its own set of challenges but also offers incredibly rewarding experiences. While providing adequate space for these giants is essential due to their substantial size requirements (both indoors and outdoors), owners also need to consider factors such as higher food consumption compared to smaller breeds along with increased healthcare costs associated with larger dogs.

On the flip side, sharing your life with one of these magnificent creatures can be immensely fulfilling. Many large breed owners attest to experiencing unwavering loyalty from these gentle giants who often form strong bonds within families while serving as excellent playmates for children due to their patient demeanor.

Defining Characteristics of Giant Dog Breeds

Sturdy Build

Giant dog breeds are known for their sturdy build. Their bodies are robust and well-proportioned, giving them the strength needed to carry their massive frames. This physical characteristic enables them to perform various tasks such as guarding, pulling sleds, or even herding livestock. For example, the Saint Bernard’s sturdy build allows it to navigate through snow and harsh terrains with ease.

Giant dogs also possess deep chests, which contribute to their lung capacity and endurance. This anatomical feature is crucial for breeds like the Great Dane that excel in activities requiring stamina, such as long walks or hikes.

Powerful Musculature

Another defining characteristic of giant dog breeds is their strong musculature. These majestic canines have well-developed muscles that provide them with the power necessary for activities like running, jumping, and carrying heavy loads. The Bullmastiff’s powerful musculature allows it to act swiftly when protecting its home and loved ones.

Moreover, many giant dog breeds boast broad heads, which accommodate strong jaw muscles capable of exerting significant force. This attribute serves several purposes, including aiding in chewing tough foods and providing a formidable bite when defending against potential threats.

Nutrition and Exercise Requirements

Due to their large frames and high energy levels, giant dog breeds require specific attention to nutrition and regular exercise routines. Providing these dogs with a balanced diet tailored to meet their nutritional needs helps maintain healthy bones, joints, muscles, and overall well-being.

Regular exercise is essential for managing weight while promoting cardiovascular health in giant dog breeds such as the Newfoundland or Irish Wolfhound. Without adequate exercise opportunities—such as daily walks or playtime—these dogs may become restless or develop behavioral issues due to pent-up energy.

Distinct Traits

While each giant breed possesses unique traits specific to its heritage and purpose—for instance:

  • The imposing presence of the Mastiff,
  • The gentle nature of the Great Pyrenees,
  • The protective instinct of the Anatolian Shepherd,

They all share an undeniable aura that sets them apart from smaller canine counterparts.

The Scale of Size: Height and Weight

Variability in Size

Giant dog breeds exhibit significant variability. Some of these colossal canines can reach staggering heights, standing at over 30 inches tall at the shoulder. This immense stature sets them apart from smaller breeds, making them a unique category within the canine world. Their weight is equally impressive, with many of these giants tipping the scales at 100 pounds or more.

The scale of size among giant dog breeds demands attention due to its striking contrast with smaller dogs. While smaller breeds may weigh around 20 pounds and stand at just about a foot tall, giant breeds are several times larger in both dimensions. Understanding this substantial difference is crucial for anyone considering owning a giant breed as it affects various aspects of their care and accommodation.

The vast range in height and weight among giant dog breeds underscores the need for careful consideration before adopting one into your home. For instance, if you’re living in an apartment or small house with limited space, accommodating a massive dog that stands over 30 inches tall might be challenging. Similarly, providing adequate exercise and physical activity for a breed that weighs well over 100 pounds requires thoughtful planning.

Living Arrangements

Owning one of the biggest dog breeds necessitates thoughtful consideration regarding living arrangements due to their sheer size. For example, while some large dogs may thrive in urban settings given proper exercise opportunities like regular walks or trips to nearby parks, others might require more spacious rural environments where they have ample room to roam freely without feeling confined by city life.

In addition to space considerations, certain accommodations such as appropriately sized crates or beds become essential when caring for these giants. Their massive frames demand suitable resting places that provide comfort and support while also ensuring they fit comfortably within designated areas inside your home.

Furthermore, factors like access to outdoor spaces must be taken into account when choosing housing suitable for giant dog breeds since regular access to open areas becomes crucial for allowing them ample opportunity to stretch their legs and engage in physical activities necessary for maintaining good health.

Daily Care Considerations

Understanding the scale of size among giant dog breeds extends beyond living arrangements; it also impacts daily care requirements significantly. For instance, grooming routines differ substantially between small and large dogs due to variations in coat length and density across different sizes of canines.

Dietary needs vary greatly based on size; larger dogs consume more food compared to smaller ones due to higher energy expenditure associated with supporting bigger bodies through metabolism and physical activity levels.

By understanding how height & weight affect biggest #dogbreeds’ needs owners will be better prepared.

Great Danes

Great Danes, often referred to as the “Apollo of Dogs,” are known for their elegance and friendly nature. They are one of the biggest dog breeds, standing tall with a sleek, muscular build. These gentle giants have a regal appearance and make wonderful family pets due to their affectionate and loyal disposition.

Great Danes can weigh between 100-200 pounds, and they stand around 28-34 inches at the shoulder. Despite their imposing size, they are known for being gentle with children and other animals. Their short coat requires minimal grooming but does shed moderately throughout the year.

These majestic dogs require regular exercise to maintain good health and prevent obesity. They thrive in homes with spacious yards where they can stretch their long legs freely.

Saint Bernards

The Saint Bernard is famous for its role in alpine rescues, making them synonymous with bravery and heroism. These giant dogs possess a gentle and patient temperament that makes them excellent companions for families.

Weighing between 140-180 pounds, these massive dogs stand approximately 26-30 inches at the shoulder. Their thick coats require regular brushing to keep shedding under control, especially during seasonal changes.

Saint Bernards need moderate exercise to stay fit; daily walks or playtime in a secure area suffice for meeting their activity needs. Due to their large size, early socialization is crucial to ensure they interact well with people and other pets.


Mastiffs are renowned for their massive size and protective instincts which make them excellent guard dogs. This breed exudes strength while also demonstrating an incredibly calm demeanor when not provoked.

With an average weight ranging from 120-230 pounds, Mastiffs stand about 27-32 inches at the shoulder on average—making them one of the largest dog breeds by mass alone! Their short coat requires minimal grooming but does shed seasonally.

Regular exercise is essential for maintaining this breed’s physical health while also providing mental stimulation through training sessions or interactive playtime activities like fetch or tug-of-war games.

Irish Wolfhounds

Irish Wolfhounds hold the title as the tallest of all dog breeds—a fact that contributes significantly to both their striking presence and dignified demeanor. Despite being among the biggest dog breeds, these hounds exhibit a remarkably gentle nature towards everyone around them.
Weighing between 105-180 pounds on average, Irish Wolfhounds tower over most other breeds at heights ranging from 30-35 inches at shoulders! Their rough double coat necessitates weekly brushing but sheds minimally throughout most seasons.
Regular moderate exercise such as daily walks or time spent running in safe enclosed areas helps keep Irish Wolfhounds healthy both physically & mentally.

Newfoundland Dogs

Newfoundland dogs are renowned for both water rescue abilities & gentle temperament—traits that have earned them recognition worldwide! These pups excel not only as loving family members but also as diligent working partners due largely in part because of this unique combination of traits.
Weighing anywhere from 100–150 lbs., Newfoundland dogs typically measure up between roughly twenty-eight – thirty inches tall (at shoulders). Possessing dense water-resistant double coats means regular brushing two-three times per week will help manage shedding effectively without too much fuss!
Engaging Newfoundlands regularly through activities such as swimming sessions or outdoor romps provide ample opportunities for physical exertion while reinforcing bonds within your household!

Gentle Giants: Low-Energy Large Breeds

Great Danes

Great Danes, despite their imposing size, are known to be couch potatoes. They enjoy lounging around with their families and don’t require intense exercise. This breed’s gentle nature and low energy levels make them an excellent fit for individuals or families who prefer a more relaxed lifestyle.

The laid-back demeanor of Great Danes makes them ideal companions for those living in apartments or smaller homes, as they don’t need a large yard to expend their energy. Their calm disposition also means they can adapt well to spending time indoors, making them suitable pets for people with less active lifestyles.

Great Danes’ low-energy levels do not compromise their loyalty and affection towards their owners. Despite being content with lazing around the house, they still thrive on human interaction and form strong bonds with their family members.


Similar to Great Danes, Newfoundlands have a calm and easygoing nature that makes them ideal for relaxed households. These gentle giants are often referred to as “nanny dogs” due to their nurturing instincts towards children. Their tranquil temperament allows them to remain composed even in chaotic environments.

One of the most appealing traits of Newfoundlands is their affinity for water activities despite having low energy levels. They enjoy swimming and playing in the water but are equally satisfied with leisurely walks or simply lounging by your side at home.

Their mellow nature extends beyond just physical activity; Newfoundlands possess a patient and tolerant disposition that enables them to coexist harmoniously with other pets within the household.

Saint Bernards

Despite being large in size, Saint Bernards are generally laid-back dogs that are content with moderate exercise. While they may have bursts of playful energy from time to time, they typically exhibit a calm demeanor both indoors and outdoors.

Saint Bernards’ affectionate nature aligns perfectly with their lower activity needs, making them great companions for individuals seeking a loving yet undemanding pet. Their docile behavior also makes it easier for owners who may not have the capacity for high-intensity play sessions or vigorous exercise routines.

These giant breeds exemplify how size doesn’t always equate to high-energy requirements.

Big Dogs, Little Shedding: Low-Shed Breeds

Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is one of the biggest dog breeds and has a wiry coat that sheds minimally throughout the year. This breed’s minimal shedding makes it an excellent choice for individuals who want to avoid excessive grooming and cleaning up after their pets. Despite its large size, the Irish Wolfhound’s low-shedding coat contributes to easier maintenance compared to other giant breeds.

The Irish Wolfhound offers a practical solution for those concerned about excessive shedding due to its minimal shedding nature. This breed’s manageable grooming needs make it suitable for individuals living in smaller spaces or those with limited time for extensive grooming sessions.

Regular brushing can help manage any loose hair, ensuring that your home remains relatively free from excess fur. The minimal shedding of the Irish Wolfhound also means less time spent on cleaning furniture and clothes, making it an ideal choice for busy households seeking a low-maintenance yet affectionate giant breed.

Great Danes

Great Danes, known as gentle giants, have short hair that requires minimal grooming. Their moderate shedding is typically not excessive, making them another example of low-shedding giant breeds. With their sleek coats and easy-to-care-for fur, Great Danes are suitable companions for families looking for a big dog with lower maintenance requirements.

Despite being one of the largest dog breeds, Great Danes offer an appealing option due to their low-shedding nature combined with friendly temperaments. Their shorter hair reduces the amount of loose fur around the house while still providing all the benefits associated with having a sizable canine companion.

Great Danes’ moderate shedding can be managed through regular brushing sessions which not only helps control loose hair but also promotes bonding between pet and owner. By investing some time in basic grooming practices, owners can enjoy spending quality time with these majestic dogs without worrying about excessive shed fur accumulating in their homes.


The Newfoundland, known for its sweet disposition and strong swimming abilities, has a dense double coat that sheds moderately but can be managed with regular brushing. Despite being among the biggest dog breeds, Newfoundlands’ moderate shedding levels make them well-suited for families seeking large yet low-shedding pets.

This breed’s manageable shedding makes it an attractive option especially considering its massive size; potential owners need not worry about overwhelming amounts of shed fur around their homes when opting for this gentle giant breed.
Regularly scheduled brushing sessions will help keep your Newfoundland’s coat healthy while minimizing unwanted loose hair around your living space – offering both practicality and comfort when choosing this particular large breed.

Puppy to Titan: Growth Stages of Large Dogs

Rapid Development

Giant dog breeds, such as the Great Dane and Saint Bernard, undergo remarkable growth from puppyhood to adulthood. During the first year of their lives, these puppies experience rapid development in both size and weight. For example, a Great Dane can grow from just a few pounds at birth to over 100 pounds within their first year.

Proper nutrition is crucial during this stage to support healthy bone and muscle growth. Large breed puppy food with controlled levels of calcium and phosphorus is essential for preventing rapid growth that can lead to joint problems later in life. It’s important for owners to monitor their giant breed puppies’ diets closely during this critical phase.

Genetics and Nutrition: Factors Affecting Size

Role of Breeding Practices

Breeding practices play a crucial role in determining the potential size of giant dog breeds. Selective breeding, which involves mating dogs with specific desirable traits, contributes to the development of larger breeds. For example, Great Danes are known for their impressive stature due to selective breeding over generations. This practice focuses on pairing dogs with similar physical characteristics to produce offspring that exhibit those traits more consistently.

Breeders may prioritize size when selecting parent dogs for mating, aiming to perpetuate the large size characteristic within a particular breed. As such, genetics significantly influence a dog’s potential for reaching an imposing size as an adult.

Nutrition also plays a pivotal role in influencing the growth and overall size of giant dog breeds. Providing these dogs with a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs is essential for healthy development. The diet should contain appropriate levels of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals tailored to support their rapid growth during puppyhood while ensuring steady growth into adulthood.

Impact of Balanced Diet

A balanced diet not only supports healthy growth but also helps prevent certain health issues associated with excessive weight gain or malnutrition in giant breeds. For instance, large-breed puppies require controlled nutrition to reduce the risk of orthopedic problems like hip dysplasia commonly linked to fast growth rates.

Moreover, feeding them high-quality food specifically formulated for large breeds can help maintain joint health and prevent obesity-related complications later in life. Overfeeding can lead to excessive weight gain and strain on their developing bones and joints during critical stages of growth.

Providing proper nutrition from puppyhood through maturity is vital in preventing developmental abnormalities often seen in oversized dogs due to improper diets or overfeeding at any stage.

Informed Decisions for Well-being

Understanding how genetics and nutrition affect size empowers owners to make informed decisions about their dog’s well-being throughout different life stages. By being aware of these factors’ impact on their pet’s overall health and development process – from puppyhood through adulthood – owners can take proactive measures such as consulting veterinarians specializing in large-breed care or seeking guidance on suitable diets tailored specifically for giant dogs.

Maturation and Lifespan of Large Dog Breeds

Longer Maturation Periods

Giant dog breeds, such as the Great Dane or Saint Bernard, undergo a lengthy maturation process compared to their smaller counterparts. While small dogs like Chihuahuas may reach adulthood within a year, it can take up to two years or more for giant breeds to fully mature. This extended growth period is crucial for their bones and joints to develop properly, reducing the risk of musculoskeletal issues in later life.

Large dog breeds’ prolonged maturation also means that they require careful management during this critical phase. Owners must ensure that these pups receive appropriate nutrition, regular exercise, and veterinary care tailored to their specific needs. Without proper attention during this stage, large breed dogs may be susceptible to developmental problems that could impact their quality of life in adulthood.

Shorter Lifespans

Interestingly, despite having longer maturation periods, many giant dog breeds often have shorter lifespans than smaller dogs. Factors such as genetics and size contribute to this discrepancy in longevity. For instance, larger bodies put more strain on vital organs like the heart and lungs over time.

Certain health conditions are more prevalent among large breeds due to their size. Conditions such as hip dysplasia or bloat are common in giants but relatively rare in smaller dogs. These health challenges can significantly affect a large dog’s lifespan if not managed effectively through appropriate medical intervention and lifestyle adjustments.

Maximizing Lifespan Through Care

To maximize the lifespan of giant dog breeds despite these inherent challenges, owners play a crucial role by providing optimal care throughout their pet’s life cycle. Proper healthcare involves regular visits to the veterinarian for check-ups and preventive treatments against common ailments associated with big dogs.

Moreover, ensuring that giant breed dogs receive adequate exercise is paramount for maintaining overall health and managing weight-related issues commonly seen in larger canine companions. A balanced diet specifically formulated for large breed requirements is equally important; it helps prevent obesity while supporting joint health—a significant concern given the extra stress placed on bigger frames.

Home and Hearth: Space Needs for Large Breeds

Ample Space Requirement

Giant dog breeds like the biggest dog breeds require a significant amount of space to accommodate their size and energy levels. These dogs need room to move around comfortably, both indoors and outdoors. A spacious home with a secure yard is essential for these large breeds to stretch their legs, play, and exercise.

Large dogs often have high energy levels and need plenty of physical activity to stay healthy. They require outdoor spaces where they can run freely without feeling confined or restricted by their size. Without enough space, they may become restless or develop behavioral issues due to pent-up energy.

Moreover, having ample outdoor space allows these giant dogs to engage in activities that are natural to them, such as exploring, sniffing around, and enjoying the fresh air. It also provides an opportunity for them to socialize with other dogs if there are neighboring pets.

Indoor Living Considerations

In addition to outdoor space requirements, indoor living spaces should also be taken into account when accommodating giant dog breeds. These large dogs need open floor areas inside the house where they can navigate without feeling cramped or constrained by furniture or narrow hallways.

It’s important for owners of giant breeds to ensure that their homes have designated areas where the dogs can rest comfortably without feeling cooped up in tight quarters. Adequate indoor space is crucial not only for the physical well-being of these animals but also for their mental comfort.

Apartment living can present challengesIt is possible with careful planning and dedication from pet owners. While apartments may lack expansive yards typical of suburban homes, providing regular access to parks or open spaces is vital in fulfilling a giant breed’s requirement for sufficient movement and exercise.

Well-Being Consideration

Considering the space needs of giant dog breeds goes beyond just providing room for them—it directly impacts their overall well-being. Dogs that live in environments tailored specifically toward meeting their spatial requirements tend to exhibit better behavior patterns compared to those who feel confined within limited spaces.

When provided with adequate room both indoors and outdoors according to their size and energy level requirements giant dog breeds can thrive more fully and exhibit a better quality of life.

Budgeting for Your Giant: Costs and Care

Increased Ongoing Expenses

Owning one of the biggest dog breeds requires careful financial planning. These large dogs have substantial appetites, which means that their food requirements are significantly higher compared to smaller breeds. As a result, the ongoing expenses for feeding a giant breed can be quite substantial. For example, a Great Dane, one of the largest dog breeds, may consume up to 10 cups of high-quality dog food per day. This increased food consumption directly impacts the monthly budget for pet owners.

Giant breeds also necessitate larger portions of supplements such as vitamins and joint support products due to their size and weight. Providing these additional nutritional elements further adds to the overall cost of maintaining these colossal companions. Moreover, it’s essential to consider potential health issues associated with giant breeds that might require specialized diets or prescription foods, contributing even more significantly to their dietary expenses.

Furthermore, grooming requirements for big dogs tend to be more extensive than those for small or medium-sized breeds. Their sheer size results in greater amounts of fur and dander accumulation, demanding regular grooming sessions or professional grooming services – another factor that should be considered when estimating long-term care costs.

Veterinary Care and Specialized Equipment

In addition to increased food and grooming expenses, veterinary care is another crucial aspect when budgeting for giant dog breeds. Due to their size and weight alone, medical treatments can incur higher costs compared to those needed by smaller dogs; this includes routine check-ups as well as any unexpected medical emergencies.

Moreover,giant breed owners must account for specialized equipment tailored specifically towards accommodating these massive animals’ needs. Larger crates are necessary not only during training but also in providing them with comfortable resting spaces within your home environment while ensuring they don’t feel cramped or confined due to inadequate space.

Planning Ahead

Understanding these financial commitments is vital in preparing prospective giant breed owners adequately before bringing home one of these colossal canines into their family dynamic. By factoring in all potential costs from daily necessities like food supplies through long-term investments such as healthcare coverage plans will ensure responsible ownership while safeguarding against unforeseen economic strains.

Training and Behavior Management for Large Dogs

Early Socialization

Proper training is crucial for managing the behavior of biggest dog breeds. Early socialization plays a vital role in ensuring that these dogs grow up to be well-rounded and friendly companions. Exposing them to various people, animals, sounds, and environments from a young age helps prevent fearfulness or aggression as they mature. For instance, taking a giant breed puppy to obedience classes or arranging playdates with other well-behaved dogs can aid in their social development.

Large dog breeds like Great Danes or Saint Bernards are known for their gentle nature when properly socialized. This process lays the foundation for positive interactions with humans and other animals throughout their lives.

Positive Reinforcement Techniques

. Using rewards such as treats, praise, or toys encourages desirable behaviors while reinforcing the human-dog bond. For instance, rewarding a Mastiff for calmly sitting when greeting visitors reinforces this polite behavior.

Consistency is key; by repeatedly rewarding desired actions and ignoring unwanted behaviors without resorting to punishment ensures that these giants understand what is expected of them.

Obedience Commands

Consistency and patience are essential when teaching obedience commands to giant breeds like Great Pyrenees or Newfoundland dogs. These majestic canines may take longer to master commands due to their size but respond well if training sessions are kept short yet frequent.

For example, using clear hand signals alongside verbal cues can aid in effectively communicating commands with large dogs who might not always hear verbal instructions clearly due to their size.

Understanding the unique training needs of large dogs sets them up for success in various situations. It’s important that owners remain patient during the training process as these magnificent creatures learn at their own pace.

Conclusion: Embracing the World of Big Dog Breeds

So, there you have it – a comprehensive guide to the world of big dog breeds. From the towering Great Dane to the lovable Newfoundland, these gentle giants have unique needs and characteristics that make them stand out in the canine kingdom. As you consider bringing one of these massive pups into your life, remember that their size comes with special requirements, from space needs to budgeting for their care. But don’t let that intimidate you! With the right knowledge and preparation, embracing a big dog breed can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Now that you’re equipped with insights into their genetics, growth stages, and training needs, it’s time to take the plunge and welcome a big dog into your home. Whether you’re drawn to their low-shedding coats or their calm demeanor, these giant breeds have so much love to give. So go ahead – open your heart and your home to a big furry friend who will undoubtedly leave a paw print on your soul.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the defining characteristics of giant dog breeds?

Giant dog breeds are known for their imposing size, strength, and gentle nature. They often have large heads, deep chests, and sturdy frames. Despite their size, many giant breeds are surprisingly gentle and affectionate.

How do I manage the space needs for large dog breeds in my home?

Large dog breeds require ample space to move around comfortably. It’s essential to provide a spacious living environment with room for them to stretch out and roam. Regular exercise is also crucial to keep them healthy and happy.

What factors affect the size of giant dog breeds?

The size of giant dog breeds is influenced by genetics and nutrition. Proper feeding during growth stages plays a significant role in determining their final size. Breeding practices can impact the overall stature of these magnificent animals.

Are there low-energy large breed dogs suitable for families or individuals with a less active lifestyle?

Yes, some large breed dogs have lower energy levels and make excellent companions for families or individuals with a more relaxed lifestyle. Breeds like Great Danes or Mastiffs are known as “gentle giants” due to their calm demeanor despite their impressive size.

How can I budget for the costs associated with caring for a giant breed dog?

Caring for a giant breed dog involves expenses related to food, grooming, veterinary care, and other necessities. It’s important to factor in these costs when considering adding a larger-than-life canine companion to your family.