Size and strength are valuable qualities in dogs that are bred to be hunters and protectors. Most of the giant sized dogs come from an ancient history of guardians, royal companions, and fierce warriors. Over the years these dogs have been relied upon to perform any number of tasks like pulling carts or scaring off the enemy. Whether massive beasts or gentle giant, the large dog breeds are always an impressive sight to behold.
For the most part, large dogs have loving, agreeable temperaments. They are strong, resourceful, and hard workers. Many larger dog breeds make great family dogs. They are protective of those they love, especially children. They will often get along well with other animals too. These large dog breeds are also eager to please.
However, there are some drawbacks in choosing one of the large dog breeds to take home. You will have to consider the cost of food and vet bills. Also, the larger dogs do not have long life spans, only about 8 to 10 years. They will require larger spaces to live in. It is best if these dogs have plenty of room to romp and roam.
However, they can adapt to living in apartments and such as long as they receive enough exercise outdoors. Unfortunately, many of the large dog breeds love to lounge on the furniture, making themselves quite at home on the couch or in the bed. You will have to make room in your home and your hearts for these gentle giants, because they are sure to fill them both.
Top 10 Large Dog Breeds
Though a fairly small breed compared to the giants, the Kuvasz is still much larger than most.
Originally these dogs come from Tibet, but are more often associated with Hungary, serving as companions to royalty for hunting and guarding. These dogs are recognizable with their white, fluffy fur and massive size. They are loyal and protective of their family, and particularly suspicious of strangers. These dogs are intelligent, but not easy to train because of an independent streak.
Generally Kuvaszs weigh between 70 to 115 pounds with an average height of 26 to 30 inches tall. Some common health problems with this breed include canine hip dysplasia, blood disorders, bloating, and cartilage degenerations in the joints.
These dogs will require a lot of exercise in the form of long walks or runs. If kenned or tethered for too long these dogs can become aggressive and destructive.
These may not be the tallest or the heaviest dogs, but they may well be one of the strongest.
They were never claimed as a royal breed, but rather served for thousands of years in the harsh climates of Turkey protecting flocks against wild predators. They would fend off jackals, wolves, and bears—taking down anything to protect their flock. This is why this big breed should be watched carefully when new people or animals are around. They will defend their territory and their humans with all their might.
Generally the Anatolian Shepherds weigh between 88 and 144 pounds with an average height of 29 to 32 inches. Some common health risks of this breed include canine hip and elbow dysplasia, demodectic mange, hypothyroidism, and entropion. This large dog breed is highly adaptable. They can live indoors, outdoors, or both.
But do not keep then in a kennel or on a chain for extended periods of time or they might become frustrated.
Another exceptional shepherd, the Great Pyrenees originated in France.
They would protect their flocks on the steep slopes of southwestern Europe, making them a hearty and stalwart breed. They also have a natural instinct to protect, with livestock, humans, and almost anything else. At one point these dogs were a court breed, protecting even the King of France. No wonder, because of their loyalty and stunningly good looks. Today these even-tempered and intelligent dogs make great family pets. Though they can be difficult to train, the patients and determination will pay off.
Generally Great Pyrenees weigh between 85 and 130 pounds with an average height of 25 to 32 inches. Some of the most common health risks of the breed include growing pains, bloating, patellar luxation, and cataracts.
These dogs are also known to have a low metabolism and can be sensitive to anesthesia. These are all things to consider before choosing a dog from this large breed.
According to legend, these dogs were bred to mimic the lion of the town crest in Leonberg, Germany. They do have some lion like looks, as well as the pride and prestige of the lion. They also pack a large and in charge bark.
Though the exact combination is not known, it is believed three large dog breeds went into the making of this massive canine: the Newfoundland, St. Bernard, and Great Pyrenees. They are exceptional working dogs, rescue dogs, and are well adjusted to living with humans. If they are trained and socialized early they make easy dogs to live with.
Generally Leonbergers weigh between 100 and 135 pounds with an average height of 25 to 29 inches tall. They also have a lot of fur, and tend to shed quite a bit. Some health risks associated with this breed include cataracts, entropion, osteochondritis dissecans, and bloating.
You might consider these outdoor dogs, but really they will want to be with you all the time. They should not be left alone for long periods of time and will need plenty of exercise to remain happy.
These dogs have a more commanding appearance suited to their origins of bringing down the wolves and boars.
Though they are not considered the heaviest of dogs, they are considered the tallest. These dogs measure in around 32 inches, and standing on their hind legs they can reach as tall as 7 feet. These dogs are quick and intelligent. They are also docile and friendly. Also they are sight hounds, and will chase almost anything that moves. Though they are active outdoors, and will need long walks, these dogs are docile indoors. They will be more than happy to lounge on the couch.
Generally the Irish Wolfhounds weigh between 105 to 125 pounds with an average height of 30 to 35 inches tall. Some of the most common health risks for this large dog breed include anesthesia sensitivity, hip dysplasia, liver shunt, heart disease, and osteosarcoma.
Though these are very large dogs, they are excellent house pets. They want to be with you. They also need a couple of 20 minute play times per day.
It is thought that the name for this breed comes from the Latin word massivus, meaning massive. However, it is more true that they likely take their name from the Latin word mansuetus, meaning tame or domesticated.
Though they would fight in battles or be pitted against lions, Mastiffs have come such a long way. Today they are known as dignified and courageous companions. Though they start out as energetic and boisterous puppies, they calm with age. These dogs, though not the tallest, are certainly the heaviest. An English Mastiff named Zorba broke the record in 1989 at 343 pounds.
Today English Mastiffs generally weigh between 120 and 220 pounds with an average height of 27 to 30 inches tall. Some common health problems for these dogs include progressive retinal atrophy, seizures, cystinuria, bloating, and canine hip dysplasia. Again, though extremely large, these are house dogs.
They do not make good jogging companions and will tend to overheat quickly. Walks in the morning and evenings are best for Mastiffs.
These tall, lithe dogs were originally bred in Scotland to bring down stags in the highlands. At one point in their history Scottish Deerhounds became a royal breed and no one beneath the rank of earl could own one.
As you might imagine, this almost lead to the extinction of the breed. Then during World War I the breed suffered another big hit when some of the larger estates of England and Scotland were broken up. Though still uncommon, today the breed is much beloved for their lanky legs and Scottish heritage.
Generally Scottish Deerhounds weigh between 75 and 110 pounds with an average height of 28 to 32 inches tall. Some common health problems for this breed include dilated cardiomyopathy, cystinuria, allergies, and hypothyroidism. These dogs are noted for being calm and sedate, enjoying exercise and games, but also remaining mellow.
However, leash training is a must as they are likely to chase after smaller animals that might dart across your path.
These are large and dependable dogs, bred by fisherman. They would haul in nets, pull heavy loads, and oftentimes rescue people from the depths of the frigid water.
No wonder these make excellent search and rescue dogs. They love to swim. These dogs have webbed feet and water-resistant coats. Though many dog breeds have a heroic streak, the Newfoundlands must have that capacity in their blood. With training and trust, there is little these large dogs cannot do. They are messy though, and will track everything into the house because of their long, heavy coats.
Generally these dogs weigh between 130 to 150 pounds with an average height of 20 to 30 inches tall. Some common health risks for this breed include canine hip and elbow dysplasia, cancer, epilepsy, heart problems, and cataracts.
These dogs require early training and because they are so eager to please their humans, they may prove to be easier than you expected. Leash training is also a must; otherwise you will be hauled around the park by a 100 pound dog.
Here is another one of the largest dog breeds. Considered to be the second-tallest dog, Great Danes take up a lot of room, both in the house and in the hearts of their owners.
Again, the size of these dogs belies their more gentle natures, though originally they were used for hunting and guarding. These dogs are sweet, affectionate, and amazingly gentle with children. Despite the fact that they are not aggressive, these also make terrifying guard dogs because of their size and their bark. The Great Danes are also known for being a little awkward around the house. They knock into things and are not well suited to small spaces.
Generally Great Danes weigh between 100 to 200 pounds with an average height of 28 to 34 inches tall. Some common health problems for these large dogs include developmental issues, bloating, bone cancer, and heart disease.
These dogs do not fare well in the cold, and will need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily. Also, as young puppies you have to ease Great Danes into exercise or risk damage to their growing joints.
Here’s Giant George, world’s tallest Great Dane:
Another well known and easily recognized large dog breed is the Saint Bernard. They have gained recognition as alpine rescue dogs and earned their name from the Saint Bernard hostelry nestled in the pass between Switzerland and Germany.
These are some of the strongest dogs on the planet, no wonder they could pull lost travelers from the snow. These dogs are generally easygoing, patient, and gentle with children. This is why they are one of the most loved of larger dog breeds.
Generally Saint Bernards weigh between 110 to 200 pounds and have an average height of 25 to 30 inches tall. Some common health problems for these dogs include entropion, epilepsy, cataracts, allergies, and dilated cardiomyopathy.
They need moderate exercise and a monitored diet so they do not become overweight. They are also prone to heat exhaustion, so do not take them out for their walks in the heat of the day.