Dogs are one of the most popular pets in America. In fact, over 60 million households have one or more pet dogs. So if you’re thinking of getting one, then you’re in good company!
But, choosing the right dog for you can be a challenge. There are 339 different breeds of dog to pick from. And within these different breeds, there are different sizes of dogs: everything from large dog breeds through to lap dogs!
Large dogs are great dogs for the whole family. They’re often patient and gentle in spite of their size. And they make great walking companions if you like to get out and about.
To pick the best breeds of large dogs for you, you need to know what’s out there. That’s where we can help. Read on to find out about some of the most popular large dog breeds.
You’re probably familiar with German Shepherds’ distinctive black and fawn markings. These popular dogs have a strong muzzle and pointed ears. At around 23 inches tall they have a striking frame, but this isn’t the only impressive thing about German Shepherds.
They are also extremely intelligent, which makes them perfect for training. This is why they’re often used as police, guard, and guide dogs. They remain alert constantly and are courageous when faced with a challenge.
Despite their big frame, German Shepherds are also great with children and other pets. However, as with most dogs, parental supervision is advised when they’re around young children.
When out and about, it’s a good idea to keep them on a leash. They’re quick off the mark if there’s something they want to chase down. And their confidence sometimes comes across as aggression towards other big dogs.
Unfortunately, German Shepherds are at risk of suffering a lot of medical conditions that affect big dogs. So it’s important for all owners to be familiar with these.
One of the Siberian Huskies’ most extraordinary features has got to be their startling blue eyes. However, every now and then, you’ll come across one of these dogs with multicolored eyes. Along with their thick coat and unique face masks, this makes huskies beautiful dogs to look at.
But this isn’t the only great thing about them. These athletic dogs are free spirits and make the perfect walking (or running) companions. They’re always up for an adventure and love being outdoors.
This is probably why you need to work extra hard to stop them from escaping your yard! If you decide to get a husky then you’ll need to install a sturdy, sunk-fence to prevent run-aways.
Huskies are great with people – whether they’re new faces or strangers. This makes them a lovely family dog, just don’t get one as a guard dog!
Great Danes have a reputation for being the biggest dog around, although technically they aren’t. Nevertheless, if you want a big dog then this is the breed for you!
Your average Great Dane will reach between 28 and 30 inches tall but plenty have been known to surpass this. Zeus – a Great Dane who was the world’s tallest dog – was 44 inches tall when fully-grown.
Although they were originally bred as hunting dogs, Great Danes are gentle giants. Provided they receive enough exercise (they need around two hours a day) they will be kind and loyal to their owners.
Saint Bernards come from Europe’s mountainous regions where they were originally used as rescue dogs. They take their name from the monks of the Saint Bernard Hospice who helped to train them up for this role.
These large-sized dogs combine height and weight making them extremely strong. And their shaggy brown and white coat was perfect for the cold Swiss weather.
Nowadays Saint Bernards are more often kept as family dogs. Although they’re big, they are very gentle and loving, which makes them great with kids.
Old English Sheepdogs
You might recognize Old English Sheepdogs as the face of the international paint brand Dulux. Their long, shaggy grey and white coat sweeps down over their eyes giving them an almost comical look. This is matched with their gentle, clownish temperament.
Unlike a lot of other breeds of large dogs, Old English sheepdogs are sometimes known for being couch potatoes and love lolling around at home. The ideal environment for them is one where they can roam outside freely. But they are great at adapting to new environments.
Unfortunately, recent figures show that the number of these dogs around is so low that they are now at risk of extinction. Adopting one of these lovely dogs could help keep them around.
One of the most distinctive things about Neopolitan Mastiffs has got to be their saggy skin and droopy faces. While this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, this huge dog breed certainly has character.
Most mastiffs you meet will have a dark coat, although they do come with lighter, fawn coats.
Because of their size and temperament, Neopolitan mastiffs often work as guard dogs. They are exceptionally loyal to their family and trainers. Put the time into their training and they’ll always have your back.
But if you’re looking for someone to bark at burglars then you might want to look elsewhere. Neopolitan mastiffs are so quiet that they’re great at catching intruders in the act!
These Russian wolfhounds are all about the need for speed – they can reach up to forty miles an hour! A lot of this comes from their ancestry. Aristocrats in Russia originally bred them in order to hunt wolves.
With long noses and a skinny flank, these dogs look a lot like greyhounds with a longer coat. This is usually wavy or curly.
Their temperament reflects their aristocratic ancestry. They have quite a refined air about them and are very respectful, quiet and intelligent. Just make sure you can keep up with their athletic needs.
This traditional family dog and has been America’s favorite dog breed for nearly 30 years.
This is largely thanks to these big dogs’ loving and loyal temperament. They are very easy to train, which means most families will find them easy to look after. And, provided they receive enough regular exercise, they make very low maintenance pets.
With big, doleful eyes and silky ears, it’s impossible not to fall in love with these gorgeous dogs.
However, Labradors are one of the large breed dogs that are known to suffer from Hip Dysplasia so you may want to consider introducing joint health supplements like Glucosamine into their diet at an early age.
As the name suggests, Newfoundlands or Newfies come from Canada’s Newfoundland. While their size might suggest this would be a good guard dog, these dogs actually started out helping fishermen haul their nets in.
They are extremely strong and good swimmers, making them ideal water rescue dogs. And their thick coat is perfect for keeping them warm in and out of the water. In fact, this coat is so thick it can almost double their already considerable size!
Though they’re very heavy, weighing in at around 150 pounds, Newfies have a gentle, loyal and loving nature.
They’ll even curl up with you at night! Provided you’ve got lots of space to exercise them in (and to accommodate them), these cuddly giants make great pets for people of all ages.
These shaggy giants bring together all the best bits of two other large dogs on our list: Newfoundlands and Saint Bernards. This creates a beautiful blend of fawn and black in their smooth coats.
At around 30 inches tall, they can weigh right up to 170 pounds! But they aren’t all brawn and no brain. In fact, these lovely companions can also be trained up for tracking, herding, or working as rescue dogs.
Leonbergers are perfect for anyone who lives an active lifestyle. During adolescence, they are particularly energetic and tend to mellow out as they mature. But they are always friendly and form a strong, lasting bond with their owners.
There are several different breeds of mastiffs, which come from different countries. While all of them are big old beasts, the English mastiff holds the record as the heaviest dog!
They grow up to 30 inches in height and can weigh up to 250 pounds but some even surpass this. The world’s heaviest dog was an English mastiff weighing in at 343 pounds. Originally their size made them ideal for traditional British blood sports, such as bear, lion, and bull baiting.
While this sounds like a lot to handle, English mastiffs are very easy-going pets. They are even-tempered meaning that they’re great companions for even the most boisterous of children!
Irish wolfhounds have been around for hundreds of years. They first arrived in Ireland in 7000 BC and, like Borzois, their purpose was originally to help hunt down wolves. While this may sound like a ferocious task, they are a very reserved and easygoing breed of dog.
And when it comes to big dogs, these are some of the tallest around. An average Irish wolfhound stands taller than most Great Danes at a minimum of 32 inches in height. Most males will be roughly 34 or 35 inches tall.
Although similar in build to greyhounds or Russian wolfhounds, these dogs are a little chunkier in size. Their shaggy coats of wiry hair also contribute to a more bulky appearance. And this is an essential part of their loveable, if a little rough-around-the-edges, muzzle.
While their purpose has changed, Irish wolfhounds have held onto their protective temperament. They are incredibly noble and loyal to their owners.
Not all large dogs are built for working and Afghan hounds exemplify this! These glamorous dogs’ distinctive coat and ring-curled tail are hard to miss.
Their long silky coats drape down to the ground, concealing their legs from view. This fine fur was originally intended to protect them from the freezing temperatures of the mountain altitudes they lived in. Now it is more of a fashion statement and one that any owner must commit to maintaining properly!
But just because they’re glamorous doesn’t mean they want to lounge around the house. These are athletic hunting dogs and are fiercely independent. You may struggle to train an Afghan, but if you keep it entertained it will make an excellent companion.
These black-coated dogs are a little smaller than some of the others on this list, but don’t underestimate them.
They are extremely intelligent animals who adapt well to different environments. And they’re strong dogs that aren’t afraid of hard work. In fact, back in the First World War, Belgian sheepdogs worked as messengers and ambulance dogs on the front line.
They love human company and suffer when neglected. So before getting a Belgian sheepdog, make sure you can commit a decent amount of time to it.
Like Labrador retrievers, these dogs are a popular choice for a family pet. They are very gentle and happy to go with the flow, provided someone is giving them attention.
They were originally used to help fishermen and hunters retrieve their prey. They love to get out and about so make sure to give them plenty of exercise.
One of the most distinctive things about Golden retrievers has got to be their luscious golden coats. This makes them a delight to cuddle up with, provided you’ve given them a good clean after walking, of course!
Unlike some other large dogs, golden retrievers can be very sensitive and even scared at times. It’s important to approach their training with sensitivity.
Welcome to the World of Large Dog Breeds!
What we’ve covered is just a small handful of the world’s large dog breeds. While they’re big in size, many of them are gentle giants and make amazing companions. Just make sure you exercise them regularly!
For more tips on keeping your dog happy and healthy, check out these six facts about how to look after your dog’s joints.