Giant dogs are some of the hardest-working and most recognizable breeds. But because many of them maintain the strong working instincts and drive they were bred for, they can be a lot to handle. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering adding one to your family.
Giant dogs are giant puppies for a very long time and are slow to mature both mentally and physically. When giant dogs are young, their joints can become injured easily, so it’s important to be very cautious with exercise.
The bigger the dog, the bigger everything needs to be—including toys, bowls, and beds. While some giant dogs are happy and content living in small spaces, you do need to have enough space for the things they need. It’s also important to keep in mind that not everyone or everywhere is going to be giant-dog-friendly. Many apartments and hotels have weight limits for dogs, which giant breeds far exceed. It can also be much more challenging to find skilled and qualified care from dog sitters or walkers.
Giant dogs can be expensive to care for. When the dog is bigger, the bill usually is as well. Before adding a giant dog breed to your family, consider your budget flexibility and if you will be able to cover giant-size costs. Large breed dog food, toys, and other supplies are generally more expensive than those for smaller dogs. In addition, medication for giant dogs is going to be more expensive. Unfortunately, not all vet clinics—especially those in urban areas—will be equipped to safely handle giant breeds and you may need to shop around or travel to a vet who can accommodate a giant dog for X-rays, surgery, etc.
Regardless of size, all dogs need training, but it’s especially essential for giant breeds. Misbehaviors that people might think are “cute” when they happen with small dogs—like jumping up, counter surfing, and pulling—aren’t so adorable when your dog is a giant. These are dogs who will outweigh many people when fully grown, so it’s important to begin training giant dogs as very young puppies. Training should always be fun and positive. If you’re considering adding one of these giants to your life, look at theS.T.A.R. Puppy Programto get training off on the right foot.
If you’re okay with all of these potential challenges and you still think bigger is better when it comes to dogs, one of these breeds might be the right fit for your family.
Largest Dog Breeds
Imposing and protective, theAnatolian Shepherdis a territorial, smart, and loyal working dog. Weighing in at 150 pounds, this breed was developed to protect livestock. These are dogs who would rather intimidate predators than attack, making them popular as guardian ranch dogs protecting farms today.
Bernese Mountain Dog
With a distinctive tri-colored coat, theBernese Mountain Dogis one of the more popular giant breeds. They thrive in cold weather and were developed as hard-working, versatile dogs for farms in their native Switzerland and excel at drafting/carting. Known for their good-natured temperament, Bernese Mountain Dogs are popular giant companions and family dogs.
©Dyrefotografi.dk - stock.adobe.com
Black Russian Terrier
These giant terriers are as imposing as they are intelligent. TheBlack Russian Terrierwas developed by the Soviet government in the 1930s to create a powerful guard dog. The dogs maintain those protective qualities, are very loyal to their families, and will often be aloof with strangers. These large dogs should be both powerful and have a reliable temperament.
The ultimate guard dog, theBullmastiffis known as “the Gamekeeper’s Night Dog.” The breed was developed in the 19th century to guard private English game preserves and country estates. Highly biddable, the Bullmastiff responds well to training but early socialization and puppy training are extremely important.
©CallallooFred - stock.adobe.com
Dogue de Bordeaux
Another powerful guardian dog, theDogue de Bordeauxis known for its expressive face and eyes and has the proportionately largest head of any breed. These dogs are sensitive and loyal, but they are also known to be stubborn, which makes early training extremely important.
An alert and intimidating dog, theCane Corsois a loyal, strong breed. The ancestors of the Cane Corso are believed to date back to guardian dogs of the ancient Greeks, but at one point the breed nearly became extinct. The first Cane Corso was imported to America in 1988. Because of their wary and protective tendencies, early socialization and training is essential.
One of the most recognizable giant breeds,Great Daneswere developed as guardians and to hunt wild boars. This is an easy-going giant breed making the dogs popular companions. Great Danes are very friendly and outgoing, but they are also very loyal and alert guardians of their home and family.
This majestic breed is impressive in size and easily recognizable by its (generally) large white coat. The breed was developed to work alongside shepherds and to protect livestock. Known for their patience and independence, theGreat Pyreneesfearlessly fight off predators.
Large and majestic,theIrish Wolfhoundis the tallest breed of dog recognized by the AKC and was originally bred as a big-game hunter. While their ancestors date back to ancient times, the Irish Wolfhound first gained popularity in the 15th century to help control the wolf population in Ireland. Today Irish Wolfhounds are known as dignified, eye-catching companions.
©Nadine Haase - stock.adobe.com
Sporting a lion-like mane, aLeonbergeris a solid watchdog and versatile working dog. Unlike many other giant breeds, the Leonberger was first developed as a companion dog for European royalty. It wasn’t until later that they became known as an all-around working farm dog. Today, Leonbergers are loyal pets and excel at cart pulling/draft work.
With a broad, wrinkled forehead, theMastiffis a dignified, courageous, and docile breed. Known for their devotion and loyalty to their families, Mastiffs are naturally wary of strangers, making early socialization important. After World War II, approximately only 14 Mastiffs survived in all of England. The breed’s population was later established with the collaboration of breeders in the United States. Mastiffs are emotional and sensitive and thrive with early positive-reinforcement training.
Dating back to ancient Rome,Neapolitan Mastiffs are giant and powerful dogs. Visually striking with their loose wrinkles and folds of skin across their body, these dogs are easy to spot and are very protective of their families. Like other highly protective breeds, the Neapolitan Mastiffs thrive with consistent positive reinforcement training.
Okikukai/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images
This powerful working dog is a natural in the water. The breed has webbed feet and a water-repellent outer coat, and was first developed to work with Canadian fishermen pulling fishing nets out of icy water and performing heroic water rescues. These giant water dogs are still used in water rescue around the world. In addition to its massive size, theNewfoundland is known for its gentleness and trainability.
One of the most famous giant breeds, theSaint Bernardhails from the Swiss Alps. The massive and powerful breed was first developed to locate and rescue people who had gotten lost in the snow and buried by avalanches. The Saint Bernard’s charismatic friendly expression has helped it gain popularity in film and television, and become beloved by dog lovers.
©Grigorita Ko - stock.adobe.com
Known as the royal dog of Scotland, this giant coursing dog is one of the tallest breeds of dogs in the world. Bred to hunt, theScottish Deerhound is very courageous and was born to run. It’s a sensitive breed that’s deeply connected to family and can struggle with being left alone. With a strong drive to chase, the Scottish Deerhound should only be allowed to run in a fenced area or on leash.
An intimidating ancient breed,Tibetan Mastiffsare known for being strong-willed and independent. These dogs are extremely protective and are considered guardians of the Himalayas because they were used to guard monasteries in Tibet. Not a breed for beginners, these noble dogs are known for making up their mind about a situation and responding accordingly, regardless of training.
What is the largest dog breed on earth? ›
The Great Dane is generally recognised as being the largest breed in terms of height – but Irish Wolfhounds and English Mastiffs as worthy contenders too.What is a large vs giant dog breed? ›
Large breeds, classified as dogs who weigh between 51 and 90 pounds as full-grown adults, include German Shepherds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Great Danes, among many others. Dogs that weigh over 90 pounds at maturity are often considered giant breeds.What dog is bigger than a king Corso? ›
Although both breeds are large dogs, the Boerboel is considerably larger than the Cane Corso, by about 50 lbs. on average! Male Boerboels come in between 25 to 28 inches tall, while male Cane Corso's are around 22 to 26 inches tall.What is the giant fluffy dog? ›
The Bernese Mountain Dog, Samoyed, and Chow Chow are all big, fluffy dog breeds. Even one of the Drummond dogs, Presley the German shepherd, are represented in this list!Did giant dogs ever exist? ›
Yes, the monstrous Epicyon haydeni was bigger than a Dire Wolf, bigger than a jaguar, in fact, nearly as big as a modern day African Lion, and is an exception to the rule, which I wrote in that answer. Although to be fair, these prehistoric Big Dogs weren't actually “dogs”, or Canis.Is there any dog as big as a wolf? ›
1. Alaskan Malamute. Alaskan malamute is a huge dog and could weigh up to 45 kg. But don't be intimidated by its size, this breed of dog is really friendly.What breed is Scooby Doo? ›
Scooby-Doo is a Great Dane. The character was designed by Iwao Takamoto, an animator at Hanna-Barbera. According to the American Kennel Club, Great Danes are "the mighty 'Apollo of Dogs,'" which is very unlike the silly and cowardly Scooby-Doo.What is the biggest wolf like dog? ›
The malamute is the most wolf-like dog when it comes to appearance. These dogs are loyal and great with people. They are also clever, hard workers and are used to harsh weather conditions, just like actual wolves.Is there a dog bigger than a horse? ›
English mastiffs have set the record for heaviest dog ever recorded. As size goes, English mastiffs need about as much room as a miniature horse.What is a gentle giant dog? ›
These dogs are best known for their size, as their name suggests. They are the epitome of, “Gentle Giants”. They are very loving towards everyone which makes them a great family pet to have. Due to their size they do take up a lot of space and need a lot of exercise.
What dog is tougher than a Cane Corso? ›
The Kangal and the Cane Corso are both massive dogs. But the Kangal is bigger, at a maximum of 145 pounds compared to the Cane Corso's max of 110.What is the biggest mountain dog? ›
The Greater Swiss mountain dog is not only majestic, but agile, even weighing in at over 100 pounds.Is there a dog as big as a bear? ›
The Tibetan Mastiff may look intimidating, but this densely-coated giant of a dog is really just a big softie. This breed can stand up to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh well over 100 pounds, according to American Kennel Club, so make sure you have plenty of room for this behemoth bear of a dog.What is China's biggest dog? ›
The Tibetan Mastiff is considered a primitive breed. It typically retains the hardiness which would be required for it to survive in Tibet, Ladakh and other high-altitude Himalayan regions.How big was Zeus the dog? ›
Zeus stands tall at 3 feet, 5.18 inches — and stretches over 7 feet tall standing on his hind legs. Plus, Davis is only 5'1” herself, which accentuates Zeus' stature.What giant animals still exist? ›
Among living animals, the term megafauna is most commonly used for the largest extant terrestrial mammals, which includes (but is not limited to) elephants, giraffes, zebras, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, and large bovines.Is the Big Red dog real? ›
The main character in the newly released 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' doesn't actually exist. To bring the dog to life, production turned to two puppeteers and put them in a massive 75-pound canine exoskeleton.Can a dog impregnate a wolf? ›
Wolves and dogs are interfertile, meaning they can breed and produce viable offspring.Can a wolf pregnant a dog? ›
Yes, wolves and domestic dogs can breed and produce fertile offspring. However, dogs have been shaped for human needs in the process of domestication, so that they are different from their wild ancestors in many characteristics.What dog is called the wolf killer? ›
One of the most spectacular facts by which the strong Caucasian Shepherd dog is renowned is it courage and instinct that allows him to fight wild beasts and even to kill wolves. Well, it is important for us to look a bit at how nature goes and understand this “wolf killer” role as it really is.
What is the #1 protective dog? ›
|Height:||24 to 28 inches|
|Life expectancy:||10 to 12 years|
The Pit Bull is the most common dog breed (along with pit bull breed mixes) found in shelters in the United States. They are also the most abused, neglected, and the most euthanized.What breed is Clifford? ›
What dog breed is Clifford? Clifford is a Giant Vizsla. Although Clifford is over 10 feet tall and weighs A LOT (we don't know exactly how much because he broke the scale!), the average Viszla is only about 2 feet tall and between 45 and 65 pounds. The Vizsla breed originated in Hungary as a hunting dog.What dog breed is Pluto? ›
With those lovely floppy ears and sweet expression, it's no wonder that the famous Snoopy from Charles Schultz's Peanuts comics was based on a beagle.What dog has a stronger bite than a wolf? ›
"The Kangal Shepherd is a Turkish breed of dog that is known for its large size and impressive strength. With a bite force of 743 PSI, this breed is the undisputed king of the canine world when it comes to raw power.What dog is closest to wolf DNA? ›
Of all the dogs on this list, the Czechoslovakian Vlcak (CSV) shares the closest resemblance to their wolf relatives. This FSS breed was originally bred in the 1950s by crossing a German Shepherd with a Carpathian Wolf.Is there a dog as big as a lion? ›
1. Tibetan Mastiff. With their large, muscular, powerful bodies, dense lion-like mane, strong jaws and tight cat-like feet, it's no wonder the Tibetan Mastiff is often referred to as “lion dog”!Can a dog mate with a female human? ›
Can a human female mate with a dog? This is because dogs and people have very different sets of instructions in their DNA. Their genomes are simply too different to come together and make something that will live. Their genomes cannot mix in any productive way.What is a dog no longer a puppy? ›
If you're anything like us, you'll probably continue referring to your dog as a puppy until they're old and grey! But generally speaking, a puppy is officially considered an adult dog between the ages of 1 - 2 years, once their bones have fully developed and they've reached their final height and size.
Is there a dog king? ›
Saurr is not the only notable dog king in Nordic history. Lindow says a Danish text tells the story of Rakke ”“ the Old Danish word for dog ”“ a canine king appointed to rule over the Danes by the Swedish over-king Adils. As the story goes, King Rakke saw a pack of dogs fighting one day and tried to intervene.What big dogs don't bite? ›
Labrador Retrievers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Newfoundlands are among the safest dog breeds that are least likely to bite, new research has found. While any dog can nip, these breeds are known for their particularly sweet-tempered spirit as long as they are treated right.What is a giant black dog? ›
Giant Schnauzer. This black dog breed, often seen with wiry black fur, stands 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder—at least 8 inches larger than the Standard Schnauzer and 15 inches taller than the Mini—and weighs 95 pounds. And those long legs need the exercise!Can a Cane Corso bite harder than a lion? ›
The Cane Corso has a bite force of a massive 700 PSI. this PSI surpasses a lion (691 PSI) which is insane! This dog comes from Italy and is considered part of the mastiff family. Although they may be intimidating, these dogs are loyal and affectionate to their families.What large German dog has powerful jaws? ›
Looking a bit like a smaller German Shepherd, the Belgian Malinois are alert, brave, resourceful pups who are also intelligent and playful. They're extremely muscular and strong, with jaws to match. A pawsome Malinois chomping on a chewie exerts 195 psi on it!What dog can take down a lion? ›
Rhodesian Ridgeback Breed - The Dog That Hunts Lions.Which dogs hunt lions? ›
Originally bred to pursue lions, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are superb hunters. The Rhodesian Ridgeback not only tracks their prey but can hold also quarry at bay. The breed is also known as the African Lion Hound due to their history in helping to hunt lions in the savannah.What are the toughest dogs in a fight? ›
Although there are many breeds of dogs used for fighting worldwide—including the Fila Brasileiro, Dogo Argentino, the Tosa Inu and the Presa Canario—the dog of choice for fighting in the United States is the American Pit Bull Terrier.What is the largest hunting dog? ›
Large and majestic, the Irish Wolfhound is the tallest breed of dog recognized by the AKC and was originally bred as a big-game hunter. While their ancestors date back to ancient times, the Irish Wolfhound first gained popularity in the 15th century to help control the wolf population in Ireland.What is the biggest American dog? ›
The Great Dane is the largest of dog breeds. Males can reach 32 inches in height and weigh up to 175 pounds, while females measure up to a height of 30 inches and can weigh between 110 and 140 pounds. While their size may be intimidating, these dogs make great family companions. They are sweet and loyal home guardians.
What is the biggest Russian dog? ›
|Common Names||Russian bear dog, Caucasian shepherd dog, Caucasian mountain dog, Caucasian ovcharka dog|
|Origin||Southern Russia, Caucasus|
The Guinness Book of Records include a Great Dane called Zeus who stood an amazing 44 inches from the ground. They may be huge but are known for being loving and playful.
The wolfhound wins by inches as the tallest dog breed. The Irish wolfhound is the tallest of all dogs, even the Great Dane. 5 According to breed standard, the minimum height should be 32 inches for males and 30 inches for females.
Zeus (November 22, 2008 – September 3, 2014) was a Great Dane from Otsego, Michigan, United States, famous for being named the "world's tallest dog" by the 2012 and 2013 Guinness Book of World Records.What is the 2 tallest dog in the world? ›
The second tallest dog breed is the Irish Wolfhound.
4. Tibetan Mastiff – $10,000. This massive doggo made its way to American from Tibet where it protected sheep from predators like wolves, leopards, and bears. The mastiff can reach more than 150 pounds, for grown males, and fends off some of the fiercest animals.What is a mega dog? ›
Mega Dogs are enormous canines with various mutations like extra tails, noses, legs, and eyes. Each Mega Dog possesses certain recognizable breed traits (e.g., rottweiler, corgi, bichon, etc.).Is there a dog bigger than an Irish Wolfhound? ›
The Irish Wolfhound stands between 28 and 35 inches tall, whereas the Great Dane stands between 28 and 32 inches tall.What dog is bigger than a Bullmastiff? ›
A major difference between Bullmastiff and English Mastiff is size. The most evident difference between the two breeds is their size, with the English Mastiff being far larger than the Bullmastiff.What is the most fearless dog? ›
Whether it's sniffing out bombs for the army or controlling crowds for the police, German Shepherds are the bravest of all the dog breeds. As a family pet they will happily put their life on the line to keep you safe.