Large dog breeds are protective, loving and loyal. Despite their intimidating size and stature, they are overall friendly dogs and great with children. Many large dog breeds were bred to work, so they need space to exercise and work out the energy that's bred into them. Unlike small dog breeds that are better for people in small living spaces, these gentle giants are the perfect addition to families who have the room to meet their needs.
Here are 14 of the biggest of the big breeds, because bigger is better, right?
Height: 30 - 34 inches (male); 28 - 32 inches (female)
Weight: 120 - 200 pounds (male); 100 - 130 pounds (female)
Great Danes are friendly, patient and dependable doggos. They're easy to train, need to be walked at least twice a day and only bark when the situation demands it. Despite their intimidating stature, Great Danes are great with kids and other smaller animals. The 1966 Disney movie The Ugly Dachshund, about a couple who takes in a Great Dane puppy to join their dachshund litter, is actually a great example of how loving and gentle these dogs are (despite how poor Brutus is always blamed for the havoc the dachshunds cause).
Height: 30+ inches (male); 28+ inches (female)
Weight: 160 - 230 pounds (male); 120 - 170 pounds (female)
The massive Mastiff is one of the most ancient types of dog breeds. Five thousand years ago, their ancestors, Molossus dogs, were used by the Romans and other ancient societies as war dogs because of their sturdy, powerful build and massive square heads -- but today, they couldn't be further from ferocious. They're intelligent, calm and docile pets that respond well to training. They make great pets if you can handle their lazy snoring, slobbering and drooling.
Height: 27 - 32 inches (male); 25 - 29 inches (female)
Weight: 100+ pounds (male); 85+ pounds (female)
Despite first appearances, these are dogs... not polar bears. They're calm and patient, and love receiving all the pats and pets. They're not very active dogs, but still need plenty of space and to be walked occasionally, though they like to stick to a lumbering pace. They're great with children, but can be overprotective of the kiddos around people they aren't familiar with. They're one of the more vocal large dog breeds and freely use their deep voices. Great Pyrenees are also strongly independent and can be a bit difficult to train.
Height: 24 - 26 inches (male); 22 - 24 inches (female)
Weight: 65 - 90 pounds (male); 50 - 70 pounds (female)
German Shepherds aren't as massive as some of the biggest breeds, but they're muscular, solid, intelligent and gentle. They're incredibly nimble on their feet and very active -- before adopting a German Shepherd, make sure your lifestyle is able to accommodate all the exercise this breed demands. These dogs make great family pets because they are great with children, protective of their humans and eager to please when it comes to training.
Height: 24 - 27 inches (male); 22 - 25 inches (female)
Weight: 110 - 130 pounds (male); 77 - 110 pounds (female)
Big and powerful, Rottweilers are always happiest when performing a job and exercising. These dogs can be more reserved toward strangers, but hold a lot of affection toward their family. Rottweilers are protectors; they are often used as guard dogs or police dogs and are dedicated to those they know.
Height: ~28 inches (male); ~26 inches (female)
Weight: 130 - 150 pounds (male); 100 - 120 pounds (female)
You won't find a dog sweeter than a Newfoundland. These big drooling beasts are loyal, obedient and will do anything for their humans. Newfoundlands are moderately active and enjoy short walks and big backyards. Originally bred to be working dogs for fishermen in the Dominion of Newfoundland, Canada, these dogs are A+ at swimming and water rescues. They are the definition of A Very Good Boy.
Height: 26 - 31 inches (male); 24 - 29 inches (female)
Weight: ~150 pounds (male); ~110 pounds (female)
Picture Hagrid's dog Fang from Harry Potter -- that's the Neapolitan Mastiff. Big, lumbering and wrinkly, these dogs are known for their calm and watchful nature. They are often used as watchdogs because of their protective instincts... and because they look much more fierce than they are. But if their family is in danger, these dogs are fearless.
Height: 25 - 28 inches (male); 23 - 26 inches (female)
Weight: 86 - 110 pounds (male); 79 - 110 pounds (female)
Bernese Mountain Dogs need to be outside playing with the family and running around, and are eager to learn new tricks and tasks. If you're looking for a hiking partner, you've found your perfect match. They love the cold weather -- after all, they were first bred to be farm dogs in the Swiss Alps. But because of their thick double coats, they shed excessively and need to be regularly groomed.
Height: 32-35 inches (male); 30-33 inches (female)
Weight: ~120 pounds (male); ~105 pounds (female)
You might do a double-take the first time you see an Irish Wolfhound. This ancient breed are impressively tall -- the tallest of all dog breeds -- and often stand taller than their masters when balancing on their hind legs. They have been dated back to 7,000 B.C. Ireland, where they were used as war dogs before being used primarily for hunting and guarding. These dogs are quiet, kind and calm.
Height: 30 - 32 inches (male); 28+ inches (female)
Weight: 85 - 110 pounds (male); 75 - 95 pounds (female)
Scottish Deerhounds are similar to the Greyhound, but much larger and with a heavier, rough coat. These dogs are gentle, polite and extremely friendly. They were bred to accompany hunters, and thus have a tendency to chase and run. This breed should have a secure fenced-in area available to them and family members to take them on long runs.
Height: 28 - 32 inches (male); 25 - 30 inches (female)
Weight: 110 - 170 pounds (male); 90 - 140 pounds (female)
Leonbergers like long walks through the neighborhood and relaxing dips in the local lake or pond. The males are big and bulky, but the females are distinctly feminine -- you can easily tell the difference between the two sexes just by looking at their head shape. These dogs are smart, family-oriented and loving. And unlike the slobbery Newfoundlands or Mastiffs, Leonbergers have a uniquely dry mouth that deters all drooling.
Height: 27 - 30 inches (male); 26 - 29 inches (female)
Weight: 80 - 130 pounds
This dog breed is a large, shaggy, black blur -- well, that's how they look when they get a burst of energy and race past you. These dogs are agile and come from a military breeding background. They can be aloof around strangers, but are fiercely loving toward their family. They have a double coat of shaggy black fur that covers their eyes and gives them a beard, and while frequent grooming is recommended, they rarely shed.
Height: 26 - 30 inches (male); 24 - 28 inches (female)
Weight: 100 - 160 pounds (male); 75 - 120 pounds (female)
These big, furry dogs are calm and mellow around the house and very loyal to their family, but can be territorial around strangers. They're great with children and, while they enjoy the outdoors and exercise, are not particularly active. The breed originated from south Asia to protect livestock from predators like tigers and leopards, so they're muscular and powerful.
Height: 25 - 28 inches (male); 23 - 26 inches (female)
Weight: 100 - 110 pounds (male); 88 - 100 pounds (female)
Cane Corsos are smart, assertive protectors closely related to the Neapolitan Mastiff. They're fiercely loyal to their humans and are often used as guard dogs because they are so easy to train.
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