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 biggest 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 is the biggest dog in the world 2022? ›
Zeus, a two-year-old grey and brown American Great Dane from Bedford, Texas, USA, has broken a "paw-some" record. Standing at 1.046 metres (3 ft 5.18 in), the gentle giant has been confirmed as the tallest dog living (male) in the world.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 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.
Great Danes are known for being among the largest dogs in the world. In fact, the AKC revealed that when they stand on their hind legs, Great Danes are usually taller than most people. The typical Dane measures in at about 32 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 175 pounds.What is the fattest dog alive? ›
What is the fattest dog in the world? An English Mastiff named Zorba still holds the record as per the Guinness Book of World Records. Zorba weighed in at 343 pounds.
Is Zeus the dog still alive? ›
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.How big is the biggest wild dog? ›
The largest canine species in the world is the gray wolf. Gray wolves (Canis lupus) are 31 to 33 inches tall, more than 5 feet long and can weigh anything up to 175 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 the biggest snow dog? ›
The Alaskan Malamute is the oldest and largest of the Arctic sled dogs, having been used for freighting in the Arctic. They have a thick, coarse coat that keeps them warm.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.What dinosaur evolved into dogs? ›
Leptocyon. Among the earliest ancestors of modern dogs, various species of Leptocyon roamed the plains and woodlands of North America for a whopping 25 million years, making this small, foxlike animal one of the most successful mammalian genera of all time.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 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 dog kills the most humans? ›
66% of Fatal Dog Bite Deaths Caused by Pit Bulls
From their data collection, they found 346 of 521 deaths were from pit bull attacks. Rottweilers made up 10%, followed by German Shepherds, mixed-breed, American Bulldog, Mastiffs, and Huskies.
- Pit Bull. Attacks: 3,397. Deaths: 295. ...
- Rottweiler. Attacks: 535. Deaths: 8. ...
- German Shepherd. Attacks: 113. Deaths: 15. ...
- Presa Canario. Attacks: 111. Deaths: 18. ...
- Wolf-Dog Hybrids. Attacks: 85. Deaths: 19.
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? ›
Scooby-Dee is a female Great Dane, with white fur, first appearing in The Scooby-Doo Show. She was a character in the episode titled "The Chiller Diller Movie Thriller", as a distant cousin of Scooby's, who helped them solve the mystery.What is the sweetest big dog? ›
Bernese Mountain Dog
One of the biggest sweethearts in the canine world is the Bernese Mountain Dog. These pups make excellent companion dogs thanks to their calm demeanor, affectionate nature and ability to adapt to just about any situation.
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 dog no longer a puppy? ›
A dog is no longer a puppy between 12 to 18 months with some variation based on breed, size and personality. Smaller breeds tend to develop and reach maturity sooner, both physically and emotionally versus large to giant breeds that can take up to almost 24 months before reaching adulthood.What dog is as big as 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.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 dog do Navy Seals use? ›
The Belgian Malinois, also known as the Belgian Shepherd, is the predominant breed utilized by SEAL Teams. Favored for their intelligence, agility, loyalty, and stealth, Belgian Malinois are fierce and fast with acute vision.What is the largest mountain dog? ›
The Greater Swiss mountain dog is not only majestic, but agile, even weighing in at over 100 pounds.How old was the oldest big dog? ›
Born in November 1999, Spike achieved canine bragging rights on December 7, 2022, with a certificate proving he was “at least 23 years and 7 days old” at the date of verification in the village of Camden.What is the fastest dog breed? ›
R. Bitzer Photography / Adobe Stock Greyhounds are the fastest dog breed and can run at speeds of 40–45 mph. Despite their aerodynamic build, greyhounds are actually quite calm—and maybe even a little lazy.Who is the dog of God? ›
Anubis was said to have protected and guided sacred dead Spirits. The depiction of Anubis was that of man who had a black jackal like head, or as a black jackal. Many ancient Egyptians, because of this dog-god Anubis, had a spiritual and reverent association with their dogs.Is there any dog God? ›
Deities like Rudra, Nirriti and Virabhadra are associated with dogs. Shiva, in his aspect as Bhairava, had a dog as a vahana (vehicle) (mentioned in the Mahabharata). Khandoba, a deity, is associated with a dog on which he rides. Dattatreya is associated with four dogs, considered to symbolize the four Vedas.What is the largest dog in USA? ›
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.What is the biggest wolf breed? ›
gray wolf, (Canis lupus), also called timber wolf, largest wild member of the dog family (Canidae). It inhabits vast areas of the Northern Hemisphere.How big is a teddy bear dog? ›
Size. Teddy Bear sizes vary depending on their parents. Generally, most Teddy Bears are very small in size, growing no more than 12 inches in height. Teddy Bears also weigh 12 to pounds.What is the 2 biggest dog breed in the world? ›
2. Irish wolfhound. Irish wolfhounds, on average, are the tallest dog breed in the world. They stand a minimum of 32 inches off the ground at the shoulder and can weigh up to 180 pounds.
Who is World No 1 dog? ›
The Labrador Retriever holds the top spot, and this friendly favorite has been No. 1 since 1991.How big is the dog Zeus? ›
Description. Standing on his hind legs, Zeus stretched 7 feet 5 inches (2.26 meters), and when measured in October 2011, Zeus was 3 feet 8 inches (1.12 meters) from his foot to his withers.Is there a millionaire dog? ›
The world's richest pet, a German shepherd known as Gunther VI, is owned by the Gunther Corporation who also manage the dog's estate and fortune and through real estate investments have rocketed Gunther's grandfather's inherited fortune from a mere £59 million in 1992 to the £370 million reported today.