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16 Types of Giant Dog Breeds

irish wolfhound

While some people prefer small dogs, there are some of us who adore the giant dog breeds as well. Giant dogs have a reputation for being the most recognizable and hardest working breed of dogs in the world today. However, giant dog breeds usually have a strong working instinct and a strong prey drive; they can be quite a bit to handle and aren’t for everyone.

While giant dog breeds come with their negatives, there are also a ton of pluses for keeping one as a pet. Also, there are quite a few factors you’ll want to consider before choosing a giant dog as a family pet. We’ll give you 16 giant dog breeds and a bit about them so that you can make an informed decision on whether a giant breed of dog is the right choice for you and your lifestyle.

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The 16 Giant Dog Breeds to Know:

1. Great Dane

male black great dane
Image Credit: Tara Lynn and Co, Shutterstock
Group Working (AKC)
Height 28 to 32 inches
Weight 110 to 175 pounds
Life Expectancy 6 to 8 years

This majestic breed of dog actually more resembles a small horse than a dog, but don’t let its size fool you. The Great Dane is an easy-going dog that takes to apartment living well despite its size. These dogs were bred to hunt wild boars and to guard property and their families. They still make great guard dogs but are even-tempered and lovable for the most part. Very friendly and outgoing, the only problem with the Great Dane is its short life span, which is only six to eight years, meaning you might not get to spend as much time with your loyal friend as you would like.

Pros
  • Easy-going
  • Great guard dogs
  • Good for apartment living
Cons
  • Short lifespan

2. Leonberger

Leonberger with foilage backdrop
Image Credit: shesheta, Pixabay
Group Working (AKC)
Height 26 to 32 inches
Weight 90 to 170 pounds
Life Expectancy 7 to 10 years

The Leonberger breed is a massive working dog, but don’t let his size fool you. He’s intelligent, easy to train, and pretty much even-tempered. He does make a great watchdog and is known to bond very closely with his family. This breed makes an excellent family pet and has been used as therapy dogs as well. However, they do drool a lot, so watch your carpeting and furniture when your beloved pet is inside and cuddling with you on the couch.

Pros
  • Even-tempered
  • Great watchdog
  • Intelligent/Easy to train
Cons
  • Drools a lot

3. Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiffs
Image Credit: Christian Mueller, Shutterstock
Group Working (AKC)
Height 24 to 31 inches
Weight 110 to 150 pounds
Life Expectancy 7 to 9 years

The Neapolitan Mastiff is an Italian breed whose origins have been traced back to the time of the Romans. You’ll know the breed by its loose skin, wrinkles, and lumbering gait. However, they make loyal guard dogs, are gentle with their families, and surprisingly don’t need a whole bunch of exercise, even with their size. The dog is a loyal, gentle breed that any family would love to call their own. However, this breed is prone to joint disease, so keep an eye on your pal over the years.

Pros
  • Gentle with his family
  • Loyal guard dog
  • Requires little exercise
Cons
  • Prone to joint diseases

4. Irish Wolfhound

irish wolfhound is standing on a green meadow
Image Credit: Tikhomirov Sergey, Shutterstock
Group Hound (AKC)
Height Around 30 inches or more
Weight 105 to 120 pounds
Life Expectancy 6 to 8 years

Bred as hunting companions and to take into battle, the Irish Wolfhound also guarded the property and homes of their owners. However, in today’s world, this breed is used mostly as a companion pet. They are friendly, loyal, and gentle with children. Another great advantage of adopting one of these large pets is that they don’t shed very much. However, they do have quite a short lifespan and need large spaces to roam, so you won’t want to keep this breed hemmed up in a small house with no yard or an apartment.

Pros
  • Friendly
  • Gentle with kids
  • Doesn’t shed much
Cons
  • Short lifespan
  • Don’t do well in smaller homes

5. Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogues De Bordeaux
Image Credit: Jan Steiner, Pixabay
Group Working
Height 23 to 27 inches
Weight 100 pounds or more
Life Expectancy 5 to 8 years

If you’re looking for a super lovable pet, then the Dogue de Bordeaux breed could be the right large pet for you. Loyal and protective, this breed is also quite courageous while still having an even temper. They are slobbery and have massive heads that make them look scary and ferocious when they usually aren’t. Since this breed’s origins started in France, they are often called French Mastiffs as well. It is important to note that this breed doesn’t get along well with other pets, especially other dogs.

Pros
  • Loyal/Protective
  • Courageous
  • Has an even temper
Cons
  • Doesn’t get along well with other pets

6. Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees in the mountain
Image Credit: Paolo Seimandi, Shutterstock
Group Working (AKC)
Height 25 to 32 inches
Weight 85 pounds or more
Life Expectancy 10 to 12 years

The Great Pyrenees breed is massive, not only in power but in size as well. However, they are a calm, affectionate dog that gets along well with children and most other family pets. Bred as a working dog, the Great Pyrenees was used to guard people’s homes and their sheep.

They are a very active breed, so they need plenty of exercise and may have to have obedience training to make them well-behaved. However, they do tend to bark a lot, especially at night, as a warning to their owners.

Pros
  • Calm/Affectionate
  • Loyal/Protective
  • Gets along well with most pets and kids
Cons
  • Barks a lot, especially at night
  • Need a lot of exercise
  • May need obedience training

7. Newfoundland

Newfoundland dog
Image Credit: Pandas, Shutterstock
Group Working (AKC)
Height 26 to 28 inches
Weight 100 to 150 pounds
Life Expectancy 9 to 10 years

The Newfoundland breed has webbed feet and waterproof coats, so they are perfect for a family that spends a lot of time on the water. This breed of dogs are great workers and loyal, protective family pets. While this is a calm breed, they have an instinct to protect, especially the children they love. It is essential to note that this dog needs a lot of space to be healthy and happy, so don’t put him in an apartment or a small house with no yard and expect him to behave.

Pros
  • Loyal
  • Protective
  • Calm
Cons
  • Needs a lot of room to be happy

8. Bullmastiff

Bullmastiff
Image Credit: BORINA OLGA, Shutterstock
Group Working (AKC)
Height 24 to 27 inches
Weight 100 to 130 pounds
Life Expectancy 8 to 10 years

The Bullmastiff breed is a cross between a Mastiff and a Bulldog, and their origins can be traced back to the 1900s. This powerful dog was bred to stop poachers from invading people’s lands. Today, while this dog still makes an excellent watchdog, the breed is quite gentle and loving. They need very little exercise and have short hair, so they’re easy to groom. However, it’s important to note that this breed can be aggressive if not trained and socialized right. They also have a relatively short lifespan of only eight to 10 years.

Pros
  • Great watchdogs
  • Need little exercise
  • Short hair is easy to care for
Cons
  • Can be aggressive
  • Short lifespan

9. St. Bernard

Saint bernard in winter
Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock
Group Working
Height 26 to 30 inches
Weight 120 to 180 pounds
Life Expectancy 8 to 10 years

St. Bernard’s are the giant breed with a giant heart. They are most often used in search and rescue missions and as service animals as well. This breed is extra lovable, gentle, and loyal. They are known for being great family dogs and are often quite gentle with children. However, they do have a short lifespan of between eight and 10 years. They also need to be watched constantly when on a leash, as they will try to pull away constantly. Since they don’t realize how huge they are, training is a must to keep them under control.

Pros
  • Gentle/Loyal
  • Eager to please
  • Lovable
Cons
  • Short lifespan
  • Needs constant attention when on leash

10. Mastiff

Spanish Mastiff_Marcelino Pozo Ruiz_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Marcelino Pozo Ruiz, Shutterstock
Group Working (AKC)
Height 28 inches or more
Weight 120 to 230 pounds
Life Expectancy 10 to 12 years

The Mastiff breed is a soft-hearted breed that looks to be all brawn on the outside, but as you know, you can’t judge a book by its cover. These pets are gentle, loyal, and protective. While they are protective of their families, this breed gets more laid back as they age. Be warned that Mastiffs eat a lot, so have extensive food requirements, they are a regular slobber fest, and their tails can do significant damage once they start wagging.

Pros
  • Gentle/Loyal
  • Great family pets/Protective
  • Laidback as they age
Cons
  • Extensive food requirements
  • Tails cause significant damage
  • Excessive slobbering

11. Anatolian Shepard

Anatolian-Shepherd
Image Credit: CharlitoCZ, Shutterstock
Group Working (AKC)
Height 27 to 29 inches
Weight 110 to 150 pounds
Life Expectancy 11 to 13 years

The Anatolian Shepard is a territorial breed, which makes it an excellent guard dog. This breed is confident, energetic, smart, and loyal. It’s also an excellent working dog. The breed was developed to protect livestock and would rather intimidate a threat than attack it. This is not the right breed for a beginning dog owner, and they don’t make good family pets. However, they are an excellent choice for protecting a farm or ranch, so if you own one of these, this is a good choice for your needs.

Pros
  • Energetic
  • Make good guard dogs
  • Confident
Cons
  • Not for beginning dog owners
  • Not a family pet

12. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog lying on the ground
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay
Group Working (AKC)
Height 23 to 27.5 inches
Weight 70 to 115 pounds
Life Expectancy 7 to 10 years

The Bernese Mountain Dog features a distinctive tri-colored coat. They love the cold weather, are hard workers and are extremely loyal. This breed is energetic yet laid back at the same time. They do have a short lifespan of between seven to 10 years and are heavy shedders, so be careful when you have them inside your home. They are heavy droolers as well. These are some of the most popular large breed dogs and are great as companion animals.

Pros
  • Great family pet
  • Loyal
  • Energetic yet laid back
Cons
  • Short Lifespan
  • Heavy Shedder/Drools a lot

13. Cane Corso

male cane corso standing
Image Credit: Sbolotova, Shutterstock
Group Working (AKC)
Height 23.5 to 27.5 inches
Weight According to height
Life Expectancy 9 to 12 years

The Cane Corso breed is one that forms close bonds with his family. The breed is strong, loyal, and makes an excellent watchdog. However, he is alert and can be intimidating to those who don’t know him. Since these dogs can be wary and protective of their families, it’s extremely important to socialize and train them from an early age. The breed is easy to groom but do have joint problems due to their large size. The large size, in fact, may make it hard for smaller adults and children to handle the dog, so be careful when out walking this breed.

Pros
  • Forms close bonds with his family
  • Makes a good watchdog
  • Easy to groom
Cons
  • Joint problems
  • May be hard for children and small adults to handle due to his large size

14. Black Russian Terrier

black russian terrier by brick wall
Image Credit: DragoNika, Shutterstock
Group Working (AKC)
Height 26 to 30 inches
Weight 80 to 130 pounds
Life Expectancy 10 to 12 years

The Black Russian Terrier is as intelligent as he is imposing. Extremely protective, this breed is loyal and loving to the family who owns him. The breed is calm and does well with apartment living. However, they can be quite aloof with strangers and have a dominant personality. They do suffer from many of the health problems that affect larger breeds, so keep an eye on your pup as he heads into his later years. This is the perfect dog for someone looking for a watchdog and family pet at the same time.

Pros
  • Loyal/Loving
  • Calm
  • Lives well in apartments
Cons
  • His personality is dominant
  • Some large-breed health problems

15. Scottish Deerhound

Scottish Deerhound standing at a beach
Image Credit: Kim Christensen, Shutterstock
Group Hound
Height 28 to 32 inches
Weight 75 to 110 pounds
Life Expectancy 8 to 11 years

The Scottish Deerhound is the royal dog of Scotland and is one of the tallest breeds of dogs in the world. Bred to hunt, this breed loves to run, so make sure you have plenty of space to accommodate him, as he wouldn’t thrive well in an apartment setting. The breed is playful, gentle, friendly, and loving to his family. He does have issues walking on a leash, so make sure to train this large breed early on in life.

Pros
  • Playful/Gentle
  • Friendly
  • Loving
Cons
  • Doesn’t need to live in an apartment
  • Has issues walking on a leash

16. Tibetan Mastiff

Mountain Mastiff tibetan
Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock
Group Working (AKC)
Height 24 to 26 inches or higher
Weight 70 to 150 pounds
Life Expectancy 10 to 12 years

The Tibetan Mastiff is an intimidating, independent, strong-willed dog that dates back to ancient times. He’s an excellent guard dog and is a seasonal shedder, which means he sheds very little. These dogs are extremely protective and are not recommended for first-time dog owners. They can be hard to train due to their strong wills, so socialization and training need to begin early in their lives. It’s important to note that this breed may become aggressive to other dogs if not socialized and trained properly as well.

Pros
  • Great guard dog
  • Requires little exercise
  • Seasonal shedder (Very little)
Cons
  • Hard to train
  • May become aggressive with other dogs

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Final Thoughts

This concludes our list of the 16 types of giant dog breeds you can find today. Many make great family pets, while some aren’t for first-time pet owners or families. Do your research, take your time, and make sure this is truly the pet you want before giving one a forever home. It’s important to note that owning a giant dog as a pet is a huge responsibility, so make sure you’re ready for the challenge. Your reward will be a loyal, protective friend for many years to come.


Featured Image Credit: DragoNika, Shutterstock

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