So you want a really big dog? Giant
dogs are a gigantic responsibility because they require
plenty of exercise, space, and careful training to teach them safe
habits. The largest dog breeds are not ideal pets for the
city or apartments because they
need plenty of space to move and run around.
Despite their size, they can all be very gentle and loving
dogs, as long as they are carefully trained. When you have a
dog almost as big, or bigger than you are, it's crucial to
establish yourself as a pack
leader over the dog. All of these breeds have histories as
working dogs, either protecting sheep or hunting, so they love
to please their pet parents and are relatively easy to train
with a strong leader. They are also great guard dogs who can be
devoted and loyal to their family and fearsome to strangers or
troublemakers when needed.
If you have the space, patience, and time for exercise and
training, you may want to bring one of these giant dogs into
your home. Learn about the differences between the breeds below
to find out which breed might be best for you.
These dogs may not be the heaviest, but they are the
biggest—you might even mistake them for a pony! Irish
Wolfhounds can grow to be 35 inches tall to the top of their
back and 7 feet tall when they stand on their hind legs.
Healthy (not overweight) males
usually get up to 140 pounds making for a thin, but very
athletic endurance hunter. Irish Wolfhounds were originally
bred to hunt wolves, boars, and elk.
Different varieties of the Mastiff are different sizes, but
they are all massive. The French Mastiff is notable in
particular for their giant head, but the English Mastiff holds
the record for being the heaviest. Most male English Mastiffs
grow to around 30 inches and 200 pounds, but the record holder,
named “Hercules,” was 282 pounds. Mastiffs can be docile and
gentle, but make sure they have enough space and are fed a
lower-fat diet to keep their
weight in a healthy range.
One of the most popular giant dogs, Great Danes are the
tallest, growing to around 40 inches and 180 pounds. Originally
used as hunting dogs, Great Danes are powerful runners and must
be trained early not to jump up on people or furniture. They
may be the only dog on this list who can survive in an
apartment, but only if they can get enough exercise each day.
Competing with the Mastiff for heaviest dog is the Saint
Bernard, which can grow to be 35 inches tall and over 200
pounds. These dogs look even bigger with their thick coat of
fur which has made them the perfect alpine rescue dog and
symbol of Switzerland. Despite their size they can be very
gentle and are great with families.
Another helpful dog, Newfoundlands used to assist fishermen in
Canada to bring in their nets, and their thick, water-proof
coat and webbed feet allowed them swim in the icy waters. These
furry dogs can grow to 30 inches and 150 pounds. Their black
double coat is beautiful, but requires a lot of brushing and grooming to stay clean.
Similar to the Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees also have a thick
double coat that allows them to stay outside in freezing
temperatures—but they have white fur instead of black. These
dogs are a little smaller than Newfoundlands, usually growing
to 32 inches and 115 pounds. Used in Europe to protect
livestock, Great Pyrenees are devoted and calm with their
family, but need firm training and a lot of exercise.
A lesser-known breed from the Caucasus Mountains near the Black
Sea, Caucasian Shepherds are still used to protect livestock
from mountain predators. They are big dogs, but not very heavy,
growing to 28 inches and 100 pounds. These sturdy dogs are
usually sweet and gentle with their family, but require firm
training and a strong pack leader or they can become
These shorthaired giants are originally from Turkey and can
grow to 31 inches and 150 pounds. They are excellent guard dogs
because of their great eyesight, agility, and hardiness. They
can also be good for families with children and require minimal
These powerful dogs with long beautiful fur were used as
hunting and guard dogs. Kuvasz were originally from Tibet but
have been used throughout Europe, and were even popular with
the royal family of Hungary. They can grow to 30 inches and 120
pounds and are very intelligent dogs. Kuvasz are devoted to
their families and will always protect them, no matter what.
Big Dogs vs. Small Dogs: A Face-Off Between Dog Breeds by Size
Danes to Chihuahuas,
dogs come in a wide range of sizes. People looking to adopt a
dog have a lot to consider. What type of dog will
fit your lifestyle
best? While there are always exceptions to any rule, here are
the common differences between
dogs large and small.
Embed this infographic
Which Size of Dog is Right for You?
Hopefully this infographic helped pin down some of the key
differences between dogs of different sizes. The reality is
that there is a lot to consider beyond simply how big your
dog is. Different breeds have drastically different
temperaments, and as such, do best in different living
situations. To find out what type of dog is right for you,
take a long look at what you would be able to provide your
new dog, and what you want them to provide you. Check out our
wide catalogue of breed
guides to help give you a better idea.
Also, don't let breed generalizations pin you down. There are
many exceptions to the rules, so to find the best match for
you, try and spend some time with any dog you are thinking of
adopting to make sure that their personality meshes with
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