Have you ever wondered what the largest dog breeds were and if they truly were gentle giants? Well, we can assure you that there are several breeds of dog that are truly gentle giants and are truly a spectacle to see walking down the street among humans and their owners; proud and faithful. Despite their intimidating sizes, these giant dogs are docile characters that love showing affection.
When human beings decided to carry out various experiments in regard to crossing different dogs, it often resulted in remaking characteristics of the parent breed and transformed the physical characteristics of the dog. In some cases, this reached extreme exaggerations in the new breed and eventually led to creating giant dog breeds. The result of this cross breeding has shown that humans can create giant dog breeds that exceed the size of a man and consequently become categorized as the largest dogs in the world; coming to exceed the expectations of men in regard to dogs in many ways.
For this reason, we have compiled a list of the largest dogs in the world; ranging from more medium size to even gigantic that may scare you! However, you do not have to be scared, although they can sometimes be aggressive, because these dogs have adapted to life with humans and have become the gentle giants we all know and love.
Popular Large Dog Breeds List
The Bulldog: The Bulldog is a dog of the Great Dane breed, being one of the breeds that remains over 80 centimeters in height, but despite there being other giants, they fall into the category of large breeds of dogs due to their weight of over 60 kilos!
The Bulldog appears very muscular, but they are docile, friendly, and calm making them great family pets. In addition to their muscular appearance, they are also very beautiful dogs due to their large size that has been worthy of great prizes throughout history. However, one negative in regard to this breed is that they usually only live for a maximum of 8 years.
The Saint Bernard: The Saint Bernard, or San Bernardo, is a breed of a large size that you can observe taking care of people who get lost in the snow of the mountains since their smell helps to find lost people who go for a walk without realizing that if they do not follow a path they can get lost and die in the cold.
They are dogs with quite thick fur, legs, and a thick body with intelligence that keeps them among the best of the breeds of a size greater than normal since some have a size that exceeds 80 centimeters!
The Saint Bernard has eyes that appear sad, but that does not mean that the dog is sad, it is the texture of its enormous head, which makes it the favorite of the family. Movies have even been made with this breed, featuring a fairly intelligent dog full of affable feelings.
The Mastiff: The Mastiff breed is a large breed of dog, however, its weight is not quite as much as that of the Saint Bernard. It is considered one of the world’s largest breeds due to its weight of more than 65 kilos and height of more than 70-75 centimeters tall!
The Mastiff breed originates from Greece and has a large head in which its jaws protrude from its hanging lips. The requires them to be bathed much more frequently than other dogs because their folds can become dirty and cause allergies.
Leonberger: The Leonberger is a large dog with a fawn or golden coat with traces of black. Their coat is long and covers them from the cold since these dogs come from the coldest parts of Germany and the Netherlands. They have a size of more than 80 centimeters and a weight that can exceed 70 kilos. In addition, they tend to be very muscular, but their long fur covers their body.
With large legs and a fairly docile character, it has a rather formidable presence, which can be a be in its favor, so it should be trained with positive reinforcement. It also requires a large yard to run and play in because they have a significant amount of energy.
Bullmastiff: The Bullmastiff is a fairly large breed resulting from the union of two imposing breeds, the Bulldog and the Mastiff. This breed of dog measures up to 70 centimeters and weighs up to 60 kilograms!
They are faithful by nature, but quite aggressive as guard dogs so they do their job well in playing this role. It is a good dog for you to have when taking care of your home or family because they are protective of their masters. It is best to maintain them on a strict diet as they tend to gain excess weight very easily even though they are a ton of energy and are always running everywhere. Other than that, they are a very easy breed to care for.
Tosa Inu: The tosa Inu is a dog that has a golden coat in addition to a head with black eyes, a black nose, and a black muzzle. This dog needs to be socialized in order to be with other dogs as they can be defensive.
Although they are dogs that are very loyal to their owners and they love children, their weight and size are striking since it is the heaviest of all reaching almost 100 kilos in weight and 60 centimeters in height!
Newfoundland: The Newfoundland is a large dog, but with a rather sweetheart and character with a lot of love to give especially to the smallest of the house. Their long, thick black or brown coat keeps them insulated in the water as they adore swimming and splashing around.
The Newfoundland weighs between 65-70 kilos and measures a maximum of 80 centimeters in height, they are also very loyal to their family and owners, whom they tend to always take care of. They are very attentive to learning something new since they are easily trainable dogs.
Czechoslovakian Wolf: The Czechoslovakian Wolf was created through the union of two quite strong races, the German Shepherd and wild wolves that were in this same territory. This breed is usually very intelligent due to the crossing of genes.
Although its appearance is similar to that of the wolf, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog can weigh up to 25 kilos and measure almost 65 centimeters. They have a great instinct to hunt and they also need specialized training and an owner who will be their alpha.
Fila: The Fila, or Row, is a fairly powerful dog, with a good nose to sniff and find lost things. They are friendly and quiet with a low bark, possessing extraordinary strength and agility. They are hunters by nature, thanks to their good sense of smell.
The Brazilian Row can weigh more than 55 kilos, although this is usually its top weight and measure a maximum of 70 centimeters, although many larger ones have been achieved. They are the result of a mixture of the Mastiff and the Bulldog, whose strength is what stands out the most in this breed.
The Dogue de Bordeaux: The Dogue de Bordeaux is a fairly large dog; faithful and full of love to give to their owners, but with a certain reserve to those who are strangers to them, which must be prevented to avoid any type of incidents that can be quite serious, especially if you decide to go out with them for a walk.
They can weigh more than 60 kilos and measure between 65 and 70 centimeters tall. They are meek and love children, whom they will protect and care for at all times, so you can have them without problems. They have a thick golden coat with a short, wrinkled muzzle.
Tibetan Mastiff: The Tibetan Mastiff is a dog considered the most expensive in the world apart from being the largest. They are similar in appearance to a bear due to the large mane around its head that is usually of gold, black, brown, beige, or white colors.
It draws a lot of attention for its bark, which is quite peculiar, it can also reach 70 or even more centimeters high, and reach 100 kilos in weight. They are powerful and muscular dogs and have a character that should not be neglected, as they tend to lose patience at times.
Bernese Mountain Dog: The Bernese Mountain Dog stands at around 27 inches tall and can weigh up to 115 pounds. They are truly a beautiful breed with their flowing tri-colored double coat. Their fluffy coats are more than just adorable as the Bernese Mountain Dog is native to cold climates; coming from the Swiss Alps. They are considered to be a gentle giant as they make great family pets and companion dogs.
As their name suggests, the German Shepherd originated in Germany. These intelligent dogs were created in the nineteenth century by Captain Max von Stephanitz, who wanted to develop a dog that could be used for military work and police work. As a result, Captain Max von Stephanitz created a dog that is both visually appealing as well as extremely intelligent.
German Shepherds are very active dogs that require plenty of exercise to maintain optimal health and happiness due to their high energy level. The giant breed is known for its willingness to learn as well as its eagerness to please its owner. German Shepherds have been used as working dogs and police dogs as they are very curious, making them excellent guard dogs that are suitable for search missions and police training. Due to this curiosity, they can become overprotective of their family and territory if they are not provided with proper socialization starting at a young age.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent and obedient dogs. They are known for being fearless and rushing into danger to assist their owners. They are naturally protective of their homes and property and will always alert you if there is a strange person or noise. However, if you welcome a stranger into your home, your Shepherd dog will welcome them as well. This breed is able to get along with other people and pets if they are socialized, starting at a young age.
The German Shepherd is characterized by its thick double coat that is made of a thick undercoat and an outer coat that is dense and either slightly wavy or straight. The hair of the Shepherd dog is usually tan or black. However, there are variations of the coat that are red or black in color. Its coat tends to be medium in length and sheds year-round to prevent the dog from becoming cold in the winter months or overheating in the summer months. The Shepherd dog has three coat varieties; a double coat, plush coat, and longhaired coat. There are also Shepherd dogs that have white coats with medium-length hair, however, some breed associations recognize them as a separate breed known as the American White Shepherd.
The body of the German Shepherd is fairly long; averaging between 22 and 26 inches. This long build provides the dog with additional strength and agility making them excellent working dogs. They have a very sturdy and muscular build with a solid bone structure. The head of the Shepherd dog should be proportionate to its body and have a slightly rounded forehead.
The Afghan Hound is a profound and dignified breed of dog known for its regality. They are known for their extreme loyalty and sensitive nature; showing great devotion to their owners. Afghan Hounds require an immense grooming routine and a dedicated owner. Below we will discuss some of the required care routines as well as the personality and history of these noble creatures; providing you with more information before adopting this family pet.
The Afghan Hound is known for being a great family dog that gets along well with children and other animals. However, there should still be adult supervision to prevent unwanted incidence as they are not overly playful. These loving dogs would much rather watch children run around and play with other family members as opposed to joining in on the fun.
The Afghan Hound tends to be wary around strangers and usually appears standoffish. However, once they have time to get to know a person, they will be begging for consent attention. It is recommended to start socializing your Afghan Hound at a young age to ensure they get along well with other people and animals. If you are going to introduce your dog to a stranger, it is best to allow your dog to get used to their presence before trying to introduce them to each other. This will avoid aggressive behavior and negative interaction. However, these dogs have been known to chase cats due to their high prey drive.
The Afghan Hound is commonly found in black and brindle colors, however, they have also been found with reddish coats. These dogs are rather tall as they stand at 24-29 inches and weigh between 44 to 60 pounds. The breed standard allows their coat to be any color, however, white markings on the body, especially the head region, are discouraged by the standard. There occasionally are Afghan Hounds that are almost entirely white.
The Afghan Hound has long and fine-textured hair that requires an extensive grooming routine to prevent debris and dead hair from building up in the dog’s silky coat. The long topknot and short-haired saddle on the back of the dog are some of the distinctive features of this breed. This breed is also known for its high hipbones and small ring on the end of its tails.
The history of the Saint Bernard is closely related to the history of the hospice at the top of the Great Saint Bernard Pass, on the border between Italy and Switzerland. According to legend, the hospice was founded around 980 by the Augustinian monk Bernhard von Menthon.
As the Great Saint Bernard was called at that time, the Mons Joux became one of the most important trades and pilgrimage routes in the Alps. Starting in the 17th century, the monks who lived there owned and raised the large dogs as guards and rescue dogs. Saint Bernards are, above all, known as avalanche dogs that have saved the lives of many people.
The Saint Bernard has a heart as big as his imposing body. Despite his size, his kindness and love for children make him popular as a family pet, even with those with young children. It is a calm and balanced dog that does not get irritated easily. At the same time, the gentle giant is also compassionate and needs to have close contact with his humans. Life in a kennel would be torture for this affectionate dog.
With a height at the withers of 90 centimeters, males can weigh up to 80 kilos. Thus, the Saint Bernard is one of the largest and heaviest breeds in the world. The females are also impressive, with a size of up to 80 centimeters. The voluminous head, stable neck, and strong body give it an extraordinary appearance, which may seem a bit scary to some, but this is only until it has shown its kind nature.
Today, the Saint Bernard can be long-haired or short-haired (stockhaar), which is how the dog’s hair was in its beginnings. The coat of the long-haired variant is medium in size, smooth, and close to the body. It may be slightly wavy. Today, lovers of this breed prefer them with long hair.
Throughout history, the color of the English Mastiff, among other external characteristics, caused some disagreement among experts. This is likely related to the fact that the origin of the English Mastiff, even today, is not clear. However, it is said that there were already large dogs similar to the current mastiff that were used as fighting and war dogs during the Roman Empire.
It is said that the Celts and Normans eventually brought them to Great Britain, the home country of the Mastiff breed. Another theory tells that the English Mastiff is a direct descendant of the molossus that came to England from Epirus and Macedonia on merchant ships.
Without a doubt, the English Mastiff commands respect with its wide jaw and its majestic head. However, although it is not to be feared, jumping out of sheer excitement and joy can have unwanted consequences. So it is clear that he needs a consistent and loving education, as well as extensive socialization so that the giant dog learns to calculate and measure his strength.
With a height at the withers of up to 90 centimeters and a weight of up to 100 kilos, the English Mastiff is one of the world’s largest and heaviest dog breeds. In November 1989, Atacama Zorba La-Susa, a male mastiff with a shoulder height of 95 centimeters, weighed 155.58 kilos and even entered the Guinness Book of Records as the heaviest dog in the world.
It stands out for having a very high sensitivity threshold. Noise, stress, or other animals cannot disturb this calm quadruped. His enviable calm, restraint, and high sensitivity have caused him to be known as the Gentle Giant in his home country, England. Furthermore, they make him an excellent family dog, but he has also had some success as a therapy dog.
This ancient breed of dog, the Cane Corso, is what we currently know as the Italian Mastiff, also called the Italian Corso dog. It is one of the most incredible breeds of dog, and the meaning of its name derives from the Latin word “cohors,” which means “guardian,” or “bodyguard,” in addition, this word in old Italian would mean “robust.”
This dog originates from Italy and descends from the war dogs of ancient Rome. It is also from the same family as the Neapolitan Mastiff, whose job was to herd pigs and cattle to take them to market and sell them.
The Cane Corso is a dog with a strong athletic build, measuring on average between 64 and 68 cm in males and 60 and 64 cm in females. It has a broad, convex head at its back and an obvious mid-frontal groove along with a well-delineated nasofrontal depression.
Cane Corsi have black noses and muzzles that are smaller and shorter than their skulls. They tend to have dark eyes and ears in the shape of a triangle. They have long, wide chests and thick tails. It is a rather robust dog, weighing between 45 and 50 kilos in males and between 40 and 45 kilos in females.
The Cane Corso, or Italian Mastiff, has a quite energetic and agile character, always ready to face challenges and tests. However, it is necessary for them to be trained with positive reinforcement from a young age in order to achieve their healthy integration and socialization with other pets and people.
If you, as the owner, show a firm and consistent foundation from the beginning, this dog will know how to respect the authority figure, but not before testing you to see how far it can go since they tend to be very persistent.
The Great Dane, also known as the German Alano, is one of the largest breeds in the world. Despite their imposing appearance and largemouths, they are gentle and calm dogs that seek affection and pampering from people. However, in doing so, they sometimes underestimate the weight and size of their own bodies.
The breed standard defines the Great Dane as “affectionate, friendly and devoted to their master.” These meek, gentle giants do not like to be left alone. They prefer always to be close to humans. Their reserved and simple nature makes them an excellent company in any situation. They may be faithful animals but not submissive, and they surprise their owners by doing what they please.
They are not always well accepted by society because of their enormous size. “Is it a dog or a horse?” is the question frequently heard by those who walk by a Great Dane. Some small breed owners even cross the sidewalk when they see this colossus and think it can do something to their little one. If you ever find yourself in one of these situations, don’t let it get to you, the Great Dane’s size can indeed be intimidating, but once it is known, its friendly, caring, and intelligent nature quickly conquers as they truly are a “gentle giant.”
An adult Great Dane can easily weigh 90 kg or more. Their height at the withers reaches at least 80 cm in the case of males and 72 cm in females, so its weight is not surprising. However, it is not a clumsy animal. On the contrary, its proud appearance radiates great strength and elegance. In fact, due to his harmonious image, its shapely figure, and the expressiveness of its face, the International Cynological Federation standard describes them as the Apollo of dogs. Many see them as majestic statues, and perhaps for that reason, it was admired by the nobility of the 16th and 17th centuries.
This breed has an imposing stature that doesn’t match its personality. They usually won’t hurt anybody, but they may kill furry little animals if they are not trained and socialized starting at a young age.
The stout and powerful Brabant or Bullenbeißer – a term of German origin that literally means bull-biter – is considered the direct ancestor of the Boxer. During the Middle Ages, dogs similar to this spread throughout many European countries. In the beginning, they were bred to hunt wild animals such as bears or wild boars. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, in England, these muscular dogs were also trained to participate in fights in which they had to face bulls and knock them down as if they were hunting prey.
The Boxer is not only popular with its versatility but also with its unmistakable appearance. The most characteristic feature of the popular breed is the head, with a fine, angular skull and a broad and strong jaw. What also identifies it as prognathism is that the lower jaw protrudes in front of the upper one so that the thick upper lip rests on the lower teeth. The dark coloration of the muzzle clearly differs from the color of the head.
These dogs are calm, brave, and heavy. They can get up to 130 pounds. Like every one of the strongest dog breeds on this list, they need a strong, experienced trainer. With proper training, they will make an excellent guard dog.
The Rottweiler has the optimal characteristics to work as a police dog or detection dog in the police or military forces, thanks to its musculature and its wide jaw with 42 teeth that inspire respect as soon as you see it. His strong and heavy body is full of incredible strength and vitality. Despite its short build, straight and firm back, and broad, deep chest, the Rottweiler does not convey clumsiness, quite the opposite. His confident trot and energetic ankles are proof of this dog’s great agility and endurance.
The strength, agility, and vitality of Rottweilers were greatly appreciated in Roman times. Roman shepherds used the ancestors of these cattle and herding dogs. The rottweiler is, therefore, one of the oldest breeds in the world. The Roman legionaries sent the herds to the different markets of the Roman Empire with the help of these loyal and fearless dogs.
These ancestors of the Rottweiler could have worked in the imperial city of Rottweil, an important center of cattle trade of the XIX century, and that, consequently, would give its name to this breed. Rottweil cattle and sheep were moved to Breisgau, Alsace, and the Neckar area. The livestock trade relied on local butchers, who recognized the usefulness of Rottweilers early on and began to breed them as working dogs.
Over the centuries, this breed began to be bred specifically for its endurance, herding ability, and great intelligence, and they were known as “butcher dogs.” Thanks to their persistent vigilance, unconditional protection, and enormous devotion to work, these dogs became indispensable to local butchers. These served as sheepdogs and offered protection to their owners by keeping thieves and predators of their properties at bay.
The Neapolitan Mastiff plants its roots firmly in Itlay. This muscular dog descended from Roman war dogs that were crossed with the British Mastiffs after the Roman invasion of Britain; making them a fairly ancient breed of dog. Due to the muscular and powerful nature of the Neapolitan Mastiff, they were used as guard dogs to protect both their owners as well as their estates. These dogs grew in popularity across Italy and Europe due to their protective nature.
This gentle giant can weigh up to 150 pounds! No wonder they were used as guard dogs in ancient times! These dogs have a large and powerful body, with a massive head that sits on top of their wide shoulders. The Neapolitan Mastiff is typically found in the colors of blue, black, mahogany, and brown. In addition, they are also seen with a brindle pattern on their coat.
This breed is also known for the deep-set wrinkles that appear on its face. Additionally, this breed is usually born with blue eyes when they are puppies, however, this color typically fades to a more amber or brown color as they grow into adulthood.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are also characterized by their long and droopy jowls and loose skin. This powerful breed is also known to drool excessively as saliva hangs off of its powerful jaws. However, the drooling varies between dogs within the breed.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are smart dogs who love their families and give out plenty of love and affection. Much like every other breed of dog, they require socialization starting when they are young to ensure they develop positive interactions with humans and other dogs in the future. Due to their massive size, this socialization is especially important to prevent unwanted encounters in the future. The Neapolitan Mastiff needs an owner that knows how to handle large dog breeds and is able to work with the dog on consistent training and proper socialization.
These affectionate furry companions are friendly and outgoing. The Siberian Husky is of average intelligence, but they are also independent and mischievous. They are known for their strong muscles and ability to pull dog sleds at great distances!
All huskies today come from their ancestors in Siberia, where they were indispensable to nomadic peoples. They became famous in 1909, when the Siberian furrier, William Goosak, participated with his dogs in the All Alaska Sweepstakes sled race. Although his appearance with his Huskies sparked some teasing, as they are significantly smaller than classic Alaskan malamutes, it became a source of admiration during the demanding 25-mile race – as his sled came in third. Also, in the following year, these dogs of Siberian origin would achieve one of the first positions. Norwegian sled dog guide Leonhard Seppala founded the Siberian Huskie in Alaska with copies that belonged to William Goosak.
Hardly any other dog has a close bond with its function as the Siberian Husky. Not surprisingly, the Siberian Husky is a sled master. It can drag nine times its weight and has a perfect sense of direction. This is especially important in snowy environments. These qualities make the Siberian Husky, even today, of great importance to Native Alaskans. These quadrupeds are usually part of the family and are raised inside the house. So they are very comfortable and relaxed when they are in contact with their families.
Even as a sports companion, the Siberian Husky is a great leisure companion that still proves its effectiveness today in sled dog racing. In these, the person who guides the sled is the musher, who keeps the traction rope always taut to prevent the dogs from getting hurt. Its function is, above all, to guide the sled through vocal commands. The guide dog is essential, as it has a special function to implement the commands safely. Depending on the distance and the path’s difficulty, the sleds can be pulled by 4 and up to 20 dogs.
There are sled dog associations in Europe that organize championships in which the Siberian Husky also participates. In addition, extreme sled races take place in Alaska and Canada due to harsh weather conditions. These races are over 1000 kilometers long.
Characteristics Of Giant Dogs
Large dogs are of great strength, resistance, and are full of energy, although some are marked by their territoriality and attachment to their families. They will care for you and keep you safe from those they do not know. Due to this, many larger breeds require proper obedience training to prevent them from attacking strangers.
Large dogs are usually formed as a result of the union of several breeds. Each breed is different when it comes to training so it is recommended to seek the help of an expert. With the proper training, these dogs make great family pets and will be your loyal companion for life.
Proper Training And Mental Stimulation
Providing these dogs with mental stimulation games is a great way to keep them occupied and prevent them from getting bored and causing damage around your house. These games are part of a positive training environment and can teach your dog to be a proper guardian.
Many dogs of this tremendous size are hunters by nature. It is beneficial in some cases to teach them how to use their hunting instincts and reinforce their mental agility; however, do not forget that they are calm, affectionate, and sociable.
Caring For The Largest Dogs
Each of the dogs of this size should be taken special care of starting with their coat since some have a fairly dense and long type of hair that must be brushed to remove the debris that gets entangled. Likewise, the large dog has to eat a special diet that prevents it from gaining too much weight, because they are prone to excessive fat or obesity, generating many diseases that make life quite difficult, and it may cause them to have a shorter life expectancy. This is why larger dog breeds will likely need to be frequently exercised.
Likewise, it is necessary to bathe them from time to time according to their breed and the climate of the place where you live, although many of them should not be taken to hot or tropical climates because they are not used to this. Remember, they require plenty of exercise to keep them alert and healthy.
Are Giant Dog Breeds Dangerous?
Although large dog breeds are physically able to cause more harm than small ones, a dog is only dangerous without proper training, socialization, and if someone does not respect their boundaries. Most of them are protective of their owner and possessions such as their food or bed and are vocal if they are provoked. However, with proper socialization, they can learn to be friendly with strangers and children alike.
There are only two types of people; those who adore big dogs and those who’re scared of them. For the latter, large dog breeds are quite intimidating and dangerous. However, that couldn’t be far from the truth. In fact, most large breeds are known as “gentle giants” that wouldn’t harm a soul unless provoked. However, it’s up to owners to establish early on who is the boss and avoid any dominant behavior in their dogs.