Source: Pure Wow (Extract)
Posted: July 6, 2021

Big dog breeds offer owners a lot of animal—and a lot of love. Many of the largest breeds out there are affectionate canines who live to serve their family members. In fact, several are known for being calm dog breeds suitable as therapy dogs or childhood companions. Others, who were bred to be tireless guard dogs or hunters, are more reserved. Since large dogs can be intimidating, it’s important to train and socialize them when they’re very young. Even if your dog wouldn’t hurt a fly, they need to respond to commands like “down” and “drop it,” as many don’t know their own strength.

Big dogs are also, unfortunately, predisposed to certain health issues. For instance, arthritis and hip dysplasia are common joint issues that can develop in canines with gigantic frames. Since big dog breeds also have larger chest cavities, they’re more likely than smaller breeds to suffer from bloat. Bloat is a condition that can cause your dog’s stomach to twist around itself. It’s bad news and requires immediate medical attention. One way to prevent this from happening is to slow down how quickly your dog consumes food and to avoid elevated bowls.

Finally, be honest with yourself about how much space you can provide a big dog. Though they may not need a giant field right out back, many will be unhappy in cramped quarters.


Height: 24-28 inches

Weight: 70-130 pounds

Temperament: Loyal, Protective

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 10-13 years

These fluffy dogs are considered “National Monuments” in Japan, where they were bred to hunt. The Akita Club of America also notes these dignified dogs are symbols of good health. If you’re in the market for a loyal watchdog, go with an Akita. They’re obsessed with their family members and incredibly affectionate at home. Just be sure to socialize early and train firmly. Akitas have independent and protective tendencies that make them wary of new people and unfamiliar dogs.


Height: 23-25 inches

Weight: 75-85 pounds

Temperament: Playful, Obedient

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 10-14 years

Another giant ball of fluff bred to protect its pack. Alaskan Malamutes are energetic sled dogs who thrive living and working alongside family members. The American Kennel Club recommends establishing pack hierarchy early—aka, you’re the boss. Instill commands and reinforce them regularly. A Malamute’s waterproof double coat is thick, comes in shades of grey, black and red, and ideally gets a daily brushing.


Height: 27-29 inches

Weight: 80-150 pounds

Temperament: Independent, Patient

Shedding Factor: Seasonal

Life Expectancy: 11-13 years

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog has been guarding flocks and corralling livestock for thousands of years. Their long, thick double coats shield them from intense heat and bitter cold, so get ready for lots of shedding as the seasons change. Overall, these dogs are driven to protect. This makes Anatolian Shepherds fairly serious canines who aren’t friendly to strangers. Unlike other loyal watch dogs, they aren’t big on affection. They love kids and other animals, but they show it by vigilantly protecting them from anything unfamiliar.


Height: 22-26 inches

Weight: 45-75 pounds

Temperament: Sensitive, Intelligent

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Funnily enough, these are the smallest breed on our list, and they can still weigh upwards of 75 pounds. This isn’t your average shaggy sheepdog—though they do give off a distinctly happy-go-lucky vibe. Belgian Sheepdogs are intelligent canines who enjoy learning and performing tasks. In fact, the Belgian Sheepdog Club of America says their diligence has gotten them work with European police forces, border patrol and even the Red Cross over the years. They’re sweet animals whose feelings will be hurt if left alone too long.


Height: 23-28 inches

Weight: 70-115 pounds

Temperament: Calm, Friendly

Shedding Factor: High

Life Expectancy: 7-10 years

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. Incredibly responsive to commands, these dogs have stunning coats of black, white and tan. Sure, they shed like maniacs, but it’s worth it for a dignified BFF.


Height: 22-27 inches

Weight: 150-200 pounds

Temperament: Affectionate, Confident

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 9-11 years

Boerboels will protect you like there’s no tomorrow. Which makes sense since they were bred to guard homes and families in South Africa from wild predators (hello, lions). Warm and intelligent, they love nothing more than being with their people and having a job to do. The American Boerboel Club says this dedication can lead to destruction if left alone too long. Boerboel coats are short and soft and can be brown, tan, cream, red or brindle.


Height: 27-30 inches

Weight: 90-150 pounds

Temperament: Loving, Dedicated

Shedding Factor: Low to Moderate

Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

Talk about an enormous canine who genuinely sees itself as a lap dog. Broholmers are lovey-dovey, can’t get enough of you and devoted beyond belief. So much so that they’ll try to sit on your lap, forgetting they can weigh up to 150 pounds. Overall, this is a low-maintenance breed who sheds minimally, is easy-going and gets along with just about any type of human. They hail from Denmark, where they earned a stellar reputation as guard dogs.


Height: 24-27 inches

Weight: 100-130 pounds

Temperament: Affectionate, Obedient

Shedding Factor: Low to Moderate

Life Expectancy: 7-9 years

We chose the Bull Mastiff for our list, but Mastiffs of all types are generally considered some of the biggest canines around. Not only are Bull Mastiffs obedient and ready to make their owners as happy as possible, they don’t need much living space. This makes them great for first-time dog owners and anyone living in an apartment who wants a big dog. If you’re in the market for a humongous dog, check out Mastiffs, Tibetan Mastiffs, Spanish Mastiffs, Neapolitan Mastiffs and Pyrenean Mastiffs.


Height: 24-28 inches

Weight: 60-100 pounds

Temperament: Brave, Alert

Shedding Factor: Moderate to High

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Dobermans could brag about their intelligence, bravery, obedience and athleticism if they wanted, but they much prefer loving and protecting their family members drama-free. Easy to train and willing to go the extra mile, Dobermans are loyal yet playful dogs. Though they shed, their sleek black coats require very little grooming. Get ready for an energetic, devoted family member if you adopt a Doberman.


Average Height: 22-26 inches

Average Weight: 50-90 pounds

Temperament: Loyal, Confident

Shedding Factor: Moderate to High

Life Expectancy: 7-10 years

Known for their hard work on police forces, German Shepherds are diligent workers. They learn quickly and are extremely obedient—as long as they’re trained and socialized early. While they can be aggressive, German Shepherds also love to play and can adapt to more relaxing lifestyles if exposed as puppies. It’s also hard to ignore their striking black and tan coats, tall ears and severe expressions.