33 Most Popular Large Dog Breeds and How to Care for Them
Large dogs can be wonderful friends and companions.
Some people prefer larger dogs because they can be calmer than small dogs. But each breed has its own personality. You just have to get to know them. Dogs are intelligent and understand every word you say and every body expression you release.
They are strong, smart, and have much love to give. Treat them right, and they will be your friend for life!
The variety of beautiful big breeds is endless. There are many shapes, colors, and types. Do your research before choosing a puppy to bring home!
33 Large Dog Breeds
- Alaskan Malamute
- Afghan Hound
- Cirnecto dell'Etna
- Dobermann Pinscher
- Dogo Argentino
- Dogue de Bordeaux or French Mastiff
- English Bulldog
- German Shepherd
- Great Dane
- Golden Retriever
- Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
- Irish Setter
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Irish Wolfhound
- English Mastiff
- Portuguese Water Dog
- St. Bernard
- Siberian Husky
- Tibetan Mastiff
- Wolf Dog
1. Alaskan Malamute
My Malamute, Trey, actually said, "I Love you, Mama." Alaskan Malamutes are quite fond of people, a trait that makes them particularly sought-after family dogs. They are extremely loyal to their master.
Malamutes are nimble around furniture and smaller items, making them ideal house dogs. The majority of Malamutes are fairly quiet dogs, seldom barking like most other dog breeds. When they do vocalize, more often than not they tend to "talk" by vocalizing a "woo woo" sound.
Their dense coats generally make them unsuitable for hot climates. When the weather gets hot, like any other breed of dog, the Malamute needs plenty of water and shade. They will grow a winter coat and subsequently shed it in spring. Letting them play in a baby pool filled with cold water in summer keeps them cool. They do shed a lot. Their coats seem to repel water. I used to have a hard time giving Trey a bath because the shampoo would not lather up easily. I had to really saturate him with lots of water.
2. Afghan Hound
Afghan Hounds are naturally eye-catching, with their exotic looks and luxurious coats. They are not known for their intelligence, however. The breed has a reputation among dog trainers of having a relatively slow "obedience intelligence." Owners should not be surprised if their Afghan Hound sometimes chooses to ignore commands.
The temperament of the typical Afghan Hound can be aloof and dignified, but happy and clownish when playing. In the UK, this breed has a median lifespan of about 12 years, 18 if the dog is well-cared-for. They are tall dogs, standing 24 to 29 inches (61 to 74 cm) in height and weighing 45 to 60 pounds (20 to 27 kg). The long, fine-textured coats require considerable care and grooming.
The Akbash breed originates from the great plains of Turkey. This breed is known for its guarding skills. It is a confident worker and is suspicious of strangers. These dogs weight from 90 to 130 pounds (40 to 60 kg), averaging 90 pounds for the female and 120 lb (55 kg) for the male. They have a distinct white coat, long legs, a feathered curved tail, and pink skin blotched with black. They possess characteristics of both mastiffs and sight hounds.
The Akbash has been bred to be independent. Dogs of this breed might think that they know better than their owners during training. The Akbash is a relatively low-energy breed. Because it is in their nature to lie with the flocks they guard most of the day, they do not possess tremendous endurance or energy. That does not mean that they can be confined to small spaces. It is still very much a working breed and is happiest when given a task to complete. These dogs are known for their intelligence, bravery, independence, and loyalty.
Akitas that are going to be in the household with children should be brought up with them from puppyhood. The Akita is primarily a guard dog, and because of its strength and great size, it must be taught to obey implicitly if it is to be an integral part of the home. They are apt to be very aggressive toward other dogs.
The Akita is prone to hip dysplasia and should be X-rayed by the time it turns two years old.
Boxers are people-dogs and enjoy pleasing their human owners. They will adapt to any home environment as long as they have company. They are child-friendly and adapt well to life with other dogs.
These dogs are stocky, large-sized, short-haired dogs. There are three types of Boxers: English, American, and German.
6. Cirnecto dell'Etna
This ancient Italian Breed looks like a small, delicate sight hound. They are reminiscent of Pharoah Hounds. The breed is about 16-19 inches (41-48 cm) at its withers.
A Cerneco can work for hours without food or water and can tolerate hot temperatures. These dogs are very gentle and loving. They get along with children wonderfully. I know this is not a large dog but I couldn't resist showing you how great this little dog is. It would be perfect to own if you live in an apartment.
Most of us remember Lassie! Collies should be taught basic obedience from an early age. They are ideal family dogs that enjoy the company of humans. Collies enjoy both mental and physical challenges. They are always alert, active, and agile. You must keep them well-groomed.
Dalmatians are energetic and athletic. They adapt well to family life but should be exposed to children when still very young. The Dalmatian is short-coated and easy to keep clean, but it does shed. It is necessary to brush and rub down with a rough, damp towel several times a week.
Dalmatians shed considerably more than most year-round shedders. The hairs are barbed at the ends, causing them to stick to clothing, upholstery, and nearly any other kind of fabric. Nothing can be done to prevent their excessive shedding. New owners must be prepared to deal with an extraordinary amount of dog hair constantly littering their households.
It must have access to large, open spaces for regular exercise. Dalmatian puppies (averaging eight per litter) are born white. The spots gradually appear over the first few weeks of the puppies' lives.
9. Dobermann Pinscher
Dobermann Pinschers are among the most common of pet breeds. They are well-known as intelligent, alert, and loyal companions. Although once commonly used for guarding, watching, and police work, this is less common today. Dobermann Pinschers are the target of a mistaken stereotype of ferocity and aggression. They are extremely loyal.
Their size, short coat, and intelligence make them desirable house dogs. They have short, smooth coats in black, blue, fawn, or red with rust markings on the head, throat, chest, base of the tail, and feet.
10. Dogo Argentino
Dogo Argentino is one of four breeds listed under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act. They are not common family pets; however, they are excellent guard dogs. Some Governments have forbidden importing this breed and require that all existing Dogo Argentinos be spayed or neutered, in an attempt to slowly eliminate the population through natural attrition.
11. Dogue de Bordeaux or French Mastiff
Remember the movie Turner and Hooch? The Bordeaux is kept as a companion dog and is known to be very faithful. They have calm temperaments and are gentle with children. When it sleeps, it snores and drools. This breed requires a firm owner. Its coat is smooth and short.
12. English Bulldog
English bulldogs are stocky breeds with characteristically broad shoulders and a matching wide head. There are generally thick folds of skin on a bulldog's brow, followed by round, dark, widely spaced eyes, a short muzzle, drooping lips, and the famous underbite. They are friendly and gregarious but occasionally willful.
The phrase "stubborn as a bulldog" is loosely rooted in fact. A bulldog is suitable for houses as well as apartments due to their size. Most bulldogs are content to walk half a mile at the most, and thus may suit a less-active person. They are not excitable, seldom bark, and are easily trainable, compared to many other breeds.
13. German Shepherd
German Shepherds are working dogs, developed originally for herding sheep. Because of their strength, intelligence and abilities in obedience training they are often employed in police and military roles around the world. Due to their loyal and protective nature, the German Shepherd is one of the most widely registered pet breeds. German Shepherds can be a variety of colors, the most common of which are the tan/black and red/black varieties.
German Shepherds are highly active and described in breed standards as self-assured. The breed is marked by a willingness to learn and an eagerness to have a purpose. Shepherds have a loyal nature and bond well with people they know. However, they can become over-protective of their family and territory, especially if not socialized correctly.
German Shepherds are highly obedient and not easily distracted, but due to their strong self-will must be trained by "a firm hand."
14. Great Dane
Great Danes are considered one of the tallest dog breeds, along with the Irish Wolfhound. The Great Dane combines a regal appearance, dignity, strength, and elegance with a grand size and a well-formed body. One of the largest working breeds, it never appears clumsy.
Great Danes are generally well-disposed toward other dogs, other pets, and humans. Great Danes can be protective and make good guard dogs.
15. Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are exceptionally trainable, due to their intelligence, athleticism, and desire to please their handlers. These dogs generally excel in obedience trials. Harsh training methods are unnecessary as Golden Retrievers often respond very well to positive and upbeat training styles.
Golden Retrievers are compatible with children and adults as well as with other dogs, cats, and most livestock. Golden Retrievers are particularly valued for their high level of sociability towards people, calmness, and willingness to learn. They are friendly and tend to learn tricks easily.
16. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs were developed in the Swiss Alps. These heavy boned, well-muscled dogs are considered working dogs. They are is gentle with children and crave attention and physical contact. They shed once to twice a year.
17. Irish Setter
Irish Setters like to please their human family members. They are affectionate, joyful companions, are good with children, and make excellent watchdogs. They are not the easiest dogs to train, but they are responsive and loyal. The Irish Setter likes to be the center of attention and needs exercise. If it does not get sufficient exercise, it may become hyperactive or lazy.
In my opinion, these dogs are so friendly they even have happy, friendly faces.
18. Irish Water Spaniel
Irish Water Spaniels are ideal all-purpose sporting and companion dogs. They are never boring and are a lot of fun. They are excellent with people but do need firm handling from an early age. Males, in particular, can become headstrong. They are smart, understanding, and strong dogs.
It has been suggested that the Irish Water Spaniel is more of a hunting, pointing, and retrieving breed than a spaniel as such. This dog loves water and will take a flying leap into any pond it encounters. Its coat, a special feature, needs care (as you can see). It sheds with seasonal changes and will form mats and cords if not regularly groomed.
19. Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhounds are the tallest dog breed on average, though Great Danes can exceed their height. Irish Wolfhounds are sweet-tempered, patient, generous, thoughtful, and can be trusted with children. Dignified and willing, they are unconditionally loyal to their owner and family. They tend to greet everyone as a friend, so using them as watch dogs is not recommended. When they or their owners are put in real danger, they will display a fearless nature. Irish Wolfhounds are highly sensitive and require a positive environment, an encouraging attitude, and non-overbearing training methods.
Komondor breeds have been declared one of Hungary's national treasures, to be preserved and protected from modification. The dread lock coat must have developed under a dry and extreme temperature climate, as it provides superb protection against cold and hot weather. It is not a comfortable coat in wet weather. The puppy coat is soft and fluffy; however, the coat tends to curl as the puppy matures. A
fully mature coat is formed naturally as the soft undercoat and the coarser outer coat combine to form tassels. Some help is needed in separating the cords so the dog does not turn into one, large, matted mess. The length of the cords increases with time as the coat grows.
These dogs are affectionate with family and gentle with the children and friends. A Komondor can become obstinate when bored, so it is imperative that training sessions be upbeat and happy. Praise is a must, as are consistent and humane corrections.
Better known as a protector dog, Kuvasz is a robust and protective breed. It is considered to be a guard dog and must be occupied or will easily get bored. This breed should not be exposed to small children unless it has been brought up with them.
22. English Mastiff
English Mastiffs are very large and give an impression of power and strength when viewed from any angle. Their bodies are massive, with great depth and breadth, especially between the forelegs, causing these legs to be set wide apart. The breed is innately good-natured, calm, easygoing, and surprisingly gentle. It is a well-mannered house pet and it does not need a lot of room. English Mastiffs just need exercise and activity daily to keep them healthy. The Mastiff is an extremely loyal breed, exceptionally devoted to its family, and good with children and small dogs.
Newfoundland is an exceptionally patient dog with children. If you have small children, this is the big dog for you. It will provide wonderful companionship for active, growing children and fits into a household of adults. Although a quiet dog by nature, its size is intimidating enough to rout any burglar.
The basic color patterns are brown, black, gray, blue, bronze, and lemon, which must be solid. The Newfoundland loves water, so a swim in the lake would be a treat.
The poodle's traditional hair cut originally came about because the breed started life as a water dog. The front part of the dog is left with long hair to protect the heart and chest. The legs are clipped to free them for swimming.
The poodle is one of the most intelligent canines. They are one of the easiest to potty train. Whether going outside or being trained on a pad, they learn quickly where to relieve themselves. They will play ball and love to fetch.
25. Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water dogs can have guard-dog tendencies. If this is not what you want, then they must be trained from an early age to accept all comers in a friendly fashion. They take well to children if brought up with them. They are active dogs and love to swim. Their coats must be brushed frequently to keep them free of tangles. By the way . . . they do not shed! This dog would make a good house pet, with no worries about dog hairs flying around the house.
Rottweilers are good-natured, placid in basic disposition, and fond of children. They are very devoted, obedient, and eager to work. A Rottweiler's appearance is natural and rustic, his behavior self-assured, steady, and fearless. He reacts to his surroundings with great alertness. It is usual for the Rottweiler to be protective of the female of the house and be somewhat less so of the man.
27. St. Bernard
A St. Bernard is a very large dog with a large head. The coat is typically red with white or sometimes mahogany brindle with white. Black shading is usually found on the face and ears. Their tails are long and heavy, hanging low with the end turned up slightly. Their dark eyes should have naturally tight lids, with haws only slightly visible. St. Bernards are susceptible to eye disorders called entropion and ectropion, in which the eyelid turns in or out.
A Shar-Pei has a slightly "hippo-like" head shape, small ears, and deep-set eyes. The Shar-Pei is often suspicious of strangers, which pertains to their origin as a guard dog. In general, the breed has proved itself to be a loving and they can be devoted family dogs. They are also a very independent and reserved breed. Nevertheless, the Shar-Pei is extremely devoted, loyal, and affectionate with its family. They are amenable to accepting strangers given time and proper introduction at a young age. If poorly socialized or trained, they can become especially territorial and aggressive. They are better in one-dog families.
A great deal of attention must be paid to the skin to ensure that infections don't develop within the folds.
29. Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskys are friendly, eager, and mischievous. They are ideal house dogs and are well-known for their sweet temperaments. They are well-suited for family life. Exercise is a must, for if it has nothing to do it will become bored and destructive. The Husky's coat is double, soft, and plush. It will shed in warm weather. Brushing weekly is a must. Its coat and skin are virtually free of odor.
30. Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan Mastiff breeds will protect its family and is wary of strangers. It is well muscled and has strong bones, although not as big as other traditional mastiffs.
31. Tosa Inu
In Japan, the Tosa Inu is a fighting Dog. Tosa fighting is like Sumo wrestling and follows similar rules. This breed is rare. It was re-established with help of mastiffs, bulldogs, and several other breeds. The Tosa is listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 in Great Britain and is rarely seen outside Japan.
Weimaraners are demanding. They need obedience training, good exercise, and human companionship. They insist on being members of the family. Their sleek coats are easy to care for. However, nutrition must be of good quality because these dogs have a high energy level and need to maintain their sleek coats.
33. Wolf Dog
It is not a good idea to get a wolf dog as a pet unless you devote your time fully to its care. The wolf dog has its own mind. They are extremely intelligent but do not like to follow rules. They like to live freely and do their own thing. They make great companions, but not good pets. Think twice before getting one.
Tips for Bathing Large Dogs
- Brush your dog before giving him a bath. This will remove dead, loose fur.
- Don't use dishwashing liquid or human shampoo. These will irritate the dog's skin.
- Don't put cotton in his ears. This will only draw water further into the ear.
- Most dogs don't need a bath more than once a month.
Types of Worms to Look out for
If a mother dog has worms, chances are her puppies will be born with them too. Have puppies vaccinated as soon as possible. Worms can kill a dog. There are many different types of worms you should look out for. Here are a few:
- Hook Worms: They enter through the dog's skin and live in the small intestines. They do not pass out through the dog's stool. These worms feed on the dog's blood. The only way they can be diagnosed is with a fecal test from the veterinarian. Symptoms include itchy feet, rash on feet, blood in stool, coughing, wheezing, and diarrhea.
- Heart Worms: These are very dangerous and can kill your dog. Most of the time you will not know your dog is infected because it takes the worms around nine months to fully mature. Heart worms evolve through mosquito bites. Symptoms include weight loss and dull coat.
- Tape Worms: These enter the dog through infected fleas and live in the small intestines. They look like small grains of rice. Symptoms include itching around the anus, vomiting, and weight loss.
- Whip Worms: These worms live in the first section of the large intestines. They are not life-threatening. Symptoms: weight loss and stool covered with a mucous-like substance.
Feeding Dog Table Scraps Is a No-No
Mixing table scraps with dog food may upset the nutritional balance of your dog's diet and can create behavioral problems. Your dog may also begin to steal food from the table or food preparation area. Uncontrollable begging can occur.
Some things to avoid:
- Milk is a food and not a substitute for water.
- Repeatedly adding raw eggs to a dog's diet can cause a deficiency of the vitamin biotin, which can lead to dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), loss of hair, and poor growth.
- Some raw fish can cause a deficiency of the vitamin thiamine. Signs of a thiamine deficiency include anorexia (complete loss of appetite), abnormal posture, weakness, seizures, and even death.
- Raw meats may contain parasites and bacteria and do not contain a proper balance of nutrients if fed alone. Although meat is a source of protein, it has very low levels of calcium, a mineral dogs require for proper bone and tooth development. If large quantities of raw meat are fed over time, skeletal problems may develop.
- Raw liver, fed daily in large quantities, can cause vitamin A toxicity in dogs.
Are Bones Good for Dogs?
Dogs love bones; no one can argue with that. They especially love to bury them to come back at a later date to retreat them. But are they good for the dog? The answer is no. Large bones, such as hocks or leg bones, can fracture a dog's teeth. Small bones from chicken or pork chops can get stuck in a dog's throat. Bones are also not good for their stomachs as small splinters can puncture their intestines.
Dog Dish Stands
It is healthier for your dog to eat its food from a dish stand than from a dish on the floor. The stand brings the dish up to the dog's neck level so that it does not have to bend its front legs. This is especially true for large dogs. It helps them to avoid arthritis and other joint and bone conditions.
When to Bring Your New Puppy Home?
A new puppy should be brought to its new home no later than 10 weeks old. By this time it will have had at least its first Immunization shots and will have some idea about house training. New puppies should be introduced to a soft collar and leash as soon as possible. Be sure to change the collar as it grows. Good commercial puppy diets offer easily digested protein that includes the ten essential amino acids. The food should contain about 26% crude protein. They should have plenty of fresh water at all times.
Never give your puppy milk!
House Training Your Dog
This takes a lot of patience. Consistency is the key to house training a dog. When taking it outside to pee or poo, don't play with your dog. Let it do it's business and then take it right back into the house. You want the dog to know that going outside is only for using the bathroom. Later, once you've gotten your dog house-broken, you can start playing outside again. By then it will be able to distinguish the difference.
- Start by taking your pup outside first thing in the morning when it wakes up. Notice I said "when it wakes up," not when you wake up.
- Take your pup out after eating, drinking, playing, hen it wakes up from a nap, and anytime in between.
Yes, this will be strenuous on you for a few days, or as long it takes. Remember to always praise your dog after doing it doe its business. In the long run, your dedication will pay off.
Getting Rid of Fleas
It's hard to decide which product is best to get rid of fleas on your dog. There are powders, sprays, squeeze-in tubes, and collars. Never mix them together. Don't put a flea collar on and then turn around and spray your dog with flea spray too. That is way too much.
After you bathe your dog and if you use a flea shampoo, wait at least two hours before you put anything else on. Just because your dog has a flea or two doesn't automatically mean you have a house full of fleas. But to be on the safe side, take precautions. Sentry Pro Squeeze-On Flea & Tick Control for Dogs kills flea eggs and larvae for up to four months. Kills and repels fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes for up to one month. Use only on dogs three months and older.
Big Dogs Are Susceptible to Joint Pain and Arthritis
Most big dogs are prone to joint and hip pain, arthritis, and hip dysplasia. At the first sign of limping or if your dog can't get up from laying down, take them to the vet. I also find that Cosequin Tabs for hips and joints helps.
Do You Have Insurance for Your Pet?
Most people don't have insurance for their pets. Why not? If the pet is part of your family it would make sense for it to be covered. Once you start looking into pet care insurance you might be shocked by the cost of some of the treatment, medications, and other services. The cost of a routine checkup and necessary shots may make the average family cringe and consider adopting a pet rock instead.
Pet care insurance might lessen some of the cost of this care, as well as give discounts on any service that could be considered safety or preventive in nature.
- Spaying and neutering
- Obedience training
Some other benefits of pet care can include reduced kennel care fees, additional recovery, and accidental death.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.