Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
This is an uncomfortable subject for large dog owners and one that is often ignored by people when they are selecting their new dog. When they get the dog home, however, they might find that the slobbering is a big issue. They may end up sending their dog to a shelter or locking the dog outside most of the time and ignoring his social needs.
Is it that big a deal? I guess it can be, since not everyone wants, or can even stand, a Dogue de Bordeaux messing up their house. Some people are more concerned about dogs who shed too much, some about barking, and some about behavioral problems like digging and jumping up.
Everything needs to be considered.
I would like to see everyone choose the right dog. If excessive drooling matters to you, make your choice from among these breeds.
5 Big Dogs That Don't Drool (Much)
- Old English Sheepdog
- Standard Poodle
This great-looking dog from Germany sheds quite a bit but doesn’t drool a lot.
Actually, this is one of the few giant breeds of dog that does not drool much. They were developed using breeds that drool, but these dogs have been selected so that their lips are close together. Most giant breeds do not have lips similar to this dog and tend to dribble everywhere.
Leonbergers are much more likely to make a mess when drinking and may need their faces wiped clean a few times during the day.
There were only about eight Leonbergers left at the end of World War II, and all the dogs we have today are descended from them. Many of the dog breeds that have only a few ancestors suffer from genetic diseases like hip dysplasia. This disease is not a great problem in Leonbergers, however, since dogs are screened, and only certified Leonbergers are allowed to breed.
These dogs can develop bloat and have heart problems, though, like a lot of big breeds. They are also prone to several types of cancer, which may have a genetic origin, retinal atrophy (PRA), and diseases of the eyelids. Leonbergers usually only live about 7 years. Like all dogs, they need to be socialized and exercised, but this giant is friendly, good with kids, playful, and a great companion.
And they usually do not drool much!
This sighthound may not look it, but he is actually quite large. Many weigh over 45 kilos (about 100 pounds) and are great because they do not bark much and are not likely to drool.
Unlike some large breeds, they also do not make much of a mess when drinking.
Borzoi are usually healthy but are at risk from bloat because of their deep chests. Hip dysplasia is very rare, and dogs usually live to about 11 years.
These dogs aren’t very good guards, but they are large enough to look intimidating. They would rather be off running instead of guarding, of course, and if you get one of these dogs, make sure you have an enclosed place to let him run free.
3. Old English Sheepdog
Most of these dogs do not drool much; most people cannot tell this because their faces are covered in hair! They do tend to make a mess when they drink, of course, but any dog with a beard would have trouble staying dry.
This dog is actually a shepherd, large (around 45 kilos, or 100 pounds) and intelligent enough to compete in all sorts of activities. They are good in obedience, agility, tracking, and even personal protection events (Schutzhund)!
Old English Sheepdogs have big dog problems like hip dysplasia and bloat, and dogs are also prone to heatstroke because of their heavy fur coats. They usually live about 11 years.
Most of them are calm dogs, quiet and happy to sit around with their human family.
This breed was also developed using a lot of breeds that drool, but they were selected with tight lips, and Dobermans do not drool much.
They were originally meant to be personal protection dogs, and of course, they are still ideal for this job. Doberman Pinschers (Dobies) are large but not giant, weighing only about 45 kilos (100 pounds).
Some dogs are prone to heart disease (dilated cardiomyopathy), hemophilia (von Willebrand´s disease), and several other inherited diseases. A Dobie that is free of these problems has a life expectancy of about 11 years.
Since they have a short coat and do not drool, Dobies are good dogs for a small house. They are not considered an aggressive dog with their family but may be with strangers.
5. Standard Poodle
This is the large dog breed least likely to drool and, since their faces are often clipped clean, they are also unlikely to make a mess drinking water.
Poodles are often companions and house dogs today, but they were originally gun dogs. They are active and intelligent, do not shed much,
Some of their health problems can be pretty serious. Besides being prone to bloat and hip dysplasia, like a lot of large dogs, many develop a serious disease of the adrenal glands (Addison's disease). They also may develop epilepsy, skin diseases, and kidney disease.
Standard Poodles usually live about 12 years. If you are worried about excessive drooling because of allergies to dog saliva, this really is a great breed. Besides the clean face and lips that discourage drooling, Poodles are usually bathed and brushed often to keep the coat in shape. That will reduce the dried saliva and dander on the dog, making the Standard Poodle one of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds.
If the great qualities of a Standard Poodle are what you want, but you do not like the looks of the breed, you might be interested in some of the designer dogs being developed using Poodles. Almost any cross is available, but Labradoodles (Labrador Retriever cross) and Goldendoodles (Golden Retriever cross) are both popular.
If you are worried about drooling, check out the puppies carefully. Things change as they grow, however, and no one can tell you that a crossbred puppy will not drool as an adult. Breeders also cannot tell if the puppy will have a low-shedding coat like a Poodle, nor what health issues the adult designer dog might have.
Finding That Dog That Does Not Drool Much
Many great dogs are dumped at animal shelters every year. Sometimes people have to move and don’t want the dog anymore, and sometimes it is because a dog was chosen just because of how she looked.
So if you are looking for a dog that does not drool much, be sure to check out your local animal shelter first. The shelter volunteers will be able to help you look at the dog's face and determine if she is the type that will drool.
Specific breeds, like those mentioned here, can also be searched for using Petfinder.com. You can also visit dog shows and talk to breeders about the type of dog you are interested in. (Some breeders also have web sites to advertise their puppies but be sure to investigate carefully and only buy one of these puppies if you can visit the kennel and look at the parents and the other puppies in the litter.)
DO NOT buy from a pet shop or internet puppy wholesaler. You will be buying from a puppy mill and will probably end up with a dog with behavioral and housetraining problems. Excessive drooling will be the least of your problems.
More About the Best Dogs
- 4 Great, Large Dog Breeds With a Long Life Expectancy
Here's a list of large dogs with longer average lifespans, and some tips to help you extend your dog's life expectancy. This article will help you if you're looking for a big dog to enjoy a long life with.
- Five Large Dog Breeds That Look and Sound Like Guards
All of these dogs look like guards. Pictures, videos, and details will give you the advice you need to choose one of the best dogs with a fierce gaze and a deep bark.
Michelle on June 23, 2020:
Hello i have a 1.5 year old husky and she has dry mouth in the morning..i drives me nuts her teeth are not pearly white anymore .we have changed her food to all red meat orijan and mixed with dr.marty right now . She is an active dog runs plays swims .and her vet says to give her heartburn meds?? What do you think ? Thanks
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 19, 2019:
Rajes, Consider a standard Poodle or one of the poodle crossbreeds (Goldendoole, etc.)
Rajes on April 18, 2019:
Which dog dont drool, dont shed much and not energetic
wetnosedogs from Alabama on May 27, 2013:
That would be an awesome hub. You know I love those mastiffs. They are either rare here (in the south) or very good dogs. I never saw one at the humane shelter - or I'd have taken the great mastiff home with me.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 27, 2013:
Act3, thanks for stopping by. I have a Pit Bull cross like your GSP--she neither drools nor licks my face,even when I want! I´ve even told her I can live with it, but...oh well.
wetnosedogs, I think my next hub will have to be "Furry Mastiffs I Have Known and Hugged". What do you think?
Mary, I think the bloat will always be with us because of the way we design our dogs,but the breeders in Germany have proven that hip dysplasi can be eliminatd.
Sevelyeragos the wa aDbie wih poor proality u vty gcoforains.He is inmstdogspedigree. Nowmo dogsaselectdy hir sonitynothicdfaio,hih a. HOefull thinglitatwot ppen anymr
Mary Craig from New York on May 27, 2013:
Another outstanding hub on a particular dog subject. Isn't it a shame that almost every big dogs is in danger of suffering from bloat and hip dysplasia? You would think science would come up with some kind of cure.
You didn't mention the average weight of the Leonberger...what a beautiful dog! I have know several Dobies that turned on their family. Do you think it was due to poor training?
As always you picked great videos for this hub too.
Voted up, useful, and interesting.
wetnosedogs from Alabama on May 27, 2013:
Aw, who could resist the face of the Leonberger?
chet thomas from Athens, GA on May 27, 2013:
We have a German Shorthaired Pointer that does not drool or lick our faces. She does bark, though!