While some people prefer small dogs, others feel there's nothing better than giant dogs. But there are several factors to consider before adopting a large dog breed. Food, supplies, and veterinary care often cost more as dog size increases. And a big dog needs enough living space to move comfortably. If you're ready for a massive companion, here are 10 of the best giant dog breeds.
Giant dogs typically have shorter lifespans than small dogs. Many only live around seven to 10 years, while the average dog lifespan is around 12 to 15 years.
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One might say this majestic creature more closely resembles a small horse than a dog. Either way, the Great Dane is sure to stand out in a crowd. But it is more than appearance that makes it an excellent companion. These dogs are generally gentle, playful, friendly, and incredibly loyal.
Height: 28 to 32 inches
Weight: 110 to 175 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Smooth, muscled body; colors include black, blue, brindle, fawn, harlequin, and more
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Mastiffs are all brawn on the outside, but on the inside they're softhearted, easygoing companions. Keep a rag handy to clean up slobber that comes from their massive heads. And make sure their big bodies can't knock over people and objects. Ample living space and obedience training are key for these giant dogs.
Height: 28 inches and up
Weight: 120 to 230 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Broad head; short coat; colors include apricot, brindle, and fawn with a black mask
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The Leonberger is a massive working dog that typically has a kind, gentle disposition. This breed is known to bond closely with its family, and it seems to have great intuition when it comes to human emotions. Because of this, Leonbergers can make excellent family pets and superb therapy dogs.
Height: 26 to 32 inches
Weight: 90 to 170 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Double coat with feathering; colors include red, brown, and sand with a black mask
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In the mid-19th century, breeders crossed the mastiff and bulldog to get a powerful dog that could stop poachers. Today's bullmastiff is still a capable guard dog, but the breed is most treasured as a companion. Despite its somewhat intimidating appearance, this is a gentle giant that forms a solid bond with its family.
Height: 24 to 27 inches
Weight: 100 to 130 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Short, wrinkled face; colors include fawn, red, and brindle with a black maskContinue to 5 of 10 below.
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Newfoundlands are not only loving companions, but they are also amazing workers. With their webbed feet and waterproof coats, they evolved into ideal water dogs, aiding fishermen and saving people from drowning. It's simply in their nature to assist and protect people—especially children—but always with a gentle spirit.
Height: 26 to 28 inches
Weight: 100 to 150 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Broad head and body; flat double coat; colors include black, brown, gray, and back and white
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Commonly used in search-and-rescue and as service animals, Saint Bernards are giant dogs with even bigger hearts. They tend to be gentle, loving family companions, often getting along well with children. But some Saint Bernards don't always realize how big they are, so training to keep them under control is a must.
Height: 26 to 30 inches
Weight: 120 to 180 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Muscular body; dense coat; colors include brown and white, red and white, and more
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The Dogue de Bordeaux is a lovable, slobbery hunk of a dog. This massive canine with a giant head might look fierce, but the breed is usually extremely loyal and gentle. However, it's still a capable guard dog. As the breed originated in France, it's sometimes referred to as the French mastiff.
Height: 23 to 27 inches
Weight: 100 pounds and up
Physical Characteristics: Short face; muscular body; colors include fawn, mahogany, and red with a black mask
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The Great Pyrenees is a massive dog that's both powerful and gentle. Among the oldest dog breeds, this working dog has a long history of guarding sheep and protecting homes. As it's a very active breed, it requires vigorous daily exercise, as well as obedience training to end up with a well-behaved dog.
Height: 25 to 32 inches
Weight: 85 pounds and up
Physical Characteristics: Thick double coat; colors include white with gray, red, or tan markingsContinue to 9 of 10 below.
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Historically, Irish wolfhounds were battle and hunting companions, as well as guardians of homes. In modern times, wolfhounds are primarily companion animals, though they have retained some hunting and protective instincts. They need more space and exercise than several other giant breeds and generally do not thrive in small spaces.
Height: 30 inches and up
Weight: 105 to 120 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Tall, long body; rough coat; colors include black, blue, brindle, cream, gray, and more
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The Neapolitan mastiff is an Italian breed with ancient roots that can be traced back to the Roman army's dogs of war. They were later kept as guard dogs. This breed is known for its distinct wrinkles and loose skin, massive bones, and lumbering gait. It tends to be loyal and protective, though generally mellow and gentle.
Height: 24 to 31 inches
Weight: 110 to 150 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Heavy-boned; loose skin; colors include black, blue, mahogany, and tawny