Giant dog breeds have been around since antiquity helping people in a variety of different ways.
Each had a job to do such as guarding or herding, pulling a cart or hunting large prey. Their massive size and thick muscular builds proved invaluable even to Stone Age people.
Their confidence and independent natures allowed them to work independently of people making them especially good at guarding.
Many could be docile and loving, keeping people warm at night, but then react instantaneously if the need arose.
Today, Giant Dog Breeds are still be used in many of the same ways as they have done for millennia, but most are also beloved members of a family.
Breeders have tried to breed out some of those less desirable traits that made them fierce but effective guardians. This makes them better household pets, but they do retain some of those old traits.
As a general rule, large breed dogs such as those on these pages require an experienced confident owner.
They need early and continual socialization and extensive training. Owners who are willing and able to take the time needed for these tasks are rewarded with a well behaved family dog.
Without training and socialization, these giant dog breeds can easily become uncontrollable and some end up in shelters. No first time dog owner should attempt a large breed without assistance.
Giant dog breeds do not have an official height or weight that makes them massive, but those found on these pages are all at least 80 pounds and most are much heavier than that.
Sometimes it is the height of the breed that makes them huge. We determine the height of the dog by measuring from the ground up to the withers (the highest point on the dog's back, just behind the neck).
This method of measure does not account for the size of the head, so keep that in mind when envisioning the size of these giant dog breeds. All of these breeds have a height of at least 30 inches.
When I helped out at the local boarding kennels I remember a Great Dane came in along with his friend who was a little Yorkshire Terrier. That's a 34 inch dog who was friends with a 6 inch dog!
It was so funny to see them together and they were so different in temperament. The Great Dane was an absolute gentle giant - very calm, friendly and laid back. While the Yorkshire Terrier was very active and ran around the place, barking his little head off!
The Great Dane was so laid back that when I walked past later on, he had the little Yorkshire Terrier asleep on his head - very cute! Ever since then I've had a soft spot for Great Danes. Plus they look like Scooby Do!
If you decide that a giant dog breed is for you then there's a few things you have to consider before bringing one home.
One is that as a puppy, you may have to feed them special food specifically for large breed puppies. This helps to control the rate at which they grow so that unnecessary strain isn't put onto their joints which can happen if they grow too quickly.
You might also want to consider an Anti-Gulp Food Bowl as giant dog breeds have a tendancy to gulp their food down incredibly quickly which can cause problems with bloating and stomach twisting.
Check out this link to Amazon for a great deal on an anti-gulping bowl!
AND, what goes in, comes out, so if a 200 pound dog is on your radar, remember to make time for cleanup.
As well as costing more to feed, will you be able to lift a fully grown giant dog to take him to the vet if he becomes too sick or injured to move? Are you strong enough to train your dog to walk nicely on a leash without pulling?
Food is not the only thing that will cost more. Consider your budget. The larger the dog, the larger the accessories, the higher the price tag: Large Crate, Large Bed, Large Toys, Large Chews...
And, while we're talking about large, remember that giant dog breeds need more space, just to spread out and relax. A large house is not mandatory, but it sure helps. A big sofa helps especially if the giant dog breed of your dreams thinks of himself as a lap dog.
A decent size car is a must. They must be able to fit into your car, even if it is to go the vets, groomers, or trainers.
you travel, will your dog accompany you? On the road? In the Air?
Or, will you board him? Boarding and grooming is always more expensive
for larger breed dogs.
Think it through and do as much research on the breed you decide upon. Here are just a few of the world's giant dog breeds.
These dogs are listed in alphabetical order, but their sizes vary. They all fall into the classification of 88 pounds (40 kg) or larger.
You might find some of them listed in the Large Dog Breed pages because some members of the breed may be slightly smaller. Males are generally larger than females and breed standards do not always specify weight.
Like all good guardians, the Akbash is strong, fast and self-confident. Used from antiquity to guard livestock, these dogs are still doing so in all parts of the world today.
They are known as the National Dog of Turkey where they originated. Weighing in at nearly 140 pounds, these dogs can take down a coyote or even a bear if necessary.
The breed is not for the novice and unless you have have experience with large guard dogs, you should consider another breed.
Large and strong, rather than fast, the Alaskan Malamute evolved in
the Arctic region where they served as hunting partners for big game
such as polar bears and seals and for pulling sleds. Although an
ancient breed, Alaska in the U.S. is credited with developing them to
They are powerful, strong willed, and independent, but they are also family oriented and always ready for some fun.
They need a great deal of exercise, but they are friendly and very social, but not necessarily to strange dogs. These dogs are much better in colder climates and will need some air-conditioned quarters in warmer months.
Males weigh in at about 85 pounds on average and the girls are slightly smaller.
Playful and extremely affectionate with their families, the American Akita is also a powerful guardian.
We've placed them in this group of giants because some have gotten to be as large as 150 pounds. Not the best choice for families with small children or multi-dog households, these dogs are larger than their Japanese cousins (Akita Inu) but less suspicious of strangers.
They will require an experienced owner willing to take time to socialize and training their puppy from the day the puppy enters the home. They are considered a "working" dog and they are at their best with a job to do. If no job is available plenty of daily exercise will fulfill their energy needs and keep them happy and well-balanced.
The American Bulldog is one of those breeds that could be considered large in size rather than giant. I placed it here because some of the members of the breed can grow to upwards of 120 pounds. Match strength, confidence, and size and you have a dog to be reckoned with if not trained and socialized properly.
With the right owner, right training, and right socialization, these dogs make excellent family pets, gentle with children and completely devoted to their family.
Some have problems getting along with other dogs, especially those of the same sex, and a few do not do well with other family members.
Also going by the name Coban Kopegi, Kangal Dog or Karabash Dog, these dogs one variety of sheepdogs originating in the Anatolian region of Turkey.
Naturally protective and suspicious, these dogs were used to protect flocks, and now they continue to make excellent guard dogs.
They require extensive socialization and training to make them a suitable family pet.
At between 90 and 141 pounds (41-64 kg) and 28 to 32 inches (71-81 cm), these dogs require a firm and experienced owner, willing to take the time needed to properly socialize and train these dogs from day one.
Despite the name, these dogs are guardians, not herders of livestock.
Could the Bernese Mountain Dog be traced to Roman times? Many think so and have determined that Roman mastiffs were crossed with some of the local flock guarding dogs to produce a dog able to withstand the harsh climate of the Alpine Mountains.
Today, they are easy going, calm and friendly. A great choice for a family with children, they are extremely devoted and love the playful activity that accompanies young children. They do much better in the cold than in the heat and will need a good walk or hike daily.
At 90-120 pounds for the males and slightly smaller for the females, expect these dogs to mature slowly and consume a lot of food!
The Bloodhound can trace their earliest ancestors to ancient times. William the Conqueror is credited with bringing hounds to England in 1066 and the breed was developed mostly in monasteries.
Their names refers to their pure bloodline and noble breeding. In the U.S., these dogs were used to trail people, giving them a bad name. People thought that these dogs trailed people for their blood, which couldn't be further from the truth.
They make excellent hunters, and search and rescue dogs, but in the house, they are calm and gentle. They do very well around children, but reserved around strangers.
Training for trailing activities is much easier to accomplish with these dogs than basic obedience. Their coat care is minimal except that they are big droolers and their ears tend to fall into their food.
Boys average 90 pounds but can be as much as 110lbs. Most owners have said that their Bloodhounds are heavier than what is generally recorded for the breed.
One of the largest of all the African breeds, the Boerboel name (pronounced BUR-Bul) means farmer's dog. In Africa, farmers needed plenty of protection from dangerous animals.
They are protective,
independent and strong-willed but also highly intelligent. This would
not be a good choice for a novice dog owner.
They require ongoing training, but they are very affectionate with the people they love. They love a good walk or job daily and won't be much of a burden when it comes to grooming.
Males weigh in at 140-180 lbs and the females are somewhat smaller at 100-130 lb.
This Sight-hound from Russia was a very popular hunter up to the Russian Revolution where they may have died out if it wasn't for foreigners who carried on the lineage.
They are quiet and well mannered in the house, but open the door, and these dogs are the ultimate racers, chasing anything that can run. They are good with children, but not as playful as some children may like. Their exercise needs are great and their coat requires brushing about 3 times a week.
While not as popular as a pet, they make a great show dog and participate in sports such as Lure coursing. At 30 inches in height, they make a formidable appearance. Males weigh between 75 and 105 pounds and females are generally between 60 and 85 pounds.
The Bullmastiff originated in England near the end of the nineteenth centruy and is a cross between a mastiff and bulldog. Poaching on large estates was a big problem and gamekeepers needed some protection.
Today, the Bullmastiff is a gentle, quiet breed and devoted companion. They love people but may not tolerate other dogs. To meet their exercise needs, they will require daily walks and short romps in the yard. Coat care, however, is minimal. This is one of those breeds that may drool.
Males are usually in the 110 to 130 pound range and the females are smaller at 100-120 pounds. They are also quite tall reaching up to 27 inches at the shoulders.
Weighing in at over 100 pounds, there’s no question that the Cane Corso meets the criteria for being one of the giant dog breeds.
Being part of rural Italy for a thousand years, these dogs performed a variety of tasks. Hunting large dangerous game and protecting livestock from wolves were just some of the tasks these loyal devoted dogs accomplished.
These dogs are not for everyone. They need an assertive confident owner and a large fenced yard for exercise. Appearance wise, they resemble most of the molossus breeds with strong, thick muscles and a big head.
This breed, also known as the Kavkazskaya Ovtcharka or Caucasian Ovetcharka is a popular Russian Sheepdog, which was used as a guard dog between the divided Germany during the time of the former USSR.
If bred and socialized correctly they can make good family pets, but are most known for their guarding ability.
Their independent nature and self-confidence make them safe within the family, but dangerous to strangers.
They stand 25 to 28 inches high (64-72 cm) and weigh between 99 and 154 pounds (45-70 kg).
Return from Giant Dog Breeds to Dog Breeds Expert