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Big Dog Breeds

Big Dog Breeds are the most numerous group of animals in the world. They were first developed for only two purposes: Hunting and Farming and many can trace their roots to ancient times.


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Quick History of Big Dog Breeds

Hunters needed them to help find and retrieve game. Farmers needed their help to protect, guard, and herd the livestock.  Today, big dog breeds are some of the most popular dogs on earth. This is one group of canines that have helped people since antiquity. 

While developing these breeds, our forefathers taught them to be reliable, obedient, and easy to train. It is no wonder that dogs such as the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, and German Shepherd are some of the most loved dogs, even if they are no longer hunting or herding. Gun dogs love working with people.  Think:  Spaniels, Setters, Pointers and Retrievers. 

The German Shepherd has gone from helping farmers to helping police and serving in the military. From search and rescue to guide dog to therapy dog, most people will agree that this is an all-round great breed able to follow directions, yet work on their own at the same time. A lowly farm hand, the German Shepherd has gone onto achieve world wide recognition as breed.

All the farm hands listed below were great at protecting livestock from wolves and other predators. If they didn't work on a farm, they made a great hunter in one aspect or another.

All the big dog breeds on this and the next few pages are between 45lbs and 88lbs (20-40 kg) in weight.

Big Dog Breeds A-Z

Afghan Hound

Size:
50-61 lbs ( 22.5-27.kg)

Height:
25-29 in (64-74 cm)

Colors:
All Solid or Shaded Colors

While somewhat aloof, they are affectionate and loyal and extremely exuberant with energy to spare.

Big dog breeds

Aidi

Size: 
51-55 lb.  (23-35 kg)

Height: 
21-24 in + ( 53-60 cm)

Colors:  White, tawny, red, black, black and white

They make great watchdogs and guard dogs,and do well as companions in rural settings. Not suitable for apartment nor Town living.  They have protected herds of sheep and goats for Moroccan nomads since the Middle Ages and have even been used for hunting. A rare breed outside of North Africa.


Airedale Terrier

Size: 
44-50 lb.  (20-22.5 kg) 

Height: 
22-24 in  (56-61 cm)

Colors: 
Black and Tan

The largest terrier, often referred to as the King of Terriers. Once used as a vermin hunter, messenger, sentry and police dog, they are now primarily companions despite their stubborn streak.

Big dog breeds

Appenzell Mountain Dog

Big dog breedsAppenzell Mountain Dog

Size: 
55-70 lb  (25-32 kg)

Height: 
19-23 in ( 48-58 cm)

Colors:
Tricolor

Having possibly descended from the warrior mastiffs that accompanied Roman soldiers into Switzerland some 2000 years ago, this dog has become a versatile farm helper. Also known as the Appenzeller Sennenhund, they can pull small carts and also work cattle.


Ariegeois Pointer

Big dog breedsAriegeois Pointer

Size: 
55-65 lbs (25-30 kg)

Height:
21-24 in  (53-61 cm)

Colors: 
Black and White

Here is an easy going, affectionate breed developed in the Ariege  area of France for hunting, but now they are household companions.


Australian Shepherd

Size: 
35-70 lb.  (16-32 kg)

Height:
18-23 in (46-58 cm)

Colors: 
Red, Red merle, blue merle, black, solid or with white.

Despite the name, this breed originated in the USA, and is virtually unknown outside of the country. Needing a herding dog that could work in varied climates, California breeders worked to create a breed from collies and sheepdogs from Australia and New Zealand.

Today, they are great companions and adapt exceptionally well to family life.  Some are being dwarfed down to create a miniature Australian Shepherd.

Big dog breeds

Azawakh

Big dog breedsAzawakh

Size: 
37-55 lbs. (17-25 kg)

Height: 
23 - 29 in ( 58-74 cm)

Colors: 
Light sable to dark fawn with white;

An independent dog bred from Mali in Africa. Developed  as a hunter and a guard dog. This is a very fast breed that can reach speeds of up to 37 mph.  (60 km/h)


Barbet

Size;

35 - 65lbs

Height;
19 - 24 inches

Colors; Black, Black-and-White, Brown

The Barbet dog breed is originally from France, and is a rare breed. It is a water dog, used for detecting, flushing and retrieving game birds from water. They are strong swimmers, and love games involving chasing a ball or frisbee. A great family dog, they get on well with children and also the elderly.

Bavarian Mountain Hound

Big Dog Breeds

The Bavarian Mountain Hound straddles the 2 groups of Medium-size dog breeds and Big dog breeds.

Bred to track wounded game animals in the mountains of Southern Germany, this dog has an excellent scent ability. This is a rare breed, most commonly kept by forestry workers and game wardens.

Basset Hound

Size:
40 to 60 lbs (18-27 kg)

Height:
13-15 in (33-38 cm)

Colors:
Black, tan, lemon, white in any combination

He may be short, but he's muscular and strong.  With long backs and ears, back problems are common.  They are excellent hunters, but most just lounge around the house.

Big dog breeds

Bearded Collie

Size:
45-55 lb (20-25 kg)

Height:
20-22 in (51-56 cm)

Colors:
Gray, red-fawn, blue, brown, black, either solid or with white

Here is a dog with a sense of humor! They are friendly and good with children, but be ready for to spend considerable time in your grooming room. They have high maintenance coats.

Beauceron

Size:
66-86 lb.  (30-39 kg.)

Height:
25-28 in (64-71 cm)

Colors:
Black and Tan, Black, Harlequin

With a history of sheep and cattle herding and guarding, today they are kept as family pets and guard dogs. They are a powerful big dog breed, and can be relied on to protect their owner and home; They have an endearing and loving nature.

Belgian Laekenois

Size; 55lbs to 65lbs

Height; 22 to 26 inches at the withers

Colors; Fawn with some white.

The Laekenois dog breed are not aggressive, and they make excellent family pets, but can be wary of strangers and a bit timid. There are 4 dog breeds in the Belgian Sheep dog group; the others are the Belgian Malinois, the Tervueren, and the Groenendael (Belgian Shepherd).

Belgian Malinois

Size:
61-63 lbs (27-28 cm)

Height:
22-26 in (56-66 cm)

Colors:
Grey through fawn; red to black

Not naturally aggressive, these dogs make excellent family pets, but can be wary of strangers and a bit timid. There are 4 dog breeds in the Belgian Sheep dog group; the others are the Tervueren, the Laekenois and the Groenendael (Belgian Shepherd).

Big dog breeds

Berger Picard

Size:
51-70 lb  (23-32 kg)

Height: 
22-26 in (55-66 cm)

Colors:
Gray, fawn, gold, black

Rare in most parts of the world, the majority of these dogs live on farms in northeastern France. There, they herd and guard sheep. These dogs were on the verge of extinction. Now there are about 500 in North America and 5000 worldwide.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Size:
88-97 lb (40-44 kg)

Height:
23-28 in (58-70 cm)

Colors:
Tricolor

Here is an easy going family member that is both good with other pets and devoted to children.  They make a great watch dog, but are not very protective despite their size.  We've included them in our big dog breed pages, but they could easily be considered an extra large or giant breed.

Big dog breeds

Black and Tan Coonhound

Size:
51-75 lb (23-34 kg)

Height:
23-27 in (58-69 cm)

Colors: Blue, Brindle

These are the most popular of all the coonhounds, these dogs can be found in rural settings in the eastern US, extending into Canada.

Bluetick Coonhound

Big dog breedsBluetick Coonhound

Size:

45-79 lb (20 -27 kg)

Height:

20-27 in (51-69 cm)

Colors: Tricolor

Developed in Louisiana, they are likely descended from hunting hounds from Gascony, France.


Bouvier des Flanders

Big dog breedsBouvier des Flanders

Size:
60-88 lbs (27-40 kg)

Height:
23-27 in (58-69 cm)

Colors:
Fawn to Black

They make good guard dogs, but don't always get along well with other dogs.  Best know for their cattle herding ability, they are now mostly family companions.


Boxer

Size: 
55-70 lb  (25-32 kg)

Height: 
21-25 in ( 53-63 cm)

Colors: 
Fawn and White, Fawn, Brindle, Occasionally white

Bouncy, energetic, and fearless, this is one breed that makes an excellent family pet even with young children. They may have an intimidating appearance, yet they are gentle and kind with children. The Boxer makes a great house protector.

Big dog breeds

Briard

Big dog breedsBriard

Size:
75-75 lb ( 34-34.5 kg.)

Height:
23-27 in (58-69 cm)

Colors:
Fawn, Gray, Black

The Briard is one of France's most popular companion breeds.  Breeders have worked hard over the last 50 years to eliminate shyness and aggression, so they are now well-mannered and fun pets.


Bulldog

Size:
51-55 lb.  (23-25 kg)

Height:
12-14 in ( 30-36 cm)

Colors:
Fawn, red, brindle, solid or with a black mask or with white

Here is a lovable, if low energy dog, they make great companions and family dogs despite their bull-baiting beginnings. Early on, the bulldog would hang onto the bull regardless of any injury, but the sport became illegal in 1830.  You will never win a tug of war game with these guys, but it's fun to try.

Big dog breeds

Bull Terrier

Size: 
53-62 lb,  (24-28 kg)

Height: 
21-22 in  (53-56 cm)

Colors: 
White, fawn, red, black brindle, tricolor

A very unique looking breed, they were first developed to fight. Developed in the early 19th century, by crossing  bulldogs with the now extinct White English Terrier, they became fighting dogs. 

This cruel sport was banned in England by 1835 and became illegal in most countries, soon thereafter. The bull terrier is considered a big dog breed, but they also come in a smaller size, Miniature Bull Terrier.

Big dog breeds

Big Dog Breeds

Just click on one of the numbers "2" to "5" below to go to the next pages in this section.

Reference and Further Reading

The following books give further information on big dog breeds - all a great read!  Click on the images for more details.


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