You love large dog breeds, but you don’t love how much energy some of them have. There must be some calm large dog breeds, right? Luckily, we’ve found 15 of the calmest big dog breeds that might be the perfect addition to your home.
Deciding Which Calm Large Dog Breed Suits You
While these friendly dog breeds are all fairly calm, each dog breed has its own personality, health risks, and grooming needs. Use this list to find a few breeds you think you like. Then, research those breeds further to decide which calm large dog breeds suit you.
Why Are Some Dogs Calmer and Gentler Than Others?
All dog breeds were developed for a specific purpose. Some breeds worked all day, chasing sheep or cattle. Some dogs spent all day working alongside a hunter. And others did lower-energy tasks like pulling carts or guarding property.
The tasks that a breed was originally created for determine how calm, quiet, or excitable the breed is today.
15 Calm Large Breed Dogs
After doing lots of research, we’ve come up with the best calm big dog breeds. We’ve given you a little information for you to decide which of these gentle large dogs you want to learn more about.
#1 – Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog was developed in the canton of Bern in Switzerland to be an all-around farm dog. They would drove cattle, pull carts, guard livestock, and be a gentle family companion. Bernese Mountain Dogs still commonly compete in drafting and carting events to show off their strength.
The Bernese Mountain Dog has the stamina to follow you on your active adventures. However, they are also calm around the home and gentle with children.
The sad thing about the Bernese Mountain Dog is that they are extremely prone to cancer and other health problems. Their average life expectancy is only 7-10 years. Even for a large breed dog, that’s a short lifespan.
One more thing to know – Berners are not the right dog for neat freaks. They can drool, and they shed – a lot. If you hate the idea of having black hair around your home, you should consider a different breed.
#2 – Bullmastiff
What do you get when you combine 60% Mastiff genes and 40% Bulldog genes? You get the Bullmastiff.
During the 19th century, English Aristocrats were looking for a dog breed to protect their land from poachers. They needed a dog that was big but fast, and highly trainable. Bullmastiffs were trained to catch and hold rather than kill poachers.
While smaller than their Mastiff cousins, Bullmastiffs can still weigh up to 130 pounds. They may drool, and their short hair does shed. However, they are easier to groom than the fluffier dogs on our list.
Like other large dog breeds, Bullmastiffs are prone to bloat. Bloat is a condition where the stomach fills with air and may twist on its axis. This can cut off blood circulation to the intestines, leading to death.
To help prevent bloat in your Bullmastiff, feed them at least twice a day and wait half an hour after meals before exercise. Slow feeder bowls are also a good way to slow down your dog’s eating and help prevent bloat.
#3 – Great Dane
Despite the name, Great Danes don’t come from Denmark. In fact, Great Danes were developed in Germany to hunt wild boar.
Great Danes are at least 400 years old. However, a dog resembling a Great Dane was described in Chinese literature in 1121 BC. That makes the Great Dane one of the oldest dog breeds still around today.
Though bred to hunt, Great Danes are happy being a couch potato who will defend the home when necessary. They’re also one of the tallest dog breeds and can be taller than a man when standing on their hind legs. Despite their size, the Dane is often considered one of the best large dog breeds for apartments.
#4 – Great Pyrenees
The Pyrenees Mountains, where the Great Pyrenees was developed, form the border between France and Spain. There, the Great Pyrenees was bred to guard sheep and protect them from predators.
Though they could fight off bears or wolves, they spent most of their time lounging around with the flock of sheep. That makes them an excellent calm big dog breed. They have a gentle nature and will protect children as though they were part of their flock.
The Great Pyrenees is prone to drooling and sheds a lot. They need regular brushing to prevent painful mats and remove their seasonal undercoat. Plan on investing a lot of time or money on grooming your Great Pyrenees.
#5 – Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a close cousin to the Bernese Mountain Dog. However, the Swissie, as it’s affectionately called, has a short coat that’s easier to maintain.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is the oldest of many Swiss mountain breeds. Its ancestors were brought to Switzerland as war dogs by Julius Caesar. The Swiss repurposed the war dogs as farm dogs whose primary purpose was to pull carts of dairy and meat from the farm to town.
The Swissie is one of the dogs used to develop the Rottweiler and Saint Bernard.
Built for stamina rather than speed, Swissies are content with daily walks and don’t require regular romps at the dog park.
#6 – Greyhound
You might think that a dog bred for hunting and used for racing would be hyperactive. However, after a daily run around your yard or a dog park, the Greyhound dog is content to lie around your home for the rest of the day.
This elegant breed has been around for at least 5,000 years. Egyptian pharaohs used Greyhounds to chase and catch fast prey.
The unique “inverted S” shape of the Greyhound’s body has been admired for thousands of years. Poets, artists, and kings alike have been entranced by their beauty.
As dog racing is becoming increasingly unpopular, retired racing Greyhounds are still a common way to bring home one of these majestic dogs. Soon, though, there may come a time when all Greyhound puppies go to homes rather than racetracks.
#7 – Irish Wolfhound
Beating even Great Danes, the Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog in the American Kennel Club. They stand at least 30 inches (females) to 32 inches (males) high at the shoulders. Despite their height, they are a lean breed, only weighing an average of 100-120 pounds.
The Irish Wolfhound is another ancient breed. Shortly after the advent of international trade, large British dogs were crossed with Middle Eastern coursing hounds. The Irish Wolfhound was well-established by the year 391 when the Roman consul received a gift of 7 dogs that “all Rome viewed with wonder.”
Irish Wolfhounds appreciate the occasional run to stretch their long legs. The rest of the time, however, they are quite content to be giant “lapdogs.” Their wiry coat requires regular brushing but sheds less than many other breeds on this list.
#8 – Kuvasz
Never heard of the Kuvasz? You aren’t alone. The Kuvasz (pronounced KOO-vahz; the plural is Kuvaszok, pronounced KOO-vah-sock) ranks 163 out of 191 dog breeds in the AKC, making it a rare sight.
It’s easy to mistake a Kuvasz for a Great Pyrenees, as they are both white big fluffy dogs. However, Kuvaszok are slightly smaller with a shorter coat.
The Kuvasz had similar tasks as the Great Pyrenees; they were livestock guardians. However, the Kuvasz originated in Tibet and was developed in Hungary.
Kuvaszok can be more stubborn than the Great Pyrenees and require a little more exercise. They aren’t a good choice for first-time dog owners since their protective instincts can turn to aggression without proper training.
#9 – Leonberger
In the 19th century, German politician Heinrich Essig set out to breed a dog worthy of royal stature. He succeeded by combining Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, and other large dog breeds. A few royals who owned Leonbergers include Napoleon III, Tsar Alexander II, and the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII).
The Leonberger is very furry. Leonberger males even develop a “mane” around their neck. They look elegant, but they require plenty of brushing to maintain their royal looks. Avoid getting a Leo if you’re bothered by shedding or drooling.
#10 – Mastiff
Mastiff-type dogs are one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. The Mastiff, as we know it today, though, was developed in medieval England as a big game hunter, war dog, and estate guardian.
If you get a Mastiff puppy, it’s important to feed them food designed specifically for large breed puppies. It shouldn’t be too high in protein, because that can cause the dog to grow too quickly. That can lead to the development of joint problems when your Mastiff becomes an adult.
Mastiffs shed lots of splintery short hair and drool a ton, so they aren’t a breed for people who like a clean home.
#11 – Neapolitan Mastiff
Also known as the Mastino, the AKC describes the Neapolitan Mastiff as looking “like a marzipan Mastiff that’s been out in the sun too long.” That’s the perfect description for this large, wrinkly dog.
Going back as far as 700 BC, the Neapolitan Mastiff was employed by the Roman empire as war dogs, guardians, and gladiators. To this day, their looks alone are enough to scare the average person.
The “melted” jowls of the Neapolitan Mastiff make it an exceptionally drooly breed. You may want to keep plenty of towels on hand to wipe the drool off from time to time before they fling it around your home.
Mastinos must be trained well when they are puppies. Their massive size can make an adult Neapolitan Mastiff impossible to control if they don’t get good early training.
#12 – Newfoundland
To this day, the Newfoundland dog is the premium water rescue dog around the world. They were originally developed by Canadian fishermen to rescue men and lost fish from the water, pull nets in, and cart fish to market.
Their thick black fur keeps them warm even in icy waters, and they love cold weather.
While most people are acquainted with black Newfies, they also come in gray, brown, and a striking black and white coloration. The black and white variation is named after Sir Edwin Landseer, who produced many paintings including the black and white Newfoundlands.
A “sweet temperament” is indicated in the breed standard. Newfies make perfect “nanny dogs.” In fact, a Newfie named Brumus helped Senator and Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy look after their 11 children. The “Peter Pan” novel also includes a Newfoundland named Nana.
Newfies are tremendous shedders and droolers. If you add one to your family, plan on lots of drooling and brushing along with black hair everywhere.
#13 – Russian Borzoi
A sighthound, also called the “Russian Wolfhound,” the Borzoi resembles a large, furry Greyhound. Russian aristocrats hunted game with packs of more than 100 Borzoi.
The Borzoi breed nearly went extinct during the Russian Revolution in 1917. The Romanov family was murdered along with their nobles and dogs. Borzoi breeders outside of Russia kept the breed alive until Russian breeders brought the breed back from the brink of extinction.
While Borzoi can be calm in the home, they require a daily run in a fenced area. It’s also crucial to maintain control of them on a leash, as they are prone to chasing anything small and furry. While they can make affectionate family pets, Borzoi can also be stubborn and difficult to train.
#14 – Saint Bernard
Nearly a thousand years ago, a monk named Bernard of Menthon established a hospice in the Alps and developed a dog breed to find and rescue buried travelers. They did not, however, carry casks of brandy around their necks.
Whether the Saint Bernard brings forth images of avalanche rescue dogs, rabid Cujo, or the mischievous Beethoven, it’s hard to forget their distinctive look. They’re large, powerful, and furry, with a big head.
Saint Bernards are gentle giants and can make excellent large family dogs. Shedding and drooling should be expected with this breed. You also want to ensure they don’t grow too quickly as puppies.
#15 – Scottish Deerhound
The Scottish Deerhound is such an old breed that it may have arrived in Scotland before Scots got there in the 9th century. Clan chieftains used the breed to hunt the now-extinct red deer, which could reach 400 pounds.
Scottish Deerhounds usually hunted alone or in pairs. The breed nearly became extinct at one point because nobody ranking lower than an earl was allowed to own a Scottish Deerhound.
As a sighthound, the Scottish Deerhound is exceptionally good at the dog sport of lure coursing. Larger than a Greyhound, the Deerhound is impressively fast.
Scottish Deerhounds need a daily run to be calm and gentle around the home. Destructive puppies typically aren’t getting enough exercise. Deerhounds are happiest in pairs with a large yard to run around.
An Important Note About Exercise
While these large gentle dog breeds are all relatively calm, they still need regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. For most of these breeds, a half-hour walk once or twice a day will be enough. That’s better than the hours of running that some breeds require!
Wrapping Up: Calm Big Dog Breeds
Hopefully, one of these gentle big dog breeds sounds like the perfect fit for your family. This guide should just be a jumping-off point for your research though. You should always research a breed thoroughly to understand their needs before bringing a dog home.