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Dogs have been man’s best friend for thousands of years, ever since a lonely hunter invited a wolf to share his dinner around a campfire. Over the years, we’ve shaped and changed dogs, developing hundreds of breeds all suited to different purposes. Each breed has its own specific purpose, and many of those purposes came out of certain geographical regions.
Some of the world’s favorite dog breeds today once hailed from the area that is now Germany. From German Shepherds and Great Danes to Pomeranians and Dachshunds, large German dog breeds, in particular, hold a special place in our hearts.
Read on to learn a little more about seven large dogs that come out of Germany.
Large German Dog Breeds
Of course, the first large German dog breed on this list has to be the German breed most of us know: the German Shepherd. As their name suggests, these are working dogs, originally bred to guard and herd sheep. They have a great sense of smell and often find work these days as police dogs.
German Shepherds carry all the energy and intelligence that any working breed does. They’re highly trainable and feel a deep sense of duty and loyalty towards their masters. It’s important to socialize these dogs well, as they can become aggressive towards strangers without proper training.
The Leonberger dog is a rarer giant breed from Germany, growing to more than 25 inches tall and over 100 pounds. These dogs look a little like a cross between a Great Pyrenees and a St. Bernard; they have long coats that are mottled in golden, brown, black, and white. Leonbergers are gentle giants, and they get their name from their resemblance to lions.
Leonbergers can be used as guard dogs, but mostly they make great family companions. They are great with children, and the only “threat” they will pose to strangers is barking at them when they first arrive. It’s important to train them because of how large they get, but they learn easily.
Weimaraners are easily recognizable by their short silver coats and golden eyes. These large German dogs were bred for hunting and to be used as guard dogs, and they are intelligent and hardworking. They’re easy to train and make great family dogs.
Because Weimaraners are working dogs, they tend to be high energy and sometimes stubborn. You need to make sure they get plenty of exercise or you’ll wind up with a house chewed to bits. They will also need to be socialized regularly around strange people and dogs.
Boxers have started making a splash in the online video world due to their infectious enthusiasm for life. These brown and white dogs have adorably pouty faces and tend to come in around 55 or 60 pounds. They are bright, curious, and active dogs who are loyal and friendly to their families.
Boxers were bred as guard dogs, and those roots still show up in the breed today. It won’t bark unless there’s cause for alarm, and it can be suspicious around strangers. They want lots of exercise and activity, so make sure you have a lifestyle that can support that.
Doberman Pinschers are what most of us think of when we picture a guard dog. Large angular dogs with pointed ears and docked tails, they can cut a mean profile. But in truth, they are faithful companions to masters who are willing to train them well.
Dobermans can be headstrong, and they don’t have the patience for children and other dogs that some breeds do. You’ll need to use a strict training regimen with them and socialize them a lot from an early age. But they are a very intelligent dog breed, so they’ll learn quickly.
German pointers are beautiful large dogs, characterized by a dappled grey-brown coat and have brown patches on its head. They are built like Weimaraners, with wiry bodies and floppy ears. They were bred as hunting dogs and trained to “point” at their prey when they spotted it, giving them their name.
Pointers, like all working dogs, have a great deal of energy and want regular exercise. They are devoted and friendly and make wonderful family dogs. They’re easy to train and do well with other household pets, especially if they’re well socialized as puppies.
In spite of their name, these largest of all dog breeds hail from Germany originally. The Great Dane is one of the giant breeds, standing about 30 inches high and weighing up to 130 pounds. But they are gentle giants who are often sensitive and shy, a surprising trait for an animal their size.
Danes can make wonderful family companions, as they’re gentle and easy to train. They get along well with other dogs, though you may find that your smaller dogs run the pack, while your Great Dane hangs back. Train it with a gentle, friendly voice, and you’ll find yourself with a loyal companion who weighs as much as you do.
Dogs have been man’s best friend for thousands of years, and some of the best big dog breeds for families come out of Germany. In addition to the larger German breeds mentioned here, smaller German dog breeds include Dachshunds, Schnauzers, Pomeranians, and more. All can be wonderful dogs if you give them the attention, training, and socialization they need.
If you’d like to learn more about dogs and their care, check out the rest of our site at Canine Weekly. We have information about grooming, training, nutrition, and more. Check out our articles about dog breeds and health today.