People find themselves drawn to different kinds of dogs. Some love tiny lap dogs, while others prefer slobbery giant dogs.
But we’re guessing that if this article’s title caught your interest, you are a fan of big – make that really big – giant dog breeds.
We certainly understand the appeal of a giant dog; we love extra-large dog breeds too.
Dogs like Great Danes and Neapolitan Mastiff may look intimidating, but many giant dog breeds are actually soft from the inside. Beneath their huge bodies and copious fur, many giant dogs are gentle and calm, who would love to snuggle with you on the couch.
Below, we’ll talk about the needs of the giant dogs, provide a list of giant dog breeds, examine some of their most common health problems and explain some of the things you’ll need to do to provide your giant dog with a long, healthy and happy life.
But first, we need to ensure everyone is on the same page, by establishing a working definition for “giant dog breed.”
Defining Giant Dog Breeds
The term “giant dog breed” evokes different images for different people. Some people may consider a 75-pound Labrador retriever to be a “giant” dog, while others may reserve the term for dogs weighing more than 150 pounds.
This occurs because terms like “large” and “giant” are fundamentally subjective in this context.
But, for clarity’s sake, Canine Weekly considers dogs between 50 and 90 pounds to be “large,” while those who exceed the 90-pound threshold are considered “giant.”
List of Giant Dog Breeds
Black Russian Terrier
The Black Russian Terrier is an immensely powerful giant dog that looks a little intimidating because of its all-black coat. These dogs are known for their intelligence, confidence, and courage and are bred to protect and guard. As such, they don’t interact well with strangers.
The Black Russian Terrier weighs 140 pounds and can stand as high as 30” at the shoulder. They are much taller if their huge head is considered. Due to their thick all-black coat, Black Russian Terriers can live in some of the coldest places on the planet.
These dogs have well-developed muscles and large bone, as well as great endurance and strength. Moreover, they possess a reliable and stable temperament, possessing courage and self-assurance.
The Borzoi is one of the most beautiful giant dogs and is cherished for his amazingly calm temperament. This dog can run at the speed of up to 40 miles per hour and stands at least 28” at the shoulder. Borzoi is a large and elegant sighthound with a luxurious silky coat. He was bred to be tough and swift.
It is worth noting that Borzoi can be stubborn, and in order to train them properly, you must be patient and consistent. Moreover, the sight of a squirrel or cat on the run will stir their pursuit instinct, which is why a least is a must when you take them out for exercise.
In the mid 19th century, bulldog and mastiff were crossed by breeders to get a giant, powerful dog – the Bullmastiff – for sopping poachers. The bullmastiff of today is a capable guard dog; however, the breed is treasured as a companion. Despite his intimidating appearance, the Bullmastiff forms a strong bond with the family members.
When it comes to height, this canine can stand as high as 30” at the shoulder. The weight of the dog is around 120 to 180 pounds. The coat color includes red, white, brown, and more.
Dogue de Bordeaux
If you are looking for a giant dog that would make a great companion, the Dogue de Bordeaux should be on your shortlist. This massive canine has a giant head due to which it might look fierce. However, the breed is generally extremely gentle and loyal. Despite this, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a capable guard dog.
Since the breed was introduced in France first, it is sometimes called the French Mastiff. The Dogue de Bordeaux can stand as high as 27 inches and weighs over 100 pounds. He is characterized by a short face and muscular body, while colors include red, mahogany, and fawn with a black mask.
Great Danes are one of the most popular giant dog breeds. They tower over most of the other canines – growing up to 32” at the shoulder. The coats of Great Danes come in different colors, including the black and white harlequin pattern.
Though these canines make friends quite easily, they can be protective of their family when strangers are around.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a very large canine, famous for a thick coat of red, black, and white markings. Faithful and dependable, this canine earned his feed as drafters, herders, and pasture dogs.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog stands as high as 28.5” and weighs as much as a mid-size human – it could even be larger than you. These canines are very strong and agile.
Several mountain dogs are described as marvelous or majestic, but the word was invented by the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.
The Great Pyrenees is a thickly coated large dog who was bred to deter wolves and other predators. Today these canines are vigilant guardians and mellow companions of families.
Great Pyrenees are immensely strong mountain dogs that stand as high as 32” at the shoulder and tip the scale at over 100 pounds.
These furry companions exhibit a calm attitude, but they would quickly spring into action to meet a potential threat. The weatherproof coat is all white or white with beautiful shades of badger, reddish-brown, tan, or gray.
The kind, calm, and dignified Irish Wolfhound is one of the tallest giant dogs in our list. Wolfhounds of the past were capable of dispatching wolf in just one combat. Today, Irish Wolfhounds are the most agreeable and serene of companions.
A male can stand almost 3 feet at the shoulder and weighs up to 180 pounds while females run smaller. The rough coat comes in a variety of colors, including fawn, black, red, brindle, gray, and white.
Irish Wolfhounds don’t make great guard dogs, but their sight can deter intruders. These canines are patient with kids, but you should still supervise them around small children because of their size. Becoming an owner of the Irish Wolfhound would certainly be a rewarding experience.
The Kuvasz is Hungary’s companion of kings and guardian of flocks. He is a working dog of incredible strength and size.
The thickly coated Kuvasz looks beautiful and is a smart and profoundly loyal breed. Imposing, majestic, massive, and impressive, this snow-white canine can stand as high as 30” at the shoulder and weighs around 70 to 110 pounds.
Despite their strength and size, Kuvasz is nimble-footed, quick-moving protectors.
The Mastiff is a massive, heavy-boned canine that belongs to an ancient canine clan. This furry companion is dignified and docile but also a strong protector of those he loves.
An upfront encounter with these giants can be intimidating and startling, but you don’t have to afraid of them since they are gentle. A male Mastiff can stand at least 30” at the shoulder. Their rectangular body is thick-muscled and covered by a double coat of brindle, apricot, or fawn stripes. The head is massive while a wrinkled forehead, giving an alert and kindly expression.
Mastiffs are lovable, patient companions, and they respond best to calm, gentle training. They are naturally wary of strangers, which is why early socialization and training is essential. If you can train and handle a dog as big and powerful as the Mastiff, then go for it.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a powerful guarder whose appearance would easily intimidate any intruder. Wary with strangers, this canine is steady, placid, and sweet among the people he loves.
These majestic guardians can stand as high as 31 inches and weigh around 150 pounds. Their head is astounding, and they have pendulous lips and hanging wrinkles. Due to Neapolitan Mastiff’s massive structure, their characteristic movement is lumbering and rolling, not showy or elegant.
The giant Newfoundland is an incredibly powerful working dog of dignified bearing and heavy bone. These canines are sweet-tempered and make a great companion. They are also good with small children.
A male can stand 28” at the shoulder and weigh up to 150 pounds while females typically go around 100 to 120 pounds. The head of the Newfoundland is majestic, while their expression is soulful and soft. The outer coat of these furry companions is course and flat, while colors include gray, black, brown, and black-and-white.
The most important characteristic of this breed is its sweet temperament. Trainable and trusting, the Newfoundland responds well to gentle training and guidance. These giants are one of the world’s biggest dog breeds, which is why you must consider the challenges of keeping them before you decide to get one.
The Saint Bernard is one of the most beloved and famous breeds in the world. These dogs are patient, watchful, and careful with children.
The adjectives that best describe Saint Bernard are ‘massive,’ ‘imposing,’ and ‘powerful.’ A male can stand at least 27.5” at the shoulder while females are smaller and delicately built. These dogs have a huge head with a wrinkled brow, dark eyes, and a short muzzle that combines to give them intelligent and friendly expression.
This crisply coated dog is among the tallest of breeds and was originally bred to stalk the wild red deer. A male can stand 32” at the shoulder and weighs 110 pounds.
The crisp coat of these canines is seen in a variety of colors, but breed aficionados love the dark blue-gray coat. The long neck and tapered head add extra lift to their body and make them look taller. The britches and tail of the Scottish Deerhound are well-featured, and the tail curls towards the head. The heavy mane and coat are thick with a wooly undercoat and coarse guard hair.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a watchful, imposing, aloof, and intimidating guard dog. This densely-coated giant is calm and mellow around the house, devoted to family members and aloof with strangers.
The Tibetan Mastiff can stand 26” at the shoulder and weighs over 100 pounds. The words massive, substantial, muscular, and powerful best describe this breed. The Tibetan Mastiff is light-footed and will meet a potential threat with amazing agility. The broad head with expressive brown eyes and V-shaped ears project a noble expression.
The Doberman Pinscher is a sleek and powerful dog that possesses a keen intelligence and a magnificent physique. This incomparably vigilant and fearless breed is one of the world’s best protection dogs.
The Doberman Pinscher stands between 24” to 28” at the shoulder. They are powerful, fast, and muscular. The body is sleek and covered with a coat of fawn, red, blue, or black, with rust markings.
These elegant qualities and their unique way of moving make Doberman Pinscher one of the finest giant dogs. A well-conditioned Doberman Pincher would deter intruders.
The Greyhound is a noble, sweet-tempered, and gentle companion with an independent spirit. These hounds have fascinated kings, artists, and poets for many years, potentially due to their unique looks.
These canines have a narrow, aerodynamic skill and shock-absorbing pads on the feet, which make them perfect for high-speed pursuits. Their deep chest curves into a tightly tucked waist, creating an inverted S-shape, which looks fascinating.
This livestock guardian originally protected flocks from thieves, wolves, and even bears. Today, the Pyrenean Mastiff can still be an effective guardian, and many families love to own this gentle and loving canine.
The Pyrenean Mastiff is smart, noble, calm, and friendly towards humans. He is also proud and courageous towards strangers. When it comes to interaction with other dogs, the Pyrenean Mastiff is good-natured.
Since this dog is a guardian breed, he has a low prey drive and loves and protects everyone. These canines also love children, which makes them a good family dog.
Nutritional Needs of Giant Dogs
Because they are much larger and are particularly susceptible to a number of health problems, the largest dog breeds require slightly different foods than smaller dogs do.
For example, giant dogs often benefit from foods that are fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, chondroitin, and glucosamine to help protect their joints. Additionally, it is wise to avoid providing giant dog breeds with foods that have excessive caloric values, as giant dogs often become obese very easily.
Giant breed puppies also have a few unique food requirements. For example, giant dog breeds should grow at a moderate, steady rate; providing them with a food that contains too many calories or too much calcium can cause them to suffer from developmental problems.
Discuss the issue with your vet and check out our Large Breed Dog Food Buying Guide, which covers eleven different foods that are well-suited for big dogs.
However, if you are in a hurry, we’ll save you a click: Wellness Core Grain Free Large Breed Recipe was the best-rated food in our review, and makes a great choice for most giant dog breeds.
It has all of the things you’d want in a good large (or in this case, giant) dog food. It is made with nutritious proteins, like chicken and turkey meal, is loaded with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, and it is fortified with probiotics to ensure proper digestion.
SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best Large Breed Puppy Foods
Training For Giant Dog Breeds
All dogs require basic obedience training from a young age, but, given their eventual size and strength, training is especially important for giant dog breeds.
Be sure to check out our comprehensive list of dog commands, and be sure that you have all of the training tools you’ll need.
We’ve already reviewed the best large dog crates before, but if you are just interested in a quick giant dog crate recommendation, you should take a look at the MidWest iCrate. Large, affordable and feature-packed, it is a great choice for most owners of giant dog breeds.
All discussions about beds for giant dogs should begin and end with the Big Barker.
Seven-inches-thick, made in the USA and backed by a 10-year warranty, there’s simply no better option on the market. Additionally, unlike many other beds, the Big Barker is available in sizes large enough to properly support giant dog breeds.
Common Health Problems of Giant Dogs
Giant breeds frequently suffer from a number of common health problems. Some of these problems can be avoided by purchasing your dog from a high-quality breeder, and others may be kept at bay through proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care.
However, a few common diseases of giant dog breeds can occur despite the best efforts of their keepers.
Some of the most common health problems of giant dogs include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Cherry eye
Be sure to discuss these — and any other health conditions to which your dog may be predisposed — potential problems with your vet.
Your vet may be able to provide actionable advice for avoiding these problems, as well as screening procedures to determine if your dog is likely to suffer from any of these conditions.
For example, you may be able to prevent joint problems from developing by giving your dog a supplemental product containing chondroitin and glucosamine.
Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Chewables is our favorite option, but there are a number of other great choices on the market.
Just be sure to check out our thorough review of the best hip and joint supplements for dogs.
Grooming Your Giant Breed
Grooming can be a concern for dogs of any size, including those that fall into the “giant” dog category. And while you can certainly take your dog to a professional groomer, his large size and potentially intimidating appearance may make it slightly more difficult to find a willing (and affordable) groomer.
Accordingly, many owners of giant dog breeds like to learn how to brush and de-shed their large dog at home. This will take a bit of practice, and you’ll need to buy a few important tools for the task, but your efforts will pay off, as grooming your own dog will give you more time to bond with your canine and save some money at the same time.
To start, you’ll need a good dog shedding shampoo, but it is also a good idea to select a shower attachment to make it easier to spray down your dog.
There are a ton of dog shampoos on the market, but we recommend Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo.
Made with oatmeal and aloe, it is designed to be gentle on your dog’s skin, yet leave them clean and smelling fresh.
One of the best shower attachments on the market is the Rinse Ace 3 Way Pet Shower Sprayer.
Equipped with an 8-foot-long hose and a quick-release attachment, the Rinse Ace will make it much easier to bathe your dog.
You’ll also need a good dryer to prevent your soaking-wet dog from catching a chill and drenching everything in your home. Be sure to check out our review of the best dog hair dryers, but the K-9 III Dog Grooming Dryer is our favorite option.
The K-9 III Dog Dryer is not only a powerful unit, but it also provides owners with the option of using one motor for short-haired breeds, or two motors for densely furred breeds. It features an 18-gauge steel body and comes in nine different colors.
We’ve put together a few tips to help manage your dog’s shedding, as well as an article that covers the best ways to keep your dog clean between baths. So, be sure to check them both out.
Best Toys For Giant Breed Dogs
Like most canines, your giant dog will require a few toys. Toys not only give your dog the chance to exercise their chewing instincts, but they also keep your dog mentally stimulated and help to ward off boredom.
But, given their immense size and strong jaws, giant dogs require very tough and durable toys. Most typical dog toys are simply incapable of withstanding the type of punishment giant dog breeds can dish out.
Regular-sized dog toys can also represent a choking hazard for giant breeds. You don’t, for example, want to provide a 200-pound Great Dane with a standard tennis ball — he may end up swallowing the entire thing.
Fortunately, there are a number of high-quality, super-durable chew toys on the market, which should work well for giant dog breeds (be sure to check out our comprehensive review of the best indestructible dog toys for more information).
Two great choices include the Goughnuts Maxx 50 Stick and the KONG Extreme Goodie Bone. Both are available in sizes large enough for giant dog breeds, and they are both among the most durable chew toys on the market.
RELATED: 10 Best Dog Toys for Big Dogs
Although they are much bigger than their average-sized counterparts, giant dog breeds still require the same type of care that smaller dogs do.
You’ll have to be willing to purchase bigger toys, provide more space and accept a slightly shortened lifespan if you choose a giant dog breed, but you’ll be rewarded by a loving, loyal and lovable canine, who makes your life immeasurably better.
We hope you find the information provided above helpful. In case you have any questions or if something is unclear, feel free to reach out to us.