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If you are a family that likes to exercise and play outdoors and wishes to grow their clan by getting a pet, then consider taking in a large dog.
Big dogs love tossing around a ball, exercising outdoors, protecting the house, and bonding with their owners.
Some people find large dog breeds intimidating and overpowering, but they are actually incredibly sweet, loyal, loving, and mild-tempered pets.
If large dogs are properly socialized and trained, they will get along with all of the other pets as well as kids and other members of the family. In a nutshell, big canines can be an ideal choice for any homeowner.
There are many large dogs that you can consider taking in. To help you make the right choice, we have compiled this list of large dog breeds with pictures and descriptions so you can find the right big dog for you!
For even larger dogs, be sure to check out our list of giant dog breeds.
List of Large Dog Breeds A – Z
The Belgian Tervuren is an elegant and agile canine, known to be possessive and affectionate with their owners. For this large dog, challenging play and hard work are heaven. This canine is characterized by an abundant and straight coat, an avid work drive, a large head, and muscular frame.
Male Belgian Tervurens run larger than females and have more profuse coat furnishings. It is worth noting that the high activity level of these furry canines can be an issue for people who don’t understand the breed’s need to exercise.
However, as long as you meet the work needs of the Belgian Tervuren, they would stay friendly, loyal, and loving, and maintain a good behavior.
The eye-catching fur of the Afghan Hound makes it one of the most popular large dog breeds. Despite their profound appearance, Afghan Hounds are known to exhibit loyalty. The thick, silky coat of Afghan Hound looks stunning, but it isn’t just for show – it can offer protection against harsh climates.
The Afghan Hound is a powerful and agile dog that stands as high as 27” at the shoulder. He has large paw-pads which serve as shock absorbers on rough terrains. The Afghan Hound is a very special dog that is suitable for special people.
Not everyone would like this furry friend as their companion, but if you love the attributes of the Afghan Hound and think that they would make a great pet, you could consider getting one.
Famous for their courage, loyalty, and dignity, the Akita is among the most popular big dog breeds. These canines are symbols of long life, happiness, and good health in their native country.
Akitas stand 24” to 28” inches at the shoulder and have a dense coat that comes in different colors including white. The head of these furry companions is broad and large while the tail is curled-over. The eyes are dark and the ears stay erect, giving an expression of alertness.
Akitas are quiet dogs and wary of strangers. They may not tolerate other animals but don’t hesitate to share their affectionate side with friends and family members. They thrive on the love and companionship of their owners.
Black Russian Terrier
The Black Russian Terrier is an immensely powerful canine, known for his intelligence, courage, and confidence. Bred to protect and guard, these furry companions don’t get along too well with strangers.
Black Russian Terriers can stand as high as 30” at the shoulder and weigh around 140 pounds. They are much taller when their huge head is considered. The tousled black coat of these canines is thick and warm enough to allow them to live in some of the coldest places on the planet.
Overall, Russian Black Terriers are self-assured, courageous, and calm dogs. They have a profound guarding instinct, which makes them an ideal watchdog. They are also protective of children and get along with other pets provided they are raised together.
Affectionate, playful, and loyal, the Alaskan Malamute is an incredibly strong large dog characterized by his substantial bone, erect ears, and a well-furred plumed tail.
This pup can stand 23” to 25” inches at the shoulder and tips the scale to around 75 to 85 pounds. The dense, weatherproof coat, powerful shoulders, deep chest, and heavy bone suggest that these dogs work hard and need lots of exercise. The almond-shaped brown eyes of Alaskan Malamute add to their beauty.
These canines are pack animals, which means that they need a leader. That leader has to be you and if you can’t control him, you would have a hard time living with an Alaskan Malamute. Training should start in early puppyhood so that the dog behaves well when he grows up.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is patient, intelligent, profoundly loyal, territorial, and protective. These canines are considered working guard dogs and can stand between 27” and 29” while weighing around 150 pounds.
Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are profusely muscled and a great match for the harsh terrain of their native land. These dogs descend from some of the oldest domestic-canine bloodlines. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are responsive, devoted, smart, and adaptable.
They’ll protect and guard their flock with intensity. If you want to own an Anatolian Shepherd Dog, you must be a strong leader, willing to handle and train a demanding and dominating dog.
The Beauceron is smart, spirited, imposing and powerful. Women love these canines as a loving, caring, and sensitive companion. Beaucerons are large, rugged, and muscular and they stand as high as 27.5” at the shoulder.
Their black coats come with squirrel-red accents, which add to their beauty and elegance. They are also seen in a gray-black-tan coat. The Beaucerons have dark brown eyes while their long head is well chiseled.
They aren’t the best option for novice owners due to their dominating nature but would be a great pet for a strong leader who can establish their authority. Well-socialized and trained Beaucerons can serve as great guardians and watchdogs. They are also good with small and young children.
The Belgian Malinois is a confident, versatile, and smart canine who can forge a strong bond with his human companion. These are worker dogs and need a lot of exercise to maintain good behavior.
Belgian Malinois are proud, squarely built herders that stand 22” to 26” tall. They are also well-muscled and strong and have erect black ears. The eyes of these dogs are dark brown in color.
Belgian Malinois are people-oriented dogs, which means that they should not be neglected and underemployed. Exercise is a must if you want to keep your Belgian Malinois happy.
The Belgian Sheepdog is known for their intelligence and versatility. He is a highly trainable dog, built for plenty of hard work. These sensitive canines hate being neglected and crave human companionship. Give them plenty of love and they would stay loyal to you for life.
The stirring silhouette of these furry companions conveys muscular determination as well as elegance. The proud carriage of their neck and muscles is one of the most amazing features of this breed. A male Belgian Sheepdog can stand as high as 26” at the shoulder while females are smaller.
The abundant coat and sparkly dark eyes of this big black dog breed add to the elegance of these intelligent canines. Belgian Sheepdogs will always give their 100 percent in any activity or sport.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Built for hard work, the big and powerful Bernese Mountain Dog is an incredibly beautiful canine. These dogs can stand over 27” inches at the shoulder, which makes them one of the largest canines to roam the Earth.
The thick and silky coat is tri-colored – clear white, rust, and jet black. The markings on the face and coat are the hallmarks of the breed while the dark eyes give an aura of nobility. The brain and brawn of Bernese Mountain Dog helped them multitask on the pastures of Switzerland.
These dogs get along well with the family members and are gentle with kids. Though, they don’t get along too well with strangers.
Black and Tan Coonhound
Black and Tan Coonhound are large hunters who love company. They have a sweet disposition, velvety ears, and a sensitive nose. The coal-black coat has rich tan accents with unique pumpkin seeds just above the expressive eyes.
Black and Tan Coonhound are big dogs and can stand as tall as 27” at the shoulder. These are sociable canines and like hanging around with friends and family member.
They need exercise but also love to rest for hours on end. It is worth noting that a passing squirrel would arouse the prey drive of Black and Tan Coonhounds, which is why a strong leash is a must-have.
The Bloodhound is a large dog that stands 23” to 27” inches at the shoulder and weighs up to 110 pounds. They are characterized by a long, wrinkled face with deep eyes, and huge, drooping ears. Coat colors can be red, tan and liver, and black and tan.
Bloodhounds have powerful legs that allow them to scent over miles of perilous terrains. Since they are pack dogs, Bloodhounds love the company of humans, dogs, and even kids. They are generally easygoing but can get into trouble because of their highly sensitive nose.
A strong leash is, therefore, a must when you take your bloodhound outdoors. Obedience training of these dogs can be an issue, which is why they are more suitable for serious owners.
Bouvier des Flandres
Bouvier des Flandres are smart all-purpose workers that feature powerful muscles and heavy bone beneath a lush, weatherproof coat. These dogs can stand as tall as 27.5” and have a distinctive head accented by a mustache and beard.
Bouvier des Flandres have a keen intelligence, huge heart, and sterling character, which makes them popular among dog owners all over the world. Owners must accommodate the work ethics of these dogs and give them plenty of exercise. The versatility of this breed allows them to accomplish a variety of tasks.
Bouvier des Flandres are also great guardians and watchdogs. Moreover, they love participating in dog sports. These furry friends are ideal for owners who can devote plenty of time to them.
Boxer is one of the most popular dog breeds in America and we can easily see why. These are loyal, affectionate, and intelligent dogs.
They are alert and bright, courageous and strong and males can stand as high as 25” at the shoulder while females run smaller. Their muscles are hidden by a short coat. The wrinkled forehead and dark brown eyes give an alert and curious look to the face of the Boxer. The coat is brindle or fawn with white markings.
Boxers move smoothly and gracefully and are playful and upbeat. Their protective nature makes them great with children. Boxers can serve as a watchdog and a family guardian. They do well when exposed to other animals and lots of people in puppyhood.
The Briard has a long, shaggy coat under which lies keen intelligence and a bold spirit. The coat can be gray, black or tawny. True to their French roots, Briards can be aloof with strangers but are loving and affectionate towards family members.
Bred as a guarding and herding dog, he was used by troops as messengers, ammunition carriers, sentries, and medic dogs. Today, the Briard is loved by owners as a companion dog. Briards can stand as tall as 27” at the shoulder and are rugged and bury.
They possess traits that are common to several other herders including brains, trainability, wariness with outsiders and a protective eye towards loved ones.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is an American original who is known for his waterproof coat and embodies the classic traits of a retriever – tireless, affection, and loyalty. These are powerfully built gundogs that can stand as high as 26” at the shoulder. A male may weigh up to 80 pounds.
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are solid-colored with yellow-amber eyes that complement the coat. This dog takes to training, but it has a mind of its own which can make training a challenge. They are polite and protective of their humans but not very friendly with strangers. This makes them excellent watchdogs.
Curly Coated Retriever
The Curly-Coated Retriever is one of the oldest of the retriever breeds. Smart, poised, and proud, these canines make an excellent companion due to its friendly and loyal nature.
The tight and crisp curls of liver or black serve as waterproof all-weather gear for work in harsh climates. The Curly-Coated Retriever is a big and durable gundog and is more graceful and elegant than most of the other retrievers. The wedge-shaped head of these dogs is another trait that differentiates them from other retrievers.
Like Golden Retrievers, Curly Coated Retrievers are also gentle and affectionate. They are also playful with loved ones but don’t get along well with strangers, which makes them good watchdogs.
The Doberman Pinscher possesses keen intelligence and a magnificent physique. He is powerful and sleek, incredibly fearless and vigilant, which makes them one of the best protection dogs.
Doberman Pinschers are fast, muscular, and powerful. They stand between 23” and 29” inches at the shoulder. The body is substantial and sleek and covered with a beautiful coat of fawn, red, blue, or black with rust markings. Like the Curly Coated Retriever, the Doberman Pinscher also has a wedge-shaped head.
A well-trained Doberman can serve as a watchdog and would deter intruders.
German Wirehaired Pointer
The German Wirehaired Pointer was developed to be a versatile hunting dog and he still excels at this job today. This dog can hunt on any terrain and retrieve from water or land. Hunters all over the world appreciate his excellent stamina and nose.
The German Wirehaired Pointer can be a great companion for an owner who can meet his exercise needs. Training this dog to compete in rally, tracking, agility, obedience or other sports will give him a job, exercise, and mental stimulation.
This breed is known to be slightly independent, which is why you will have to use a firm approach and not back down when he tries to challenge your authority. That said, the German Wirehaired Pointer does best with reward-based training and doesn’t respond well to harsh methods.
German Shepherd Dog
It is one of the most popular dog breeds in America and for good reason. The German Shepherd is a capable and intelligent working dog. His courage and devotion are unmatched and he is extremely versatile.
This furry companion would excel at anything that you train them to do – military service, assistance work for handicap people, drug detection, obedience, and search and rescue. They make for a loyal and faithful dog.
If a German Shepherd is well-trained and has lots of exposure to children in early puppyhood, they would make an excellent large breed for kids. If you are looking through large dog breeds to find a loyal and faithful companion that would get along well with your family members, then the German Shepherd should definitely be on your shortlist.
Created and bred as a working dog, the Giant Schnauzer has a keen drive and intelligence. They can be courageous and loyal companions for the individual who can provide an outlet for their high energy levels and train them properly.
This canine is characterized by his rugged build and commanding appearance. The twinkle in his eyes is suggestive of his playful nature. The Giant Schnauzer has a big personality.
He is also energetic and intelligent and would make your life interesting with his playfulness nature. In short, the Giant Schnauzer is a handful.
The 3rd most popular dog breed in the U.S. is the Golden Retriever. The Golden possesses a goofy, endearing personality and is a consummate people pleaser. They’re a popular big dog breed for families with kids since Goldens are so calm and gentle.
In addition to being an ideal large family dog, the Golden retriever is also well-suited as a guide, service, and therapy dog.
Golden Retrievers come in coat colors ranging from white, cream to dark red. Their hair sheds quite a bit and is either wavy or straight. This large dog breed can stand up to 24” in height at the shoulder and weigh up to 75 pounds.
The Greyhound dog is a sweet-tempered, gentle, and noble dog blessed with a loyal nature and independent spirit. These hounds have fascinated kings, poets, and artists for many years and today they are loved by families who prefer large dogs as their companion.
The Greyhound features a narrow, aerodynamic skull and shock-absorbing pads on the feet, which makes them an excellent choice for a high-speed chase. The unique shape of the Greyhound looks fascinating. These dogs can stand as high as 30” and weigh about 65 to 70 pounds.
They can be a good option for both novice and experienced owners.
Originally bred as a rabbit courser, the Ibizan Hound needs plenty of exercise to stay in good shape and maintain good behavior. The elongated head and large erect ears are two distinctive features of this canine.
When it comes to size, the Ibizan Hound can stand as tall as 27.5” at the shoulder. The coat colors of this dog include white or red or white and red patterns. The leathers of the lips, eye rims, and nose have a rosy color that complements the coat.
This is a high-spared gundog known for its flashy red coat, swiftness, and grace. Irish Setters have a sweet temper and they make great family dogs. Some say that this canine is the most beautiful of large dog breeds.
The substantial and elegant build of the Irish Setter is complemented with a brilliant coat of chestnut or mahogany. Long legs and powerful rear-drive place this dog among the fastest of all sporting canines.
The Irish Setter has a lovable personality and they enjoy making friends. These canines respond well to patient and positive training. They are also said to be rugged hunting partners.
Irish Water Spaniel
Standing 21” to 24” inches, the Irish Water Spaniel is one of the tallest spaniels. He is easily recognizable by his tapering rat tail and crisply curled coat.
This canine is alert and inquisitive, brave and hardworking in the field and playful at home. When it comes to weight, the Irish Water Spaniel can tip the scale to up to 65 pounds.
The features that differentiate this dog from others include a crisply curled weatherproof coat, a rat tail, and a chiseled head with long, loose curls.
The Komondor is an easily recognizable breed and because of their unique looks, it almost impossible to mistake them for anything else.
This furry dog is covered in thick white cords and requires a firm hand at training, which makes him a more suitable option for experienced owners. The male Komondor can stand over 27.5” and weighs more than 100 pounds. He has lots of muscles, a deep chest, and a heavy bone structure. Despite their burly-built, Komondors are light-footed and agile.
Bred as a working dog and a friendly companion, the Labrador Retriever is famous for being a helper of fishermen – fetching ropes, hauling nets and retrieving fish were some of his responsibilities.
Today’s Labrador Retrievers are just as hardworking and good-natured as their ancestors. They work as assistance dogs, search and rescue dogs, show competitors and retrievers for hunters.
Males stand as high as 24.5” and weigh up to 80 pounds while females can stand 21.5” to 23.5” and weigh up to 70 pounds.
Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdogs are famous for their profuse coat, unique hairdo, a distinctive gait, and agreeable nature. This canine loves exploring and makes a great family companion.
Beneath their profuse double coat, you will find plenty of bone, muscles, and big rump. The Old English Sheepdog can stand 21” to 22” at the shoulder. Their eyes are one of their most distinctive features as they can be blue, dark brown, or one of each. The skull of these canines is capacious and squarely formed, leaving plenty of room for impressive brainpower.
Old English Sheepdogs require regular exercise for their strong bodies. They are great with children and make protective and patient playmates.
As the name suggests, this dog was bred in medieval England for otter hunting. Affectionate and big, Otterhounds are known for their keen sense of smell, webbed feet, and dense shaggy coat.
They are expert swimmers and have powerful shoulders and a broad chest that allows them to swim all day long without showing signs of tiredness. The large black nose of these canines is very sensitive and could follow the scent trail of an otter over great distances.
The Pointer is known for its exceptional power and grace. These dogs are capable of impressive agility and speed and can stand 28” at the shoulder and weigh 75 pounds. The coat of the Pointer comes in several different colors, in patterns or solid.
These dogs are full of energy which makes them a great runner’s companion. Females Pointers are a little shorter than their male counterparts and stand up to 23”.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a powerful canine whose hallmark is the stripe or ridge of backward-growing hair at the back. These dogs were famous in their native country for tracking and baying lions. Today, Rhodesian ridgebacks are excellent family dogs and well-suited for owners who can deal with their strong prey drive and independent nature.
These furry pups are powerful athletes and can weigh over 85 pounds. They come in wheaten color which spans different shades. Rhodesian Ridgeback has two nose colors – brown and black.
These dogs must be trained with a firm yet fair hand from early puppyhood. They are faithful and protective of their owners and loved ones. Novice dog owners may not be able to handle a Rhodesian Ridgeback but he makes an excellent companion for an experienced owner.
Saluki is one of the oldest dog breeds. They are very fast, skinny, and devoted to their owners. Grooming a Saluki isn’t too hard, but training them can be a challenge for novice owners. This dog is bred for endurance, strength, and speed and these qualities are evident in his long head and muscular body.
Reserved and beautiful, the Saluki gets along well with family members and friends. He proves his loyalty with quiet companionship. Those who receive the gift of this pup’s devoted friendship would surely appreciate the honor.
The Weimaraner is loved by pet owners and hunters alike for his beauty, obedience, and friendly nature. These canines love exercise and would need plenty of it to refrain from aggressive behavior.
The Weimaraner has a distinctive silvery-gray coat and he can stand up to 27” at the shoulder. Females are a little shorter and can be as high as 25”. Properly bred Weimaraner is recognized by a solid color with a small white spot at the chest. These dogs have long velvety ears, blue-gray or amber eyes and a straight face that suggest intelligence.
A well-trained Weimaraner will get along well with kids and other family members. Trainability, loving nature, easy grooming, and friendliness of the Weimaraner make him an excellent pet. As an owner of this dog, you should be committed to keeping him mentally engaged and physically active.
Summing Up Our Big Dog Breeds List
Well, that was a long large dog breeds list. We hope you have made your decision about which popular large dog you want to bring home. Don’t panic if you haven’t decided yet, just consider the qualities of each dog and see if they would make a great pet for you or not.
If you are an experienced dog owner, you should be able to train and groom any large canine on our list. However, if you are a novice owner, you will have to be careful picking your pet.
Some large dogs can be dominant and demanding and would require an experienced trainer. Therefore, take your time when picking a large breed dog.
We hope the information provided above helps you find your ideal furry companion. In case you have any questions or if you need more information about a particular dog, feel free to write us a query and check out more large dog breed profiles on Canine Weekly!