It is no secret that at Canine Weekly, we love our big breeds. Whether it’s the giant bear paws, huge expressive eyes, beautiful coats, or larger-than-life personalities, big breeds are simply stunning dogs with so much to offer. But, which are the most beautiful large dog breeds?
Beauty is often said to be in the eye of the beholder, and as a massive dog fanatic, I would list every single big breed I could think of in this post. So, I have had to hold back and look at the scientific research, surveys, and studies to see what breeds should actually make the cut.
Big breeds can be gentle giants or fearless protectors. They can make for great family dogs, be an asset to our military services, and are determined and loyal service dogs. Big breeds are often working dogs with a work ethic to make the hardest of human workers feel inferior!
They’re as comfortable in the show ring as they are in the police force and have pretty incredible adaptability. Some big breeds live in apartments perfectly well, and many are great for first-time owners too.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Big Breeds?
Sadly, big breeds come with significant downsides that it wouldn’t be fair to ignore. Large breeds are more prone to health problems, tend to have a much shorter life expectancy, and are more expensive to own. Larger dogs can be higher-maintenance to keep, and you have to factor in the unignorable slabber that comes with many large breeds!
Larger dogs are obviously stronger than smaller breeds and can require firmer handling, with obedience training being essential. Some large breeds can be stubborn, and while this is also common in small breeds, it is easier to maneuver a Shih Zu who doesn’t want to walk than a Newfoundland.
As well as the running costs of a larger breed, other costs are significantly higher with a bigger dog, such as airline travel, pet insurance, veterinarian care, and boarding kennel fees. You could also be limited with vacation options and doggy daycare facilities, and don’t be alarmed if you’re not welcomed into the pack down the local dog park!
All that aside, let’s look at the 13 most beautiful large dog breeds, what makes them so, and what it would mean to own one.
13 Most Beautiful Large Dog Breeds in the World
|Ranking||Name||Height||Weight||Life span||Breed size||Temperament||Origin|
|1||The Afghan Hound||24-26 inches||50-60 lbs||10-12 years||large||Aloof, Dignified, Clownish, Happy||Afghanistan|
|2||Siberian Husky||20-24 inches||35-60 lbs||12-15 years||large||Outgoing, Friendly, Intelligent, Alert, Gentle||Siberia|
|3||Great Dane||28-32 inches||110-190 lbs||8-10 years||giant||Friendly, Devoted, Reserved, Confident||Germany|
|4||Standard Poodle||17-23 inches||61-100 lbs||12-15 years||large||timid, friendly, playful, anxious||Germany|
|5||Bernese Mountain Dog||23-27 inches||65-120 lbs||7-10 years||large||Intelligent, Affectionate, Loyal, Faithful||Switzerland|
|6||Alaskan Malamute||23-25 inches||75-85 lbs||10-12 years||large||Playful, Friendly, Devoted, Affectionate||Alaska|
|7||Rottweiler||22-27 inches||75-110 lbs||8-10 years||large||Steady, Self-assured, Devoted, Fearless||Germany|
|8||Dalmatian||19-23 inches||33-70 lbs||10-13 years||large||Outgoing, Friendly, Intelligent, Energetic||Croatia|
|9||Old English Sheepdog||22-24 inches||61-100 lbs||10-12 years||large||Intelligent, Sociable, Bubbly, Playful||England|
|10||Golden Retriever||21-24 inches||61-100 lbs||10-12 years||large||Friendly, Intelligent, Reliable, Kind||England|
|11||Long Haired German Shepherd||21-22 inches||50-90 lbs||9-13 years||medium||Highly intelligent and very loving||Germany|
|12||Samoyed||20-23 inches||44-66 lbs||12-14 years||large||Lively, Friendly, Sociable, Stubborn, Alert||Siberia, Russia|
|13||Rhodesian Ridgeback||25-27 inches||79-90 lbs||10-12 years||large||Sensitive, Dignified, Mischievous, Intelligent||Rhodesia, South Africa|
#1. The Afghan Hound
With hair we could only ever dream of having, the Afghan Hound is one of the most beautiful dogs in the world. The whole appearance of the Afghan Hound is of style and dignity; this breed is elegance personified!
The Afghan Hound is an ancient dog breed with an appearance like no other. The exotic face, striking thick, silky long coat and thin build, rivals any human model on today’s catwalks. This breed is adaptable and affectionate, able to live with any size of family in any sized home. They require a lot of exercise and are a high-energy breed, and that coat needs regular maintenance.
This breed can be called aloof, especially with strangers, but he is devoted to his family and doesn’t like to be left alone for long periods. I would recommend a large crate to reduce anxiety (find out how this helps here). If you can provide the care that the Afghan Hound requires, you will have a loving companion dog who is sure to turn heads with his beautiful looks.
#2. Siberian Husky
A truly captivating breed is the Siberian Husky. The Husky certainly has its place on the list with piercing blue or multi-colored eyes, a coat worthy of a shampoo commercial, and a beautiful bushy tail. And for a large breed, their life span is vast – 15 years or more – they’re one of the more robust and healthier big breeds with a strong work ethic.
The markings of this wolf-like breed include; red and white, gray and white, sable and white, black, tan and white, black and white, brown and white, and agouti and white. They can also be stunning white or striking black.
Feeding high-quality dog food is essential for the Siberian’s healthy skin and coat, with the coat requiring a lot of maintenance, in addition to keep mat free. Siberian Huskies are not recommended for novice owners or single dog households. They are very much a pack animal who thrives around their own kind but require a firm hand to keep in check.
#3. Great Dane
The tallest of all the dogs and possibly the most majestic is the Great Dane. Standing at 32-inches, at the shoulder, and taller than most humans when on the back legs, this is a breed that towers above all others. But what makes them beautiful?
The grand, regal appearance portrays elegance, dignity, and strength. The body of the Great Dane is well-formed, powerful, smooth, and muscular, and their face displays eyes of great intelligence, understanding, and compassion. The colors of this breed are eye-catching, from soft fawn and shimmering black to stunning harlequin and striking merle.
Great Danes can be expensive to own but extremely worth it. They’re loving with children, fun and playful, with a love for life and all things in it. Despite their large structure, this breed is a gentle giant in every sense of the word and one of the best-natured dogs around.
If you want a protection dog, this is not your breed – although the power bark and jumping ability are enough to deter a potential intruder.
#4. Standard Poodle
‘Pampered Poodle’ and ‘Poodle Parlour’ are not household terms for no reason – the Standard Poodle is beautiful – and he knows it. This breed is a regular winner in the show ring, with their elegant, sophisticated style commanding the attention of those around them on the daily!
Poodles have been bred with other pedigrees for decades to result in some of the most popular hybrids we have today. People cannot get enough of this beautiful dog! Whether Standard, Miniature, or Toy, and in a range of striking block colors, the Poodle proudly stands tall with the best of the best.
Underneath the low-allergen, curly coat is a loyal companion and elegant athlete suitable for most homes and owners out there. This breed is one of the most intelligent in the world, and so training and mental stimulation are essential to keep him of sound mind and happy. The Poodle needs around an hour a day of physical exercise and routine trips to the groomers.
#5. Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a strikingly good-looking dog with an equally beautiful personality. The breed is instantly recognizable with its shiny, tricolor coat and white ‘swiss cross’ marking on the chest. Bernese Mountain dogs have large-boned bodies with deep chests and look impressive. They are a working dog who needs a lot of space and owner interaction.
This breed is certainly not low-maintenance. They shed heavily and need almost constant attention, stimulation and exercise. This is not a dog suitable for outdoor living or a kennel life. But, what you put into this dog, you will get back a million times more and a more loving breed you’d be hard pushed to find.
When you look into the deep brown eyes of this handsome dog, you will see an intelligent, gentle soul with genuine empathy. Often compared to St. Bernards, but without the excessive drool and droopy jowls, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a beautiful large dog breed with an even more beautiful heart.
#6. Alaskan Malamute
Owning an Alaskan Malamute is a commitment. They are not easy dogs and not recommended for first-time owners, but their characters are something else! Often compared to Huskies, this breed has a double coat, large plumed tail, and similar wolf-like features that catch the eye of prospective owners.
There is an affectionate sparkle in their almond-shaped eyes, which can be blue but are predominantly brown. The tail is large, plumed, and bushy, arching halfway over the strong, well-built back. There will always be an iced-white coloring, which can be paired with black, brown, gray, red, sable, seal, silver, or blue.
Alaskan Malamutes think that everyone they meet is their friend. Although strong and extremely powerful, this breed is not known for aggression. They are, however, known to be stubborn and strong-willed. This high-energy breed can weigh up to 100lbs, and regular exercise and stimulation are needed to prevent undesirable behaviors.
The Rottweiler is a breed that gets a bad press – unfairly so. A misunderstood breed that is large in size and personality. The color is always predominantly glistening black with clearly defined rust markings. The AKC accepts the rust coloring to be tan or mahogany. It is not unusual for Rottweilers to have flecks of white on their chests too.
The almond shaped eyes are where the real beauty of the Rottweiler is. Intelligence, compassion, and a genuine understanding shines through them, often looking right into your soul. They require little maintenance to keep their coats famously silky; a bath every 12 weeks or so is adequate.
Rottweilers are extremely intelligent and very responsive to training, providing that you are firm and consistent. They can be mischievous and will often test the boundaries. Owning a Rottweiler can be the best experience if you’re prepared to put a little time into obedience training to prevent them from taking over the household with their infamous stubbornness.
A study looked at the golden ratio of dogs’ faces, with key points such as eyes, ears, and nostrils being analyzed and compared to ‘perfection.’ This study concluded that Dalmations were the most beautiful of all the dog breeds. There is no disputing that their eye-catching coat, of liver or black spots, is one of the most distinguished in the dog world.
The head of the Dalmatian is in balance with the rest of the body and of fair length and free from loose skin. This breed has an intelligent and alert expression, with eyes being round and set moderately apart. The eyes are usually brown or pretty blue, and both colors are acceptable by the AKC.
Dalmations are a bit of a needy dog, with owner interaction and exercise needing to take place almost excessively. This high-energy dog loves his family hugely, and training can be great fun as they love to learn new things – they’re agile showmen who were regular circus performers before turning their hand to working with our emergency services.
The Dalmatian is famed for working with the fire brigade, of which they are still the unofficial mascot.
#9. Old English Sheepdog
If you’re looking for a fluffy large breed dog, then the Old English Sheepdog may fit the bill. With their beautiful long shaggy coat of gray and white and gentle disposition, they’re a great family dog with bags of personality.
Their coat is their most distinguishing feature, and this does require a lot of grooming, with shedding being a notable problem for the more house-proud owner. Old English Sheepdogs are giant balls of fluff who love activity and play. We’re talking hours of exercise per day here.
Sadly, people don’t seem to know what they’re taking on with this large breed, and they often end up in rescue centers because of this. If you’re able to take on a rescue Old English Sheepdog, click here to find a specialized center in your area.
#10. Golden Retriever
No list of beautiful breeds would be complete without mentioning one of the nation’s favorite dogs – the Golden Retriever. With luscious golden locks, an elegant strut, and possibly the kindest eyes in the dog world, this is a breed that is so much more than beautiful – but beautiful they are nonetheless.
Golden Retrievers are suitable to all families, all homes, and all ways of life, with an adaptability that is really quite unique. They can thrive performing daring rescues in the military and display such empathy and kindness working as therapy dogs. This breed makes excellent companion pets too.
If you’re lucky enough to own a Golden Retriever, then you will know the joy and happiness they bring. If you’re looking for a first-time dog, here is a list of breeders registered with the AKC.
#11. Long Haired German Shepherd
The Long Haired German Shepherd is a strong dog with a look of pure elegance. Their sharp features combined with long, silky locks make them quite the head-turner. This breed is not for the novice owner and requires lots of obedience training from the beginning. GSDs are prone to destructive behavior without, and sometimes even aggression.
The Long Haired German Shepherd is a knowledgeable dog with great stamina and a good work ethic, who can be extremely loyal and loving, with pleasing their owner the top priority. They are very responsive to training and make wonderful family dogs in the right hands.
The long hair is actually considered a fault, and only 10% of German Shepherds carry the ‘faulty’ gene. To get a litter of long-haired GSDs, both parents need to have long hair, which in itself is rare as most breeding organizations do not accept long hair as it goes against standard regulations.
Known affectionately as the ‘smiling sled dog,’ the Samoyed has a friendly fox-like face and ultra-thick dense, white coat. Although often classified as a medium breed, they reach between 20 – 30kg, and with anything over 25kg being considered a large dog, I put the Samoyed in the list.
The Samoyed’s most prominent feature is their ice white coat, which is so dense it can prove challenging ever to see the skin underneath. The fur is incredibly soft to the touch, but boy do they shed?! Owning a Samoyed can be a never-ending battle if you want a fur-free home. I would strongly recommend couch covers, at the very least!
Samoyeds have been companion dogs for humans for centuries, and this is an instinctual part of them still very present today. Despite the fact they can reach 30kg, they seem unaware of this fact and will be the fluffiest lapdog you would ever own. Samoyeds need a lot of space and even more attention – and are very vocal if their needs aren’t met.
#13. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Described by the AKC as ‘affectionate, dignified, and even-tempered, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a strong, muscular dog that is symmetrical and balanced in outline. A full-grown Rhodesian Ridgeback is a handsome, upstanding, and agile fellow, capable of great endurance with a fast speed and high prey drive.
The outline of the Ridgeback should be symmetrical, slightly longer than tall, but always well-balanced. They have a flat skull that is broad between the ears and wrinkle-free to meet breed standards. Their coat will always be wheaten in color, with their trademark stripe of backward-growing hair running up the center of the back.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback makes an excellent companion and is highly tolerant. They tend to be very protective of their families, especially the children in the house. This breed is a natural watchdog but often needs a firm hand during puppyhood so that the alpha of the family is established early on.
Large dog breeds are often brought in haste; what is one minute a cute ball of fluff is the next a giant monstrous hound that’s taken over the house. But, when the right owners adopt the right breed, beautiful things happen. As always, please consider your local shelter who I guarantee will have a larger percentage of large dogs in there waiting to be taken home.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.