Although their size may be intimidating, extra large dogs can make for great pets. Typically topping more than 80 pounds when fully grown, these gentle giants garner attention everywhere they go.
Of course, there are a lot of logistics to consider before making a commitment to own a large dog. “There are some wonderful larger breeds to discover, but potential owners must ensure that they are able to manage its size and have the appropriate home and lifestyle to care for it,” says Bill Lambert, head of health and welfare at The Kennel Club, the official kennel club of the U.K. Even major factors like “where you live and the type of car you will drive will all be affected,” adds Dr. Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer of the American Kennel Club.
If you’re searching for a sizable canine companion to welcome into your home, check out our large dog breeds list, plus get some general care tips.
10 Largest Dog Breeds
Bernese Mountain Dog
Weight: 70-115 lbs
Originating in the Swiss Alps, Bernese Mountain Dogs have long been a favorite for their docile demeanor and striking appearance. They are particularly gentle with children, which is why they are often considered among the best large dog breeds for families. Before committing to one, however, Klein suggests looking for responsible breeders that screen for health issues, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, blood disorders, and some cancers.
Weight: 110-175 lbs
This courageous yet affectionate breed tends to seek out human companionship over other dogs, Klein says. Don’t let their imposing size fool you—Great Danes are some of the most easy-going dogs out there. They are commonly considered to be great for apartment-living…as long as you can spare the square footage!
Weight: 120-230 lbs
It’s hard not to be intimidated by the size of a Mastiff. After all, many of them weigh more than an average adult human male. In fact, it’s the heaviest of the breeds on this list. But according to Klein, “they are usually gentle and calm.” These low-energy, loyal companions will protect their family at all costs. “If you live by yourself, you should be sure you’re capable of lifting your dog if necessary,” Klein recommends, “or be sure to have some strong and willing friends or family members available to help.”
Weight: 100-150 lbs
Aside from their large size, these striking dogs are first and foremost known for their sweet disposition. Newfoundlands are so good-natured, they’re commonly referred to as “nanny dogs,” making them a nice addition to families with small children. Newfies adore the water and will take any opportunity to swim. “Their double texture coats are made for water work and sports,” Klein says. One important note: If you’re afraid of slobber, beware. These dogs can produce a truly impressive amount of drool!
Weight: 120-180 lbs
This strong and muscular working group breed is commonly known for its adorably over-sized head. “This breed requires moderate activity and is gentle and loveable,” Klein says. Much like other dogs in the Mastiff family, Saint Bernards are considered gentle giants who make loving and loyal family pets. Again, like the Newfies, you’ll also want to have a drool towel handy for these big guys!
Weight: 70-130 lbs
Originating in Japan, this attractive breed is considered to be a symbol of good health, happiness, and long life. Akitas are “usually loyal and devoted to their family but strong-willed and protective with personalities that can range from calm to dominant,” says Klein. He recommends that anyone welcoming one into their home “train and properly socialize early on in life.” Care should also be taken when introducing adult Akitas to outside children and other pets.
Weight: 105-120 lbs
Irish Wolfhounds can stand up to 7 feet tall on their hind legs, making them the tallest breed on this list. But don’t let their height intimidate you. These gentle dogs make wonderful companions, Klein says. Keep in mind that moderate to high activity levels and plenty of space are ideal for this breed. “Wolfhounds are based on a Greyhound and need enough yard to run and play when possible,” Klein notes.
Weight: 90-170 lbs
“Leonbergers are more active and energetic than most breeds their size,” notes Klein. As such, Leonbergers are best suited for active households. “They love to play and swim, and they thrive on spending time with their family,” he says. These lion-like dogs also require a lot of extra grooming, so be prepared!
Weight: 85-100 lbs
Although Great Pyrenees sit on the smaller end of the XL dog breed spectrum, their fluffy white fur can make them appear bigger than they really are. Once bred to guard sheep, Great Pyrenees are typically “gentle and affectionate with family but reserved toward strangers with strong territorial and protective instincts,” Klein describes. These dogs require a moderately active home and regular brushing to attend to their heavy double coat.
Weight: 80-110 lbs
With their long ears, big eyes, and droopy faces, Bloodhounds are hard not to fall in love with. You might be surprised to learn that Bloodhounds are an active breed, contrary to how they’re often depicted on screen. “Bloodhounds are a working hound with much stamina and require plenty of daily supervised exercise to maintain mental and physical fitness,” stresses Klein. He also notes the importance of keeping these dogs properly leashed and within fenced areas, since their noses can lead them to wander astray.
Care Tips for Large Dog Breeds
No matter which large dog breed you choose to welcome into your home, it’s important to remember that big dogs need special care. For instance, your dog may require daily grooming or at least once a week, depending on the type of coat, says Lambert of The Kennel Club. “The larger the dog, the more coat there will be to take care of,” he says.
Big dogs have more surface area for fleas and ticks to hide, so you should consider using a monthly treatment like Credelio® (lotilaner), especially if you regularly go on outdoor adventures. As with all dogs who enjoy spending time outdoors, you’ll also want to ensure your canine companion is on a year-round, broad-spectrum dewormer, such as Interceptor® Plus (milbemycin oxime/praziquantel).
See important safety information below for Credelio® and Interceptor® Plus.
There are also added costs that come with having a larger pet. To put things into perspective, a Mastiff might go through 60 pounds of dog food per month! “The cost of feeding an extra-large dog will be significantly more than a smaller dog, as will boarding fees, grooming fees and medicine, considering larger dogs take up more space, more time to bathe and groom, and more medication than smaller dogs,” says Klein.
All dogs require training, but good manners can be even more important for large dog breeds who might pose a physical threat if bad behaviors are allowed to persist. Although many of the largest dog breeds are good with kids, it’s important for parents of young children to be especially cautious with dogs of this size. “An unruly or out of control dog of such a size can cause mayhem and potentially be a danger to people or other pets if not properly trained and socialized,” Klein stresses.
With proper training and socialization early on, you can help ensure your large dog is a model pooch in the park, on the trails, or wherever else your adventures take you.
Credelio kills adult fleas and is indicated for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations, treatment and control of tick infestations (lone star tick, American dog tick, black-legged tick, and brown dog tick) for one month in dogs and puppies 8 weeks and older and 4.4 pounds or greater.
Credelio Important Safety Information
Lotilaner is a member of the isoxazoline class of drugs. This class has been associated with neurologic adverse reactions including tremors, incoordination, and seizures. Seizures have been reported in dogs receiving this class of drugs, even in dogs without a history of seizures. Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders. The safe use of Credelio in breeding, pregnant or lactating dogs has not been evaluated. The most frequently reported adverse reactions are weight loss, elevated blood urea nitrogen, increased urination, and diarrhea. For complete safety information, please see Credelio product label or ask your veterinarian.
Interceptor Plus Indications
Interceptor Plus prevents heartworm disease and treats and controls adult roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, and tapeworm infections in dogs and puppies 6 weeks or older and 2 pounds or greater.
Interceptor Plus Important Safety Information
Treatment with fewer than 6 monthly doses after the last exposure to mosquitoes may not provide complete heartworm prevention. Prior to administration of Interceptor Plus, dogs should be tested for existing heartworm infections. The safety of Interceptor Plus has not been evaluated in dogs used for breeding or in lactating females. The following adverse reactions have been reported in dogs after administration of milbemycin oxime or praziquantel: vomiting, diarrhea, decreased activity, incoordination, weight loss, convulsions, weakness, and salivation. For complete safety information, please see Interceptor Plus product label or ask your veterinarian.
Disclaimer: The author received compensation from Elanco US Inc., the maker of Interceptor Plus and Credelio, for her services in writing this article.
Credelio and Interceptor are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates.
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