8 Of The Largest Dog Breeds

If you’re reading this, chances are, you can never get enough of all things dog! For some of us, that means that the more “dog” that’s in one furry package, the better!

These big breeds below represent more fur, more slobber, and more big-armed snuggles than their smaller canine counterparts. Many of the pups on this list are gentle giants, but sadly, their large size can come at a price: big breeds tend to age faster than smaller ones, meaning that their life expectancy is often less than 12 years.

However, fans of of these huge breeds wouldn’t trade their gargantuan pups for the world, and couldn’t imagine life with a pooch that’s  petite. According to the American Kennel Club, here are 8 of the largest dog breeds.

1. Great Dane

The funny thing about Great Danes is they’re not actually Danish! The German breed was once valued as a hunting companion and guard dog. Now, they’re just known as giant, protective love bugs!

With females weighing between 110 and 140 pounds, and males tipping scales at 140 to 175 pounds, these huge dogs have a life expectancy of 7-10 years.

Great Danes need adequate living space, as well as eating a lot of dog food (which can get quite expensive!), but they are are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming needs. Their short coats mean they only need occasional brushing / baths, and they don’t shed excessively. However, Great Dane owners should know that their long-legged friends will need adequate exercise. They are also very prone to bloat, so their eating schedule should be designed to reduce the risk of this condition (multiple small meals a day, no exercise right after eating).

Check out these fun facts about Great Danes.

2. Neapolitan Mastiff

These statuesque dogs are certainly an intimidating sight to see! With genetics dating back as far as 700 b.c., these pups were used as war dogs and guard dogs in the Roman Empire.

With weights as high as 110 to 150 pounds, this breed usually lives between 7 and 9 years.

While minimal brushing and bathing is needed to keep a Neapolitan Mastiff’s coat neat and clean, their eyes and ears need to be cleaned out regularly. Moderate exercise is usually enough for these pups, plus they tend to overheat, so owners need to be careful to not exhaust them. These dogs need strong and consistent leadership as well as socialization from puppyhood and beyond. They don’t tend to be super social with strangers, however they are intensely loyal to the members of their family.

Image Source: Tim Dawson via Flickr

3. Mastiff

These colossal canines are natural protectors and are impressive to look at. They could care less about meeting new people, as their family members are the only ones who truly hold their hearts.

Male Mastiffs can grow from 160 to a whopping 230 pounds, while females are still large at 120 – 170 pounds. The life expectancy of these pups is 6-10 years.

It doesn’t take a whole lot of exercise or grooming to keep these dogs happy and healthy, but like Neapolitan Mastiffs, strong leadership and socialization from a young age. However, they still have sensitive souls, so positive reinforcement is the most effective teaching tool.

Image Source: Fotosuabe via Flickr

4. Newfoundland

Newfies are known for being loving and gentle sweethearts. As protectors and playmates, they’re a great choice for families with kids of all ages! Bred to save people drowning in icy waters, they have incredibly strong bodies, despite their soft personalities.

With males averaging 130-150 pounds and females between 100 – 120 pounds, their life expectancy is between 9 and 10 years.

These pups are relatively easy to care for with regular brushing and moderate exercise. They’re also one of the friendliest breeds of giant dogs, and as natural people-pleasers, they are relatively easy to train, although obedience should start in puppyhood.

5. Bernese Mountain Dog

Known for being calm and affectionate, Bernese Mountain Dogs are also mighty and strong. These working dogs were bred to guard farms and drove cattle in the mountains of Switzerland.

Although big and strong, these pups are some of the smaller ones on this list, with females weighing between 70 and 95 pounds, and males weighing between 80 and 115 pounds. The usually live between 7 and 10 years.

Bernese Mountain Dogs need their share of exercise, and their size means that room to run is ideal. As for those long, beautiful coats, beware – they shed! But fans of the breed will say that the loving, gentle soul of this breed makes the extra hair well worth it.

6. Great Pyrenees

Pyrs are majestic mountain dogs that were bred to protect sheep from wolves. But despite their guardian roots – which still hold true when it comes to protecting their families – they are known for being patient and friendly with people of all ages.

Similar in size to Bernese Mountain Dogs, females are usually 85+ pounds, while males often surpass 100. Their life expectancy is 10-12 years.

These pups need to be brushed weekly, and despite their long hair, shedding is moderate. They’re not quite as outgoing as Bernies and Newfies, but they are very smart. It should also be noted that they are very active, especially for a breed of their size.

7. Leonberger

The furry coat of a Leonberger is a fluff lover’s dream! These sweet, playful giants were actually bred to be companions, but they’re also known for their amazing strength!

Male Leos can grow to be between 110 and 170 pounds, and females are 90-140 pounds. Unfortunately, these beauties have a particularly short life expectancy of only about 7 years.

These humungous pups are some of the friendliest of the giant breeds, and their people-pleasing demeanor makes them easy to train. Those long coats need daily brushing, and with relatively high exercise needs, room to live and play is best.

8. Irish Wolfhound

These huge hounds are the tallest of the breeds, but their lankiness means they’re not necessarily the heaviest. This centuries-old breed enchanted our ancestors, and they still impress dog lovers today. In fact, you may recognize them from their role in Game of Thrones!

Male Irish Wolfhounds can weight 120 pounds, and females are usually about 105 pounds. Their height gives them a short life expectancy, they usually live around 6-8 years.

These colossal canines aren’t the worst shedders, and their wiry coats can usually be maintained with weekly brushing. Irish Wolfhounds can be stubborn when it comes to training, but they’re known for their naturally calm and noble demeanor. And one thing is for sure: they’ll certainly make an impression wherever you go!

Love huge dog breeds? See these colossal canines and more on the AKC video below:

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