Best Big Dog Breeds

Written by Emily Wolfel
Updated: September 14, 2022
Image Credit Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com
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Key Points

  • Originally bred in Switzerland, Bernese Mountain Dogs make great family pets because of their gentle and affectionate personalities.
  • Samoyeds have an interesting past, being bred by the Samoyed people, a mix of Finnish and Siberians, who utilized these smart dogs to herd reindeer.
  • Newfoundlands have earned the nickname “nanny dogs” because they are patient and very watchful with children.

They’re fine for other people, but small dogs don’t float your boat. For you, large, hulking canines are where it’s at! We understand. After all, there are several advantages to having a large dog as a pet. In general, they are easier to train than small dogs. They bond with new owners quickly, and they can make excellent guard dogs. As such, we hope you appreciate our list of the 11 best large dog breeds.

#11 Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs are the epitome of “gentle giants.” They weigh between 70 and 115 pounds but are calm and affectionate. However, if you’re in the mood to horse around, they’ll be more than happy to oblige. After all, Bernese Mountain Dogs love nothing more than pleasing their people.

Click here to learn more about Bernese Mountain Dogs, which are affectionate Swiss imports.

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A Bernese mountain dog with its tongue out, laying on a wooden path in the woods.
Bernese mountain dogs weigh between 70 and 115 pounds and love pleasing their humans.

DragoNika/Shutterstock.com

#10 Samoyed

Known as “smiling sled dogs,” Samoyeds are both gorgeous and hard working. Originally bred to withstand harsh northern climates, they sport beautiful coats and can withstand temperatures that dip below -60 ℉. Their name derives from the Samoyed people, native northerners with both Mongolian and Finnish blood who migrated to Siberia over a thousand years ago.

Click here to learn more about Samoyeds, which were originally bred to herd reindeer.

A Samoyed with its tongue out standing in a forest.
Samoyeds have a thick coat of fur that can withstand temperatures of -60 ℉.

Nikolai Tsvetkov/Shutterstock.com

#9 Afghan Hound

With their long straight hair, pointy faces, and considerable size, Afghan hounds turn heads. Some people think they’re odd-looking, and others revere them as regal. The large breed has ancient roots and was a favorite of European monarchs. They’re rare today, but most owners are fanatical about their unique canines.

Click here to learn more about Afghan Hounds, which date back to 4000 BC.

An Afghan hound standing in a park near a body of water.
The Afghan hound was favored by European monarchs and have been around since 4000 BC.

DragoNika/Shutterstock.com

#8 Newfoundland

Newfies are large, in charge, and incredibly sweet. Considered “nanny dogs,” the big lugs are patient and watchful with children. But they can weigh up to 150 pounds, so leaving newborns around them unsupervised isn’t the wisest move. Accidents can and do happen.

Click here to learn more about Newfoundlands, which were the chosen pet of many U.S. presidents.

A black Newfoundland walking in the grass with its tongue out.
Newfoundlands, also known as “Newfies” can weigh up to 150 pounds.

Purino/Shutterstock.com

#7 Borzoi

Borzoi dogs, also known as Russian Wolfhounds, are thin and large — standing 28 to 30 inches and weighing 60 to 100 pounds. From snout to tail, everything about them is angular. They’re also fast and can chug along at 49 miles per hour. Often described as elegant, the large breed was a favorite of Russia’s ruling Romanov family.

Two borzoi dogs standing in a forest.
Borzoi dogs, also known as Russian Wolfhounds can weigh up to 100 pounds and run at speeds of up to 49 miles per hour.

Julia Shepeleva/Shutterstock.com

#6 Curly-Coated Retriever

Described by the American Kennel Club as “a thinking person’s retriever,” Curly-Coated Retrievers are large animals with big brains. They’re also incredibly proud and have a seemingly indefatigable store of energy. Traditionally, Curly-Coated Retrievers are gun dogs, and thanks to their waterproof coats, they have no problem bounding into the nearest lake or river.

Click here to learn more about Curly-Coated Retrievers, which are affectionate with their humans but aloof with strangers.

A curly-coated retriever laying on a park bench.
Curly-Coated Retrievers were bred to be hunting dogs and have waterproof coats.

otsphoto/Shutterstock.com

#5 Giant Schnauzer

Smart and highly trainable, Giant Schnauzers are wonderful large animals that a fancier once famously described as “bold and valiant figures.” Their double, wiry coats require lots of grooming, and Giant Schnauzers need loads of exercise to live their best lives. But for people with the time and resources, it’s difficult to find a more loyal friend.

Click here to learn more about Giant Schnauzers, which originated in Germany.

A giant Schnauzer sitting in a field with tall grass and yellow dandelions.
The Giant Schnauzer originated in Germany and sports a double, wiry coat of fur.

Frank11/Shutterstock.com

#4 Great Dane

With their gigantic upright ears and saggy jowls, Great Danes are the iconic big breed. Svelte and standing 32 inches tall, these “Apollos of Dogs” are strong, patient, and surprisingly easygoing. An excellent choice for busy families, they don’t need frequent grooming, nor do Great Danes shed much. However, puppy training is a must because they need to learn how to control their size.

Click here to learn more about Great Danes, which were originally bred as boarhounds.

Two Great Danes running through a field with yellow dandelions.
Great Danes can stand at 32 inches tall and don’t shed much.

Claire Plumridge/Shutterstock.com

#3 Komondor

Originally from Hungary, Komondor dogs are large pups with a distinct style. Their corded coats are a show stopper — especially at the dog park — but their grooming bills aren’t for the financially faint of heart. They can grow to nearly 30 inches and usually weigh about 100 pounds. Be aware, though, that they’re exceptionally independent. Plus, training — while possible — isn’t a cakewalk.

Fun fact: the plural of Komondor is Komondorok.

Komondor dog standing in the grass.
Komondor dogs can grow to nearly 30 inches tall and weigh around 100 pounds.

Lenkadan/Shutterstock.com

#2 Old English Sheepdog

The quintessential shaggy dog breed, Old English Sheepdogs are large, mellow, and affectionate with their people. They can have either brown or blue eyes — and some have one of each! They need a good brushing two or three times a week, and owners should expect profuse seasonal shedding. Old English Sheepdogs possess independent streaks — but they’re also smart and have memories like elephants.

Click here to learn more about Old English Sheepdogs, which are very sociable.

An Old English Sheepdog sitting in the grass in front of trees.
Old English Sheepdogs require lots of grooming and shed profusely.

Svetlana Valoueva/Shutterstock.com

#1 Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiffs aren’t just big — they’re huge. The average male stands over 30 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs upward of 150 pounds! At first glance, they’re terrifying. But like many large dog breeds, Neapolitan Mastiffs are sweet and steady with the ones they love. As far as strangers go, they’re not aggressive, but they are wary.

These giants get very attached to their family and are prone to separation anxiety when left alone. Like all dogs, it is important to give them plenty of socialization with other people, places, and animals when they are a puppy. This deters later aggression towards unfamiliar people or pets and gives your dog some much-needed mental stimulation. While they tend to be a bit lazy once they reach maturity, Neapolitan Mastiffs get bored easily. This can lead to destructive behavior, so it’s important to make sure they are getting enough exercise and excitement in their days to stave off any boredom chewing.

Click here to learn more about Neapolitan Mastiffs, which are very protective of their homes.

Two brown Neapolitan mastiffs laying in the grass with their tongues out.
Neapolitan mastiffs are huge, standing at over 30 inches tall and weighing up to 150 pounds.

Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com

Summary of the Best Big Dog Breeds

If you’re searching for a big dog to join your family, here’s a review of the best big dog breeds:

RankBreed
1Neapolitan Mastiff
2Old English Sheepdog
3Komondor
4Great Dane
5Giant Schnauzer
6Curly-Coated Retriever
7Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound)
8Newfoundland
9Afghan Hound
10Samoyed
11Bernese Mountain Dog

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About the Author

Emily is an editor and content marketing specialist of five years. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania where you can regularly encounter anything from elk to black bears to river otters. Over the years, she raised livestock animals, small animals, dogs, cats, and birds, which is where she learned most of what she knows about various animals and what allowed her to work as a dog groomer and manager of a specialty pet store. She now has three rescue cats and two high-needs Pomeranian mixes to take up her love and attention.

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