10 Super-Strong Muscular Dog Breeds

pitbull staring into distance
Viola Polikarpova/Shutterstock.com

Written by Em Casalena

Updated: September 18, 2023

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Every dog lover has particular attributes and traits that they like more than others when selecting a four-legged buddy. Some people adore tiny, cuddly dogs, while others choose bulky, ferocious-looking muscular dog breeds.

The fact that muscular dog breeds make great watchdogs is one of their main appeals. Nothing scares away a thief quite like an imposing, barking dog. Fortunately, many muscular breeds make ideal security systems since they are great at watching over their homes in addition to barking.

Even in dogs, muscles are a sign of health and vigor. Some dog owners don’t even care about the dog’s personality when they have a dog that is very strong-looking; the dog’s appearance alone serves as a deterrence to thieves and crooks. So, even if your dog would simply lick someone to death and do little else to defend their territory, few people would risk angering these powerful tough-looking dog breeds.

The list below is a wonderful starting point if you’re looking to adopt a muscular dog breed that will make an excellent furry friend and watchdog alike.

Strong muscular dogs infographic
Boxers are known for their muscular build and strong jaws.

Is It Safe to Own Muscular Dog Breeds?

Keep in mind that choosing a dog shouldn’t ever be based primarily on appearance. Instead, you should pick a pup who will blend in with your household, surroundings, and way of life. Originally, muscular dogs were bred to aid humans in hard work, hunting, and defense. To keep these breeds content, your lifestyle should include lots of exercise and physical activity.

You’ll notice that muscled dogs come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and temperaments. From the following list of muscular canines, pick a breed that aligns most with your lifestyle and activity level. From there, really do your research on the breed to ensure it is appropriate for your home size, family size, and other life factors.

Unfortunately, many of these dogs are frequently listed on lists of prohibited dog breeds. Make sure you are aware of the neighborhood and municipal regulations in your region regarding dog breeds. Moreover, keep in mind that their strength comes from their muscles, but their behavior comes from good or bad training. To prevent unforeseen mishaps with people or other animals, the breeds described below should always be well-socialized and trained.

Let’s get into these muscular dog breeds, shall we?

1. American Staffordshire Terrier

American staffordshire terrier running with stick in its mouth


American Staffordshire Terrier

(pictured) is a tough breed that used to be the mascot of the United States Army.

The American Staffordshire Terrier was first developed for disgraceful activities like dog fighting and bull-baiting. The current breed, however, is far more placid and gentle than its forefathers.

This breed of dog is related to the Olde English Bulldog. These dogs had to be strong since they were designed to lure bulls and bears. These traits are still present now in their muscular physique and ongoing demand for exercise. American Staffordshire Terriers are square-headed, medium-sized canines with a highly stocky and athletic frame. The breed has a commanding appearance thanks to its big head, sharp ears, powerful mouth, and thick necks. American Staffordshire Terriers are about 70 pounds of pure muscle at barely 19 inches tall.

These dogs have become wonderful pets, military dogs, watch dogs, guard dogs, and even movie dogs because of their tremendous energy, devotion, high intellect, and ease of training. They often get on well with kids, although they struggle with other animals.

2. American Pit Bull Terriers

Colby Pit Bull

The Pit Bull is a beloved companion that shows remarkable capabilities in various working roles.

American Pit Bull Terriers, often known as pit bulls and bullies, are one of the largest yet most lovable dog breeds. These canines were once developed for strength and used in the cruel sport of bull-baiting before becoming farm dogs. This breed still exhibits the traits of a working dog today.

American Pit Bull Terriers seem fairly threatening due to their wide chest and distinct muscular build. They are of average height, with a body that is somewhat longer than it is tall and has a rectangular form. These dogs have broad noses and huge heads with widely spaced eyes. Males can grow up to 21 inches tall and weigh up to 60 pounds, while females can reach heights of up to 18 inches and 50 pounds, respectively.

Although they have a fearsome appearance, American Pit Bull Terriers are actually perfect sweethearts that are unbelievably sociable to strangers, which, unfortunately, may not make them the finest guard or watchdog. Nonetheless, the majority of the time, their very existence deters strangers. These dogs can now be seen competing in sanctioned sports like dock jumping and weight hauling. Due to their beauty, loyalty, friendliness, and desire to please their owners, these dogs make wonderful family companions. Also, they are particularly amiable and sympathetic to children.

3. English Bulldogs

English bulldog with tongue out on couch

English Bulldogs (pictured) are muscular dogs, but they are also pretty serious couch potatoes.

This breed, which originated in England as the first bull-baiting dog, dates back to the early 13th century. The English Bulldog lacks a lot of drive, in contrast to the American Bully breed. They are actually snorting, wheezing, lethargic dogs; but how can you not love them?

Even still, this dog’s well-muscled physique still bears the scars of its terrible past. Although they are just 15 inches tall, they can weigh up to a stunning 50 pounds of mostly muscle. This breed has a pleasant demeanor that is dependable and predictable. The majority of kids love them, although they may be aggressive with particular animals and make great watchdogs.

4. Doberman Pinschers

Doberman Pinschers

Doberman Pinschers (pictured) are incredible strong and defensive dogs that make great protection dogs.

One of the best security dogs you can find, Doberman Pinschers have a very royal appearance and are very robust. They were raised as working canines and used to be trained to assist law enforcement. This breed was developed as a guard dog in Germany in the 1800s and has a powerful physique and intimidating characteristics. Although its exact genetic origins are unknown, it is thought that the breed we know today is a cross between the Rottweiler, German Pinscher, and Black and Tan Terrier, all of which can be seen in the Doberman’s powerful build.

The black and brown coat of this midsize dog draws attention to its toned body and powerful square frame. Puppies of this breed tend to have high energy requirements and should exercise frequently for healthy growth. Doberman Pinscher males can reach a height of 28 inches, while females can reach a height of 26 inches. The average weight of a male or female is about 80 pounds.

These dogs are fully aware of their threatening physical appearance and know how to exploit their physique accordingly. Moreover, they are impetuous, stubborn, and tenacious. That being said, Doberman Pinschers may be among the most obedient and devoted dogs with strict and persistent training.

5. Cane Corsos

Grey Cane Corso dog playing in field

Cane Corsos (pictured) need in-depth training in order to grow into mellow, relaxed dogs.

The Cane Corso, sometimes called the Italian Mastiff, is a huge dog with an intimidating presence. Its personality is also quite imposing and overpowering. Only if you are a capable, seasoned trainer and have the time to properly educate and socialize your Cane Corso should you consider getting one of these canines.

This muscular beauty is a descendant of the old dogs of war. It requires lots of interaction and training to keep from becoming hostile or defensive. This breed may make a wonderful family and guard dog if you have the time to devote to it.

6. Rottweilers

smartest dog breeds - Rottweiler

Rottweilers (pictured) might have a bad reputation, but they make incredible family dogs that love children.

Rottweilers, which were developed in Germany, are famous for their immense physical strength. They served as security dogs, cart-pullers, and cargo carriers in addition to herding sheep. But in addition to their power, Rottweilers are also quite clever, making them easy to train and useful as guard and police dogs.

One of the largest muscular dog breeds out there, Rottweilers are stocky and have big heads. Despite having a powerful snout, they appear rather droopy due to their floppy top jowls. The average height and weight of a male Rottweiler are 27 inches and 130 pounds, while a female can grow up to 25 inches and weigh close to 100 pounds.

Because of their aggressive nature and tendency to dominate other dogs of comparable size and build, Rottweilers have a bad reputation. Young Rottweilers must thus be properly socialized and trained from a young age. Just as well, they tend to make wonderful pets and are good with children. Its kindness does not, however, extend to outsiders, which is ideal for a watchdog. The excessive energy that Rottweilers have has to be routinely expended, along with mental stimulation. If you don’t provide it to this breed, they could start showing behavioral issues.

7. Greyhounds

Dog in Martingale Collar

Greyhounds (pictured) are the fastest dog breed in the pet world today.

Although you would not think of the Greyhound as a muscular breed given its lean, beautiful, and slender build, these sighthounds actually have a lot of strength. The Greyhound, known for being the fastest dog breed, can run at 45 miles per hour. Greyhounds are really fast and have strong legs, but they also make the best couch potatoes and will lie around with their families for hours. They require less exercise time than dogs of the same size and height since they have less stamina.

With the total removal of the aggressive characteristics in this breed, we now have a dog with a calm and loving nature. This breed still has a strong need to hunt, thus they are not appropriate for homes with tiny animals like rabbits or cats. Despite their pleasant disposition and benign attitude, they can be rather intimidating because of their size and stature.

8. Boxers

Boxer dog teeth

The Boxer (pictured) is a tough dog, but also a fiercely loyal family dog that can be easy to train.

Its common name accurately describes the Boxer’s athletic physique. The Boxer is a mixed breed with strong endurance levels and high intellect that was originally bred as a hunting dog. They are good security dogs since they are sociable, smart, devoted, and charming, yet they are apprehensive of strangers. Boxers are also extremely devoted to their owners and adore spending time with them.

Males of this breed can grow to a height of 25 inches and a weight of 80 pounds, while females can grow to a height of 22 inches and weigh up to 80 pounds. Boxers have a solid frame and a medium-sized physique. They tend to suffer from respiratory problems since they are Brachycephalic as well. They have a powerful back, a wide chest, and ears that are folded by nature.

Boxers are a cross between the Great Dane, English Bulldog, and the now-extinct Bullenbeisser breed. They were developed in Germany as hunting dogs. Boxers are renowned for being alert and confident, and for being incredibly dedicated and faithful to their masters. They may be skeptical of strangers even when they are trustworthy of their families. Boxers are patient and stoic, attentive, dignified, self-assured, loving with family members, and playful.

9. American Bullies

American Bully puppy dog

American Bully dogs (pictured) are very charming pups that do well with adequate training and socialization.

An amalgam of the American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier, Olde English Bulldog, and American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Bully is a relatively recent breed. Although this breed resembles a Pitbull in appearance, it is really a completely distinct breed that was created in the 1980s.

American Bullies have square-shaped muzzles and powerful bodies. Depending on whether it is a pocket size, standard, or giant breed, it may reach a height of up to 20 inches. This breed often weighs up to 100 pounds or even more.

Despite their intimidating appearance, American Bullies are actually charming, intelligent, and devoted to their owners. They have acquired a lot of popularity in recent years as a result of their ability to be both rugged on the outside and soft on the inside. These dogs are cheerful, sociable dogs who enjoy being around people. They are also wonderful with children and other animals if socialized around them while puppies. American Bullies are docile and eager to please their owners, but to get the most out of the breed, continuous training and socialization are required.

10. Dogo Argentino

A Dogo Argentino dog running

Dogo Argentino dogs (pictured) are a very special breed that is super strong and great as guard dogs.

The Dogo Argentino dog breed was developed for its fearlessness and was usually employed for hunting large game like wild boar. It is a highly athletic and courageous breed. Today, the military and police utilize them in search and rescue operations because of their great intelligence. They are also fantastic show dogs and guard dogs.

The Dogo Argentino has a distinct frame and a white coat. They have long, slender tails and triangular, pointed ears. Dogo Argentinos are very big dogs that may weigh up to 100 pounds and stand over 27 inches tall. Because of its short coat, dogs from this breed have an exposed muscle build that makes them look very tough. The Dogo Argentino is fierce when it comes to protecting its humans, but it is also vicious when it comes to other dogs and animals. This breed can make fantastic protection or companion dogs with the right training and socialization.

These are some incredible muscular dog breeds! If you think you can handle these hefty dogs and have time to dedicate to their training, they make excellent pets that will protect you and your family.

Honorable Mention: Other Muscular Dog Breeds

Bully Whippet - "A Mutation in the Myostatin Gene Increases Muscle Mass and Enhances Racing Performance in Heterozygote Dogs"

A mutation in the Myostatin gene causes breeds, like the bully whippet, to have an increase in muscle mass.

When it comes to dogs, there are certain breeds that don’t come to mind when thinking about muscles and strength, like the small but mighty Chihuahua. However, there are quite a few breeds that, while they didn’t make the top 10, deserve to be recognized. These dogs range from mastiff breeds, like the Kangal, to sight hounds, like the bully whippet. Here are a few dogs that show their muscle:

  • Bully Kutta – this large dog dates back to the 16th century, originating in Pakistan on the Indian Subcontinent, and is still quite popular in regions of India. Primarily used as guardians and livestock protectors, their muscle is highlighted on their bodies, which can weigh up to 200 pounds. They are described as dominating and should only be kept by experienced dog owners.
  • Kangal – this mastiff is a livestock guardian, originating in Turkey, which is why they are also known as the Turkish shepherd. They are so good at their job that they have been used in Africa to protect livestock from cheetahs. This breed can weigh up to 130 pounds and stands at up to 33 inches. Their powerful muscles are disguised under their thick fur which belies their strength.
  • Bully Whippet – this breed is quite interesting and has what is known as ‘Bully Whippet Syndrome‘, which is a disease, or inherited recessive trait, that causes an excess of muscle growth. They are considered homozygous, which means that they are so muscular they cannot run as fast as breeds that are considered heterozygotes. Bully whippets display a double muscling characteristic, or phenotype, that makes them rather muscular and although they are athletic, they are rarely raced due to their excessive muscular growth.
Bully Kutta Nolakhia

Bully Kuttas have short hair covering their wrinkly skin which earned them their name, which translates to heavily wrinkled dog.

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About the Author

Em Casalena is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on plants, gardening, and sustainability. Em has been writing and researching about plants for nearly a decade and is a proud Southwest Institute of Healing Arts graduate and certified Urban Farming instructor. Em is a resident of Arizona and enjoys learning about eco-conscious living, thrifting at local shops, and caring for their Siamese cat Vladimir.

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