Massive, huge, gigantic, mammoth—these are just a few of the words that may come to mind anytime you see a truly giant dog walking down the street. Canine Weekly describes a giant, or x-large, dog breed as one that is between at least 90-100 pounds regardless of height. Typically measured from floor to the top of the shoulder, all giant dogs are pretty tall too, since the two generally go hand-in-hand.
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If you're thinking about adding a new giant companion to your family, take into consideration the giant needs of such a large animal. From the required daily exercise, healthy appetite and need for constant attention, choosing the right breed for your family is no simple decision. Whether you're looking for a new companion, or just want to know more about these massive animals, this list of the top 12 most common giant dog breeds in the United States will arm you with the information you need.
Originating in Japan, the Akita is a powerhouse of a dog with males clocking in at an average of 100-130lbs, according to the American Kennel Club. They have a dense coat and a trademark tail that curls over their back. Hailed as natural guardians, an Akita will easily take on the role of family guardian without special training. Akitas are giant dogs though that require daily exercise, but you don't have to worry about spending all your time throwing frisbees at the dog park -- they're perfectly happy with leisurely walks.
2. Great Dane
This giant dog is typically at least 30 inches from floor to shoulder and is actually one of the biggest dogs on our list. In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records boasts a great dane named Zeus as the tallest dog in the world, measuring in at a whopping 44 inches (that's over 7ft tall when standing on his hind legs!). With this giant dog though, comes a giant heart. Great Danes are affectionate and aim to please their owners, so you'll want to integrate them as a part of the family instead of a keeping them as a yard dog.
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog Association Dog Club of America describes the breed as intelligent, good natured and great with kids. The dogs can be shy though, so it's a good idea to make sure they are introduced to a wide variety of people, places and other animals, especially when they're puppies. The breed is known for its tri-coloring and coat of thick long hair, which might not make it a good fit for folks with allergies since they tend to shed and need to be consistently brushed.
4. Mastiff (English Mastiff)
There are a handful of different kinds of Mastiff's -- Bullmastiff, Neopolian Mastiff, and the Tibetan Mastiff, to name a few. The one we are talking about is the English Mastiff and can weight up to 230lbs! Their massive heads, wrinkled face and muscular build can make these giant dogs seem intimidating, but they're actually known for being one of the most gentle breeds, according to Therapy Pet. Mastiff's are total couch potatoes, and while they do enjoy a short walk, they have one of the lowest exercise requirements for such a big dog.
5. Saint Bernard
Prone to shedding, excessive amounts of drool, and energy to spare -- getting a Saint Bernard puppy is not for the weak. But if you can put up with all of that, you'll have a loving, loyal companion in a few years once they mature. Training is essential since Saint Bernards can be quite independent and stubborn too, so they excel with routine and motivational methods like praise and rewards, advises Your Pure Bred Puppy.
6. Great Pyrenees
These giant white dogs are so independent they're almost cat like says The Great Pyrenees Club of America. They can easily integrate themselves into your routine and are calm by nature though, but they prefer a large fenced in yard with plenty of room to roam. With a lifespan of 10-12 years, the Great Pyrenees will leave a lasting impression on your family.
7. Irish Wolfhound
The Irish Wolfhound has a distinct rough coat and usually looks like they just rolled out of bed. Grooming is easy with this breed though -- there isn't anything required except the usual bath. The Irish Wolfhound Club of America actually call clippers and trimmers the enemy and that no part of the dog, especially the head, should ever appear styled.
The black and brown markings of a Rottweiler are unmistakable. These massive muscular dogs are loyal and protective so they can be apprehensive towards strange people and animals, warns VCA Hospitals, so early socialization is essential. They are high-energy dogs and require at least two hours of exercise a day, according to the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals, so you'll have plenty of chances to get them out and about.
This massive breed, with males nearing 150 pounds, is another gentle giant. The American Kennel Club actually says the sweet temperament of the Newfoundland has given it a reputation for being a great "nanny dog" for families with children.
If you're looking for a friendly, well-tempered companion who likes the ability to run off-leash but still wants to cuddle, a Leonberger might be right for you. Hard working and very intelligent, they pick up new commands quickly says Breed Advisor. Just take your states climate into consideration before committing though. Their thick double coat means it's hard to keep them happy in hot temperatures, but they sure love the cold.
11. Black Russian Terrier
Typically terriers are small dogs, but the Black Russian Terrier is anything but tiny. This breed was created in, you guessed it -- Russia, and according the Black Russian Terrier Club of America, is the result of 17 different breeds, including Rottweiler and Newfoundland (which are also on this list). The resulting breed is reliable and highly intelligent, which means they'll excel at things like agility competitions.
12. Dogue de Bordeaux
Best known as the companion to Tom Hanks in Turner and Hooch, these dogs are every bit as drooly, loyal and intelligent as they are depicted in the film. Their permanent serious expression and x-large size can make them seem intimidating, but they're actually very affectionate and are known for pawing at their owners for a back scratch says the Dogue De Bordeaux Society of America.
- Canine Weekly
- Guinness Book of World Records
- Bernese Mountain Club of America
- Therapy Pet
- Newfoundland Puppies
- Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals
- The Black Russian Terrier Club of America
- American Kennel Club - Akita
- Your Pure Bred Puppy
- Irish Wolfhound Club of America
- VCA Hospitals
- American Kennel Club - Newfoundland
- Breed Advisor
- Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America