Just about every dog lover dreams of having a large breed dog, but just how large do you really want to go? How about a giant breed dog? Speaking of which, just how big can they get?
The size of giant breed dogs can vary greatly depending on the specific breed. And it’s a pretty wide range, going from about 110 pounds (e.g. a Bullmasfiff) all the way up to 230 pounds (e.g. an English Mastiff).
Before you fulfill your dream of owning one of the giant breeds, it’s important to understand some of the pluses and minuses of these gentle giants.
Are They Really Giants?
Giant breed dogs are a group of dog breeds that are characterized by, well, their large size and weight! These breeds can grow to be much larger than the average dog, with some weighing over 200 pounds.
There isn’t a universally accepted definition of a giant breed dog, but most canine organizations consider any dog with an average weight of over 100 pounds to be a “giant” breed. Some of the most well known and beloved dogs are giant breeds: the Great Dane, the Mastiff, the Saint Bernard, the Newfoundland, and the Great Pyrenees..
A big reason giant breed dogs have become so popular is that despite their massive size and sometimes scary looks, many giant breed dogs are known for their gentle and affectionate personalities. They make wonderful great family pets.
That said, owning a giant breed dog comes with its own set of challenges. These dogs are BIG and therefore need lots of space. They are more challenging to train simply because of their great size and strength, which make early in life training mandatory.
Also, giant breed dogs are unfortunately prone to certain health issues, such as joint problems and heart disease, which can be expensive to treat.
If you are considering adding a giant breed dog to your family, make sure you do your homework and that you are prepared for the responsibilities that come with owning such a large and unique pet.
Okay, What Are Some Examples?
Giant dog breeds are known for their impressive size and stature. If you’re considering adding one of these gentle giants to your family, it’s important to understand just how big they can get. Here are some of the largest dog breeds and their average height and weight. Note that the smaller numbers for each breed are females.
|Great Dane||30-34 inches||110-175 pounds|
|Irish Wolfhound||32-25 inches||120-130 pounds|
|English Mastiff||27-30 inches||120-230 pounds|
|Leonberger||28-31 inches||120-170 pounds|
|Newfoundland||26-28 inches||100-150 pounds|
It’s important to note that these are just average heights and weights! Some individuals may be larger or smaller than these ranges. Additionally, factors such as diet, exercise, and genetics can all play a role in a dog’s size.
When it comes to caring for giant breeds, it’s important to provide them with plenty of space to move around and exercise. They also require a diet that is appropriate for their size and energy needs. Regular vet check-ups are also important to ensure their health and well-being.
While giant breeds may require a bit more effort and space than smaller dogs, their loyal and affectionate personalities make them great companions for the right family.
Plus, who’s going to mess with you when you’re walking your 170 pound, seven foot tall Leonberger?
What to Know Before Considering a Giant Breed Dog
Specific Health Problems Most Common In Giant Breed Dogs
Giant breed dogs are prone to certain health issues that you should know of before considering one as your pet. Some of the more common health problems for the giant breeds include:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Bloat (gastric torsion)
- Heart disease
- Joint problems
Although not all giant breed dogs will experience these issues, they are more common in larger dogs and can lead to significant health problems if not addressed early on.
They’re Great, But Not For Everyone
Giant breed dogs can make wonderful pets, but they are not for everyone. Some things to consider before bringing a giant breed dog into your home include:
- Space: Giant breed dogs require a lot of space to move around and exercise. They may not be suitable for small apartments or homes with limited outdoor space.
- Cost: Giant breed dogs require larger quantities of food, which can be more expensive. They may also require larger beds, crates, and other supplies.
- Training: Giant breed dogs can be more challenging to train due to their size and strength. Proper training and socialization – before they get bigger than you! – are crucial to prevent behavior problems.
- Time: Some, though not all, giant breed dogs require a lot of attention and exercise. They may not be suitable for owners who work long hours or have limited time to devote to their pet.
Before bringing a giant breed dog into your home, it’s important to carefully consider these factors and make sure you are prepared to provide the care and attention needed by these large pups.
Pros and Cons of Giant Breed Dogs
Giant breed dogs are known for their impressive size and strength, as well as their wonderful personalities. These make them great protectors and companions. Here
are some of the pros of owning a giant breed dog:
- Gentle, affectionate, and loyal.
- Fairly easy to train, as long as you do it while they are young and smaller than you.
- Many don’t have extremely high energy levels and thus won’t need tons of exercise.
- Great protectors of their owners and home, as their size alone deters intruders.
- Many are excellent with children and some, such as the Newfoundland, are the best of all breeds when it comes to children.
- Many are highly protective of their families – and have the size and strength to back it up!
When properly trained and socialized, giant breed dogs can make outstanding family pets.
While there are many benefits to owning a giant breed dog, there are also some potential downsides to consider. Here are some of the cons:
- Can be expensive to care for due to their size. Think food, beds, toys, etc.
- May require a larger living space.
- Can have shorter lifespans compared to smaller breeds.
- May be prone to certain health issues, such as joint problems.
- Some are heavy shedders and/or droolers, making housekeeping more difficult.
- Their sheer size! Your 175 pound Great Dane may want to jump up and lick your face affectionally. Or sit on your lap!
You should carefully consider these factors before deciding to bring a giant breed dog into your home. However, proper care and training can reduce some of the potential challenges of owning a giant breed dog.
What Are The Largest Giant Breed Dogs?
Here are the 12 largest of the most common giant breeds. We’ve excluded some of the less common breeds because most people have never seen nor heard of them.
The Great Dane is one of the most well-known giant breed dogs. These dogs can weigh up to 175 pounds or more and stand up to 32 inches tall at the shoulder. Great Danes are gentle giants and make excellent family pets. In spite of their gentle nature, they will protect their family with all of their massive amount of strength.
The English Mastiff is another giant breed dog that can weigh up to 230 pounds. These dogs are known for their loyalty and protective nature. They make great watchdogs and are often used as therapy dogs due to their calm and gentle demeanor. However, they only do moderately well around other dogs.
The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest of all dog breeds, standing up to 34 inches tall at the shoulder. These dogs can weigh up to 130 pounds and are known for their hunting and tracking abilities. Despite their size, Irish Wolfhounds are gentle and affectionate dogs with their owners, but have a highly protective nature and are only moderately friendly to strangers.
The Saint Bernard is a large breed of dog that can weigh up to 180 pounds. These dogs are known for their rescue abilities and are often used in search and rescue operations. Saint Bernards are also loyal and loving family pets, though their protective nature makes them cautious around strangers.
The Boerboel is a giant breed of dog that originated in South Africa. These dogs can weigh up to 200 pounds and are known for their protective nature. Boerboels are loyal and affectionate with their families but can be wary of strangers. They are also not good around other dogs. This is not the breed if you are a first time dog owner.
The Caucasian Shepherd is a giant breed of dog that originated in Russia, where they were once used as prison dogs. These dogs can weigh up to 170 pounds and are known for their protective nature. Caucasian Shepherds are loyal and affectionate with their families but can be aggressive towards strangers and other dogs. This is also not the breed to own if you have small children, as they are not particularly kid friendly.
Dogue de Bordeaux
The Dogue de Bordeaux is a large breed of dog that can weigh up to 150 pounds. These dogs are known for their loyalty and protective nature. Dogue de Bordeauxs are often used as guard dogs and are affectionate with their families, although not the best breed for small children. They are also wary around strangers and other dogs.
The Great Pyrenees is a giant breed of dog that can weigh up to 120 pounds. These dogs are known for their protective nature and are often used as livestock guardians. Great Pyrenees are gentle and affectionate with their families, including children, and get along well with other dogs, although they are somewhat cautious of strangers.
The Leonberger can weigh up to 170 pounds. These dogs are known for their loyalty and affectionate nature, even with strangers. Leonbergers are often used as therapy dogs due to their calm and gentle demeanor.
The Bullmastiff can weigh up to 130 pounds. These dogs are known for their loyal and protective nature. Bullmastiffs are often used as guard dogs and are affectionate with their families, as well as being good around other dogs.
The Neopolitan Mastiff is a truly giant breed of dog that can weigh up to 210 pounds. Like most of the giant breeds, these dogs have a loyal and protective nature. Neopolitan Mastiffs are often used as guard dogs and despite their fearsome looks are affectionate with their families and are kid friendly.
The Newfoundland can weigh up to 150 pounds. These dogs are known for their swimming abilities (they have webbed feet!) and are often used in water rescue operations. Newfoundland dogs are also loyal and affectionate family pets. Of all the giant breeds, Newfoundlands have the most gentle personality and are the best around children, which is why they are known as the “nanny dogs”. If you can overlook their drooling and shedding, Newfoundlands are, in our opinion, the best of the giant breeds to own.