Great Dane. Mastiff. Newfoundland, Dogue de Bordeaux. Great Pyrenees. Bernese Mountain Dog. Tibetan Mastiff. Leonberger. St. Bernard and the list can go on.
Most large dog breeds were bred for a purpose or function. Some breeds were meant to be hunters, others guard dogs. Dogs with great endurance brought livestock or produce to market or protected the farmer’s animals. So which ones make good pets?
Great Danes: One might argue that this huge and majestic creature more closely resembles a small horse than a dog. Either way, the beautiful Great Dane is sure to stand out in a crowd. But it is more than appearance that makes this breed stand out. The personality of the Great Dane is unforgettable. These dogs are gentle, playful, friendly and incredibly loyal. The Great Dane is a native of Germany that was developed as a boar hunter and, later, a watchdog. Great Danes weigh anywhere from 100-200 pounds and about 28-30 (or more) inches tall.
Mastiff: Considered the largest of all dog breeds, the English Mastiff’s name seems to fit its best descriptions: massive. This giant dog breed is all brawn and power on the outside, but deep down it is a lovable, mushy companion–and often a bit of a couch potato! These dogs can top the scales at 220 pounds and be 30 or more inches tall. However, it looks like a large percentage of the weight is in their huge heads. Some considerations if you are thinking about getting a Mastiff: You’ll likely need to carry around a “drool-rag” and duck when a head shake comes on. You’ll need to protect people and objects from that massive tail (and protect the tail itself from damage).
Leonberger: The Leonberger is a beautiful, massive working dog with a kind and gentle disposition. Though it is not an extremely common breed, the Leo has its own following, and for good reason. This breed is known to bond closely with its family and seems to have a kind of intuition when it comes to human emotions. Because of this, they make excellent family members and also superb therapy dogs. They are gigantic yet gentle with incredibly soft coats. If you love giant dogs with even bigger hearts, have the room for a 120- to 170-pound dog, and can exercise him daily, then you might have found your match. The Leonberger originates from Leonberg, Germany.
Bullmastiff: The Bullmastiff is a powerhouse that was originally developed for protection. English gamekeepers in the mid-19th century crossed the Mastiff and the Bulldog. The result was a powerful, fearless dog that could stop poachers in their tracks. Today’s Bullmastiff is still a highly capable guard dog, but the breed is most treasured as a companion. Despite a powerful and somewhat intimidating appearance, this is a gentle and affectionate dog that forms a solid bond with its family members. However, the Bullmastiff’s tough side does instinctively comes out when necessary. Like its cousin, the Mastiff, be prepared for slobber. Weighing from 100-130 pounds and 24 to 27 inches tall, there’s plenty to love about these big sweeties.
Do you have a favorite Giant Breed?
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*Photo of the Wright Brothers St. Bernard