Jan 302013

Forget about toy breeds and accessory pooches, for some dog lovers, the bigger the better and our list of the most popular ‘big’ dog breeds, looks ta some of the biggest around. This list is not exhaustive or definitive and it is not given in any particular order.

Please feel free to add your comments to the footer of this article about the breeds we have mentioned or any other ‘big’ dogs that you think should be included in this list.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of four Sennenhund type breed of dog and originated from the Swiss Alps region. This breed is loyal, devoted and sensitive and makes a great companion and family dog. The puppy and adolescent years can see this dog being a bit boisterous and a handful, but providing clear boundaries are set and training is done from the start (persistence is needed when training as this breed is not the easiest to teach!), once the dog develops into an adult, they are usually quite calm and reserved.

The colouring of the Bernese Mountain Dog is quite beautiful and is often tricoloured, with thick coat of medium-long length. They walk quite slow and purposeful, but because of their size their stride is long which can leave a smaller owner running at their side.

The energy level of the Bernese Mountain Dog is quite low, again due to its size, so it does not need to be over exercised, which is a common misconception of big dog breeds. They are extremely friendly dogs and often get on well with other dogs and household pets.

The average lifespan of this breed is 8-9 years and they are extremely resilient to the cold due to their thick coat. Care should be taken not to confine this dog to too much heat indoors (always ensure a colder area is available for the dog to lie if desired.)

Great Dane

The Great Dane is predominantly known for its height and is also known as the ‘German Mastiff’. This breed is gentle, friendly and loving and has an elegant look for such a powerful dog. Most of the Guinness World Record holder awards for tallest dog have gone to Great Danes over the years.

Danes come in a multitude of colours, namely brindle, fawn, black, blue, mantle harlequin. Training a Great Dane is essential as they grow very quickly and will become a handful if no pack leader or order is defined. If this breed is trained from a puppy, they tend to learn quite quickly and life as an adult will be much easier to handle, especially if there are children or other dogs in the house.

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Great Danes have floppy, triangular shaped ears and are short hair, making them easy to groom and maintain. The average life span of a Great Dane is 7-8 years, although some can live up to 12 year. Like all big dog breeds, Danes can be prone to the health issue of hip dysplasia.

Great Pyrenees

This breed is also known as Pyrenean Mountain Dog and is most commonly used as a working dog for guarding livestock. It has an average lifespan of 11-12 years and has an affectionate, strong-willed and patient nature.

This breeds double coat helps to protect it from adverse, wet and cold weather and consists of a long and thick outer layer of coarse hair; the undercoat is dense and woolly which means as a pet this breed needs a lot up brushing and upkeep to keep the coat tidy.

Because of the thick coat, this dog is more suited to colder weather and does not suit heat well. It is for this reason that only moderate exercise is needed so that overheating does not occur, the Great Pyrenees. Because of its stubborn and strong-willed nature this breed can be difficult to train and slow to learn, however training from a puppy is a better alternative than trying to train an adult.


The elegant and majestic Newfoundland is a powerhouse of a dog with a medium to long, thick double coat with a dense undercoat. This breed loves the water and has been used on many occasions as a fishing aid working dog.

Like many of the large breeds, the Newfoundland is calm, patient and easygoing and makes a very protective family dog. Their exercise needs are relatively low and they have low energy levels. Their average lifespan is 8-10 years and like many of the big breeds, they can suffer with dysplasia of the hip or elbow.

Their thick coat means that they are not well suited to heat or hot climates, preferring the outdoors is it is too hot. They need a large area to spread out so that they are not cramped and their coat needs brushing at least twice a week to prevent matting.

Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is also know as a ‘gentle giant’ due to its easygoing, sensitive and patient nature. This breeds is great with children and is a good companion dog. The Wolfhound is an active breed and can run at a good speed although it has quite a low energy level. This breed is quite easy to train and is generally friendly towards other dogs and pets.

The Irish Wolfhounds coat is rough and wiry, which helps to protect it again adverse weather but it needs to be brushed weekly to keep it tidy and clean. The average lifespan of this breed is quite short, from just 5-7 years and they can be prone to gastric issues and heart problems.

This breed can become very attached to its human family and as such can be destructive if left alone for long periods of time. It also needs ample room to stretch out and should never be crated in cramped conditions. This breed responds to having an assertive and firm pack leader and will follow commands  quite easily.

If you own one of the above large breeds or you have another breed that fits into this category, we would love to hear from you in the comments below.

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 January 30, 2013  Posted by on January 30, 2013 Breed Specific, General, Posts  Add comments

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