Do you just love large dogs? There is something about large dog breeds that's very comforting.
But before you take the leap and go out to get one, here are a few things to consider:
Often people fall in love with a particular dog breed and just purchase one. This can sometimes lead to problems when unexpected and unwanted characteristics show up.
These surprises can usually be avoided if you just do a bit of checking beforehand.
If you know the breed you’re interested in, you can quickly see what characteristics that breed generally expresses. Click here to view our comparison chart of Large Dog Breeds.
This chart can also be useful if you just want to check out the characteristics of the most popular large dog breeds without investing too much time.
The categories below will help you find a breed for any category that’s particularly important to you.
Please note that these can only be generalities. That means that any particular dog could vary somewhat from a characteristic that the breed normally displays.
There’s no guarantee what genes are going to do in an individual dog. It’s just that the chances are good that these characteristics will win out.
Puppies generally have a ton of energy, but what will the adult version be like? Does a dog with lots of energy sound like fun to you, or does it sound like a nightmare?
Most people actually prefer dogs with lower energy levels and large dog breeds are not exactly known for high energy levels.
If a low-energy dog is what you're looking for, you can't go wrong with any of the big dog breeds.
All dogs need some exercise each day. If you choose a breed that requires a lot of exercise, will you have the time and energy to provide it? If not, choose a breed that doesn’t need much exercise.
The large dog breeds with the lowest exercise needs are:
Some breeds require more interaction with people than others. Big dog breeds are typically not very playful. But, these breeds can be at least somewhat playful:
Some dogs will jump all over you and lick your face every chance they get. How do you feel about a wet face with dog slobber all over it? Other dogs will show their devotion to you with less outward affection. Which would you prefer?
Kuvasz and Rottweilers tend to be the least affectionate of the large dog breeds.
The more affectionate of this group are:
Almost any dog may fight with a strange dog or even a familiar dog at times. This is especially true when they invade each other’s territory. Do you have other dogs?
Will your new dog need to get along well with other dogs? Scottish Deerhounds are the best in this group with other dogs.
Other large breeds that get along reasonably well with other dogs are:
Some breeds have been bred to chase and kill smaller animals. While this isn’t generally true for large dogs, you should still carefully consider this if you have other pets in the house.
These breeds usually do better with other pets, but most dogs can learn to live with other pets if they are raised with them:
Depending on your situation, you may not want a dog that’s overly friendly with strangers. But then again, you might.
If you frequently have visitors and don’t want to keep your dog locked away, you might want to choose one of these big dog breeds:
All dogs can be trained. But, some dogs require more repetition and patience than others. If you love spending time with your dog, this won’t be a problem.
If you’re looking to get a “good dog” with the least amount of effort on your part, choose one of these large dog breeds:
This category rates whether a breed is alert and barks when something is wrong. You may find that some dogs that rate highly in this category bark a lot. If barking annoys you, you might not want to choose a dog strong in this category.
These big dog breeds tend to make the best watchdogs:
Does this large breed dog have the desire as well as the physical ability to protect you and your family? The idea of having a dog that will protect you and your family sounds great on the surface, but these dogs can be dangerous if not properly trained.
You should also be aware that owning such dogs can disqualify you with some insurance companies for a homeowners policy. They may consider the risk too high that the dog could hurt someone.
If you’re sure that you want or need a dog for protection (and if you’re prepared to train the dog properly), consider one of these:
A dog breed can have one of several different coat types. Some coats require more grooming than others. If grooming a dog is not your idea of fun, consider one of these large dog breeds:
Do you intend to keep your dog outside a lot and do you live in colder climate? These big dog breeds could be a good choice:
No large dog breeds do well in heat. That’s why you should never leave them unattended in a hot car. You should also take care on hot days. Make sure they always have access to fresh water and that they can always get out of direct sunlight.