Large dogs, a list.

The Lovables

It’s quite a known fact that large dogs make excellent pets. Giant dogs are wonderful pets. Most of them drool and shed, but make excellent, faithful companions. Because of their large size, they are naturally intimidating to strangers. Their voices also tend to be quite sonorous, and frankly, booming barks coming from the house you’re about to break in are scary. Large dogs have very slow metabolism and tend to laze around. Therefore, they consume less food than what you would expect. In fact, they consume just as much as a “regular” dog. Large dogs have slow metabolisms, and therefore do not need vigorous exercise everyday. They also mostly tend to be very good apartment dogs. The larger the dog, the better it is with kids. No, seriously!

9. Primarily a scent-hound, Bloodhounds are bred even today for tracking criminals, missing children, and lost pets. A bloodhound is capable of tracking human scents after days, over many miles, and even over water.

These dogs are noble and brave, and love their human companions. They adore children and are one of the breeds that do no resist children clambering over them even if it is hurting them. They love attention, but are a little hard to obedience train. And they snore. Some famous bloodhounds are Mickey Mouse‘s Pluto, Trusty of Lady and the Tramp, and Jasper T. Jowls at Chuck E. Cheese’s

8. Having its origins in the Swiss mountains, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a cheerful, highly energetic dog that loves playing.

They love children get along fabulously with other pets. They do need a yard for being active. Since they are working dogs, they can be trained to pull crates and wagons. How the guy in the picture managed to lift one is beyond me since they weight about 100lb on average. Hola is the titular character of Bad Dog: A Love Story, and Courtney Cox’s pet Ella is a Berner.

7. While the legends of alcohol dangling from their necks is just folklore, there is no doubt that Saint Bernards make lovable companions.

They love children, and are very friendly. They are famed for their capability to predict storms, avalanches, and other extreme weather occurrences. They are easy to train, and need to be trained not to jump on humans, though. And they drool. Beethoven, of the popular Beethoven movie series is a St.B. Orville Wright also owned a huge St.B called Scopio.

6. One of the oldest breeds of dog known to man is the Irish Wolfhound. 

Despite their notorious reputation as wolf hunters, they are gentle and easily trained. They are childish, goofy, and very eager to please. They need a bit of open space for running and lounging about, and are very quiet indoors. The domestic dogs in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are modeled after the Irish Wolfhound.

5. Imagine a dog race. Chances are, you’ve pictured Greyhounds.

Greyhounds have only two modes- shooting like a bullet and lazing around. They are very tender and thrive in quiet environments. Despite their size, they make better apartment dogs than most active small breeds. The Greyhound Bus is named after the dog. They are often featured as mascots for many university teams. The Simpsons’ family dog, Santa’s Little Helper, is a greyhound.

4. The record holder for the world’s heaviest dog is Zorba, an English Mastiff.

They are natural guard dogs, although they hardly bark. They catch intruders by backing them into corners but do not attack. They love the company of humans  and are very patient with little kids. They are so big that they need space just to even sit, and do not make very good apartment dogs. This is Zorba:

3. The record holder for the world’s tallest dog every year is a Great Dane.

These dogs are known for their capability to live in small spaces despite their size, and make excellent apartment dogs. This is George, the previous record holder:

This is Zeus, the current record holder:

Scooby Doo, Marmaduke, and Astro (of the Jetsons) are Great Danes.

2. If you’ve ever seen people walk dogs that looks like bears, you’ve seen the wonderful Newfoundland.

I was lucky enough to be neighbors with one. They rarely bark, and do well with strangers. Also known as Newf or Newfie, the Newfoundland is one of the most gentle breeds, and is renowned for its calm and docile nature. It’s often called the “nanny dog” or “gentle giant”. A newf helped save a lot of lives on the Titanic. They prefer the cold. This was the breed of Nana, Peter Pan’s faithful dog.

1. What tops my list of amazing, calm family dogs that are great with children, is the Leonberger.

These dogs are famed for being family dogs and their reputation with children is legendary. They are a perfect mix of patience, calmness, steadiness, and liveliness. They are one of the few breeds that instinctively recognize small children and take extra care not to knock them over. They make wonderful therapy dogs, and are very friendly. They get along well with other animals and when faced with aggression, choose to walk away instead of retaliating. They adjust to any type of surrounding and make great apartment dogs. However, they shed a lot. Buck from the famous movie Call of the Wild is a leon.


 The Fearsomes

As mentioned above, most large dogs are extremely friendly and easily trained (there are a few exceptions). However, any dog that isn’t trained properly is a danger to the society, irrespective of its size. St. Bernards and Great Danes are not dangerous – if trained properly. It’s easier to fend off smaller untrained dogs, but large dogs could cause serious harm. This is why we often see Bernards and Danes and German Shepherds in dangerous dogs lists- because of careless owners.

That said, there are still dogs that are inheren predators and are not easily trained. I’m leaving wolf-dog hybrids out of this because, on the large part, they’re more wolf than dogs and wolves cannot be tamed. There have been many many attempts at cross breeding dogs with wolves, and then breeding the subsequent generations with dogs, but almost all of these never succeeded because of the difficulty in overcoming the wolfishness – no matter how diluted, and the extreme unpredictability in the resulting breeds’ temperament.

Certain types of dogs were domesticated to be defensive. A notable example is the Doberman Pinscher.

The Doberman was first bred by Karl Doberman in Germany in the late 1800s, for the specific purpose of protecting and fending off thieves when local tax collectors went about collecting bags full of money. The first few generations of Doberman dogs were extremely ferocious, territorial, and aggressive. However, these traits have been fully toned down by modern breeders and because of the doberman’s high trainability and loyalty; they’re one of the top desired breeds by families today. These dogs still tend to be protective of their families, so they display ample aggression towards strangers.
There are more territorial dogs that are extremely difficult to train, tend to be aggressive towards strangers, but are extremely faithful – Akita Inu, Chow Chow, Alaskan Malamutes, Huskies, Boxers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and many types of bull dogs. Herding dogs tend to be independent and difficult to train as well, as they were required to think and make decisions on their own so as to manage livestock in the absence of humans.

These dogs are examples where the negative traits have been toned down. There still exist dogs that are bred for defense, aggression, and also for the more sinister dog fighting.

1. The first breed that comes to mind is the Pitbull.

Sorry, I mean,

If you have the stomach for it, you can google images of “pit bull attack”. (Warning: graphic images).  “Pit bull” is a very generic term for dogs of a certain type. Pit bulls include the American pit bull terrier, the Boston Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier, Cane Corso, and even Dogo Argentino. Needless to say, all of these dogs have exhibited history of attacking humans. Pit bull type dogs have a very strong jaw and usually tend to “hold and shake” their victim, making it extremely difficult to pry their jaws apart. Most of these dogs are illegal to own in many countries.
While well-trained pit bulls are indeed used by the police force and even act as therapy dogs, their violent nature has been exploited by many darker elements of society, and these dogs constitute the largerst percentage of dogs used in illegal dog fighting, defending narcotics, and use against police. Pit bull puppies have known to kill cats as well. Most dangerous dogs are covered in this large “Pit Bull” blanket. As mentioned earlier, the Dogo Argentino comes under the pit bull category.

Dogos have known to protect their humans to death. But if not trained properly, they can also bring about deaths of other humans. They are strong enough to hunt down boars and pumas.

2. The Tosa is a Japanese fighting dog, often called the Sumo-Wrestler of the Dog World.

These dogs enjoy pulling loads and can reportedly pull up to 3000 pounds. They also tend to attack other animals like cats or livestock, even when well-trained.

3. The Brazilian Mastiff is also classified as dangerous under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991.

These dogs are known to be extremely unpredictable and impulsive, and are very moody. However, they are extremely faithful to their masters and tend to “protect” them from strangers. A common phrase in Brazil is as loyal as a fila (Fila Brasileiro is their local name).

4. The Prisa Canario is banned in Australia and NZ.

This dog has been known to team up with pit bulls and kill its own owners. The dog is known to have extremely cat-like movements, and ironically, attack cats. This dog is relatively unknown outside its native Spain.

The above mentioned dogs are banned from being sold, bought, or bred in most countries.

5. Caucasian Ovcharka is one of the largest dogs on the planet and extremely difficult to train.

They tend to be aggressive from puppyhood and attack viciously when provoked. These dogs are still used in the snowy mountains to protect livestock against wolves and bears, so you can imagine just how strong they would be. You would have seen this image of the dog:

Contrary to many sources, this isn’t a photoshopped image. Here’s another image of the same woman with the same dog.


6-ish. While I wouldn’t call a Rottweiler dangerous, they do tend to bite when the aggression is not trained out of them.

They are commonly thought of to be the second most lethal dog breed after Pit Bulls because of their widespread ownership, and account for multiple fatal causalities by bites.

Many people tend to mistakenly think that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is dangerous to humans as they are/were used to hunt lions. Far from the truth, if trained well. They are long distance runners and make excellent companions to athletes.

These breeds are the ones that come to mind when dogs are to be associated with danger. Like I said, when trained well, all dogs are fine. Some need more rigorous training than others, and if an owner finds themselves unable to provide that, best not to get a dog that tends towards aggression when improperly trained.

Incidentally, did you know that Cocker Spaniels and Chihuahuas are often said to hold the record for most number of human bites in a year, almost every year?

(Images taken from Google search results) 

This post originally appeared on Quora as two answers: and


3 comments on “Large dogs, a list.

  1. Shelly Hawkins

    I’ve always wanted a Greyhound- they’re such beautiful animals! Definitely on my list of dream animals to own.

  2. Shelly

    Wow, that bloodhound is gorgeous. If only I had enough space to house a dog as big as these.

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