Man’s Biggest Friend: Large Dog Breeds That Are Great Companions

There are plenty of dog breeds whose hearts are just as enormous as their stature. Large dog breeds are generally considered to be those over 50 pounds, meaning that family-friendly Golden Retrievers fall on the small end of the large breed spectrum. If that’s surprising to hear, consider the fact that Saint Bernards can weigh up to 260 pounds! Read on to learn more about big breeds that make great pets.

Great Dane: 100-175 Pounds

great-dane
ales_kartal/Pixabay and OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images
ales_kartal/Pixabay and OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

AKC ranks Great Danes 16 out of 195 for popularity, so you’ve probably heard of these gentle giants. The friendly dogs are on average 30 inches tall (to the shoulder), but can soar well beyond that when they stand on their hind legs.

They are considered easygoing dogs for their patience and dependability. While they are easy to get along with, they will stand their guard to defend the ones they love. Great Danes can live up to a decade, which is about average for such a large dog.

Neapolitan Mastiff: 110-150 Pounds

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

The next time someone says that you have a big head, just tell them to go look at a Neapolitan Mastiff. These sweet and loyal dogs have a giant skull and long, droopy faces that you’ll want to snuggle all day long.

Don’t let their downcast facial expression fool you; these dogs are alert and powerful. Their stature puts a lot of pressure on their joints, so they need a careful balance of exercise and relaxation. The loyal breed will always be on the lookout to keep you safe.

Saint Bernard: 140-260 Pounds

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

If you’ve ever seen the family-friendly Beethoven films, then you already know that Saint Bernards may as well be gigantic puppies. These playful and curious dogs are not shy about exploring the world and the people around them, so training is especially important if you don’t want them racing across the dinner table.

Fortunately, these dogs have a heart of gold and want nothing more than to please their family. Their giant smile make them impossible not to love, and they are famously good with children.

Borzoi: 60-100 Pounds

Ingo Wagner/picture alliance via Getty Images
Ingo Wagner/picture alliance via Getty Images

Borzoi is a breed name that you may have never heard of, let alone seen. These dogs are extremely thin and tall but have long, shaggy fur and a tail like a horse. They are also known to have a graceful stride that can reach up to 40 miles per hour.

Their body type is similar to that of a Greyhound, and they were formally known as the Russian Wolfhound. These affectionate dogs are not ones to rough house, so you could say they are more of a lover than a fighter. Their life expectancy extends to 14 years, longer than other large breeds.

Doberman: 70-100 Pounds

doberman
YamaBSM/Pixabay
YamaBSM/Pixabay

The Doberman Pinscher, often referred to as simply Doberman, is full of muscle and power and can dart around like cheetahs. The shape of their sleek body aids their athleticism, and their fearless character makes them wonderful guard dogs.

These dogs love their owners, especially if you participate in a routine exercise with them. That being said, they can be hard-headed, so early training is especially important. They are highly eager to please but need an owner with as much of a backbone as they have.

Alaskan Malamute: 70-100 Pounds

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PA/PA Images via Getty Images

Alaskan Malamutes are pack animals with a history of sled racing. So long as they see you as their leader, they will stay in check. Their strong build makes them hardworking, but they also are affectionate and love to play.

The important thing to remember with these dogs is that the more they see you as their coach, the more their stubbornness will melt away. They are happy doing just about any activity, so if you’re an active person they will be your number one training buddy.

Newfoundland: 100-150 Pounds

Rui Vieira/PA Images via Getty Images
Rui Vieira/PA Images via Getty Images

This Newfoundland looks nearly the same size as its owner while standing on its hind legs. The large breed has thick, fluffy fur that gives it a bear-like quality but rest assured that they are sweet-natured animals.

Their expressive faces are similar to a Saint Bernard and evoke their genial personality. They are characteristically good with kids, though their size can be a challenge. The patient pet is moderately active, but won’t hesitate to come to the rescue of those they love.

Labrador Retriever: 55-80 Pounds

Daniel Bockwoldt/picture alliance via Getty Images
Daniel Bockwoldt/picture alliance via Getty Images

AKC ranks the Labrador Retriever as that most popular dog in America. The sweet dogs wear an expression of love that matches their friendly disposition. Since they aren’t as massive as some of the other large breeds, it can be easier to manage their high energy.

Their eagerness combined with their friendliness makes them highly social dogs who won’t hesitate to love the entire family. Labs are a joy to be around and make for great companions of the entire household.

Dogue de Bordeaux: 100-140 Pounds

PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images

The Dogue de Bordeaux is notably loyal and protective, making them guardians of the family. Though they are not afraid to defend the ones they love, they enjoy affection and will be happy to spend tons of time cuddling on the couch.

Due to their thick build, they should avoid high impact activities such as jumping off high surfaces. They do require moderate exercise, though, and swimming is one of the healthiest options for the breed. They only drawback of these companion dogs is that they have a shorter life expectancy than some other large breeds.

Leonberger: 90-160 Pounds

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Leonbergers, called Leos for short, are just as playful and affectionate as their facial expression implies. The large breed has such a tall stance that you’d almost think is was a miniature horse hidden beneath that shaggy fur. Their lush coat is multi-colored and waterproof, making them well-suited for the snow.

Leo males often have darker fur in their face and neck, giving the appearance of a lion’s mane. Though they are generally calm dogs, they have a zest for hard work and need regular exercise. These gentle giants love companionship and will bond with the whole family.

Weimaraner: 55-90 Pounds

weimaraner-dog
zuzanu/Pixabay
zuzanu/Pixabay

The Weimaraner’s coat texture and build give it a similar appearance to the Labrador Retriever, only with longer, velvety ears and gray-brown fur. They too love to spend time with people. The active dogs are very obedient, so they take to training very well.

Their loving attitude makes them great with children. Their expression reads both kind and soulful, evoking their high intelligence. The fearless dogs are full of energy and require heavy dose of exercise and would make for an ideal running companion.

Scottish Deerhound: 75-110 Pounds

Gary Gershoff/WireImage/Getty Images
Gary Gershoff/WireImage/Getty Images

Scottish Deerhounds have a long, slender snout that resembles that of the Borzoi. They have a tall and slender build and carry themselves with grace. The courageous breed is also gentle and polite, making it the noble knight of the dog world.

AKC highly recommends a playmate for this breed, advising against leaving them home alone all day. Though they generally are not bursting with energy, they love running and need exercise to be at peace. The sensitive dogs take well to training and adore human companionship.

English Mastiff: 120-230 Pounds

english-mastiff
Marius Anderson / Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Marius Anderson / Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

English Mastiffs are easy to recognize with their dark, droopy faces and massive bodies. Though AKC caps their weight at 230 pounds, the center Mastiff pictured here reached a whopping 250 pounds! It’s no wonder the “beast” in The Sandlot was a Mastiff.

The dog’s wrinkled faces are full of kindness, but they won’t hesitate to protect those they love. Since these dogs can outweigh many adults, being trained at a young age is vital. They are highly sensitive, so they respond well to positivity.

Black Russian Terrier: 80-150 Pounds

Martin Rickett – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images
Martin Rickett – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

This Black Russian Terrier is hard at work with his owner and boxing coach. The large, sturdy dogs live to train. They need a good amount of both exercise and human interaction to stay happy and obedient, so its a perfect companion for trainers.

Known for their intelligence and courage, there isn’t much that these dogs will shy away from, especially since they know their size and are confident about their power. Assert yourself as their firm but respectful pack leader and these dogs will love you to the end.

Irish Wolfhound: 105-180 Pounds

James D. Morgan/Getty Images
James D. Morgan/Getty Images

The Irish Wolfhound looks similar to the Scottish Deerhound but isn’t as slender. They grow to be 30 inches tall (to the shoulder) at minimum and have a sturdy, muscular physique. Though their size can be intimidating, they have a calm and serene demeanor.

While these dogs are kind, they are also fearless and have a strong instinct to hunt. By the same token, they love lounging around the house with their owner. They are notably patient and agreeable with their humans, even children.

Bernese Mountain Dog: 80-110 Pounds

bernese-mountain-dog
NicoleDenker/Pixabay
NicoleDenker/Pixabay

The gorgeous Bernese Mountain Dog has a silky, tricolored coat that practically begs to be pet. Between their dignified stance and heart-melting eyes, you can tell just by looking at one of these dogs that they make for great companions.

Indeed, they are strong but calm, powerful but gentle, protective by affectionate animals. They can be distant with strangers but love to please their owners. They love being near their family and do well with outdoor activities, so if you’re going camping, you’ll want to bring this dog along.

Boerboel: 150-200 Pounds

Taylor Bluemel / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Taylor Bluemel / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The sturdy Boerboel may be dominant, but they also love to learn. Though they are built to protect, they also have a generally calm demeanor. Still, they don’t enjoy challenges from other dogs and should be kept on a leash due to their territorial nature.

Don’t be fooled by the easygoing puppy Boerboel, as it will grow into a ferocious adult bent on guarding the humans they love. As such, they should be socialized and trained early on. These intelligent dogs will love their owner more than anything.

Tibetan Mastiff: 75-160 Pounds

Guang Niu/Getty Images
Guang Niu/Getty Images

The Tibetan Mastiff looks more like a lion than a dog thanks to its thick layer of fluffy fur. Between their lush coat and mellow demeanor, these dogs are the champions of snuggling on the couch. They are devoted to their owners but tend to be wary with strangers.

These intelligent dogs would rather conserve their energy for when it’s needed than waste it on games of fetch. Their critical thinking and low endurance may explain why these dogs don’t take well to repetitive training. Once you have their trust and respect, the Tibetan Mastiff is your loyal companion.

Great Pyrenees: 85-120 Pounds

pyrenean-mountain-dog
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

The Great Pyrenees, or Pyrs for short, may be a giant fluff ball, but they are also powerful working dogs bred to keep away predators. Their mellow demeanor with family and attentiveness to threats make them the best of both worlds.

The intelligent dogs instinctively conserve their energy, but they do need moderate exercise. Pyrs likely won’t see the point in conforming to silly tricks like sitting on command. As far as they’re concerned they have one job, and that is to protect their companion.

Golden Retriever: 55-75 Pounds

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

This list wouldn’t be complete without the Golden Retriever, one of the most beloved dogs in America. Though Labs beat them in AKC’s popularity ranking, they still are among the most well-known dogs in the country.

These active and friendly dogs work hard and play hard. They are serious workers, but they also never seem to lose their joyous, puppy-like attitude. Golden Retrievers are among the easier breeds to train and adore lots of activity, particularly with their humans.