Dogs such as Mastiffs and Great Danes might look
intimidating, but many large and giant breeds are actually total softies.
Beneath their massive bodies and, in some cases, copious fur, many are calm and gentle dogs who often just want to snuggle on the couch. Even if they are taking up most of the room on it.
Sadly, giant dogs tend to have short life spans and are susceptible to
certain health conditions. And due to their size, big dogs must be well
trained and socialized or they can become destructive — which is why it’s good to learn as much as you can before bringing one home. Click through our photo gallery to get better acquainted with these ten beloved breeds.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Known to be mellow and patient, Bernese Mountain Dogs can be
excellent therapy dogs. But Berners, which can weigh up to 120 pounds, are not couch potatoes. They need moderate exercise and can excel at dog sports
like agility, drafting, herding, rally and tracking.
Originally bred to hunt wolves in Britain and Ireland, the
Irish Wolfhound is not as ferocious as he sounds (or looks). This typically gentle and
quiet breed tends to get along with everyone, including children, strangers and
other dogs. At 105 to 120 pounds and standing nearly 3 feet tall, the Irish
Wolfhound needs a spacious home to spread out in. Just be sure to keep
food and breakable items up high — these dogs are often expert counter surfers. And, sadly, you
have to keep this in mind before bringing one home: Irish Wolfhounds typically live only 6 to 8 years.
With early socialization and training, a
Leonberger can become the gentle giant of your dreams: loyal, sweet and friendly.
Otherwise, the breed can be a bit difficult to live with and can easily wreak havoc due to the fact that he can weigh between 120 and 170 pounds. Some might be
charmed by his general messiness and puppylike disposition, but for those who like to keep a pristine home, the Leo is not the best
choice. He’s generally a digger, chewer, and sloppy eater and drinker.
The Newfoundland is often happiest when he’s in the water or
snuggling on the couch with his family. With his calm demeanor and docile
temperament, the Newfie can be an excellent therapy dog — he’s just the
right size for standing at a bedside, as he tends to be about 26 to 28 inches and ranges from 100 to 150 pounds. And like Nana, the Newfoundland in Peter
Pan, the breed tends to get along well with children.
The Saint Bernard’s heart is typically as big as his body — and his
body can weigh a hulking 130 to 180 pounds. Calm, patient and gentle, the Saint
can be a good choice for families as long as he is trained and socialized from
a young age. Despite his giant size, this breed usually doesn’t need too much exercise,
just a couple of short walks daily. But if you want your home and your clothes
slobber free, then this breed is not for you. Saint Bernards are droolers with
a capital D.
Leave some room on the couch for this massive wannabe lap
dog. Although the Mastiff can weigh more than 200 pounds, he loves to lean on
his family and lie at their feet. He typically doesn’t need too much exercise and
can adapt to living in an apartment or condo. The breed generally adores
children, but since these dogs are so big, they can accidentally scare or harm kids.
The Great Dane was bred to hunt wild boar and guard estates,
but nowadays you're more likely to find this beloved giant breed snoozing on
the sofa. He can weigh between 120 and 180 pounds — and with his great size comes the potential for significant behavior problems
if he isn’t properly trained and socialized. Before falling in love with this breed, consider that he can clear a coffee table with
the swipe of his tail, has no trouble reaching items on the counter, and can easily knock someone over.
Once known as the Royal Dog of France, the Great Pyrenees
has a striking white coat and commanding presence. Pyrs tend to be affectionate and
gentle with their families, but due to their guarding instincts, they can be wary
around strangers. Positive reinforcement training and early socialization is
key to preventing fearfulness in the breed, which can weigh up to 120 pounds.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
If you want a breed who may be puppylike and rambunctious well
into adulthood, look no further than the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. It can
take this gentle giant four or five years to reach maturity, which can be
taxing for even the most patient dog owner. But with training and
socialization, the Swissy, which weighs between 85 and 140 pounds, can be a confident and devoted pet.
Generally loyal and protective to a fault, the Kuvasz is a giant
livestock guardian breed that hails from Hungary. The breed will often do anything to
protect his family and tends to be suspicious of people he hasn’t met before.
Though he might not be the best choice for inexperienced or first-time dog
owners, with firm and consistent training and plenty of socialization, he can
be a brave, assertive, calm and patient pet.