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Top 10 Giant Dog Breeds That Weigh in at Over 100 Pounds

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on April 21, 2024

Giant dog breeds, characterized by their impressive size and often gentle dispositions, have a unique appeal and presence that sets them apart from smaller breeds. Dogs that tip the scales at over 100 pounds are typically from breeds known not only for their large stature but also for their strength, endurance, and in many cases, their protective instincts. These colossal companions often serve as guard dogs, working dogs, or simply as loving family pets that offer a sense of security and companionship that is unmatched. Owning a giant breed comes with its set of challenges, including higher food and veterinary costs, as well as specific space and exercise requirements. However, the loyalty and love these large breeds provide make them well worth the investment. This article explores ten of the top giant dog breeds that weigh over 100 pounds, highlighting their histories, characteristics, and why they are beloved by dog enthusiasts around the world.

1. English Mastiff

The English Mastiff is one of the largest dog breeds in the world by weight. Known for their massive size, adult Mastiffs can weigh anywhere from 150 to over 250 pounds. Their immense body, broad skull, and muscular build make them formidable in appearance, yet they are known for their gentle and loving nature. Historically, Mastiffs were bred for guarding estates and to be war dogs due to their size and strength. Today, they are primarily gentle giants who serve as loyal family members. Despite their intimidating size, Mastiffs are known for being affectionate with their families and protective of their home. They require moderate exercise and are more suited to living in larger spaces where they can move around comfortably.

2. Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards are famously known as the gentle giants of the Alps, originally bred for rescue in the Swiss mountains. Typically weighing between 140 to 180 pounds, these dogs are powerful, muscular, and have a calm and friendly temperament. Their size and strength were essential for traversing deep snow to find lost travelers. Saint Bernards are characterized by their immense size, immense strength, and expressive eyes, conveying a look of kindness and intelligence. They are extremely loyal and excellent with children, making them ideal family pets. However, they do require space to accommodate their large size and regular grooming due to their thick coats.

3. Great Dane

Great Danes, known as the “Apollo of dogs,” are a symbol of elegance and balance despite their giant size, with weights typically ranging from 110 to 175 pounds. These dogs are incredibly tall, with a record holder named Zeus standing at 44 inches at the shoulder. Great Danes were originally bred to hunt wild boar and guard estates, which is evident in their confident and alert demeanor. Despite their imposing presence, they are friendly, affectionate, and often seek physical affection from their owners. Great Danes do well in larger living spaces where they can stretch out and need regular, moderate exercise to maintain their health.

4. Newfoundland

Newfoundlands are massive, powerful dogs known for their role as ship’s dogs and water rescues. They typically weigh between 100 to 150 pounds. These dogs are especially known for their swimming ability; their webbed feet and waterproof coat make them excellent swimmers. Newfoundlands have a sweet, patient, and devoted temperament, making them superb family dogs, especially around children. They are protective yet gentle, and their ability to perform water rescue is legendary. These dogs require regular grooming due to their thick, water-resistant coat and should have ample space to move around comfortably.

5. Leonberger

Leonbergers are a lesser-known giant breed, with adults weighing between 110 to 170 pounds. They were originally bred in Germany to mimic the lion in the town crest of Leonberg. Leonbergers are a mix of Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, and Great Pyrenees, which contributes to their friendly and gentle nature. They are known for their lush mane of fur around the neck, which gives them a majestic appearance. Leonbergers are versatile workers and excel in water rescue, therapy work, and obedience. They are gentle giants that form strong bonds with their family members and require regular exercise and grooming.

6. Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhounds are one of the tallest dog breeds, with a commanding presence and an average weight exceeding 140 pounds. Historically, they were bred to chase down wolves and elk, requiring a powerful build and long legs. Today, they are known for their calm and dignified personality, often described as gentle when not provoked. Despite their hunting past, Irish Wolfhounds are incredibly patient and loyal, making excellent companions. They need ample space to accommodate their large size and enjoy regular walks and play sessions to keep them healthy and engaged.

7. Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient breed known for its impressive size and protective nature, typically weighing between 90 to 150 pounds. These dogs were originally guardians of herds and homes in the Himalayan region, known for their independence and strength. Tibetan Mastiffs possess a thick, double coat, which protected them from harsh climates but also requires regular maintenance. They are known for their loyalty and have a natural instinct to protect their family, making them excellent watchdogs. However, they can be aloof with strangers and require socialization to ensure they are well-adjusted.

8. Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherds are formidable livestock guardians, originally from Turkey, with adults often weighing over 100 pounds. These dogs are rugged, powerful, and have a protective instinct that makes them excellent guardians for flocks or families. Anatolian Shepherds are intelligent, independent, and can be reserved with strangers, reflecting their breeding as solitary defenders. They require a firm, experienced hand in training and a good amount of physical space to patrol. Despite their work-oriented nature, they are loyal and can be affectionate with their immediate family.

9. Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiffs are known for their loose, wrinkled skin, massive body, and a weight that easily surpasses 100 pounds. Originating from Italy, they were bred as guardians and exhibit a formidable appearance that belies their generally calm and steady temperament. Neapolitan Mastiffs are intensely loyal to their families and are natural protectors. They require early socialization and training to manage their protective instincts effectively. Their large size and strength make them suitable for experienced dog owners who can provide the structure and space they need.

10. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs are affectionate giants, typically weighing between 70 to 115 pounds, known for their beautiful tri-colored coat and sturdy build. Originating in Switzerland as farm dogs, their size and strength were crucial for pulling carts and herding cattle. Bernese are known for their friendly and calm disposition, making them excellent family pets. They thrive in environments where they can be part of daily activities and enjoy moderate exercise. Their thick coats require regular grooming, and they benefit from training and socialization to harness their work-driven energy positively.

Giant dog breeds offer a unique blend of companionship, protection, and sheer presence that makes them unforgettable. While they require specific care due to their size, such as appropriate diet, sufficient space, and regular veterinary check-ups, the rewards of owning such majestic animals are immense. These breeds not only provide love and loyalty but also a sense of awe and beauty that enriches the lives of those who choose to share their homes with them. Whether serving as protective guardians, loving family pets, or diligent workers, these giant breeds are as heartwarming as they are impressive.