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large breeds of dogs - A simple guide

Updated on May 4, 2011

Many people are quick to assume that all large breeds of dog are the same in terms of their temperament and requirements as pets or working dogs. This article looks at some of the most common large breeds of dog and explains their particular traits and characteristics. If you own or have decided you want to get a larger dog then this guide will help you learn a little more about the larger breeds of dog.

Alaskan Malamute

Living on average 12 years the Alaskan Malamute is an independent dog but has a friendly and people orientated nature that can make it an ideal family dog. This larger breed of dog requires a good outdoor space that is well fenced. Despite their looks they do not make great watch dogs as they are relatively quite and not prone to much barking. 

Large Breeds of Dogs - The Alaskan Malamute
Large Breeds of Dogs - The Alaskan Malamute
Large Breeds of Dog - The Akita
Large Breeds of Dog - The Akita


Equally independent is the Akita. fiercely loyal to their owners it is important that Akitas are socialised from an early age if they are to be pets, especially with young children. They can make very good watch dogs and can be quite aggressive towards other dogs. As with most large breeds of dog it is important to provide a large outdoor area for them to exercise in. Make sure your fences extend some depth into the ground to prevent your large dog from digging underneath.

The Akita originates from the Akita region of Japan and as a breed has remained unchanged for centuries. Originally bred for hunting and dog fighting. They are quick learners and are well suited to training, though you will need variety as their sharp minds become easily bored.

Large Breeds of Dogs - Bernese Mountain Dog
Large Breeds of Dogs - Bernese Mountain Dog

 Bernese Mountain Dog

This large breed of dog is famously associated with the mountains of Switzerland. A Bernese mountain dog is a truly loyal dog and will be your best friend for life if it receives the same loyalty in return. Interestingly this dog can achieve much of its large size whilst still retaining many of its puppy traits, So care is needed to ensure it doesn't hurt itself or others during play. This is a very friendly and gentle large breed of dog and will not respond well to strict training methods, but loves to work for treats.

Large Breeds of Dogs - The Bullmastiff
Large Breeds of Dogs - The Bullmastiff


With a strong prey instinct the Bullmastiff was originally bred as a gamekeepers dog to track down, chase and hold poachers. The dogs were violent and intimidating but trained not to bite their captive. Today they make a loyal guard dog. During their early years they must be well socialised and require a patient and dedicated owner that will spend time daily on training them.


Large Breeds of Dog - Doberman Pinscher
Large Breeds of Dog - Doberman Pinscher

 Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is one of the most notorious large dog breeds. Originally from Germany it was bred by Louis Doberman who required a brave and attentive watch dog to accompany him on long journeys through bandit country. Often maligned as being dangerous, The Doberman Pinscher is, in fact, a highly attentive and intelligent dog. They excel at being trained but can be obstinate and strong willed at time, so a committed trainer is a must. Needless to say they make good watchdogs, mostly due to their loyalty and intelligence than any assumed aggression.

Large breeds of dogs - German Shepherd
Large breeds of dogs - German Shepherd

 German Shepherd

German Shepherds have a large amount of self confidence, so much so that they can appear cold to strangers and extremely loyal to the family of which they are a part. They are also extremely intelligent and as such they are fairly easy to train but will not respond positively if they are treated harshly. They can excel in activities such as fly-ball or competitive obedience and this is shown in their popularity with law enforcement, security organisations and the military.

Want to read more about large breeds of dogs?

The guide continues here


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