32 types of large-breed dogs

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There are so many different types of large-breed dogs, so whether you're looking for a bouncing-off-the-walls buddy, calm companion, or go-with-the-flow friend, you'll almost certainly find the perfect match for you. With diverse histories, attributes, personalities, and appearances, there are so many types of large-breed dogs to learn about and consider for adoption. 

In this guide, we'll explore some of the most popular and rarest big pooches, discovering their origins and what types of homes they're best suited for. So stock up on stock up some of the best dog treats and join us on the journey to discover some amazing large-breed pups. 

32 types of large-breed dogs

1. Rhodesian Ridgeback

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The Rhodesian Ridgeback originated in South Africa and Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) in the mid-1600s from the crossing of the ridge-backed native hunting dogs of the Khoikhoi people and European breeds by Dutch colonizers. They are known for the distinctive ridge of hair that grows along their spine in the opposite direction as the rest of their coat. This breed is agile, strong, athletic, and outgoing, and thrives in active and social homes. They're also one of the best dog breeds for warm climates, having come from countries known for their steamy summers.

2. Bernese Mountain dog

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The Bernese Mountain dog is from the Swiss Alps with an ancestry that dates back over 2,000 years to the arrival of mastiff-type dogs from the Roman legions who were crossed with local herding breeds. They were bred as working dogs who pulled carts, herded cattle, and guarded farms. Males can weigh 80 to 110 pounds and females can weigh in at 70 to 85 pounds. They are known for their devotion to their family, gentleness, and stoic demeanor — if you welcome one of these pups into your home and are looking for easy ways for improving your relationship with your dog, lots of affection will do the trick with this sweet-natured breed.  

3. Flat-coated lab

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Originating in the British Isles in the mid-19th century, the flat-coated retriever was bred as a land and aquatic retrieving breed. They have a diverse ancestry represented by various types of large-breed dogs such as retrievers, setters, spaniels, and even the Newfoundland dog. Males should weigh 60 to 70 pounds and females 55 to 70 pounds. They are a well-loved breed for their friendly, gentle, and sociable disposition. 

4. Alaskan Malamute

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One of the oldest sled dog breeds, the Alaskan Malamute was bred by the Inuit Mahlemiut people for their strength, endurance, and courage. This stocky and powerful breed works in packs to haul heavy loads over long distances across the Arctic terrain. They are also beloved companion dogs who thrive in households with other pets when well-socialized from an early age. Of course, they're also one of the best dog breeds for cold climates.

5. Borzoi

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Also known as the Russian wolfhound, the borzoi originated in Russia around the 17th century from the crossing of Arabian sighthounds with cold-hardy Russian hunting breeds. These swift, powerful, and agile sight hounds aided in aristocratic hunts of foxes, hares, boars, and even wolves. Today, the energetic borzoi make wonderful family dogs for active households and are one of the best dogs for extroverts. While they are quite lean, this powerful breed can reach up to 105 pounds.

6. Irish Setter

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Emerging in Ireland during the 18th century, the Irish Setter, one of the four setter dog breeds, was developed as a versatile and aquatic hunting dog. Their ancestry likely includes English Setters, spaniels, pointers, and Gordon Setters. This breed features a gorgeous red wavy red coat and graceful build. They are wonderful and energetic family dogs. Males typically weigh 70 pounds while females top out at around 60 pounds. 

7. Estrela Mountain dog

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The Estrela Mountain dog is one of Portugal's oldest livestock guardian breeds. This agile, protective, and strong breed originated in the Estrela Mountains where they guarded flocks of sheep and became loving companions of remote shepherding families. Due to their history as watchdogs, they require thorough and supportive socialization throughout their puppyhood to feel comfortable and safe in new environments and around strangers. 

8. Scottish Deerhound

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A truly ancient and rare breed, scholars aren't sure of exactly when the Scottish Deerhound came about. Some breed historians believe their roots may trace back over 3,000 years to the rough-coated and swift dogs that accompanied Phoenician traders. For at least 400 years, these dogs accompanied clans in hunting enormous wild red deer of the Scottish Highlands. Today, their gentle, friendly, and playful nature makes them wonderful companions for energetic and active households. This breed needs plenty of space to run but they also enjoy lounging with their family. 

9. Tornjak

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Originating in the mountainous regions of Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Croatia around the 11th century, the tornjak is a strong and devoted livestock guardian breed. While their lineage isn't thoroughly understood, some breed historians believe they are descendants of local shepherd breeds and the Tibetan Mastiff. A strong watchdog, this breed can be wary or defensive around strangers and other dogs without consistent and positive socialization from a young age.

10. Standard poodle

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While these curly-coated pups originated in Germany, the standard poodle became so popular in France over the centuries that they are now the French national dog. Bred as aquatic retrievers, the poodle's iconic coat is designed to protect them from both cold and water. These low-shedding and low-dander-producing dogs are especially popular among those sensitive to dog allergens. Their friendly, sociable, and playful nature makes them a popular family companion. 

11. Boxer

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The ancestors of the powerful boxer can be traced back over 4,000 years ago to the mastiff-type war and hunting dogs of the Assyrian empire. In the late 1800s in Germany, the breed as we know them today originated. Bred to be versatile, agile, and strong, the boxer took on many roles including as a search and rescue dog. Today, these pups are beloved for their high-energy antics and outgoing disposition. 

12. Bracco Italiano

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Also known as the Italian Pointer, the Bracco Italiano is one of the oldest pointer breeds. This versatile hunting breed's origins date back over 2,000 years and resulted from the crossing of Egyptian Sighthounds and the Asiatic Mastiff. The breed was immensely popular among the Italian aristocracy for their graceful build and excellent retrieving and pointing abilities. This outgoing and friendly breed does best with ample room to run and explore and with a social and active family. 

13. Dalmatian

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While the breed's origins are contested, scholars have placed the Dalmatian's modern lineage starting in the early 1800s to what was once known as the Dalmatia region of Central Europe along the Adriatic Sea. For centuries, this charismatic breed guarded horse-drawn carriages and accompanied the caravans of the nomadic Roma people. The Dalmatian is often characterized as vigilant, watchful, and highly devoted to their immediate family. 

14. Weimaraner 

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The Weimaraner was developed in the Weimar region of Germany in the early 19th century as a large game hunter. They were bred for versatility, speed, and endurance, which led to a well-rounded and adaptable hunting breed. Weimaraners were prized among the nobility for their incredible tracking abilities and enthusiastic nature. This highly energetic and intelligent breed thrives in active households with plenty of enrichment and exercise, so you'll want plenty of the best dog toys on hand. They often enjoy scent-based games such as trailing. 

15. Cane corso

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An Italian breed with roots that trace back to ancient Rome and ancient Greece, the cane corso is a descendant of the original Molosser dogs. They are an incredibly powerful and loyal breed with strong protective instincts. While modern U.S. breeding sometimes creates dogs that are overly large, their breed standard dictates these powerful pups should max out at about 110 pounds. With consistent socialization throughout their life and especially during their puppyhood, cane corsos can be wonderfully loving family dogs.

16. Kuvasz

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An ancient breed, the kuvasz as we know them was likely developed in Hungary around the 9th century by the Magyar tribe as a powerful, loyal, and protective livestock and personal guardian dog. Their lineage, however, may date back over 5,000 years to the Asiatic mastiff-type breeds and shepherd dogs of Tibet and Turkey. They were officially recognized by the AKC in 1931. Today this large fluffy breed is still a popular livestock guardian dog, as well as a family companion and occasional therapy dog. 

17. Presa canario

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Also known as the Canary Mastiff, the presa canario was developed in the Canary Islands around the 15th or 16th centuries. Their exact origins are unclear, but breed historians often theorize the Molosser dogs were brought to the islands by Spanish colonizers. While they were originally bred to guard farms and livestock against stray or feral dogs and herd cattle, by the 1900s the powerful breed was also used in dog fighting. 

Today, dog fighting is prohibited in the Canary Islands and the presa canario is now a beloved guardian dog and family companion. 

18. Redbone coonhound

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An American breed that emerged in the late 18th century, the versatile and courageous redbone coonhound was bred primarily to hunt raccoons, deer, and bears. They rose to popularity after World War II as a loving family dog who was also tenacious on the trail. This energetic breed thrives in outdoorsy and active homes where they can get plenty of mental and physical enrichment. 

19. Sloughi

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Also known as the Arabian Greyhound, the sloughi is an ancient breed with a lineage tracing back to North Africa. For thousands of years, this swift, high-stamina sighthound accompanied nomadic Berber tribes across the desert to hunt a range of game such as hares, foxes, and gazelles. Today, the sloughi continues to be a beloved companion and highly adept hunter. As companion dogs, they do best with families where they have plenty of opportunities to stretch their legs and run. 

20. Old English Sheepdog

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The famously shaggy and sturdy Old English Sheepdog originated in England in the early 1800s as a sheep herding breed. For centuries, they have been a beloved working and companion dog, as well as a popular canine character in books, television, and films. Both males and females of this robust breed can weigh 60 to 100 pounds at maturity, although their shaggy coat often makes them look even larger. 

21. Hovawart

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The long-haired, feather-eared hovawart is a German breed that originated in the early 20th century as a farm and livestock guardian dog. The name "hovawart" translates in German as "farm watcher", an indication of how popular these dogs were in their role as guardians on German homesteads. Today, the breed is just as cherished as a family companion as they are a guardian dog. 

22. Gordon Setter

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A striking gun dog breed, the Gordon Setter originated in Scotland likely around the early 1600s. However, it wasn't until the early 1800s that they rose to prominence when the Duke of Gordon began breeding them at Gordon Castle. The Gordon Setter is the sturdiest of the setter breeds and perfectly suited to navigating the rocky terrain of the Scottish moors. This athletic, energetic, and loving dog thrives in active and outdoorsy homes. They are especially fond of trailing and aquatic activities. 

23. Bloodhound

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Also known as the St. Hubert Hound, the bloodhound emerged in France in the 7th century and further developed as an incredibly capable scent hound in England by the monks of the St. Hubert Monastery. This breed's lineage likely traces back about 2,000 years to the ancient Mediterranean. With an unrivaled ability to scent track, bloodhounds are still used today in trailing game and for search and rescue operations. 

24. Catahoula Leopard dog

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Named after the Catahoula Parish of Louisiana, the Catahoula Leopard dog emerged in the 19th century as a bold, intelligent, strong, and agile hunting and herding breed. Some breed historians theorize that their diverse lineage includes the Spanish Mastiff, native American dog breeds such as the Carolina dog and possibly a red wolf hybrid, the bloodhound, and the greyhound. In 1979, the breed became the state dog of Louisiana. 

25. Giant schnauzer

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Originating in the Bavarian Alps in the mid-1800s to drive cattle to market and guard farms, the giant schnauzer is a protective and fiercely devoted dog. As their popularity grew, the giant schnauzer became the breed of choice to protect butcher shops and taverns. Their protective lineage likely includes the German mastiff, great Dane, standard schnauzer, and Rottweiler. These beauties can reach up to 90 pounds, have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, and do well in homes with experienced pet parents.  

26. Rottweiler

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With an ancient lineage that dates back to the mastiff dogs of the Roman legions, the Rottweiler as we know them today originated in the agricultural town of Rottweil, Germany. The date of their origin is unkown, but they may have been developed roughly 2,000 years ago when Rottweil was founded by the Romans in the year 73 AD. 

Over the centuries, this versatile breed, affectionately known as a rottie, has been a protector, herding dog, search and rescuer, guide dog for blind folks, and loving, devoted family companion.

27. Golden retriever

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The golden retriever has consistently been one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. for over a decade due to their loving, sociable, and go-with-the-flow personality. This beloved breed originated in Scotland in the late 1800s from the crossing of two extinct breeds: the tweed water spaniel and the wavy-coated yellow retriever. Today, this golden-coated breed is a cherished family dog and waterfowl retriever. They thrive in social, active families and tend to excel in multi-pet households. They're also one of the best emotional support animal breeds and thrive in search and rescue roles.

28. Dogo Argentino

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Bred as a large-game hunter and protective companion in Argentina in the early 1900s, the Dogo Argentino is a powerful, athletic, high-stamina, and bold dog. 

Their ancestry include similarly strong breeds such as the fighting dog of Cordoba (now extinct), bulldog, Great Dane, boxer, and Pyrenean Mastiff. Skilled trackers and tenacious hunters, the Dogo Argentino assisted in taking down peccaries, wild boar, and pumas. 

Today, the breed continues to be cherished as a hunter and loyal companion. They tend to love people and can be wonderful with children as long as this strong and active breed is taught to play gently.

29. Belgian Laekenois

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The rarest and oldest of the four native breeds of Belgium, the Belgian Laekenois was developed over centuries as a herding and guarding dog. While they primarily guarded and tended to sheep, this intelligent and versatile breed also became messenger dogs in World Wars I and II, which led to a severe drop in their population. 

After WWII, people outside of Belgium became interested in the breed, and by the 1980s their numbers began increasing. Today, they are well-loved for their scruffy fur and alert, intelligent, and devoted nature.

30. Anatolian Shepherd

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One of the best dog breeds for life on the farm, the lineage of the Anatolian Shepherd, who hails from Turkey, dates back over 5,000 years and likely originated with the massive Tibetan Mastiff. This livestock guardian dog is fiercely devoted to protecting their herd and naturally forms strong bonds with sheep and other flock animals. They also bond closely to their human family and thrive in rural environments. 

31. Akita

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With an ancient lineage that may date back thousands of years, the dignified Akita as we know today originated in the Akita Prefecture of Japan in the early 1600s. This powerful breed excelled in hunting boars, deer, and bears across the snowy mountains of their homeland. 

World War II almost decimated the breed, and their revival depended on introducing crosses which led to the development of the current two types of Akitas: the more fox-like Japanese Akita Inu and the larger and squarer built American Akita. Both breeds are well-loved for their protective instincts, dignified personality, and devotion to their immediate family members. 

32. American Bulldog

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Descendants of the Old English Bulldog brought by English settlers in the 17th century, the American Bulldog was developed as a strong and versatile breed used on farms as an all-purpose working and catch dog for feral hogs. Today, this breed is well-loved for their friendliness and sociable nature, especially toward people. They are excellent family companions and can get along well with other household pets especially when socialized consistently from a young age. 

Freelance Writer

Cammi is a freelance writer with over 5 years of experience specializing in creating accessible and engaging pet, wildlife, and mycology content. She’s passionate about sharing accurate, ethical, and animal welfare-centered writing that fosters understanding, curiosity, and compassion for our pets and the natural world. She lives off-grid in a self-built cabin with a rambunctious pack of rescue and foster dogs. In her spare time, Cammi enjoys volunteering with animal shelters, foraging for mushrooms, playing viola and guitar, and traveling.