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Gentle giant! Massive mastiff is the perfect playmate for two little girls

Barney the giant dog
(Image credit: Phil Smith, Facebook)

When Phil Smith shared pictures of his South African Mastiff next to his two children, you could clearly see how big this dog actually is.

Shown playing with six-year-old Winnie and 12-year-old Maisie - and dwarfing them both - the images have certainly made for adorable viewing. 

They're so amazing, they've amassed 18,000 likes so far as well as  more than 1,100 shares and 2,600 comments, ensuring the images quickly went viral!

What's more, two-and-a-half-year-old Barney and the two sisters have become inseparable since being introduced to the family. And he has no problems goofing around – happily sporting a cool set of pink, heart-shaped sunglasses in one of the images.

Barney the giant dog

(Image credit: Phil Smith, Facebook)

Phil, who posted the images on Facebook and captioned the photos, “Barney-boy the world's goodest boy”, also says the South African Mastiff (or Boerboel) is good friends with the family's four cats and a Border Collie.

"He's so gentle, he can play off-leash in the local park, although he will be protective of his family at home", Phil adds.

Barney the giant dog

(Image credit: Phil Smith, Facebook)

As you can imagine, Barney has done down a storm online. “Oh I am in love!!!!”, wrote user Christina Conley, while Nicola Hume added: “He's a perfect big beautiful baby!!!”.

In a later photo, Barney is also shown taking up the whole bed, again showing his sheer size (he weighs 176 pounds (80 kilograms).

Barney the giant dog

(Image credit: Phil Smith, Facebook)

And yet Barney isn't unique. Boerboels grow to an average of 27-inches (70 centimetres) in height and they are known for being big and strong.

When treated correctly and brought up in a loving, caring household, they are also fantastic family dogs although they sure need a lot of exercise which means they are not the best large dogs for apartments!

David Crookes has been a journalist for more than 20 years and he has written for a host of magazines, newspapers, websites and books including World of Animals, BBC Earth, Dogs and Canines, Gadget and The Independent. Born in England, he lives in a household with two cats but he’s also keenly interested in the differences between the huge number of dog breeds — in fact, you can read many of his breed guides here on PetsRadar. With a lifelong passion for technology, too, he’s always on the lookout for useful devices that will allow people to spend more time with their pets.