The Bigger, The Better
Leave the pampered Pomeranians to celebrities and socialites. Some of us prefer a little more in a dog, whether it be for an exercise companion, a watchful guard, a playmate for children, or just a big, lovable fur-ball to receive slobbery kisses from. Look no further! PetMD has compiled a list of our top ten favorite large dog breeds to meet your every need.
#10 Bernese Mountain Dog
We can thank the Swiss for many great things: fine chocolate, luxury watches, and the Bernese Mountain Dog. This big dog has become extremely popular throughout the years, recognizable because of its affectionate personality and keen intelligence. Regal-looking with its tri-colored, silky long fur, this is a true outdoor dog that, as its name might imply, fares well in cold weather. Ever patient and loyal, the Bernese Mountain Dog would make a great addition to any family with children.
It'd be very difficult not to mention Lassie when talking about the Collie. So there. LASSIE. Now that that's out of the way, the Collie is a very popular breed of large dog, not only for its obvious ties to classic literature and film, but for its sharp mind and friendliness. This loyal pooch rarely show signs of aggression, unless, that is, its owner is in need of protection. Equally fearless and gentle, the Collie makes families happy.
If you've ever seen a Mastiff, you'll agree that there is one word that can properly size up its appearance: powerful. No kidding, this dog is huge -- not as tall as a Great Dane, but probably twice as thick. Fittingly, this large dog breed makes an excellent guardian. However, though the Mastiff seems beast-like, it is surprisingly gentle, affectionate, and extremely loyal. Its devotion to its owners and patience with children have secured its popularity for years.
#7 Great Dane
Monumental in size and personality, the Great Dane towers over other larger breeds. Often thought to be the world's tallest dog, only the Irish Wolfhound can claim to be taller. Gibson the Great Dane, however, currently holds the Guiness world record for tallest dog. Great Danes are gentle giants, friendly and calm, despite their intimidating size. They do require love, attention, and plenty of space to exercise those long limbs, though and tend to have a shorter life span.
#6 German Shorthaired Pointer
A true hunting and gun dog, the German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) is bold, intelligent, strong, and playful. It requires lots of exercise and attention. But if properly trained, the GSP makes the ideal companion for owners with an active lifestyle and a love for the outdoors. Otherwise, this headstrong breed may prove to be too much of a challenge for a first-time owner who isn't ready to be a pack leader.
Despite the negative attention received due to its portrayal as a mean dog in television and film, the Rottweiler remains a highly popular large breed dog. And for very good reason: extremely intelligent and good-natured, the Rottweiler is loyal and attentive to its family. Historically a herding dog, the Rottweiler's natural obedience makes it adaptable to several roles; just as capable of being a guard dog than assisting as a service dog. One thing remains: the Rottweiler would make a loving addition to any family, guaranteed.
#4 Standard Poodle
It's no wonder the Standard Poodle is often a contributing factor to some cocktails of "designer mutts." Superiorly intelligent, training this big dog is a breeze. It is also naturally inclined to being a crowd-pleaser, so be ready to devote oodles of attention to this breed. But don't worry too much, you'll be hard-pressed to find an unsatisfied owner of a Standard Poodle.
#3 Golden Retriever
Though named as such for their distinctively gold-colored silky tresses, the Golden Retriever could have easily earned its name for having a heart of gold. Friendly to both owners and strangers alike, this breed of dog is renowned for its compatibility with children and makes a good family dog. And although it is primarily an indoor pet, the Golden Retriever does require a daily dose of exercise.
#2 German Shepherd
One of the most well-rounded pets out there, the German Shepherd is highly versatile, and can make for a loving family member as well as a trusted guardian. Keenly intelligent and eager to serve, it's no wonder these big dogs are commonly seen in service roles and working alongside policemen.
#1 Labrador Retriever
What can be said about the Labrador Retriever that hasn't been said? The fact that the Lab has placed number one in the American Kennel Club's registration lists for eighteen consecutive years speaks a lot for itself. Equally excellent at being a working dog, a service dog, a companion dog or family-friendly dog, its intelligence and lovable personality make this breed the most popular large breed dog in the world, regardless of size.
Image: Claudio Gennari / via Flickr