large german dog breeds

Large German Dog Breeds

Did you know that Germany is the third-highest dog breed-producing country in the world? Yes, there are about 50 different dog breeds that have originated in Germany, and the only countries which have created more dog breeds are France and Great Britain.

German breeds are prevalent worldwide, mainly because the breeders place a big emphasis on the health and intelligence of their dogs.

The Germans have created some of the most recognizable and popular large dog breeds in the world.

Here are some of the best large German dog breeds to add to your family.

1. Leonberger

The Leonberger is a true gentle giant which can reach a weight of up to 170 lbs. and has a lion-like mane.

This not-so-common German dog breed may be the largest of them all, but it is also very obedient, affectionate, and playful and can be a perfect family dog and nanny for the kids.

The large-sized lion-like dog loves interacting with its humans and is a very obedient and loyal family pet.

Still, keep in mind that while these dogs are kind and loving, they are still huge and heavy, so keep young kids safe around them to prevent accidental injuries.

Some interesting facts:

The breed was first created based on an idea by a politician from Leonberg in Germany, who wanted a dog that resembles the lion from the town’s crest. Supposedly it was created by crossing a St. Bernard, a Landseer Newfoundland, and the Great Pyrenees.

Leonbergers used to be favorite dogs for the royals in Europe. The Tsar of Russia, the Prince of Whales, and the Italian King used to own dogs of this German breed.

After WWI, two dedicated fanciers, Otto Josenhans and Karl Stadelmann, saved the breed from extinction with only five dogs.

This gentle giant can reach a height at the shoulder of 25.5 to 31.5 inches and a weight of 90 to 170 lbs.

Unfortunately, the life expectancy of these dogs is only about 7 years, with the most common causes of death being bloat, heart disease, or cancer.

The Leonberger is a breed in which the females and the males look very different.

Great Dane

The Great Dane is the highest and the most recognizable dog breed in the world. An adult dog of this famous German breed can reach a height at the shoulder of 40 inches and weigh up to 200 lbs.

But even though they may look quite threatening, Great Danes are very kind and loving to their families. They are loyal and form strong bonds with all family members, including the children.

These giant pups are very calm and easy-going, and reliable family companions.

Despite its long legs and large body, the Great Dane has a regal-like gait and is an exquisite animal. Their exercise and activities, as well as their food, must be controlled and limited during puppyhood to prevent very rapid growth, which can lead to health problems.

While they were originally bred to hunt boars, today, they are bred to be show dogs. They make superb family dogs but can be wary of strangers.

Some interesting facts:

The tallest dog in history was Zeus, a Great Dane with a height at the shoulder of 44 inches.

The dogs of this breed used to have their ears cropped to prevent injuries during hunting. Today, they are still shown with cropped ears in areas where this practice is still allowed.

The dogs from this breed were believed to be able to repel ghosts and evil spirits.

In 1941, a dog of this breed was awarded two medals for diffusing a bomb by urinating on top of it.

Unfortunately, the Great Danes are prone to different health issues due to their giant size and genes. Some of them include bloat, hip dysplasia, and dilated cardiomyopathy.

The famous cartoon and movie characters Marmaduke and Scooby-Doo are both Great Danes.

Their average lifespan is only about 6 to 8 years.


The Rottweiler is another fearsome-looking dog with a bad rep, which has caused it to be added to the dangerous dog breeds lists in some countries and areas.

They used to be bred for herding, for pulling butcher carts, and as guard dogs, and the fact is that up to this day, the Rottie is something that no thief wants to run into.

But despite their large size and terrifying looks, Rottweilers can be very gentle and sweet family dogs. Luckily, most of them are intelligent enough to know who an actual enemy or danger is.

Still, given its massive weight of 110 lbs. and more, and strong bite force, it is absolutely vital that a dog of this breed is correctly socialized and trained by an experienced trainer or owner.

Some interesting facts:

They have a bite force of nearly 330 lbs. pounds which is stronger than that of a Pit Bull and just half the strength of a shark bite.

Their name in German translates as a Rottweil butcher’s dog because these dogs used to pull the carts of the butchers to the markets.

It is among the most ancient herding breeds and is believed to descend from the Dover dogs from the Roman Empire.

Today they are commonly used by the police, as guides, for search and rescue, and as watchdogs for families and individuals.

Unfortunately, they have a relatively short lifespan of 9-10 years and are more prone to diseases such as parvovirus, hip dysplasia, joint problems, and others.

Giant Schnauzer

These large-sized German black dogs have impressive beards and eyebrows, and although they are big and may look menacing, they can be loyal, kind companion dogs and excellent workers.

These intelligent and high-spirited animals have lots of energy, so they need extensive physical and mental exercise to stay happy and not get bored and destructive.

They love playing and interacting with their humans, but due to their large size and protective instinct, these pups need firm and consistent training and a lot of socializing from an early age.

Their beautiful coats do not shed much, but they do need regular grooming, clipping, and plucking. Their beards can easily get wet and dirty, so they need to be brushed and washed daily.

Some interesting facts:

The German name of the breed, Riesenschnauzer, translates as a mythic herculean monster that is depicted with a sizeable walrus-like mustache.

The breed really became known when these dogs were used for the military in WWI.

German Schnauzers used to be bred as all-purpose farm dogs and later became popular working canines for the military and police and personal protection dogs.

The lifespan of these large-sized pups is 10-14 years, and their most common causes of death are liver cancer and lymphoma.

German Shepherd Dog

This is one of the most popular breeds in the world and the second most popular one in the USA.

German Shepherds are also the third most intelligent of all canine breeds and the most preferred dogs for police work.

They are very smart and hardworking, as well as alert, obedient, and courageous.

The only downside for some people is that they have high energy requirements and need rigorous daily exercise, as well as mental stimulation such as learning different tricks, performing tasks, and more.

Notoriously a German Shepherd Dog will be willing to sacrifice its own life to save that of its owner. This makes them excellent guard dogs but can also make them dangerous and aggressive if this behavior is not curbed properly with early training and socializing.

They are dedicated to all members of the family – young and old.

Some interesting facts:

Two German Shepherds have been awarded stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

An average GSD can learn one task with only five repetitions and will perform it with 95% accuracy.

The breed became especially popular after WWI when German Shepherds were used as military dogs.

There are five lines of GSD: the West show line, the West working line, the American show line, the Czech working line, and the East working line DDR.

These pups have a life expectancy of about 7-10 years.

Other Large German Dog Breeds

As mentioned earlier, there are nearly 50 dog breeds that originated in Germany. Apart from the abovementioned ones, here are some of the other more popular large German dog breeds:

  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Boxer
  • Weimaraner
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • German Wirehaired Pointer
  • Poodle
  • Bavarian Mountain Hound
  • Eurasier
  • Pudelpointer
  • German Longhaired Pointer
  • Hanoverian Scenthound
  • Hovawart
  • Landseer Dog
  • Stichelhaar
  • White Shepherd

Final Words

Germany is the original home of some of the most popular and best large dog breeds. So, you won’t regret adding a suitable one of them to your family.

But take into consideration the dog breed’s energy requirements, temperaments, grooming needs, potential health issues, and other factors before selecting the most appropriate one fitting your lifestyle, expectations, budget, and household.

Always select a dog from a reputable breeder. Also, check your local dog shelters for any large German dog breeds in need of a forever home.

With the proper care, attention, and training, your large German dog will become your best friend pretty soon!

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